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Working From Home / Remote working

Information for Staff on Working from Home / Remote Working

This article gives university staff information on how to work from home either using a University supplied Windows laptop, or a personally owned Windows PC.

 It is possible for staff members to work from home and fully collaborate with colleagues as long as you have access to a computer with internet access.

This guide is in 4 different sections depending on if you are working from home using a University supplied computer or your own personally owned computer along with information on how to use remote desktop, and finally a list of frequently asked questions around working from home.

 


 

Working from Home Using a University Supplied Laptop

1. You will first need to connect to your home network's Wi-Fi connection.  Please follow your internet service providers supplied information on how to connect to your home network routers wireless network.

2. Once connected to your home network, you will next need to connect to the University VPN service. The appropriate software has already been pre-installed on your university laptop.  Please find instructions via the following link.

Once connected to the VPN your computer will behave as if it is on campus.

Please remember where you are planning on taking a university supplied laptop home, please ensure that you take the power cable with you!

Frequently Asked Questions about using a university laptop from home

 1. Can I access Unit-e / Unit-4 / iTrent from home? Yes - ensure you are connected to the VPN, then access the service as you usually would on campus.

2. Can I install additional software from the Software Center?  Yes, ensure you are connected to the VPN, then load the software center on your computer.  Please be aware that downloading and installing software will take longer as it will be dependent on the speed of your home internet connection.  Some software packages such as Adobe Photoshop are quite large, and may take an extended amount of time to complete.

3. Can I still print to the on site printers? Yes, however you will need to be connected to the VPN.  Please note that any prints will be held within the printing system for a maximum of 24 hours before being deleted.

4. Can I install my home printer drivers on my University computer? Yes, the majority of staff will have permissions on your computer to install printer drivers. Microsoft provides information on how to install printers via the following link (will open in a new window)

If you need to download drivers, please ensure you go to the correct manufacturers website (E.g. HP, Epson, Canon) and download the Windows 10 64-bit driver for your home printer.

 5. Can I connect the Laptop to a monitor on campus if I am working from home? No, Monitors need to be directly connected to the laptop / docking station.  If you have taken your university laptop home, you will need to connect your own monitor to it.  The laptops have an HDMI port built in to allow you to connect an external monitor.


 

Working from Home using a personally owned computer.

This section of the guide provides information on how to setup your personal home computer to work from home. This guide assumes your personal computer is already connected to your home network.

The majority of IT services such as OneDrive, Webmail, SharePoint and the Digital Learning Environment are accessible directly over the internet. 

You should only need to connect to the University VPN if you need to access services such as iTrent, Unit-e or Unit-4.  If you need to access one of the services, please follow the steps below.

1. You will need to download the Fortinet VPN client.  This can be done by going to the work at home website via the following link work at home website and then clicking the 'staff software' option. Look for the Forticlient - SSL VPN Client option and click it. 

For additional information on setting up the VPN, Please see the following guide by clicking on this link - you may be prompted to login to view the guide. This guide is also accessible from within the work at home webpage.

2. Once connected to the VPN you will be able to access all web based university services as if you are on campus.

 Notes:

If you are not able to connect to the VPN, it is likely due to firewall rules on your home router blocking VPN traffic. Please contact your Internet Service Provider regarding how to configure your home network router to allow VPN traffic.

Once connected to the VPN, you can also use the built-in Windows Remote Desktop software to remotely connect to your computer on campus.  For more information please scroll down to the Remote desktop heading. 

Additional software for your personal computer

Additional software can be downloaded/installed on your personal computer from the work at home website which is accessible via the following link (will open in a new window)

 

Frequently Asked Questions about using a personal computer from home

1. Will I be able to use all the University Software When connected to the VPN?

You will be able to access web based services such as Onedrive, SharePoint and Webmail,   and from there have access to the web versions of Word, Excel etc if you open a file.

To Edit word documents, excel spreadsheets etc locally on your personal computer you must have a copy of Microsoft office installed on your home computer.  The university Makes Office 365 available to install on up to 5 personal devices.  For more information please see the work at home website - https://workathome.plymouth.ac.uk (link will open in a new window)

 


Zoom Video Conferencing and Webinar

 The University have procured licenses for all university staff and students for Zoom Video Conferencing and webinar. This allows the possibility of distance learning and remote working.

How do I setup a Zoom Account?

Please follow the instructions at the following link

How do I install Zoom?

Please follow the instructions at this link for installing Zoom software (Staff and Students)

Please follow the instructions at this link for installing the Zoom outlook plugin (Staff only)

 Note, when clicking these links you may be prompted to sign in.


 

Remote Desktop (Windows Remote Desktop)

You will need to use remote desktop if you are using a home personal computer to connect to your work computer that is physically located in your office.

NOTE:  Please ensure that your office computer is left powered on.  There is no way to power computers on remotely.

 If you are using a personal computer to work from home, you can connect to a computer on campus.  Please download the setup guide by clicking the following link (To follow).

 Please ensure that you have made a note of your office computers asset number and left the computer powered on.

 



General FAQ Around Home Working

Where can I find more information on how to use University IT to work from home?

Please review the following PDF document that contains a list of questions and answers around Working from home.

 

Where can I find information about Teams? Can I install the software? 

Microsoft Teams brings together chat (Instant Messaging), meetings, audio/video calling, file management, and a project workspace in one collaboration tool.  Teams will enable you to communicate and collaborate with your colleagues remotely.

For more information about how to install and use Microsoft Teams please follow this link.

 

How do I get access to Office 365 applications to install on my personal computer? - please login to the work at home website, and follow the link for Office 365.

 

How do I access additional / shared / generic mailboxes when working from home? If you are taking your University issued laptop home and outlook was configured to access additional mailboxes, these mailboxes can be accessed in the normal way by loading outlook and navigating to additional mailboxes via the folder list.

If you wish to access email via webmail, go to https://webmail.plymouth.ac.uk and sign in with your email address and password.

When webmail loads, click your photo / initials in the top right hand corner of the Web page. A menu will appear, click Open another mailbox option as shown below

 

Another small box will appear as shown in the screenshot below, type in the name of the mailbox you wish to open, then click the open button.

 

 The mailbox will open in a new browser tab.

 

How do I check my University issued Lenovo computers Name/Asset tag? There are two ways of checking this.

1. Your Laptop / Desktop lenovo computer will have a white sticker located on its lid (for Laptops), or the base unit (for desktops) this sticker will have the asset name of your computer (E.g. LS12345) - this is the name of your computer.

2. On your Work computer, click the start button and type about, then press the enter key on your keyboard.  The About your PC window will now appear.  Under the Device specifications section, make a note of the 'Device Name' as highlighted in the screenshot below.

 

 

Can I Use Skype for Business to contact Colleagues when working remotely?

 Yes, you can still use Skype for business on your university computer when working from home. Please click the link for more information on using Skype for Business

 

 Can I use SiriusWeb when working off campus?

 No, The service operator only allows connection from computers that are based physically on the Plymouth University campus.

 

When working from home access to services appears slower, is there anything I can do to speed things up?

This can occur if you are using a slow internet connection, or someone else is using your internet connection (E.g. Streaming video or music).  The recommendation is to stop any other internet services that may be using the internet connection - this will dedicate your internet connection to your computer.

 

 

 

How can I contact the Service desk?

We can be contacted via the Telephone on 01752 588588.  If you are not able to telephone, you can also raise a support call via the IT self service portal via the following link

Modified 20/08/2020