Working remotely from home or off campus - information for staff

This advice is here to help staff work from home, safely and securely. When you're working off campus you can still access many of our IT services and contact the IT Service Desk for support.

If you're a student, see our advice for students working off campus.

Getting started

Using your computer

If you need to work from home, you will need a laptop or desktop. For example:

  • A University laptop with YoYo that was provided by your department
  • A University laptop running Windows or Mac OSX provided by your department
  • Your own desktop or laptop at home.

Whatever device you use it is important that you follow the University’s Information Security guidance and support in order to keep yourself and the University safe.

Using a University YoYo laptop

If your department has provided you with a laptop using the YoYo service, there are a few things you need to do in order to use it from home:

  1. To make sure you can log into your laptop from home, log into your laptop at least once while connected to the University wired network.
  2. Configure your VPN connection by installing UoS VPN Create-SCR from the Software Centre.
  3. Make sure you can access your personal (U:) and shared(X:) drives by setting the up using UoS VPN Map U Drive-SCR from the Software Centre.
  4. Install any software you will need to use from the software centre before you start working from home.
  5. Download and install any security updates for your computer as they become available.

Saving files

You must ensure that the computer is encrypted before any University information is saved to the computer.

Please see the University’s Advice on encryption

Using a University provided Windows or Mac computer

If your department has provided you with a laptop which is either a Mac, or a Windows computer that is not running YoYo, you can use that to work from home. To prepare your laptop for working from home follow these simple steps:

  1. Ensure that the computer has necessary security updates enabled, you must allow these to download and install as they become available.
  2. Check that your antivirus software is installed, enabled and up-to-date.
  3. Download and install any necessary software for doing you work.
  4. If you need to access specialist University applications such as SAP, these are available to download for Mac and Windows from the Software Download Service.
  5. For more information about software, see the section on Accessing Software.
  6. Make sure your computer is encrypted before saving any University information to it.

Saving files

You must ensure that the computer is encrypted before any University information is saved to the computer.

Please see the University’s advice on encryption

Using your own computer or laptop

If you plan to use your own, personal computer to work from home, the first thing to do it check what type of work you can do from your computer. You can work with our online services from most computers and devices, however, if you have university information and files saved on your computer it must be encrypted.

Computer Working using online services and systems Working with University information and files on your computer
Windows 7

Do not use -
Microsoft Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft and is not secure

Windows 10 - not encrypted OK to use Do not use
Windows 10 encrypted OK to use OK to use
Mac OSX or Linux OS - not encrypted OK to use Do not use
Mac OSX or Linux OS - encrypted OK to use OK to use
  1. Use an account that is password protected and not used by anyone else.
  2. Ensure that the computer has necessary security updates enabled, you must allow these to download and install as they become available.
  3. Check that your antivirus software is installed, enabled and up-to-date.
  4. Download and install any specialist software any necessary software for doing you work.
  5. If you need to access specialist University applications such as SAP, these are available to download for Mac and Windows from the Software Download Service.
    • For more information about software, see the section on Accessing Software.
    • If you need Microsoft Word or other Office applications you can use University Microsoft Office 365.

Saving University information and files

You must ensure that the computer is encrypted before any University information is saved to the computer.

Please see the University’s advice on encryption

Working on Mobile Devices

You can also do some simple tasks from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. If you are using a mobile device for work it is important to keep it safe and secure:

Recommended apps for University work can be downloaded from your devices app store, and include:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Chat (also called Hangouts Chat)
  • Google Hangouts
  • Google Meet (also called Hangouts Meet)
  • Google Drive, Docs, Slides and Sheets
  • All of these can be signed into using your University account.

Accessing services - VPN

The majority of University online services are available from off-campus as normal, with no extra work needed, including email, calendar and Google Drive.

NOTE: A VPN connection is not required to access your payslip or submit annual leave requests. Access these services in MySAPMobile from the MUSE My Services bar.

But some staff systems, such as MyJob/MyTeam, and your U: and X: drives require you to connect to the University's VPN (Virtual Private Network). The University VPN connects you to the University's internal network when you are off campus. Please only use a VPN connection if you need it for your work.

NOTE: When working from public spaces, such as cafes, and connecting to their own WiFi, you should use VPN when accessing any University system.

Accessing files (University Storage)

University storage is available remotely. For accessing small numbers of files we recommend using UniDrive (available via MUSE). If you need sustained access to University Storage then you will need to connect to the University VPN (Virtual Private Network) and configure your computer as described on the Storage pages.

Before downloading any files to your computer you must make sure your device is secure and has been encrypted.

Working safely and securely

It is important that when you work from home you do so safely and securely. Make sure you have completed your Information Security training, and that you have read the University’s Information Security guidance for advice and support working safely and securely.

Before any information is saved to your computer you must ensure that it is protected by encryption.

If you are unsure about the security of your computer please contact the IT Service Desk for support.


Using specific services from off-campus

Set an out of office reply

If you are working from home you can set an out of office reply to let people know, particularly if there is a change to you working pattern.

When people send you a message, they'll receive an email response containing what you've written in your vacation auto reply.

Set an out of office message

Telephony (including University-provided mobile phones)

There are a number of options available for you to access University telephony systems remotely.

Forwarding Calls to Another Number

This can be activated on campus from your desk phone by following these steps:

  1. Press the Call Forward button
  2. Entering the number you want calls to be directed to (remember to start the number with 9 for external or mobile phones). You will hear three short beeps confirming forwarding is in place.

Call forward can be set to any number including mobile, local, international, providing your extension is ordinarily allowed to call these classes.

It's not possible to activate Call Forwarding off campus. If you're off campus, contact the IT Service Desk who can activate this for you. 

To remove call forwarding press the Call Forward button on your desk phone. The light next to the button will go out.

Voicemail

It may be useful to change your voicemail greeting to give alternative contact information, eg email, if you are unlikely to be using your University phone or regularly checking your voicemail for messages.

Accessing Voicemail from home

The telephony system we use for voicemail is Liberty Messenger+.

University Mobile Phones

Please ensure that mobile phones are configured to use WiFi wherever possible (including on campus and at home).

Virtual Meetings

See the 'Virtual meetings' section for advice on alternative options for collaboration.

Virtual meetings

The University offers a range of options for virtual meetings.

Google Hangouts

Google hangouts can be used for video calling or messaging people within the Sheffield domain. 

Google Meet

Similar to Hangouts except people outside the Sheffield domain can be invited to join the video conference/virtual meeting via a web link, which can be emailed to all invitees. A Google Meet link will automatically be added to any calendar event created by staff or Research Post Graduates.

Both Google Meet and Hangouts are available for most mobile devices from your mobile app store.

Advice on effective virtual meetings

Teaching online

The University of Sheffield will temporarily suspend face-to-face teaching from Monday 16th March 2020, and all teaching will move online. Please refer to the Coronavirus Information & Advice page for the latest information.

Take a look at the dedicated web pages:

Accessing Education IT

Take a look at the information provided on options available to access Education IT services:

Additional support and good practice guides for digital learning are available:

The Library has information on how to access eResources remotely (note that Virtual Private Network (VPN) is not normally required). This will give you a secure connection to the University network.

Accessing Research IT

Our Research IT pages provide information on the options available for accessing Research IT services.

It is essential that you comply with any relevant security or governance requirements when working remotely. For example, if you're working with sensitive material such as health data, make sure you follow any project or department specific guidance that is relevant to your work as it may go over and above the baseline recommended by the University.

You can discuss any special requirements you might have with the University’s Information Security Team.

The Library has information on how to access eResources remotely (note that VPN is not normally required).

If you need to access specialist research servers/equipment remotely then you may need to configure a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This will give you a secure connection to the University network.

Accessing Corporate Services IT

Corporate Information Systems are available remotely but may require a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection before they can be accessed.

You can access mySAPmobile (available via MUSE)  to do a limited set of functions without VPN. mySAPmobile is available from the MUSE my services list.

If you require full access to SAP services then you will need to connect via VPN.

Accessing CMIS Timetabling from Home

If you are a departmental timetabler and need access to the timetabling software, Facility CMIS, from outside the University here is everything you need to know:

Accessing Google Apps (Gmail, calendar, drive)

Google Apps are recommended for collaboration when working remotely.

Note that a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is not required for access to Google Apps.

Most Google apps have mobile versions which are available for most mobile devices from your mobile app store.

Accessing software

Where possible we recommend using online collaboration tools and systems. Note that Google Drive can open and edit the majority of Office documents.

If you are using your own personal computer, as a member of staff you can get Microsoft Office 365 to install on your personal computer.

Remotely administering systems (e.g. lab equipment, servers)

We recommend using VPN (Virtual Private Network) to remotely administer systems. 

Information governance and compliance

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recognises the benefits of remote working but has been very clear that all appropriate security measures must be put in place. Personal information should remain in University systems (rather than stored on computers) wherever possible. Encryption must be used to protect any personal information stored on your computer.

Some staff will be working with particularly sensitive information that require additional security measures to be in place. Where this is the case you must ensure these are in place before working remotely to ensure you meet legal, regulatory and contractual obligations.