Most UI resources are easily accessible with an internet connection, but others require some setup. Before you begin working remotely, understand what you'll need to do to access computing resources. Test your access to these applications from off-campus before you plan to work remotely.
- Plan communication with your team members and test how to conduct remote meetings. Review your video conferencing options and when to use Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Tools.
- Evaluate the speed of your home internet connection. If you don't have internet or if it is too slow to work effectively, there are resources for internet options that are available. Drive-up wifi is also available for those who need high-speed internet access without having to enter buildings. The HR site has recommendations for at-home ergonomics.
- Test making and receiving calls from home. Do you need a headset? Can you use your mobile phone to make and receive calls? Test your home webcam if you plan to use one. Review these online meeting etiquette tips to make sure your meetings are productive.
- Back up your files - put files on OneDrive for Business or in your home drive or shared drive. Researchers have RDSS or LSS as options too. If you work with sensitive data, review the types of data that can be used with different IT services and tools and don't store sensitive UI data on your personal computer or in personal storage locations such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, etc. For additional guidance, refer to the University of Iowa Institutional Data Policy or contact the ITS Help Desk.
- If you plan to use your personal computer to work remotely, make sure you know how to access your email or other Microsoft Office tools located at http://office365.uiowa.edu
- If you need to access services that require Virtual Private Network (VPN), download and install the Cisco AnyConnect software and set up and test VPN access from home
- If you will need remote access to your campus computer (most employees won't), learn how to configure a Windows computer for remote access and how to use screen sharing to connect to your Mac.
Be prepared! Test access to your equipment and resources at home before the need arises, and contact us if you have questions or issues.
If you do not have equipment at home that meets these standards, please consult with your supervisor.
Work Resources from Off-Campus
Drive-up Wifi and Internet options
If you don't have internet at home or if it is too slow to work effectively, the following options are available:
Drive-up access is currently available at Hancher South Lot (Lot 55), Hawkeye Commuter Lot (Lots 85 and 39), and other locations. Review the Drive-up Wifi Locations page for additional on-campus and off-campus locations, maps, and instructions on connecting.
Some internet providers have started announcing various packages and offers. Review the list of internet options that might be available to you.
Two-Step Login with Duo
Many UI services and webpages, like ICON, HR Self Service, etc., require using Two-Step Login to complete your login. We recommend the Duo Mobile app to complete logins. Find information about Two-Step Login and switching to the app.
Access your email
Using any web browser, access your email by logging in to http://office365.uiowa.edu (use firstname.lastname@example.org in the username field). Find instructions on how to use Outlook Web Access (OWA) for Office 365.
You can also use the Microsoft Outlook application. Outlook should already be installed on your university-owned machine. If you are using your personal machine, learn how to install Outlook. You can also get Outlook on your phone.
Connect with colleagues: Online meetings, calls, and instant messaging
When using Skype for Business, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams while working remotely, it is strongly recommended that you install the software on your local computer and not attempt to use the software through Remote Desktop. The following instructions provide additional details on using each program and how to install them on your computer.
Skype for Business
Skype for Business allows you to communicate through text chat, voice calls, video calls, and online meetings.
- Install Skype for Business: If you are using a university-owned machine, Skype should already be installed. If you are using your personal machine, learn how to install Skype for Business. You would then connect with the VPN client
- Learn how to use Skype for instant messaging, to make calls, create or join online meetings, and more, with the Skype quick start guide for Windows machines.
- Find more Skype for Business support on the Skype for Business info center
- Note: Do not use Skype for Business through Remote Desktop as you will experience audio issues. Running Skype for Business on your home machine is recommended.
Zoom is an instructional web conferencing solution. Learn how to log in, host online meetings, and more on the Zoom web conferencing page. Review the Zoom privacy settings tips page for creating a private Zoom session and steps you can take to reduce the possibility of unwelcome guests joining your meeting or webinar. Do not use Zoom through Remote Desktop as you will experience audio issues. Running Zoom on your home machine is recommended.
Microsoft Teams is your online chat-based hub for teamwork integrated with your Office 365 email account. It is an app that helps you and your team have real-time conversations using chat or video chat, securely share and collaborate on files, and plan meetings or projects with others at the University of Iowa. Do not use Microsoft Teams through Remote Desktop as you will experience audio issues. Running Microsoft Teams for video conferencing on your home machine is recommended.
Additional Online Meeting Resources
- Video conferencing options: When to use Skype for Business, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom
- Online meeting etiquette: Follow these meeting etiquette tips to make your online meetings more productive and enjoyable for all participants.
Virtual Private Network (VPN): Cisco AnyConnect
Some services, such as accessing your home or shared drive, require VPN. A VPN is a "virtual private network" that creates a secure connection to the UI network and Cisco AnyConnect is the software used to connect. Find instructions on downloading and configuring Cisco AnyConnect to get started with VPN access.
Please note: Two-Step Login is required to complete your VPN login. During login, you will see a “Second Password” field where you need to type “push”, "phone" or "sms" to complete your login using your preferred method. Find more information on how to log in to the VPN with Two-Step Login.
- Use OneDrive for Business to store your documents. Learn how to log in, create and share files, and more with the OneDrive.
- Connect to your home drive from off-campus. (You’ll need to connect to the VPN first—instructions above)
- Connect to your shared drive from off-campus. (You’ll need to connect to the VPN first—instructions above)
- If you need Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, etc., you can access these via the web at http://office365.uiowa.edu/
- If you are using a university-owned machine, Microsoft Office products should already be installed. If you are using your personal machine, you can install Microsoft Office using these instructions.
Remote desktop allows you to log in to your campus computer from another computer off-campus. Most people will NOT need to use remote desktop access. If you do require access to a service that requires remote desktop, read these instructions on how to configure a Windows computer for remote access and instructions on how to use screen sharing to connect to your Mac. Test access from off-campus before you need it. Connect to the VPN first before using Remote Desktop.
Mobile device instructions
If you’d like to stay connected to work using your mobile device, here are some helpful instructions:
- Connecting to email and calendar on your device
- Download Skype for Business on your mobile device
- Get ICON on your device with the Canvas app:
- Update your operating system on your home computer (if you are using a UI-owned and managed machine, this is done automatically)
- Be aware of phishing with these phishing tips and best practices. Attackers often take advantage of seasonal events like holidays, tax seasons, or national emergencies. Stay vigilant and don't click on links or open attachments from suspicious senders.
- Do you have or need antivirus on your personal computer? These instructions for antivirus protection for home use might help.
- Guidelines to protect university data while working from home.
Move email from a .pst file to your Office 365 account
With the larger email quotas provided with Office 365, you may want to move mail from your .pst files (personal folders) to your Office 365 account. This allows you to access all of your email no matter what computer you are using.
A printable version of this page is located at Working Off-Campus printable guide (pdf)