Remote Working & Teaching
Be prepared to work remotely
From a technology perspective, working remotely can be quite similar to working in the office. If possible, we recommend preparing and testing in advance so you know these options will work for you before you actually need them. Some tips:
- If you believe that you may need to work remotely in the immediate future, think about taking what you will need home with you at the end of each work day.
- Make note of the file path for your shared department and personal drives and any specialized websites.
- Consider moving some of your working files to OneDrive for Business (your personal cloud storage) or a SharePoint site to access them without mapping your drives or connecting to the VPN.
Have the right equipment
Consider the equipment you may need, including a computer, display, docking station, mouse, keyboard, and any ergonomic needs. Tablets and cell phones can be useful but are not adequate standalone equipment for working remotely.
- Using a KU-managed computer (Recommended): Remember to bring your computer home with you, along with your charging cable, headset, and any other peripherals, like you computer mouse, when you leave your place of work.
- If you do not have a KU-managed machine that can be connected at home, talk with your local tech support team to see if another option is available.
- If you are planning to take home devices or peripherals that don't typically leave your office, check with your tech staff. They can assist with tracking inventory, help with disconnecting any peripherals, and advise on how to setup equipment when you get home.
- Using a personal computer:
- NOTE: Work-related files saved to your personal computer will be subject to the Kansas Open Records Act just as they would be if saved to your office computer.
- Use a supported operating system that is still receiving security updates from the vendor. Using unsupported operating systems or software opens your computer up to ransomware, malware that records keystrokes, turn your webcam on without your permission, take screenshots, and steal data stored on the hard drive.
- Windows 10, version 1909, Windows 10, version 1903 or Windows 10, version 1809, or Windows 8. Windows 7 and Windows XP are no longer supported and should not be used.
- MacOS 10.15 Catalina, 10.14 Mojave, or 10.13 High Sierra. MacOS versions prior to 10.13 are no longer supported and should not be used.
- Check to make sure your computer is up to date.
- Windows: See Microsoft's Update FAQs for directions (look for the "How do I manually update my PC?" link).
- MacOS: See How to update the software on a Mac article on Apple's website.
- Make sure your antivirus program is supported and receiving updates
- Windows Defender is acceptable for Windows 8.1 and newer machines.
- Macs can and do get malware. MacOS users should choose and install an antivirus product. .
- Protect your computer and mobile devices with a password
- If your computer is shared with others in your household, you should set up a separate account for KU work with a password known only by you.
- If your personal laptop that you are using for KU work is lost or stolen, notify the IT Security Office immediately ( and file a police report with your local police department. You should be prepared to describe the kinds of KU data you were storing on the computer.
Bandwidth is an even more precious resource now as more people we live with are working and learning online. Your internet plan should run at a minumum of 5 mbps download and 1 mbps upload, and the recommendation is for 15 mbps download and 5 mbps upload to prevent common connectivity-related issues.
Follow these basic tips to conserve bandwidth:
- Turn off your video unless you absolutely need it. Disable HD webcam video because it requires much more bandwidth.
- Close unneeded applications on your computer. There are often a lot of apps running in the background, and many are connected to the internet.
- Use a wired connection if you can. It will be more reliable and maybe faster.
- Do your work as close to the wireless router as possible.
- Before your Zoom, Skype or other video call, ask those who share your internet service to temporarily limit their use (Binge watching or gaming can wait!).
- If using a computer or tablet, turn off your phone’s Wi-Fi. Phones can draw bandwidth even when not actively in use.
- Disconnect any smart appliances and devices. The bandwidth gain will be small but potentially noticeable.
Beyond what you can directly control, consider your local internet service provider. Many have advanced tools for managing the devices that connect to your home network. Their customer support pages often will have more information.
Important: Make sure your home Wi-Fi network is password protected and you have changed the default admin password that came with the device.
Have the Right Access
This section covers the basic technical access most KU employees need to telework. Certain jobs may require specialized access. If in doubt, consult your supervisor or chair.
- Connect to the Virtual Private Network (VPN): Use KU Anywhere to connect to secure resources remotely, including your group storage and/or personal drive.
- By default, KU Anywhere VPN (Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Software) is installed on all KU managed computers. For your personal computer, you can download and install the KU VPN software by going to technology.ku.edu/software/kuanywhere#access.
- We recommend that you only connect to VPN when needed and disconnect after use.
- Remember that you must use the group, Duo authentication. For the secondary password, enter the six-digit Duo code using the Duo app or enter the word, push, to receive a push to your device.
- Review your Duo preferences: As a backup, consider adding a second device to use with Duo. For example, if you currently opt to use a landline, you may wish to add a mobile phone number as an option.
- Update your preferred contact method: Validate or update your personal contact information by visiting hr.ku.edu. Find directions at humanresources.ku.edu/personal-information.
Communicate and collaborate
The main differences for teleworking and online learning relate to how you and your colleagues or classmates communicate and collaborate. These tools connect you remotely so your collaborations can continue uninterrupted:
- Skype for Business: KU's primary business communication tool for instant messaging, screen sharing, and audio/videoconferencing. See howto.ku.edu/sign-skype for more information.
- Microsoft Teams: If you are looking for a way to quickly chat with your entire team, consider requesting and using a Microsoft Team. Unlike Skype for Business, messages sent through a Microsoft Team are retained and visible to all team members. See howto.ku.edu/microsoft-teams for more information.
- Zoom: Cloud-based conferencing service for audio, visual, and content sharing for up to 300 people. Sign in at kansas.zoom.us to get started.
- Outlook Email: To check your KU email remotely using a browser, use mail.ku.edu or outlook.office365.com if your email has been migrated to the cloud.
Video Conference Tips
Once your meeting or class is underway, there are things you can do to ensure you’re not the attendee who distracts everyone with background noise, etc.
- Mute your microphone when not speaking.
- Turn off your computer’s sound notifications. Those email dings can be very distracting!
- In Zoom, you can block the tone that announces the arrival of every attendee. Like your computer notification tones, this notification can be very distracting.
- Zoom resource page on HowtoKU.edu
- Zoom’s general coronavirus help site
- Tips and tricks handout for teachers working through Zoom
- “Live training” Zoom webinars.
Phones and voicemail
There are multiple options to ensure you receive calls while working remotely:
- Sign in to Skype for Business: Use a computer or smart phone with Skype for Business. See this page for instructions on how to get signed in: howto.ku.edu/sign-skype
- Forwarding your KU calls to a personal number: You can forward calls made to your KU number to your personal cell phone number. See this page for instructions: howto.ku.edu/phone-calls#
- Contact Centers: If you work in a call center, you will need Skype for Business on your computer and will need to be familiar with how to log in to the call queue.
- Call in to check voicemail remotely: If you use a VoIP landline, you can access voicemail from an external phone by dialing 785-864-1900. See this guide for help: Skype for Business Voicemail Access Cheat Sheet.
File storage and access
Access the latest version of your files, even those on your network home drives, from anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet:
- OneDrive for Business: Your personal cloud storage that can be accessed at onedrive.ku.edu.
- SharePoint Site: With SharePoint, teams are able to share documents, collaborate online, and store resources. See howto.drupal.ku.edu/sharepoint for more information.
- Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is a messaging platform for your group, team, or department. It provides a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, and files and app sharing. Learn more at howto.ku.edu/microsoft-teams.
- Central File Storage (faculty and staff only): This space is commonly referred to as the Group Directory or "G: drive." To access it remotely, login to the KU Anywhere VPN and then map the drive (if on your personal machine). Login to KU Anywhere with Duo MFA
Security recommendations for working remotely:
The IT Security website has recommendations and requirements to follow when working at home or another off-campus location. Topics include:
- Personal devices
- Home internet connections
- Connecting to KU
- Prepare in advance for technical help
- Public Wi-Fi and computers
- Computer encryption
- Video conferencing
- Guard your privacy and devices
- IT policies