Working From Home With Technology
Welcome to our ‘Working from Home’ page for University of Adelaide staff. Keep an eye on this page for news and updates on working from home.
Things are changing in the ‘work from home’ space. ITDS wants to make it easier for our University of Adelaide people to work, educate and collaborate from home, using technology. This means that some processes may change, as we implement improvements and additional solutions. So, if there is an IT tool or software you need, or you find that something isn’t working quite like it used to, check on this page, as there may be an update that answers your query!
There are a few little things that you can do in preparation for working from home or off campus.
You will need to have Internet access on your digital devices to be able to work collaboratively from home.
We have created the
If you're ready to get started, make sure you've logged in to your computer and gone through the following steps before you leave the office.
If you are planning on working from home, you may want to prepare by downloading software on your work computer.
To be able to download software from the Software Center (windows users) or Mac Self Service (Mac users) you need to be connected to the University network. Here are some collaborative software options that we recommend:
- Zoom Client & Zoom Outlook Plug-in
- Cisco Jabber
- Cisco AnyConnect VPN
If you did not get the chance to download your collaborative software tools prior to leaving the campus, you can still access them online:
Laptop or desktop?
University owned laptops are the preferred device to use when working from home. Please ensure you have logged into the laptop from within the University at least once prior to taking it home.
If no other options are available, you can take your University desktop machine home to work on. There are steps you need to take before you leave in order for your desktop computer to work off-site:
- Call the Service Desk (ext 33000) and provide:
- the Host Name of the computer (find it within “Service Desk Info”on the bottom right of your taskbar or check the sticker placed on the machine)
- your staff ID (your "a" number)
- Service Desk will enable the computer for use at home
- When instructed, reboot the computer
- Service Desk will check that your settings are correct for working off-site
- When instructed, reboot the computer a second time
- Service Desk will confirm the process has worked correctly and you can then take the desktop machine to work from home.
You may also need to take you network cable home with you, as most desktop computers do not have wi-fi.
If you will be using a personal computer to work from home, ensure you have updated anti-virus software and all the previously mentioned tools installed. We recommend you log in through ADAPT (see below) if using a personal computer.
Preparing to work from home
Take home any physical items you need, including:
- Laptop charger
- Keyboard (if wireless including the USB)
- Mouse (if wireless including the USB)
- Docking station
- Paperwork you may require
*It is preferable to use a University-owned laptop to work from home, but if no other options are available, you can take your University desktop machine home to work on, but if you do so, you may also need to take your network cable home with you, as most desktop computers do not have wi-fi. If looking at this option, refer to the section above ('Getting Started') for important information you will need.
Tasks to complete before you leave campus may include:
- Determine if VPN is required, and register
- Think about your ergonomic set up at home - do you need special equipment?
- Install software on your computer
- Remove any perishables
- If you have plants or other living things, think about the impact of your absence on them
While working from home:
- Be patient with yourself and colleagues
- Understand that the Internet and virtual meeting tools may be really slow if multiple people are working from home
- Be clear who is responsible for each task
- Arrange regular catch ups with your team
- Discuss with your team how you will primarily communicate – Jabber, Zoom, email, Box
- Discuss who will take over responsibilities if someone in your team gets sick
Do you need ADAPT or VPN?
Many people won't need to use ADAPT and VPN, but both can support us in accessing some of our software systems and network data. Due to current increased usage, you may experience slow response times with VPN. We recommend using ADAPT if you need to access specific software or files on University network drives.
ADAPT allows staff to work safely and securely as you would if on campus. It allows you to mimic your desktop to access software and files.
If you are using a personal computer, we recommend you log in through ADAPT to do your work.
Find out more about ADAPT and access the setup guides.
Virtual private network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows us to create a secure connection from home to our University network over the Internet. It is a way for us to protect sensitive data and provide us with privacy in the work that we do because it encrypts what we send and receive.
To access the VPN you will be required to set up Duo two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA (much like you use for MyGov or online banking).
For security purposes, you can only add the mobile number that is registered against your account in Password Manager. To check your details, please log into the password manager and update if required.
Get more information on accessing the Virtual Private Network (VPN).
You can determine if you need to use either ADAPT or VPN based on the software systems' required access.
There is a limit on how many staff can use VPN at the same time. If you are not actively using VPN, please ensure you have logged out. This will ensure that essential systems like student administration, finance and payroll can continue to operate effectively.
Some of our more common systems and the recommended way to access them if there is a large group of staff working from home are listed below. If the application you are looking for is not on the list below, have a look at this more detailed list of applications.
Online - Cloud Based Either VPN or ADAPT Box PeopleSoft Zoom FreezerPro Jabber (once downloaded) ePro MyUni Cognos Access Adelaide HPECM (records management) Echo360 OpenStack Aurora Cherwell Figshare LabArchives Researcher Profile CAPS HR approvals Research Master Genomic Data Repository Phoenix CRM (Web browser) CRM (Client) Jira
Setting up your space
Human Resources has helpful information on working from home on the working from home procedure page.
Most important to note is that:
- Your work environment/work station is fit-for-purpose and is in accordance with the workstation ergonomic guidelines
- You abide by University polices and the Code of Conduct
- You abide by health, safety and wellbeing responsibilities
- You report any injury from an accident while working from home
Keeping data and devices safe and secure
When we are working from home or off-site, we need to be more vigilant with the security of our University information. The Secure IT page contains a lot of useful information but here is a quick summary:
See the email at home tab below.
The being safe online page gives us some tips about working online including information about using our personal computers.
The four main tips for browsing practices are:
- Turn off browsing features you aren’t using
- Make sure you’re at your intended destination
- Download content only from websites you trust
- Stop and think before you enter your password into a website
If we are working from home, these tips become particularly important, especially if we are doing our University work using our personal computers.
Online tools we can use
There are a few little things that we can change to make it easier for us to work collaboratively from home. For example, the University has provided all staff and students with access to some online collaboration tools.
Two that you may want to get started with (if you aren't using them already) are:
- Box: to create, edit and save your files. For more information on Box - see 'accessing documents'
- Zoom: an online video tool that can be used for meetings, classes and talking with colleagues. For more on Zoom, see 'communicating with colleagues'
These tools offer a more secure option than emailing documents to each other.
Protecting your data
At the University we work with a large quantity of data. We have mentioned a few of the alternate data access options above, should you be working off-site. They are ADAPT, VPN, Box and Zoom. These should be enough to get you started in secure environments.
The IT Security team has provided us with a range of valuable information about protecting our data. For now, you can review the information in managing data.
Note that sensitive University data shouldn't be stored in personal cloud storage or portable storage such as USB drives.
Securing your account
To summarise the securing your account information, be sure not to share your password with anyone. And if you need to share files in an online environment, use University-endorsed tools such as Box. In Box, you can create, edit, manage and monitor who has access to your files.
Working near others
Working in public places may expose sensitive information through documents being visible to others and phone or Zoom calls being overheard. In terms of both social distancing and information security, you should only work from home, avoid taking work to public places such as cafes and libraries, and avoid using public WiFi hotspots. Use only your work computer for handling sensitive data, as it has appropriate security measures in place.
Using your own computer
Your work laptop is set up with appropriate security against viruses. Use only your work computer for handling sensitive data, and avoid accessing risky websites and sensitive data on your personal computer. If using your own computer, you can find out about installing and updating security software on the being safe online page, under the Personal Computers tab.
Protecting your devices
As we rely more on mobile devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones, there's a greater risk of loss, theft or damage. Please be aware of the physical security of your devices as well as the data security.
Email at home
Most of us are used to using the Outlook desktop app to access our email. Opening our email is probably the first thing we do when we arrive at work in the morning.
Did you know that 91% of all emails received by the University are spam? If you want the IT security team to be able to continue to protect and support you and your email security, you should continue to use your University email account when you are working from home.
If you're not using your usual University computer you can access your emails through ADAPT or VPN, but we recommend using the web-based version of Outlook to keep ADAPT and VPN licences free for those who need them.
Using the web-based version of Outlook means that you can access your University email from anywhere at anytime, if you have a browser and an Internet connection.
Accessing the web-based version of Emails
- The easiest way to log-in is by visiting the ITDS email page, or
- From the quick links (top right of the UoA webpage) select 'University Email'. Scroll down and click on ‘Login to Staff Email and Calendar’
- Otherwise, from the menu across the top of the UofA webpage, click on Staff and then click on ‘Mail and Calendar’ in the left side menu
The web-based version looks a bit different to the desktop version, so you may want to keep the Outlook on the web support page handy.
You can also refer to:
Our top tips
- If your emails look out of order, check your 'sort by' options in the filter. Changing the filter ensures that you see emails in the order you want.
- If you work from multiple inboxes, you can open a shared inbox using this guide on opening another mailbox.
Communicating with colleagues
Talking to and communicating with your colleagues is slightly more difficult when you’re working from home. Thankfully, we have several tools that will help you keep in contact with you colleagues.
ITDS has developed a webpage with details of the collaboration tools available at the University.
You can make phone calls from one device to another from home using Cisco Jabber. Zoom and the Cisco Jabber chat function are also available and will be a useful way to communicate with your colleagues.
- Email – if the question/conversation isn’t too urgent, send an email.
- Cisco Jabber for phone conversations – if you are using a University laptop you will already have Jabber installed. If you are using a personal device, you can download and install Jabber using the Cisco Jabber guides. Further information about how to use Jabber to make calls, including a video demonstrating how it works, is available in the Cisco Jabber self-help guides.
- Cisco Jabber for chat conversations – you can also use Cisco Jabber as an instant messaging service. So, if the person you want to contact is online, they’ll get your message immediately. The chat function is good for asking quick questions and having informal chats.
Meetings and classes
If you want to have a conversation with someone, Zoom is going to be your best tool. It works much like a Skype or Messenger video call. Zoom uses the camera and microphone in your laptop or mobile device and allows multiple participants to communicate. You can also share your screen and give presentations, just like you would in a real meeting. You can turn video off, but seeing each other while you talk is a great way to stay connected when you're off-site.
Zoom can be accessed on your mobile phone, your tablet or your laptop. If you have already downloaded Zoom on your work laptop, you can click to open the app; otherwise you can log into the online Zoom version using your University email and password. You can join a Zoom meeting with just audio, or audio and video.
ITDS has created some guides to get you started with Zoom.
Learn more about Zoom web conferencing.
Accessing your files saved in the network drives (such as s:/ and u:/)
Here are some different ways to access your files and work from home:
ADAPT mimics your work desktop, so that you can open all of the software and files on your work computer as you usually would. However, accessing files may seem slow.
You can access the network drives through the Virtual Private Network (VPN).
If you need to access your information through VPN, we ask that you are mindful that there are limited licenses for staff use at one time. Please ensure you log out whenever you are not actively using it.
Box is the approved online cloud storage platform for our University documentation. You can easily save, access and edit Microsoft Office documents through Box. Work teams may decide to transfer their working documents from a network drive (eg S: or R:) to Box to support cloud based working.
- You can learn more about Box in the Storage Options page
- Log into Box with your University user name and password
If you are new to Box, open the ‘Getting Started with Box’ folder after you log in, and work through the guides and videos.
While using the online version of Box we recommend you also ‘Install Box Tools’. The easiest way to find Box Tools is to start to open a Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint document, then when clicking on ‘open’ (in the top right corner) click to ‘Install Box Tools’.
For files that are not part of the Microsoft Office suite: Box will store them, but you will need to have the relevant software on the computer you are trying to access them from.
In Box, there is a file size limit of 32GB, but an unlimited storage amount.
Watch this 5-minute video with some top tips to getting started with Box.
Remember - our University storage options are only provided for University-related study and work.
If you are using a University computer, the chances are that you already have the Office products. If you need to use your personal computer but don’t have the software installed yourself, you can access Office 365.
This is where you’ll find about how to download Microsoft Office 365 on your personal computer.
If you need to work on your own personal computer, there is some software provided for staff. You can find out about the available software on the software for staff – personally owned page. Some of the software is free, some is available at a reduced cost under our University agreement.
Work phonecalls and call forwarding
If you’re working offsite, you don’t have to miss calls to your work number: you can have them forwarded to an external number. If you are at work (or have a colleague able to assist), you can use your desktop phone handset to forward calls to an external number, or you can do this using the Self Care Portal. You can find the guides for both options here (see page 2).
You can also use the Self Care Portal remotely to set call forwarding for your work phone number, but you will need to be connected to the University VPN to do this. Some university staff are on PABX phone systems and will not be able to do this remotely, so if you are able to do it on your handset onsite (or have an onsite colleague do it for you), this is recommended. If you need to have calls forwarded, and have not been able to do this onsite or remotely, contact the Service Desk; however, this may take a while due to the current number of calls and requests we are receiving.
In addition, you may be able to make and receive phone calls using Jabber. All University staff should be able to access Jabber Chat for messaging (as opposed to phonecalls). If your Jabber account is also enabled for phonecalls (some are), you can use Jabber to make and receive calls on your computer, iPhone, iPad or android phone, if you have installed Jabber on the device. You can also chat and connect with colleagues via Zoom (see ‘Communicating with Colleagues’ above).
An important note on system demand
It’s a busy time! With more people working from home, or working differently, the ITDS Service Desk are fielding a high volume of calls.
Also, as more people from the University (and elsewhere) start working from home, there will be increased demand on IT infrastructure that is beyond our control (eg NBN, home internet connections etc) and some congestion issues, or slowness at times.
You can help with this, by being proactive in making things available offline, using Box (and Box drive) for file sharing, and only using the VPN for things that require it. That will help ensure easier access for all when needed!
Internet at home
Internet access is quite important to much of our work, and this includes working at home. There are a few different options for internet use when you are working at home. Read on for the technology options for staff working from home - in preferred order!
Use your home broadband internet
If your data allowance is not high enough to accommodate your work at home, check with your home internet provider as many now offer additional data or unlimited data for free. If, however, you still do not have enough data allowance, Increase your data plan with your provider.
For staff who do not have home broadband
If you have a work-supplied mobile phone you can use your phone's internet connection for your work at home, via activating the 'personal hotspot' function on your phone, and connecting your computer to it, as you would with wi-fi.
For staff who do not have home broadband or a work-supplied mobile
If you do not have home broadband or a work-supplied mobile phone, you can hotspot to your personal mobile phone. If you do not have a sufficient data allowance on your personal phone for this, check with your mobile phone provider as many now offer additional data or unlimited data for free. If your data allowance is still not sufficient, increase your data plans with your provider.
Do be careful to ensure that you do not exceed your personal mobile plan's data limits to avoid excessive charges.
Another option (if the above options are not viable)
You can also order a wi-fi hotspot from Optus via the web form and it can be delivered to your supplied address. The hotspot device is $300 and can be charged to a University cost centre, with an ongoing data plan for $18.18 per month with 2GB data capacity. If using this option, for any assistance regarding setup of the device please contact the ITDS Service Desk: there are no home visits for setup. Another option is to purchase a prepaid hotspot from a retail provider. If you are considering this option, please check with your manager before purchasing.
If you may incur additional personal costs for your internet access while undertaking work remotely, refer to the University's Guide on Reimbursement of mobile/internet charges, which provides step-by-step instructions for reimbursement of mobile and internet charges.