For more information related to working from home including webinar training and to connect with other people dealing with this new way of working, have a look at the new Working from Home moodle course.
Test everything in advance
If you're planning to work from home, we advise you to test that remote access is working in advance. If you have a University laptop it's best practice to take it home with you at the end of each working day.
A computer – use either your personal computer or your University laptop if you have one. If you don't have access to a computer please speak to your departmental or section administrator.
Internet access - preferably broadband. Alternatively you can use your own mobile phone as a wifi hotspot and connect your computer to it. See instructions for iPhone/iPad, Android or Windows Phone.
A webcam and headset for using Zoom. See our Zoom webpage for how to obtain these. You can use Zoom to make calls to not only Essex staff and students but anyone with an email address.
If Zoom is not appropriate for calling, you can request a telephone from IT purchasing.
If you don’t have access to the necessary equipment to work from home we have a very limited stock of equipment that can be loaned from the University. This includes:
Laptop or desktop computers
Please speak to your Head of Section or Department to make an application for equipment. All applications follow a prioritised approval process – we cannot guarantee to fulfil every request. If approved, a member of ITS staff will contact you to arrange a collection or delivery.
Email and shared mailboxes
You don’t need VPN to access email.
Sign in to Webmail for quick and easy access to your email using a web browser. You don’t need to set anything up and it also works great on smart phones and tablets.
Zoom is the University’s supported tool for online meetings and video conferencing. You can use Zoom for virtual meetings, instant messaging, webinars and screen sharing. The IT Helpdesk may also use Zoom to provide you with remote assistance.
Recording meetings - if you plan on recording your Zoom meeting it's best practice to inform all participants at the start of the meeting that it's being recorded. Zoom will display an icon to indicate the meeting is being recorded.
Data saving tip - turn video off and use audio only as this uses less data. This may be helpful if you're on a limited downloads broadband package or using mobile data.
If you need to access software that is only available on your work computer then you will need to use Remote Desktop.
VPN and Remote Desktop
Not all staff need VPN (Virtual Private Network) access to work from home. In fact most of our services are available off campus without VPN access. You should only use VPN if you need to.
Remote Desktop gives you access to everything on your work computer as if you were at your desk on campus. Remember to leave your University computer on campus switched on if you plan on using Remote Desktop - you may not be able to connect to it if it's switched off.
To remotely connect to your work computer on campus
If you don't have a work computer on campus to connect to, for example if you have a work laptop
If you're connecting to the University's VPN service, it's important that the computer you're using is running a supported operating system and has antivirus software. Most operating systems now come with antivirus as standard, for example Windows 10.
This is because when you use VPN you are connecting your device directly to our network, and if your device isn’t fully protected against cyberattacks then it makes our network vulnerable.
We consider the following operating systems to be supported:
Windows 10 (1809 or higher)
macOS High Sierra (10.13) or above
iOS 12.4.5, on newer devices iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1
Android version 8 or above (Orea, Pie and Q all covered)
Chromebooks under 6.5 years old
If you're not running a supported operating system please contact the IT Helpdesk for advice on what to do.