Remote / hybrid / home working for UAS and GLAM staff

The guidance here is written for UAS and GLAM staff. It will mostly be relevant for staff in other parts of the University as well, but do check with your local IT provider.

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If you work remotely or from home on a regular basis then you should ensure that you have a space that is large enough and private, a suitable work surface and chair, adequate and adjustable lighting, and is free from noise and other distraction. You will also need a safe provision of power sockets, and a broadband internet connection.

Recommended PC set up

We recommend that you use a managed staff PC or managed Mac for all University work. The table below shows a number of configurations that are available. Your department should purchase the equipment required for your primary place of work. This list is a guide, and local arrangements may include variations of these options.

  Office Remote Notes  
On-site A desktop or laptop (to suit the needs of your role) with an external screen, webcam and headset Not required A laptop may suit staff in roles that work in different locations through the day. Consider a separate keyboard and mouse  
Occasional remote A desktop or laptop (to suit the needs of your role) with an external screen, webcam and headset A pool laptop from your department, or use the remote desktop service from a secure personal computer at home Using a pool laptop without an external screen is only suitable for occasional periods of remote working. Consider the regular remote options if this becomes a frequent arrangement  
Regular remote (1) A hotdesk with webcam and headset A desktop, screen, webcam and headset configured for working at home Primary place of work is remote / home. When working on-site a hotdesk arrangement is used. Department-supplied desktop and screen must not be used for personal purposes or shared with other household members  
Regular remote (2) A laptop plugged into a hotdesk dock with external screen, webcam and headset The same laptop plugged into a dock with external screen, webcam and headset Primary place of work can be remote / home or the office. Department should normally purchase the dock and screen, however these must not be used for personal purposes or shared with other household members  
Mainly remote Same as for regular remote   Same as for regular remote Same as for regular remote

Alternative PC set up

We strongly advise against using your own equipment regularly for work purposes due to the security and privacy requirements that you become responsible for. Domestic-grade equipment may lack hardware features/functions, software features/functions and supplier support that provide important security assurances in business-grade equipment. If there are imperative reasons for doing this then you should:

  1. Ensure that your device supports drive encryption and has this enabled
  2. Only use your device while it is manufacturer-supported (this typically means within the warranty period, which may only be 1 year unless you purchased an extended warranty)
  3. Configure your device and manage it effectively in accordance with Information Security guidance to protect your PC
  4. Connect to the remote desktop service to work - do not download or process University work directly on your personal device

Purchasing advice

UAS and GLAM departments should purchase from our list of available PC hardware. The page includes current desktop, laptop and screen models, plus recommendations for webcams, headsets and other peripherals.

Departments elsewhere in the University will generally have local purchasing standards, either based on the same standard configurations or options from other suppliers - please consult your local IT team for guidance.

If you are seeking advice on purchasing IT equipment for personal use then we recommend using a well-reputed advisory service such as Which!, or speak to a sales advisor at your local IT outlet. Your purchase should meet your personal / home IT needs. Your department should provide you with separate equipment if required for remote / home working. A key exception is where you have a suitable external screen that you have purchased yourself, in which case it is normally OK to connect your department-supplied laptop or desktop to it. You may need to purchase a specific cable or convertor to do this: check your screen's manual to find the supported connections (usually one or both of HDMI or DisplayPort), then contact IT support with this and the asset number of your PC for advice.

Most University, department and college IT services can be accessed remotely. We always recommend using the Oxford VPN when connecting for work purposes, but for some services this is a requirement.

Read our guidance on how to access key services remotely, and on choosing appropriate IT tools for specific tasks (PDF version).

We also have some service-specific guides around remote working:

Multifactor authentication

To ensure that you can login from different locations we strongly recommend that you configure MFA to use an authenticator app. This works reliably when you're away from the office, even if there is no mobile reception or your phone can't get onto WiFi.

Alternative email address

We recommend that you save an alternative email address with us, so that we can contact you if there is a problem with your Oxford email account, single sign-on or multifactor authentication. This should be a non-Oxford address, and can save you a lot of time and trouble if you need help to recover your account.

Teams and online meetings

It's likely that you will be participating in online meetings for work, even when you're on-site.

We strongly recommend the use of a headset, even in private offices, to reduce noise for colleagues working nearby. Confidential meetings should be attended from a private location, even when a headset is used.

We also recommend using a webcam so that colleagues can see you as well as hear you. This promotes effective communication by including your body language, and enables lip reading to support listening.

You are responsible for security and privacy when using University systems and data. When you are working remotely you need to think carefully about the location (and who you are sharing that location with), internet connection and any non-University IT equipment affect your ability to maintain security and privacy.

Our key recommendations are:

  • Use a University-provided and managed computer for all University work
  • Install and use Oxford VPN
  • Do not download University data to personal computers or print it out at home

If you need to use a computer that is not managed by the University then remember that you are entirely responsible for its security. Please ensure that you read and apply the following Information Security guidance:

 

Training

Our IT Learning Centre has put together a series of videos and other resources to help you get started with remote working. These cover key topics in Nexus365 (including Teams and OneDrive) and wider topics such as "Being Productive":

Support

Your remote working setup may be supported by several different organizations:

  • For support with your home broadband and/or WiFi please contact your internet service provider
  • For support with laptops, desktops, tablets, screens and other equipment that you have purchased, please contact the retailer you purchased these from
  • For support with your centrally managed PC or managed Mac please contact us, but keep in mind that our ability to support you at a remote location may be reduced, and we may need you to bring your device on-site
  • For all other support matters please contact IT support as usual