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Working from home

Last updated on 25 March 2020

Note about hyperlinks to the IT Support Portal/Knowledge Base: If you get an error message when selecting a link to an article or form in the list below, ensure you are signed into the IT Support Portal and then try the link again.

What options are available for connecting to University services from home?

There are two options for connecting remotely:

1. Using the GlobalProtect Virtual Private Network (VPN)
2. Via Remote Desktop connection.

If you only need to access your University email or personal network storage (P: drive), you can do this via the web:

Do I need to set up working from home if I have a University managed laptop?

No. If you have a University-managed laptop you are most likely already setup to work remotely using the GlobalProtect VPN an 2-factor authentication from Duo, and shouldn’t need to do anything more.

How do I set up working from home using the GlobalProtect VPN?

Most University services can be accessed via the web using the GlobalProtect VPN and 2-factor authentication from Duo. You’d need to ensure that your work is stored on a University network drive such as a ‘P:Drive’ to be able to access it. If you already have the Microsoft Office suite installed on your personal computer, then this may be the best option for you.

You will need to: 

Detailed information is available in our extensive “Working remotely at The University of Manchester” downloadable guide:

How do I set up working from home via Remote Desktop connection?

Once set up you can use your personal computer to connect to your University-managed computer and have access to all of your programs, files and network resources as though you were accessing your University computer in person. We have streamlined the setup process so that in most cases you do not need to call the IT Support Centre but can instead self-serve using the Software Centre and WakeIT service on your University computer.

While on campus, you will need to:

  • Go to the Software Centre and install the Remote Access Setup application. This will set up your University-managed computer so that you can access it remotely
  • Register your University-managed computer on the WakeIT service
  • Reboot your University-managed computer and ensure that it is kept switched on before you leave (sleep mode is okay)

When working remotely, you will need to:

Detailed information is available in our extensive “Working remotely at The University of Manchester” downloadable guide:

What tools are available for communication and collaboration?

IT Services support the use of email, Skype for Business (Lync if you are on Windows 7), and SharePoint for internal collaboration. BT conferencing is available for voice calls if you need to involve people external to the University. Note that there are charges to the University for using the BT conferencing service, and setup instructions are available in the Working Remotely Guide. Media Services have also extended their licence for the Zoom video conferencing tool so that all staff can use it.

How do I get set up for Skype for Business?

Skype for Business is already installed and setup on most University managed computers – you can use it to make video and audio calls, and exchange chat messages with other members of staff and postgraduate research students.

Skype for Business is only available on a personal computer if you are connected to your University computer via remote desktop connection.

There’s more information about Skype for Business in the Working Remotely Guide, or in the Skype for Business Knowledge Base article.

Can I use Zoom or PowWowNow for conference calling?

Zoom is a video conferencing tool that can be used if one of the above are not suitable. Media Services in The Directorate of Estates & Facilities have extended their existing educational license used for the central Video Conferencing service. Now every member of staff at the University has access to a professional license with Zoom. This gives the ability to host meetings of unlimited length and of up to 300 participants at a time. Visit Media Services' Zoom information page.

The PowWowNow conference calling tool is not a supported or free service and we recommend you do not use it. As a premium phone service, the user is personally billed for any charges.

Can I get Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams, part of Office 365, is not yet a fully supported service. New users or new Teams cannot be added at this time and any requests to do so will not be progressed. If you’ve already got it as an Early Adopter you can continue to use it but keep in mind that only a limited number of staff have it. Teams is only used for internal collaboration within the University.

Can I get a laptop?

Due to the evolving situation, we are currently not able to process any new requests for laptops. As part of their contingency planning, Faculties and Professional Services have started a process to identify any critical roles that require a laptop device where this is not yet available and will plan to fulfil those requirements where possible.

Can I take my desktop computer home?

No. You must not take your University-owned desktop computer home. It is not supported and will not work. You can, however, take your monitor, mouse or keyboard with you, if it is safe to do so.

I need help setting up my computer at home – who can I contact?

Please refer to the Working Remotely Guide in the first instance, but if you cannot find an answer to your question there, then contact our IT Support Centre either online through the IT Support Portal or via telephone on +44 (0) 161 306 5544. 

Can I buy equipment to enable me to work from home and claim for these items through expenses?

No, the University’s expenses policy does not cover the purchase of items such as screens, laptops, desks and chairs. It is important to note that staff making purchases like these will not be reimbursed. If you are concerned that you don’t have the appropriate equipment to enable you to work from home from either a health and safety or occupational health perspective, please contact your line manager in the first instance.

Only essential services and supplies are to be purchased until further notice. From Friday, 20 March iProcurement will be available only for orders related to ensuring essential services remain operational. These will need to be pre-approved by a Senior Leadership Team (SLT) member or their immediate delegate or will not be converted into a Purchase Order (PO) or issued to the supplier.

For legal reasons, there are almost no circumstances under which goods may be delivered to a personal address. Do not arrange this yourself and do not ask for an exception unless the relevant member of SLT has pre-approved a case for so doing. Please forward the SLT member email approval with the request.