Human Resources is providing these guidelines to assist employees in the transition to working from home.
Regardless of work location, all employees must make every attempt to maintain the highest level of quality, customer service, responsiveness, operational effectiveness, and performance standards. Employees working off-site should aim to be as responsive as they would be if they were physically in the office.
New: Managing Remotely
Find tips and resources for managing employees and teams when the members are working remotely.
Basic Applications for Working from Home
Be sure that you have the following minimum software for secure remote work and communication:
- DUO (for two-factor authentication);
- VPN (to connect securely from home);
- Zoom (for virtual meetings); and
- BroadSoft (to access your work phone number through an app).
If you must use a computer that was not assigned by the Institute, please ensure you are using two-factor authentication (DUO) and accessing materials through the VPN.
Zoom or WebEx?
Zoom is recommended over WebEx in most cases, since research by MIT Accessibility and Usability has found that Zoom is more accessible to users with disabilities. You may try both and see which works better for your situation.
Zoom enables video and audio conferencing, collaboration, chat, and webinars across mobile devices, desktops, telephones, and room systems. Zoom users may hold a virtual webinar or meeting and share files or use screen sharing to show presentations, applications, or other web sites.
IS&T has secured an enterprise license for Zoom. It is available to all MIT faculty, students, staff and also to affiliates engaged in or supporting MIT’s teaching and learning activities. Hosts can restrict meeting access using Touchstone.
The license MIT has acquired for Zoom provides faculty and staff the ability to conduct online meetings of up to 500 participants and other members of the MIT community the ability to conduct online meetings of up to 300 participants.
Resources and support
MIT’s Instructional Continuity website has a section on using Zoom. It includes tips on using Zoom to teach; troubleshooting tips; accessibility suggestions; and Zoom support and tutorials. Other online resources include Zoom’s Getting Started page, the MIT Sloan Guide to Teaching Virtually with Zoom and Canvas!, and the Zoom Landing Page in the Knowledge Base.
IS&T offers 24x7 community support for Zoom. MIT community members who have questions or need assistance using Zoom can contact the IS&T Service Desk.
Recommended for Teamwork
- Employees are responsible for having the necessary peripheral equipment to work off-site, such as internet access and a reliable phone.
- Those working remotely must be responsive and accessible to colleagues. Create specific norms for responding to email and voicemail.
- Office phones must be forwarded to the individual’s cell or home phone, for example using BroadSoft. In addition to forwarding "live" phone calls, voicemail messages can also be forwarded through email.
- Take the time to do an online training for new software. It will save you time and aggravation!
- Email, chat, and/or phone should be used to communicate unexpected or occasional changes to regular work schedule or status with coworkers.
- Consider using your out of office email message to indicate your hours, away times, or times when you might be slower to reply to emails.
- Consider changing your outgoing voicemail message to indicate your hours, away times, or times when you might be slower to return calls.
Data Security and Compliance
- Adhere to DLC guidelines for accessing information securely.
- Use the VPN to access MIT systems when working off-site for secure access to shared files.
- Never send confidential or sensitive information via email.
- Store confidential data on network drives, not your computer.
- Never carry hard copies or portable media (CDs, flash drives, discs, etc.) containing confidential information between locations.
- Shred all confidential material printed at home.
- Adhere to data security policies to protect confidential or sensitive information.
- Practice using Zoom before you need it.
- Meeting organizers should consider starting the meeting 15 minutes early to give folks a little extra time to connect.
- It’s helpful to have one person leading the meeting agenda, and another person leading the meeting technology (questions in the queue, muting/unmuting, etc.).
- Links to meeting documents such as the agenda and working documents should be included in the meeting invitation for easy access by all participants.
- Be thoughtful about meeting participation and make it clear to people when they do, or do not need to attend.
- Make sure everyone in the meeting is muted unless they are speaking!
- Be aware of your background – meeting attendees can see what's behind you.
- Avoid sitting in front of a direct light source like a window, as that puts you in silhouette.