Working and teaching remotely

Alexander Butler, Training and Development ManagerWatch the latest ITS guidance.

As most staff are now working from home, we want to ensure that you have access to all of the tools, channels and software you need to continue teaching and working. IT Services and the Technology Enhanced Learning team (TEL) are currently focused on supporting staff to work remotely. 

Practical tips for improving your broadband speed 

Ofcom has provided a list of tips – such as connecting to your router using a cable instead of relying on wi-fi. 

Getting to grips with teaching online 

New Canvas site 

TEL have worked with the  Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Kelly Coate, and colleagues across Sussex to create a new Canvas site – Maximise your Learning Online – with guidance on how to study online. Staff and students can self-enrol now. Please also take a look at the Teaching Online, Learning Anywhere site for guidance on moving to online teaching – this will continue to be updated with new material. 

How to access your files 

Cloud-based file systems are the replacement for our older University file systems (N, G and T drives). You should think of OneDrive as the replacement for the old N drive and Box as the replacement for the G and T drives. New guidance shows you how to move files to the cloud and work with these new systems. 

How to call, chat and facilitate meetings  

Chat and call via Skype for Business 

The main communications tool for University staff working remotely is Skype for Business. It comes as part of Microsoft365, which we recommend you download and install for free. Skype for Business is not suitable for teaching.  

Recreate your office with Microsoft Teams 

Microsoft Teams has been widely adopted by departments and teams across the University. It is ideal for working collaboratively, sharing files and having video calls between staff. Microsoft Teams is not widely available to students and is not suitable for teaching. 

Teach via Zoom  

Zoom is a cloud-based service you can use to meet virtually with students and staff – either by video or audio-only, or both. You can do this while conducting live chats and record the sessions to view later. 

You may have already set up your own personal Zoom account before now. While you’re free to continue using that account, the University’s institutional account offers some real advantages – meetings can be longer than the standard 40 minutes and up to 300 people can be included at a time. Please see the TEL site for additional guidance  and read the latest advice about keeping Zoom secure . 

How to access the programmes you use the most, with Microsoft 365 

You can install Microsoft Office (including Outlook, Skype for Business, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Publisher) on personally owned computers and mobile devices at no cost, and access 1TB of free storage via OneDrive. 

Software you can install at home 

Over 100 different software titles can be installed on personally owned computers, including Adobe Creative Cloud and MindView.  

How to seek help  

For queries about working remotely, please firstly refer to the information at the top of the ITS homepageIf you don’t find what you need, please contact the IT Service Desk for support by logging a support ticket online or calling 01273 678090. 

For queries about teaching remotely, please email tel@sussex.ac.uk 

As you can imagine, TEL and the IT Service Desk are handling a much higher volume of enquiries than usual, and they will respond as quickly as possible. 

 

Working from home

My line manager has confirmed I am not in an essential role and will therefore be working from home until January 2021 and I do not have suitable equipment, what can I do?

If you are concerned that your remote working environment is not safe or adequate for any reason, you need to highlight this to your line manager immediately.

If your concerns are linked to your IT equipment, i.e. laptops, then your manager can make an assessment of your needs and make a request to IT for equipment to be considered. Smaller, one-off, peripherals listed below can be purchased using a University purchasing card (through Amazon Business) if necessary, by HoS or DoPS. If you require any further guidance please contact the ITS Service Desk.

Item

Max guide price

Spec/considerations

Headsets (USB)

£30

 

Webcam (HD)

£40

webcam should at least be HD

Keyboard (wired or wireless)

£20

Check connections

Mouse (wired or wireless)

£15

Check connections

Mouse mat

£10

 

Wrist support

£15

 

Cables

£15

check your connections to ensure

 

If your concerns are linked to your furniture (desk and chair) then there are a few options available to you. You could consider returning to work on campus, as we will be able to provide a suitable work station for you, meeting all H&S requirements. This workstation may not be in your normal area of work, but we will do our very best to find a suitable place of work for you temporarily.

I am struggling with my remote working arrangements, but am in a high risk category and cannot return to campus at this time, what can I do?

If you are concerned that your remote working environment is not safe or adequate for any reason, you need to highlight this to your line manager immediately. Your line manager may already be aware that you are in a high risk category and are unable to return to campus at this time, but if they are not aware then, as long as you feel comfortable, this would be a good time to have that conversation.

Your line manager can recommend a referral to Occupational Health and they can then assess your needs and make recommendations. Occupational Health can also do home visits to assess your needs and remote set up in person, where safe to do so.

If I am being told to work from home, will I be supplied with the appropriate equipment?

The University has made a significant volume of equipment available to staff. If you haven't already done so, it is important you identify what you think you need to your line manager as soon as possible. IT are giving regular updates and posting information on the ITS webpages.  

How will the University ensure I have a safe environment working from home?

Please refer to the Health and Safety webpages.  

Further support, guidance and resources can be found for DSE workstation assessments and on the wellbeing pages.

We do not want to put any of our staff at risk, so please have discussions with your line manager about working from home, what equipment you require and taking care of your wellbeing, e.g. taking breaks.

Do I need to keep in contact with anyone?

Line managers are being asked to ensure they keep in touch regularly to check that people are well and able to work. 

Please remember to let your line manager know if you are diagnosed with Coronavirus or show symptoms, so that we can all take care of one another.

If your circumstances change significantly, please speak with your line manager.

I am due to start a new job with the University in the coming weeks. Will I be able to?

We aim to honour existing job offers. Please contact the person who would be your line manager to discuss both the recruitment process and any possible start date, right-to-work checks and home-working arrangements.

As a member of staff, who should I contact about visa and immigration concerns?

If you are a member of staff and you have visa or immigration concerns, please contact our UKVI team at: InternationalHR@sussex.ac.uk

Can I be reimbursed for the costs of working from home, e.g. additional heating costs?

Where you have been asked to work at home (i.e. the University has requested you do so), you may be able to claim tax relief on some of the additional costs you’re incurring.