Technology for working remotely

Last updated: July 18, 2024

Faculty, staff, and students can prepare for the possibility of disruptions to class, research and campus operations by becoming familiar with the technology tools that make it possible to work, study and teach when you can’t get to campus.

This guide highlights many tools that can help you teach, learn, and work remotely.

Meet virtually with video, voice, and chat

Web-based video conferencing and online chat platforms are available for you to connect with your students and colleagues.

Voice and video conferencing

UW Zoom Pro videoconferencing:

  • Online classes, webinars, lectures. Host live web broadcasts to students or colleagues worldwide and record to the cloud or computer. UW Zoom Pro provides meetings of unlimited time duration for up to 300 participants.
  • Office hours, study groups, meetings, collaboration: Share screens, give Powerpoint presentations or have real-time video conversations for office hours, study groups or collaboration.
  • Mobile Zoom: Use the Zoom app for iPhone, iPad, or Android for chat and video conference on the go .
  • Phone conference line: Use the phone conference line — included with your Zoom account — so participants can join meetings by phone.
  • FERPA/HIPAA: UW Zoom is aligned with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects the privacy of student educational records and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), a federal law that protects the privacy of medical information.
  • Learn how to use it: Instructions on how to use UW Zoom are available on IT Connect, and Zoom provides additional documentation. If you’re an instructor, join a workshop or Zoom Office Hours to learn more.

Microsoft Teams:

  • Part of UW Office 365, Teams offers chat-based workspace for real-time collaboration, communication, meetings, file and app sharing; FERPA and HIPAA aligned.

Teach classes online

This technology toolkit can help instructors prepare for a possible disruption to classes with recommendations on what to do in advance, how to conduct classes remotely and how to organize your course materials and communicate with students.

Connect remotely to your files, computer or other resources on the UW network

If you are working from home, you should use an approved, secure virtual private network (VPN) to connect to your files, work computer or systems and other resources on the UW network. A VPN is an application on your device that establishes a secure connection to a network.

  • Husky OnNet: Free to current students, faculty and staff, download Husky OnNet from UWare to use on MacOS, Windows and Linux. You can also get Husky OnNet for mobile devices, including iOS, Android and Chrome, by downloading the F5 Access client from the appropriate app store.
  • Departmental VPN: Your department may also provide an approved VPN, so check with your department’s IT staff.
  • UW Medicine VPN: UW Medicine employees should use the UW Medicine IT Services SSL VPN.

A VPN is not needed for web-based UW resources and services, such as Workday, web pages, Canvas, UW Google and UW Office 365.

Get more information about remotely connecting to the UW network.

Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop access allows you to access your work computer from your home computer. Your computer software and files are all available, and you can even transfer files between UW systems. In many cases, you’ll need to be connected to the UW Network via VPN (Husky OnNet, department or UW Medicine VPN) before you can access your work computer through Remote Desktop. Your work computer must be on in order to access it via Remote Desktop.

Computers must be turned on and not asleep in order to connect to them with a Remote Desktop connection. If you are unable to connect to your work computer remotely, it’s possible that your computer is no longer turned on or is asleep. Many computers have default power settings that will turn them off or put them to sleep after a certain amount of time has passed. If you need help accessing your work computer or for your work computer to be turned back on, please contact your local IT department. If your work computer is managed by UW-IT’s Managed Workstation service, send an email to

Remotely access files on shared drives

Store important documents on a shared file service that you can access from remote locations. Once connected to the UW network via a VPN, you should be able to connect to shared drives remotely. Contact your local IT department for instructions on how to connect to your shared drives.

Store your files online to easily access them remotely

Keep your files in the cloud so that you can access them from remote locations with an internet connection. If you are working with FERPA- or HIPAA-protected data, choose an option that aligns with these regulations.

Collaborate with others using online productivity platforms

Collaboration platforms empower you to work with peers from different locations, and since your work is stored in the cloud you can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

Both UW Google and UW Office 365 are web-based and accessible via the internet. They offer online word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, storage and more.

Access your voicemail remotely and forward your phone calls

You can access voicemail from home and use the free Extension Connect feature to extend UW telephone service to a cellular or home telephone number.

Forward your calls to your cell or home number using Call Forwarding. You can also access your voicemail online or have it forwarded to you via email.

You can also send both faxes and text messages from your web browser using UW-IT’s eFax Service and Text Messaging Service.

Download software to your personal computer

Many software programs you use at work can also be downloaded to your personal computer too. Software at reduced or no cost is available in UWare.

Certain products and/or versions are licensed for UW-owned equipment, so check the eligibility requirements or send email to if you are unsure.

Two-factor authentication

If you need access to UW systems that require two-factor authentication (2FA) to verify it’s you when you sign in, be sure to enroll the device you’ll use to access remotely. Check with your local IT support staff for information about remotely connecting to the specific systems your department uses.

More information on working remotely and preparedness

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