MiWorkspace Update: Preparing for a public health-informed fall semester



The Maize and Blueprint has now given us an idea of what a public health informed fall semester may look like on campus. It’s clear that MiWorkspace will be called upon to support both faculty and staff that will be working onsite, as well as a sizable population that will continue to work from home. What’s also clear is that social distancing and prioritizing a safe environment for everyone will alter existing norms around how some of that support is provided.

The way MiWorkspace provides deskside visits, event support, and classroom assistance will all require modification to reflect the reality of the world in which we live. I’ve outlined some of what we know today below, however, I do expect our plans will continue to evolve as dictated by the pandemic and additions to the Maize and Blueprint.

MiWorkspace will make data informed, safety conscious decisions to meet the support needs of those returning to campus now, those that will be present in the fall, and those that remain working from home. My expectation is that we will continue to deliver outstanding service to all our constituents with a focus on utilizing remote tools and self service options to fulfill as many requests as possible.

Please contact me directly at [email protected] if you have questions about this update. Please remain healthy and safe.

Thank you,

Reid Paxton
Director of End User Services
U-M Information and Technology Services

MiWorkspace remote support

MiWorkspace has dedicated Neighborhood IT staff working as part of the ITS Service Center that are fielding phone calls and responding to email and chat requests from MiWorkspace customers. A majority of break fix, how-to, and other service requests can be completed without a face-to-face interaction. While our Neighborhood IT staff misses the opportunity to catch up with our unit friends via in-person connection, social distancing and campus density requirements dictate remote assistance to be the first line of help for all customers.

Onsite deskside support

If an issue cannot be resolved remotely, Neighborhood IT staff will dispatch to campus locations to assist customers in need. All MiWorkspace staff will follow all safety and social distancing guidelines outlined in the Maize and Blueprint when interacting with customers. This includes wearing face coverings/masks and gloves when assisting customers with their devices. We ask that all customers observe all U-M guidance for safety and social distancing, including wearing a face covering.

Walk-up support

Most Neighborhood IT offices have traditionally accommodated walk-in customers seeking assistance. Because the realities of social distancing and campus density will impact the number of onsite Neighborhood IT staff, we are discouraging walk-up assistance. Staff in some offices may rotate, and we will staff dispatch from alternate locations when needed. Some NIT staff will continue to work off-campus and provide assistance with remote tools. As such, customers are strongly encouraged to call, email, or chat with the ITS Service Center for the fastest and safest support interaction.

Event support

MiWorkspace is extending its event support options to include virtual events. Neighborhood IT staff will be available to assist an event host with a variety of pre-event support tasks to ensure a Zoom-based event goes off without issue. Learn more about MiWorkspace event support.

Classroom support

In units where MiWorkspace provides primary or backup classroom support via an SLE addendum, we will work specifically with those units to refine response expectations given we may be required to dispatch staff from remote locations to meet social distancing and campus density requirements.

Hardware purchases and device refreshes

MiWorkspace will continue the successful @home initiative that enables a MiWorkspace customer to receive a new PC or Mac shipped directly to their home. They simply unbox, go through a brief on-screen setup to connect to their home WiFi, and configure their account. The computer will then download their U-M software and unit specific configuration. MiWorkspace plans to adapt this process for use with on-campus deliveries as well to reduce the need for physical interactions with customers during the pandemic.

Hardware loaners and repairs

During the early months of the pandemic, the MiWorkspace loaner pool was critical to Neighborhood IT's ability to provide desktop support while following public health and social distancing guidelines. To supplement this capitibily, we are procuring a small set of additional loaner laptops to use as short-term loan devices. These devices will be available to faculty and staff members who have devices that need physical repair. Additionally, we will be working closely with ITS Tech Repair as their service resumes to address hardware repairs as efficiently as possible.