Getting Started with Working Remotely

See more remote resources for connecting from home.

Prepare to work from home

  • Prepare your location: Whether you plan to use a university computer or a personal computer, test connecting to the resources you need at home in advance.
    • Take steps to secure your personal devices and home wireless network.
    • Consider the equipment that you need, such as extra displays, docking station, mouse, keyboard, and any ergonomic needs. Contact your local unit administrator or IT staff to discuss hardware that you may need at home.
    • Tech Shop provides complimentary direct shipping of work-from-home tools for both personal and departmental purchases. Individuals can purchase with student account billing or payroll deduction; departments can pay by Shortcode. All online orders can be shipped anywhere in the US, including residential and on-campus addresses.
  • Reliable internet connection: We recommend at least 15 mbps download and 5 mbps upload to prevent common connectivity-related issues, and that you connect via a physical wire. See how to test your network speed.

    Individuals without a reliable internet connection have a number of free or low-cost options:

    • MWireless is available in the Diag and the North Campus Grove. Limited WiFi coverage is available north of the bus stop in parking lot NC90 off Baxter Road, and in the parking lot north of the Walgreen Center. See the WiFi coverage map for all university WiFi locations.
    • Check with your local internet providers for discounts. Many are providing free services to qualifying households for a limited time. For example, Comcast is offering its Internet Essentials package free for two months to low-income households, and Charter Communications is offering free access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students.
    • See additional resources for Michigan families to get internet during the coronavirus crisis compiled by Bridge Michigan.
  • Set a preferred contact method: Update your MCommunity profile Notice to let classmates and colleagues know how to reach you while you work remotely. Edit the Viewable By menu to choose who can see the information.
  • Review two-factor authentication preferences: Update your Duo settings to accommodate working remotely. For example, if you currently opt to use a landline phone, you may wish to add a mobile phone number as an option.
  • Determine if you need the U-M Virtual Private Network (VPN): Use the UMVPN to connect to university resources that require a university network when you are off-campus. Learn how to set up and use the VPN on personal devices and unit-managed university devices or how to use the pre-configured VPN on MiWorkspace Macs. (MiWorkspace Windows computers do not need to use VPN when off campus.)

    Unless necessary, please use the UMVPN - Only U-M Traffic option, or UMICH VPN (tunnel only U-M activity) on a MiWorkspace Mac when working from home.

Use university-provided online tools

  • Learn about videoconferencing options: Choose from three videoconferencing services to stay in touch. Each offers different features for connecting and collaborating with individuals and teams remotely. For more information, see the Videoconferencing Tool Comparison chart, best practices for videoconferencing, and learn about videoconferencing privacy.
    • Zoom: Get started with Zoom, now available to all students, faculty, and staff. Zoom is a feature-rich and accessible videoconferencing service that includes options for online meetings, chat rooms, webinars, and mobile collaboration. (Consider securing your Zoom meetings to prevent disruptions.)
    • BlueJeans: Get started with BlueJeans. For recommendations for using the tool at U-M, see BlueJeans for Wolverines. This service is approved for Private Health Information (PHI). NOTE: Use the BlueJeans app for desktop or mobile phone, or dial 312-216-0325 from an off-campus phone. If you are calling from an on-campus phone, dial 3-1841.
    • Google Hangouts Meet: Learn more about Google Hangouts Meet, now with expanded features through July 1 to accommodate remote work.
  • Store data in the cloud with Dropbox at U-M: Dropbox at U-M is a cloud file storage option that provides automatic back-up and is readily accessible from any device. Learn more and get started with Dropbox.

    U-M's agreement with Dropbox permitting its use to store protected health information (PHI) regulated by HIPAA. See the Sensitive Data Guide for more.


    Find other storage options to meet your needs in the Data Storage Finder.

  • Use university-provided software suites:
    • Adobe Creative Cloud — All Adobe Creative Cloud apps are available to students, faculty, and staff. Download and start using what you need to create images, graphics, publications, videos, animations, web and mobile experiences, and more. Get started with Adobe Creative Cloud.
    • Microsoft Office 365 at U-M — Includes popular titles including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and can be installed on personal devices. Available to active students, faculty, and staff. Get started with Microsoft Office 365 at U-M.

Best practices to keep top-of-mind

  • Protect yourself and the U: See the IT Security When Working Remotely page for what you can do to protect university and personal information when working from off-campus.
  • Digital accessibility: Be aware that some online resources and tools are not accessible by everyone. Please be patient and understanding with students, classmates, and colleagues. Contact to report barriers or get assistance with proactive remediation. Learn about digital accessibility.
  • Stay informed: Follow @umichTECH for the latest technology tips for the U-M community and visit the ITS Service Status site for updates on the health and availability of university IT services.


If you have feedback or suggestions for this guide, please let us know. For other questions or to get help with the services in this guide, please contact the ITS Service Center.