HITS Tech Guide to Working Remotely


This guide covers the technology staff, faculty, and students need to create a successful remote work environment during an emergency situation. Follow the Michigan Medicine COVID-19 resources page for the most recent information. For long-term telecommuting scenarios, see the Michigan Medicine HR website

Be prepared to work remotely

life preserver float

From a technology perspective, working remotely can be quite similar to working in the office. We recommend testing access to your equipment and resources at home before the need arises. For support, chat or call the service desk or submit an IT catalog request. All Help Me Now locations are temporarily closed.

Have the right equipment

computer mouse

Michigan Medicine managed laptops and related peripherals (e.g., keyboard, mouse, docking station) can be taken offsite. Do not remove external monitors (unless necessary) or desktop/tower computers (they won't work due to no VPN client or WiFi card). Tablets and cell phones can be useful but are not adequate standalone equipment for working remotely.  

  • If you use a Michigan Medicine managed laptop (e.g., CoreImage): Record items you take home in the Devices for Temporary Telework request.  
  • If you use a personal computer: The operating system should be reasonably recent (e.g., Windows 10, macOS Mojave) to ensure software compatibility and security protection. Get access to the most common IT services from your own device.
  • Quality internet connection: At a minimum, your internet plan should run at 5 mbps download and 1 mbps upload. We recommend 15 mbps download and 5 mbps upload to prevent common connectivity-related issues, and that you connect via a physical wire. For tips on securing your home network, please visit U-M Safe Computing.
  • New equipment requests: Request additional equipment to work offsite using the Devices for Temporary Telework request. Provide clear information on the context of your request so we can prioritize appropriately. 
    • Note: We are receiving multiple requests for equipment as demands for telework increases and may not be able to fill all requests immediately. We appreciate your patience as we work to ensure our equipment is aligned to our most critical operations. 
  • Remote Access to onsite workstations. Need access to a desktop computer in your office from home? Set up a new Remote Desktop Connection to safely access your applications, files, and servers.

Have the right access

Cloud and lock symbols

This section covers the basic technical access most Michigan Medicine employees need to telework. Certain jobs may require specialized access. If in doubt, consult your manager.

  • Connect to the Virtual Private Network (VPN): Use the Michigan Medicine VPN to connect to secure resources remotely. 
  • Review your Duo preferences: Update your two-factor authentication settings to accommodate working remotely. For example, if you currently opt to use a landline, you may wish to add a mobile phone number as an option.
  • Intelligent Hub: Required for any personally owned device in order to access the Outlook client, use MiChart on a mobile device (Haiku or Canto), and many other secure applications.
  • Update your preferred contact method: Validate or update your personal contact information by visiting the Michigan Medicine User Profile Page.

Communicate and collaborate

digital message box

The main differences between working in the office and teleworking may relate to how you and your colleagues communicate and collaborate. These tools connect you remotely so your work can continue uninterrupted. 

  • Skype for Business: Michigan Medicine's primary business communication tool for instant messaging, screen sharing, and audio/videoconferencing.
  • BlueJeans: Cloud-based conferencing service for audio, visual, and content sharing for up to 200 people. Visit the ITS website for information on training sessions to learn how to use BlueJeans.
  • BlueJeans EventsBroadcast large events or virtual conferences for up to 15,000 people. Includes the ability to set a single end-point as the speaker, and adjust chat and other features based on your event's needs.
  • Zoom: No PHI. A second cloud-based video conferencing option with a flexible interface with group video chat, screen sharing, enhanced accessibility, recordings, hand raise functionality and more.
  • Amplify: App for capturing/sharing agendas and meeting minutes, and promoting situational awareness within teams and huddles. 
  • Google Hangouts Meet: Videoconferencing service featuring live video, audio, and screen sharing. Do not use it for sharing sensitive data.
  • Outlook Email: To check your Michigan Medicine email remotely, use Outlook on the web, or connect to the Michigan Medicine VPN to use the Outlook client.

     Have questions about the different video conferencing options? See the comparison chart here. 

Online learning


If circumstances require you to temporarily take your teaching or learning online, these tools can enable alternate modes of course delivery:

  • Canvas: U-M's learning management system offers a robust set of features, including simple site design tools and easy incorporation of media. Download the Canvas app to view class materials from your mobile device.
  • Zoom: NO PHI. A video and audio conferencing option for group video chat, screen sharing, recordings or hosting virtual office hours. Download the apps on your laptop and mobile.
  • Mediasite: Video management platform for academic lecture recordings. 
  • Aquifer: Provides online case-based learning material and formative assessments for a variety of clinical departments.
  • Osmosis: Web and mobile application that consolidates educational content into a single learning environment, and provides tools for students to write, share, and curate their own practice questions and content.

Phones and voicemail


If you work in a call center environment using Aspect, you will need Jabber installed on your Michigan Medicine managed computer in order to receive calls. All other remote workers should use a personal cell phone or landline for work-related calls. Record your alternative contact number in your Michigan Medicine voicemail greeting.

  • Check Voicemail Remotely: Access voicemail from an external phone.
    • Dial 734-998-2400
    • Press * [star/asterisk]
    • Enter your mailbox ID number and press #
    • Enter your PIN/password then press #
  • If you experience voicemail issues, call AT&T at 800-498-4858. 
  • Forwarding Your Office Phone: The ability to forward a U-M phone to a non-UM phone number was activated temporarily. Providing an alternative contact number in your Michigan Medicine voicemail greeting is a preferred alternative to call forwarding.
  • Jabber: Allows you to use a cell phone (or Michigan Medicine managed computer) to answer a single U-M phone number. It cannot be set up with multiple phone numbers or used with the older Nortel phones (use call forwarding in these cases). HITS enables each account individually with the vendor, which can take up to five days to complete. Your cell phone must also have Intelligent Hub installed to use Jabber. To request Jabber, contact the HITS Service Desk

File storage and access

two sheets of paper

Access the latest version of your files, even those on your network home drives, from anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet:

  • Network Attached Storage (NAS): This space is commonly referred to as the Home Directory or "H: drive." To access it remotely, login to the Michigan Medicine VPN and map the drive.
  • U-M Box: This secure cloud storage is approved for storing sensitive information. 
  • U-M Google: Create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations — and then collaborate with colleagues in real-time using online editing tools. Do not use it for storing sensitive information.
  • Remote Access to onsite workstations. Need access to a desktop computer in your office from home? Set up a new Remote Desktop Connection to safely access your applications, files, servers and more.

MiChart remote access

tablet and cloud

For detailed instructions on how to access MiChart remotely, see: Accessing Hosted Applications from Outside the Michigan Medicine Network.

  • From a CoreImage computer: Connect to the Michigan Medicine VPN before accessing MiChart.
  • From a personal computer: Log into Michigan Medicine's Virtual Application Portal. You are required to respond to a Duo prompt before proceeding. You are not able to save documents to local drives or access printers from within MiChart on a personal device.
  • Limited mobile functionality:

Accessibility considerations

media play icon

When changes happen rapidly, individuals with disabilities can quickly become disadvantaged. The way you create content can help ensure inclusive experiences.

  • Text Contrast and Style: Use black text on a white background to ensure text stands out. Do not use color alone to denote differences in emphasis and content meaning.
  • Alt-Text: Provide a brief text alternative for images, graphs, and charts to explain what makes the image important.
  • Closed Captioning: Captioning media provides greater comprehension of the material and provides access for those with hearing impairments.
  • Link Text: Use descriptive titles for link text, titles, and headers.
  • Tables: Use simple tables when possible, with column and row headers.

See more U-M accessibility tips or contact accessibility@umich.edu with questions. 

Need assistance while working remotely?

Person wearing a headset

If you require technical assistance while working off-site, the HITS Service Desk can offer remote support:

When contacting the Service Desk, please have your computer's Term ID and mention that you are remote. If your issue is related to a network connection, contact your Internet Service Provider first to ensure the problem isn’t with your home network. If your device requires physical repair, you will need to bring it on-site for processing. 

Other resources

clipboard on red background

Other University of Michigan schools, colleges, and departments have also published resources for teaching, learning, and working remotely:

Clinical, Education, Research, Security, Services & Support