WSE Remote Work Information


Johns Hopkins has an abundance of tools available to let people be fully productive when they’re not in their offices or on campus.  There are so many tools, in fact, that it can be intimidating to know which one might be correct for what you’re trying to do.  With a little planning, though, people won’t have trouble working remotely.

The Basics

Everyone should read this part, no matter their role or responsibility.

  • Take transitioning to remote work seriously.  A little forethought and practice will make this go smoothly.
  • Get organized.  Think about all the routines you follow in your job — passwords, paperwork, hallway conversations, network drives, phone numbers, morning coffee.  All of these can be compensated for when working remotely, but it’s MUCH easier to figure out what’s important and how to replicate it if you break it down before changing your routine.
  • Practice, occasionally but regularly.  Software versions update, things change.  It’s much better to figure out your remote work strategy in a low-pressure situation than when trying to teach a class of expectant students or when a budget is due.  You will want to have that annoying software update kick off an hour before you need to do the video conference rather than in the middle of an important presentation.
  • If you have one, get in the habit of bringing home your laptop from the office every day.  You never know when you might need to work remotely.  In the Garland Hall lockout, there were a LOT of laptops left on desks by people who thought they’d have notice if they couldn’t re-enter their building, but those laptops ended up getting locked in their offices for the duration.
  • The decision to bring home your IT equipment from your desk is negotiated between the employee and their supervisor.  If it is agreed that the employee would be more productive by bringing home their desktop IT equipment, please help us track that using our online form. Damaged or lost equipment will be charged back to the employee’s department.

Things to check for any remote user

No matter if you have a JH laptop or your own home computer, these are things you should review right now.

  • Multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA.  This is required for many systems even when on campus, but it is used even more heavily when accessing IT systems remotely.  WSE IT has a webpage about MFA.  If you’re unsure if you have MFA configured correctly, a good page to test with is JH’s ESS system.  It will always require MFA.  If you can get to ESS, you’re all set.
  • The Virtual Private Network client, also known as VPN.  The VPN client allows you to connect into the private Hopkins network from the public internet, and use systems that are normally only available inside our network perimeter.  This includes tools like network file shares, SAP, and the WSE software download site.  WSE IT’s information about the VPN is here.  Using the VPN requires MFA, so get that set first.  If you’re unsure if your VPN client is working correctly you can try to connect to this page, which will explicitly tell you if you’re connected via VPN.
  • File share access, also known as “P” or “S” or “W” or “H” drive access.  This is one where preparation helps a lot, because different people will have different network servers hiding behind those drive letters.  If you’ve never used your network drives from home and they’re a critical part of your workday, please contact us for assistance.
  • Video and teleconferencing, also known as Zoom.  All WSE faculty, staff, and students have access to internet-based conferencing that allows for video or audio meetings of up to 24 hours with up to 300 participants.  Screen sharing is also supported.  We STRONGLY SUGGEST getting your account provisioned and doing some test runs before you need to use this tool.  It’s not at all hard to use, but stumbling around with it in front of an audience can be embarrassing.  We have a page about getting started with Zoom here.  The page has links to some live and to pre-recorded training sessions.

More things to consider for remote work

  • Phones / Voicemail.  JH has two phone systems, and remote access is handled differently depending on the system.
    • VoIP users (people with phone numbers starting (667) 208-xxxx) already have everything they need to use their phone and voicemail remotely.  Voicemail is delivered as attachments to your email.  You can use the Skype for Business app on your computer or smartphone to make calls and check messages.  You can also set your phone to simultaneously ring to another phone (your home landline, or other phone number) if that’s more convenient.  See the Calls section of the Skype for Business preferences for your options.
    • Digital handset users (people with number starting (410) 516-xxxx) can have the same features, but they must be requested and are billed with extra charges.  The feature to get voicemails delivered to your email is called SMS Voicemail to E-mail and costs $2.50 per month.  To get your office phone line to ring on another phone (your cell or home landline) you will want to add the EC500 feature for $5.00 per month.
      • If you have the EC500 feature enabled and are ON CAMPUS, you can dial *2 9 (the number you want to forward to) #.  To forward to a cell that is 410-555-1212, you would enter *2 9 4105551212 #.
      • If you have the EC500 feature enabled and are OFF CAMPUS:
        Enable  4105162896,195,5 digit extension #, extension password # (usually the same as the extension)
        Disable 4105162896,196,5 digit extension #, extension password # (usually the same as the extension)
      • The voicemail number to dial when accessing from off-campus is 410-516-8580.
  • Tethering your devices to your cellphone is an important capability for travelers, and is a useful backup during weather-related remote work events.  Device tethering differs depending on the device (iOS / Android) and cell carrier, so planning ahead and occasional testing is important.  A useful tip: we often see that international travel can cause tethering to be removed from devices, so if you travel internationally you should be extra diligent about re-checking this capability when you return to the US.
  • Microsoft Teams is an online collaboration tool that includes instant messaging, file sharing/document collaboration, screen sharing, and many more tools to let people collaborate when they’re separated by space.  We use it extensively in WSE IT to share information and documents about projects.  There is a nice overview page about Teams at the CER website, and see below about some online Teams training sessions.
  • Remote application access can be particularly valuable for people who don’t have a Hopkins laptop but who need access to specialized systems or software.  For example, SAP is very sensitive to browser versions and security settings.  You can use a Hopkins MyCloud Virtual Desktop to get a virtual desktop session to a machine where your SAP session will work.  You (or your students) can use a related technology, the MyJLab online computer lab, to access computer lab tools like Abaqus and Solidworks.  Both of these tools require the Citrix reciever client, which is available for Mac, Windows, tablets, or smartphones.  It would be a great idea to try this tool out now, before you are stuck on a deadline.

For course instructors

The Center for Educational Resources at JH has a great page about using technology to teach courses during campus closures.  It includes information about

  • Making announcements to your students
  • Sharing course materials
  • Accepting assignment submissions online
  • Holding online seminars / discussions
  • Holding online face-to-face lectures

Please visit https://cer.jhu.edu/teaching/campus-closure-teaching for more technical-type information.  Policy information is anticipated to be at https://keepteaching.jhu.edu.  The university statement on the COVID 19 closure is at https://hub.jhu.edu/assets/uploads/sites/2/2020/03/jhu_covid_guidelines.pdf.

IT@JH has prepared a document about the scalability of some key systems in the JH infrastructure.  Their advice on that is here: Capacity of popular IT applications

Matrix of tools and technologies

IT@JH prepared this helpful matrix specifying which access tools are required to perfom which tasks from a remote location.  In general, MFA and VPN are considered pre-requisites that everyone should be prepared for, and the Citrix client is required as well for MyCloud.

                                                         I should use this access method…
When I want to… MyCloud MyCloud Desktop Pulse VPN Web browser myJH
Access myJH Portal
Access Email via Web
Access Email via Outlook
Access Blackboard
Use Zoom for Conferencing
Get a full Windows Desktop
Remote to My Work PC
Access Clinical Apps
Access Departmental Apps
Access OneDrive Documents
Access Microsoft Teams
Access S: & P: Shared Drives
Connect to JH Network

General remote work tips

Here are some tips we in IT have found that work for us when working remotely.  These aren’t hard and fast rules but will depend on your personality and the parameters of your job.

  • Stay active.  Don’t forget about all those steps you’d normally get in moving from the parking lot and across campus, and how they might affect your mood and health.
  • Set office hours for when your colleagues know they can count on being able to contact you.  Make sure your supervisors and teams know when you’re available and when you are not. When your office is your home boundaries can slip.
  • For some people having a home workspace for work is important for maintaining focus and keeping work routines and home routines separate.
  • Video is important for some people to keep a sense of feeling connected, so don’t get stuck in email- or IM-only mode.
  • Here’s a very good free e-book about working from home.

Where to get help

  • For general IT questions (VPN, software installation, MFA), or if you’re unsure where to go, please contact wsehelp@jhu.edu.
  • For instructional technology questions (questions about using technology to effectively deliver instruction) please contact ep-help-desk@jhu.edu.
  • Zoom training (live and on-demand) is listed on our Zoom page.