Resources for Staff Working Remotely

Working from home? There are many steps you can take to create a “virtual office space.” Explore tips and troubleshooting for working remotely.


In addition to phone calls, there are many tools available to teams that want to maintain collaboration virtually. These tools should be tested by your team, and then 100% adoption should be strongly encouraged. (If some members of your team use a tool to communicate, and the others do not, this will create barriers which will vastly limit your ability to operate efficiently.)


PNW utilizes Voice-Over-IP (VOIP) phones. This means the phone no longer relies on telephone lines to make calls; rather, this traffic can be sent digitally, over the internet. This allows us to more easily transfer where incoming calls should be sent—either to your desk phone or another number.

Remotely Accessing Voicemail

  1. Call your office phone number.
  2. Once the voicemail system answers, press the * key.
  3. Enter your “account” number, which is your 4-digit phone extension, then press the # key.
  4. Enter your PIN then press the # key (if you do not know your PIN, contact the CSC to have it reset.)

Voicemails received by your office phone number can be sent as an attachment to your e-mail inbox. To set this up, please contact the CSC at or 219-989-2888.

If you have a Cisco phone on your desk, you can forward your personal office number to any other phone number you would like.

How to Forward Your Calls

When on the “home screen” of the phone, look for the button below the words “Fwd All,” and press that button.  (On most phones, it will be the 3rd button from the left. If you have a light gray phone, it is the second button from the left.)

Enter the phone number you would like your calls forwarded to.

  • If it will be an internal PNW number, you can type the four-digit extension.
  • If you need to forward to an off-campus number, type 9 1 <areacode><phonenumber>.

The phone will automatically accept the number if the correct number of digits have been entered.

Ending Call Forwarding

Press the same button in step i. above, now labeled “Fwd Off.”

Having Issues?

If you have a different phone, need to forward a line that does not go into your phone, or have other questions, contact the CSC at or (219) 989-2888.

Collaboration/Video-Conferencing Tools

Make sure you understand “teleconference etiquette.”  Nothing can derail a meeting faster than someone who has their microphone un-muted and takes a personal phone call on their cell phone!

  • Do mute your microphone when you are not talking.  Most tools allow you to mute yourself, then use a “push-to-talk” key to only un-mute yourself when you need to talk.  (That key is often the “space” bar.)
  • Don’t have a side-conversation with someone off-camera even if you are muted.  You wouldn’t look away from someone in an in-person meeting, so don’t do it in a video conference!
  • Do assume you are always on camera and that you are always audible (even if you think you’re muted or video-disabled.)  People can read lips, and body-language.
  • Don’t tap pencils, move papers around, rattle ice, set coffee cups down on table-tops, tap on keyboards, and other seemingly innocuous sounds. They are unbelievably loud and annoying to others on the call.  It may also make your camera shake, which can also be distracting.
  • Do warn your family members not to wander through; some home-attire may not be safe for work!
  • Don’t talk over others. Politely wait your turn and if you are talking for more than a minute at a stretch, pause to let others ask questions or seek clarification.  Use the chat function to ask questions while someone else is talking so that you do not forget to ask.
  • Do make notes on what you want to say before the conference starts. Take notes on “action items” during the conference whenever you are asked to work on something. Don’t ramble on; be succinct and short. If it is a question that can be worked “offline” then do that!
  • Don’t have personal or potentially embarrassing links, shortcuts, or bookmarks on your desktop, task bar, or web browser if you may need to share your screen!


A free communications and collaboration tool, Slack is used by universities and major companies around the world (as well as many groups within PNW).

To get started, visit Slack’s website and create a free account. You can then create workspaces and channels for your team to use when collaborating.

Microsoft Teams

Teams is available to all faculty/staff of PNW.  Login to with your email address for access.

Cisco WebEx

Purdue University has a site-wide license for Cisco WebEx to provide video-conferencing capabilities.  WebEx allows individuals from around the world to connect to one meeting, with audio and video, share their screens, and collaborate.

WebEx can be used through a browser, but works more efficiently with a client installed on your computer. The first time you attempt to host or join a WebEx meeting, you will be asked to install this client. It is safe and recommended to do so.

Get Assistance Using Cisco WebEx

Google Meet

Google Meet is the business version of Google Hangouts, a video conferencing and collaboration tool. All PNW users have access to Google Meet due to use of the Google Suite for student e-mail.

  • Visit the Google Meet website and sign in using your You will then be asked to authenticate using your Career Account username & password.
  • No local client is needed to host or join a meeting; the meeting will take place inside of the web browser.

Get Google Meet Assistance 


Zoom is another web-conferencing tool used by universities and business around the world.

While Zoom is free, the free version does come with limitations. If three or more people join the meeting, the meeting will be limited to no more than 40 minutes. (Note: As of March 17, 2020, Zoom has removed the 40-minute limitation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  All versions of Zoom, paid or licensed, will no longer have a time limit on minutes.)

Paid versions are available, and are centrally funded by PNW for the 2020-2021 Academic Year.

Sign Up for a Free Account 

Zoom can run within a web browser but also offers a local client, similar to WebEx.  Download the Zoom client.

Click here for more information about Zoom.

Recommended Software

When working remotely, you may need to install software on your personal (home) computer or your PNW-owned computer to allow you to work as efficiently as if you were on-site.  This software is either available to you free on any device or free as long as the device is owned by PNW.

To install software as a non-administrator on your Windows-based, PNW-owned computer, use the PNW Software Center.  A list of common software titles, including many of those listed on this page, are available for installation by all users, without needing assistance from Information Services.

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client

The Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client allows you to create a “virtual” connection to the PNW campus network. This allows you to access resources only available to those on the campus network.

Note: You do not need to use the VPN to access your R: or H: drives. Those directories can be access via web browser. To learn how, visit our web guide  and click on the bottom link, titled “Access the H: and R: drive from Home.”

Install Cisco AnyConnect

Cisco AnyConnect Mac Install Directions

Cisco AnyConnect Windows Install Directions


The general portal to connect to VPN is Any specialized teams will be communicated an alternative portal to use for services.

You will use your username and password to log into the VPN

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client can be downloaded from the Google Play store.  This application will allow you to make a VPN connection from a Chromebook.

  1. Download the AnyConnect application from the Chrome store.
  2. Go to Connections to add a new connection. Fill in the description of the VPN connection with something you will remember (ex: PNW VPN).
  3. Enter the server address:
  4. Turn on the VPN connection
  5. Enter your PNW username (without and your Career Account password.
  6. Press Connect.
  7. Say OK if prompted to confirm the Connection Request.
  8. If you used push, check your mobile device with Duo Mobile installed for the request, and approve.

You are now connected to the VPN, and can confirm by clicking on the networking icon in the system tray.

Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client can be downloaded from the Google Play store and Apple Appstore.  This application will allow you to make a VPN connection from your mobile device.

  1. Download the AnyConnect application from the Google Play store or Apple Appstore.
  2. Go to Connections to add a new connection. Fill in the description of the VPN connection with something you will remember (ex: PNW VPN).
  3. Enter the server address:
  4. Turn on the VPN connection
  5. Enter your PNW username (without and your Career Account password.
  6. Press Connect.
  7. Say OK if prompted to confirm the Connection Request.
  8. If you used push, check your mobile device with Duo Mobile installed for the request, and approve.

You are now connected to the VPN and can confirm by looking at your device’s notifications area and locating the Key icon, showing you are connected via VPN.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook is available for free for all PNW-owned computers. Your computer should already have Microsoft Office installed and configured. If you do not see any of these applications, please contact the CSC.

Microsoft Office is also available for installation on personally-owned devices for free, but it must be downloaded and installed by the individual user.

  1. Go to Purdue’s “Office 365 for Students, Faculty and Staff” page  and click the link that says “Purdue Office 365 Portal.”
  2. Sign in with your email address. You will then use your normal career account password to authenticate.

You can then use the Office programs directly from your web browser, or you can download and install them using the “Install Office” link on the top right corner of the page.

File Sharing

There are many tools that can be used to efficiently store, retrieve, and edit your files.  These tools also allow for better sharing and collaboration with your team.  Please visit the PNW Cloud Storage page for more information.

Getting Technical Support

Remote students, faculty and staff of PNW can contact the Customer Service Center (CSC) at or (219) 989-2888.  Phone hours can be found on the CSC website.  Calls received outside of normal business hours will be redirected to voicemail.

On occasion, the CSC will also offer a “virtual helpdesk” allowing users to receive “face to face” support using Zoom web conferencing.  Availability of the virtual helpdesk will be announced via email, web and social media.

Work Securely!

Working from home requires new ways of accessing information.  Doing so securely, without exposing yourself or your data to those with malicious intent may be more difficult than before.  Here are some helpful tips to keep you safe!

  • First and foremost, technology alone cannot fully protect you –
    you are the best defense. Attackers have learned that the
    easiest way to get what they want is to target you, rather than
    your computer or other devices. If they want your password,
    work data or control of your computer, they’ll attempt to
    trick you into giving it to them, often by creating a sense of
    urgency.  The best defense against these attacks is you.  By
    using common sense, you can spot and stop many attacks.
  • Almost every home network starts with a wireless (often
    called Wi-Fi) network. This is what enables all of your
    devices to connect to the Internet. Most home wireless
    networks are controlled by your Internet router or a
    separate, dedicated wireless access point. Both work in the
    same way: by broadcasting wireless signals to which home
    devices connect. This means securing your wireless network
    is a key part of protecting your home.
  • When a site asks you to create a password, create a strong password:
    the more characters it has, the stronger it is. Using a passphrase is
    one of the simplest ways to ensure that you have a strong
    password. A passphrase is nothing more than a password made
    up of multiple words, such as “bee honey bourbon.” Using a
    unique passphrase means using a different one for each device
    or online account. This way if one passphrase is compromised,
    all of your other accounts and devices are still safe.
  • Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in
    the software your devices use. When they discover vulnerabilities,
    they use special programs to exploit them and hack into the devices
    you are using. Meanwhile, the companies that created the software
    for these devices are hard at work fixing them by releasing
    updates. By ensuring your computers and mobile devices install
    these updates promptly, you make it much harder for someone to hack
    you. To stay current, simply enable automatic updating whenever
    possible. This rule applies to almost any technology connected
    to a network, including not only your work devices but Internet-
    connected TV’s, baby monitors, security cameras, home routers,
    gaming consoles or even your car.
  • Something you most likely don’t have to worry about at the office
    is children, guests or other family members using your work
    laptop or other work devices. Make sure family and friends know
    they cannot use your work devices. They can accidentally erase
    or modify information, or, perhaps even worse, accidentally
    infect the device.

Source: SANS Security Awareness

Further reading: Telework and Small Office Network Security Guide (PDF)

Useful Links

Tips for Effectively Working from Home

Working from home can be challenging. Suddenly juggling both work and home responsibilities and distractions can create new stresses!

  • Work with your supervisor to establish clear goals.
  • Make sure you maintain communication with your teammates. Working separately can create barriers, decreasing the efficiency of your group. Constant communication, through the tools mentioned above, or even just an open phone line, can prevent these barriers from being established.
  • Find an area where you will have minimal distractions.  If you have a home office, this is probably ideal, but make sure family members know you’re “at work” and not available for other tasks.  If you don’t have a home office, find an area in our house not frequented by family members.  Think out of the box. A laptop and a chair on the front or back porch may be the quietest spot around!
  • Set a schedule. Get up at a regular time; take lunch at a regular time; wrap up when the work day is complete and your tasks are finished.
  • Don’t sit in one position for more than 30 minutes. At the very least, stand up and stretch or walk around the room. Avoid eye strain!
  • Let your counterparts and colleagues know when you are “leaving” for lunch and when you are back.

Resources from LinkedIn Learning

Students, faculty and staff can access LinkedIn courses free with their

Additional Resources