Working from Home Guidance

This guide outlines key considerations, best practices, and guidance for School and Central Administration employees specific to COVID-19 remote work. 

Key Considerations

General Expectations: The Art Institute’s general employee guidelines and work rules apply when working from home or a remote location. Employees are expected to put in a full day of work during their designated work hours. Employees must remain accessible during designated work hours and follow established leave policies.  Maintain regular business hours, while balancing the needs of your family, in the current environment. If you are managing a team, make sure to communicate this expectation.

Contact Information: Make sure that your contact information is up to date in PeopleSoft using PeopleSoft self-service. If applicable, provide additional forms of contact information to your supervisor and other coworkers who may need to contact you.

Technology: At a minimum, employees need a computer, internet, and phone access. If you do not have an Art Institute-issued laptop, but have a personally-owned computer, laptop, or tablet, you may use it for work that does not require VPN. However, you are responsible for following all Art Institute practices and policies to maintain security on your device. Speak to your internet/cell provider about your plan(s) to ensure that you will not experience any overage fees.

Home Environment: Take what steps you can to make sure your home environment is conducive to remote work during this unique time. Consider carving out a designated work area and set expectations with others in your home regarding your availability during your designated work day. Be sure to avoid sitting in one position for more than 30 minutes. At the very least, stand up and stretch or walk around the room.

Meetings: Within your purview, identify which upcoming meetings should be rescheduled; otherwise, hold virtual meetings using Google Hangouts Meet or a conference call. See the “Meetings” section below for details.

Schedule Breaks: Make sure to take breaks throughout the workday to allow your brain to refresh itself. Making time to eat lunch is extremely important. Light, healthy, lower carb lunches help keep energy levels up and keep you from feeling fatigued. Let your colleagues know when you are taking a lunch break and when you are back.

Socialize with Colleagues: Many social activities, for example, water cooler discussions, that happen in the office won’t occur by chance. Teams should be intentional about creating opportunities for social exchange. Virtual lunches where everyone joins a video conference while eating lunch is one idea. Use Google Chat, Google Hangouts, or other channels to stay in contact with your team.

Over Communicate: When working from home, it’s better to over-communicate than under-communicate. If you are managing a team, keep in contact with them as many times a day as necessary. You have several channels for communications such as chat, email, and text messages. Make a habit of regularly checking each channel to avoid missing vital updates. And be sure not to underestimate the value of a quick phone conversation. One 10-minute phone call can easily replace 30 minutes of text chat. Additionally, employees should feel empowered to reach out to managers to discuss issues, schedule work, etc.

Be Positive: We know that this isn’t the norm for most of us, but let’s encourage one another to make the best of it.

Accessing and Sharing Files

You have a couple of options to access work files, depending on where your files are stored:

Google Drive: Google Drive’s personal and shared drives are available on any device, and accessing Google Drive does not require VPN. If you are on a laptop or desktop computer, simply open a web browser and log into Google as you would in the office. If you are using a tablet, there are various free Google apps that you may download, such as Google Drive, Google Sheets, Google Docs, and Gmail.

Campus-only resources (e.g., file services such as the G or H drive): Access to campus-only resources and applications (e.g., CITI) require VPN. A Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection provides secure remote access to network resources as if you were on campus. The VPN service is used to remotely access resources that are not typically accessible from outside of our network. Such resources include remote desktop access, file services (G or H drive), and other campus-only resources. 

  • To request a VPN account, submit an IT support ticket.
  • Please consider the resources you currently access before submitting a VPN request. Your ARTIC email, Google Suite, PeopleSoft Self Service, Concur, and many other single sign-on resources are accessible without VPN and may provide all the tools you need to work remotely.

Intranet: The Art Institute’s intranet is accessible on any device with or without VPN. It is accessed like any other website. To access the intranet, open a web browser and go to information.artic.edu. You will be prompted to sign in using your ARTIC account information (the same username and password you use to log into Gmail.)

Meetings

In-person meetings should be canceled, rescheduled, or moved to virtual meetings. Options for conducting virtual meetings include:

Google Hangouts Meet: Please see the following resource for holding a virtual meeting: Google Hangouts Meet - How to Guide: Creating and Starting a Meeting.

Audio Conference Bridge: Please see the following resource on how to conduct a conference call: Audio Conference Bridge Instructions.

Tips for both video and audio conferences:

  • Mute your microphone unless you are actively talking. Assume you’re always on camera and that you are always audible (even if you think you're muted or video-disabled).
  • "Mute" or disabling the video if not absolutely needed can help with bandwidth or internet access concerns.
  • Avoid side-conversations if you are physically next to someone. Crosstalk is especially distracting to remote participants.
  • Be careful not to talk over others. Politely wait your turn. If you are talking for more than a minute at a stretch, pause to let others ask questions or seek clarification.
  •  Avoid tapping pencils, moving papers around, rattling ice, tapping on keyboards, and other seemingly innocuous sounds. They are unbelievably loud to others on the call.
  • If conducting a video teleconference, alert your family members not to wander through.
  • 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. Be succinct and short. If it is a question that can be worked out "offline," then do that.

Phone and Voicemail

Checking Voicemail: To check your voicemail while you are working remotely, follow the “Off-site” steps listed for the building you work in outlined in the PhoneMail Quick Reference Guide.

Call Forwarding: To forward calls from your office phone to a personal cell phone, you must physically be at your office phone. If so, follow the instructions below:

  • Get a dial tone.
  • Dial #91.
  • Dial 8-1 and then the outside phone number you want to receive your calls (e.g., 8-1-312-555-5555).
  • Hang up. You will see that your extension light is blinking, which indicates that it has been successfully forwarded.

To un-forward the phone:

  • Get a dial tone.
  • Dial ##91 to deactivate forwarding.

More detailed steps can be found on the phones section of the intranet.

Technical Requirements

Below are the current minimum technical requirements for working remotely. More information can be found on the IT Support Site article titled “How can I prepare to work from home?”. See the “Accessing and Sharing Files” section above for instructions on how to access this information and the intranet if you are not using a VPN connection.

  • Access to a computer, laptop, or tablet 
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Internet browser access - one of the following:
    • Windows computer compatible internet browsers:
      • Microsoft Internet Explorer
      • Microsoft Edge
      • Google Chrome (latest available version)
      • Mozilla Firefox (latest available version)
    • Mac computer compatible internet browsers:
      • Safari 7.0 and later
      • Mozilla Firefox 22.x and later
      • Google Chrome 28.x and later
  • If using a personal computer or tablet:
    • It must be running an updated antivirus program
    • It must have the latest security updates installed, e.g. Windows Updates
  • If you will be using a VPN, you need the following operating system (see the above “Accessing and Sharing Files” section for more information about VPN):
    • Windows computers: Windows 7 service pack 2 and above
    • Mac computers: MAC 0S 10.10 and above

Where to Get Help

Technical Help:

  • School staff and faculty:
    • If you have computer questions, the Computer Resources and Information Technologies (CRIT) team can help. Please reach out to the CRIT HelpDesk at 312.345.3535 or crithelpdesk@saic.edu. 
    • Questions about remote teaching platforms (i.e., Canvas) can be emailed to canvas-help@saic.edu.
  • Central Admin staff: