We will update this page as we develop new resources that support remote work. If you have Zoom-specific questions, refer to our overview of Zoom.

Getting started

Connect with others

  • Host remote meetings

    Install video conferencing software
    Zoom WebEx

    You can connect with your colleagues directly using our conferencing services Zoom or Webex. You can use whichever tool you are most comfortable with.


    Improve connectivity


    If you are having trouble getting a good connection when you are in a Zoom meeting, follow these tips:

    • Move closer to your wifi router—or just try a different spot—so you can get a stronger connection.
    • Reduce video and music streaming to ease the demand on your home network.
    • Switch off video sharing and continue the meeting using only audio.


    Improve privacy


    You can enhance privacy while using Zoom by: 

    • Security and Privacy Tips
    • Turning off the attention tracking feature if you are the host.
    • Save recorded sessions in a secure HMS location instead of in the Zoom cloud.
    • Tell participants that chats they send are captured as part of a recorded session.
    • Encourage participants to turn of video-sharing if they prefer.
  • Access your email and calendar

    Use a web browser to check your inbox

    While you are out of the office, you can access your HMS email and calendar from any web browser using the Outlook web app.


  • Forward calls and voicemails

    Answer calls and check your messages from anywhere
    Harvard Phone

    While you are out of the office, you can turn on call forwarding so that calls to your work phone will ring your cell phone, home phone, or any other alternate phone. You can even set it up to ring multiple lines at once so you can answer from wherever is most convenient. You can also configure your voicemail to relay your messages to your email address.


  • Jabber Softphone Service

    Place and receive calls on your mobile device or desktop/laptop
    Harvard Phone

    Jabber softphone allows staff to answer their office lines by way of a soft phone on their mobile device, desktop or laptop.  This allows the user to place and receive calls directly from their published Harvard phone number. Additional benefits of Jabber:

    • Allows calls to be placed and received on the Harvard infrastructure, no cost to the user’s personal devices and home services (Long distance & International calls)
    • Continue to utilize published Harvard phone numbers
    • Continue to run business operations
    • Leverage the University Voice mail system and directory dialing
    • Utilizing Harvard Key and Single sign on (SSO)
    • Ability to cover multiple/shared office lines (Multi-line Jabber)

    Jabber for Multi-lines  provides up to eight extensions within the Jabber desktop client. If you use several lines for your daily tasks (answer calls for a department line, lab, faculty member, etc.) multiline allows you to leverage all the advanced calling capabilities, even when you are away from your desk or working remotely.

    Please visit Jabber Softphone for more information and for instructions on downloading the Jabber Application.

Access files and applications

Additional resources

  • Frequently asked questions

    Common inquiries about remote work


    When should I use Zoom?

    Harvard University IT is monitoring our technology platforms carefully, working directly with our vendors to ensure stability and continuity of services. We are pleased with their performance thus far. However, given the extraordinary additional demand anticipated, and our need to prioritize academic use, below are some basic guidelines for using Zoom sensibly:

    • Consider whether you need to hold a meeting. A phone call or email might suffice.
    • If you hold a Zoom meeting, keep it short.
      • Video calls are most effective when they are 45-min or less
      • Consider adopting a 10-min “stand-up” approach—a meeting not long enough to sit down—and focus on priorities of the day
    • If you experience any bandwidth issues during your Zoom meeting or remote class, turn off your video when not speaking.
    • Close your Zoom session when you are done. Do not host a persistent Zoom session.

    As we continue to monitor Zoom performance, if the guidance above needs to change, we will update the community on best practices.

    When should I use Zoom versus phone calls?

    Zoom is an open real-time video and file-sharing collaboration environment. It is designed for teams to collectively share conversations, video communications, documents, and comments (chats). Whereas it is optimal for rapidly sharing a wide variety of media among an open group, it is not suited for private conversations or collaborations where sensitive data are exchanged.

    Phone calls are limited in their ability to engage multiple parties in broad data sharing. They are more suited for private conversations. Phones do have multi-party capability (conference calls).

    My Zoom session is experiencing bandwidth issues, what should I do?

    If you experience any bandwidth issues during your Zoom meeting or remote class, turn off your video when not speaking.

    Are there privacy concerns when using Zoom?

    You can review Zoom's privacy policy and follow these tips for preserving privacy when using this service:

    • Meeting hosts should NOT use the attention-tracking feature
    • If a session is recorded session, it should be saved to an HMS location such as shared drives/Dropbox, NOT to the Zoom cloud
    • Participants should be made aware that chats they send are part of a recorded session.
    • Participants who do not want to be recorded are encouraged to turn off their video and/or audio.


    Software and service support


    If there is an issue with the network, storage, or another service, will it be resolved?

    Yes, during this time all mission-critical services are being monitored and staff will respond as necessary to any events.

    Will O2 be available during this time?

    Yes. O2 compute, support, and training services will continue to operate during this time. All RC training and office hours consultation will take place in virtual Zoom sessions. You do not need a VPN to login to O2 or copy files to the transfer cluster, and performance will likely improve if you are not using a VPN. For more details, please visit https://it.hms.harvard.edu/our-services/research-computing/research-computing-response-coronavirus




    What should I do if I don't have an internet connection at home?

    If you do not have internet access at home, you may be able to tether your computer to devices connected to cellular data plans. Check with your cell phone carrier about possible fees or usage caps.

    A similar option is to set up a mobile wifi hotspot. This hotspot is a dedicated device that provides a wifi signal that connects you through your cellular data plan. Check with your carrier for compatible devices and for guidance on setting up a mobile hotspot.

    If you have a wired internet connection in your home but no wireless connection, your provider may provide a router or other device that enables a wireless wifi connection. Check with your internet service provider for more information.

  • Get help

    Browse support articles or contact us for help with remote work

    If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the HMS IT Service Desk online resources,  contact us by phone at 617-432-2000, or by email at itservicedesk@hms.harvard.edu.

  • Learn more from HMS and Harvard

    Get more information about the response to the Coronavirus outbreak

    Harvard University and Harvard Medical School have additional information and updates about the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.