Staying connected while working remotely

There are a number of tools that University employees can leverage to stay connected with colleagues and students while working remotely.
Please see our article about Common requests for in-person IT support for a list of requests and suggested solutions.

In this article:


A laptop or desktop computer and Internet connection are required. Test your connections and access to resources ahead of time. Ensure all operating systems and applications are up to date.

Work from home securely

When working from home, it is important that your home computing environment is secure.

Duo two-factor authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security to your University accounts. Verifying your identity using a second factor (like your phone or another mobile device) prevents others from accessing your accounts, even if they know your password. Visit our Two-factor Authentication (2FA) website to learn more about your options and enrol your device. 

What if I have a Duo 2FA fob and I forget it at work? 

  • IST recommends that users set up the Duo mobile app on their smartphone

  • Contact the IST Service Desk for help with a secondary device setup

Remote access to resources

Collaboration tools available to all University employees

Microsoft 365

Office 365


Office 365


All University employees and students have a Microsoft 365 (M365) account that provides anywhere access to commonly used collaboration and productivity applications (e.g. Word, Excel, OneDrive). Create, collaborate on, and share your files quickly and securely. Log in to your account at to:

  • Access web-based versions of these applications

  • Download desktop versions of these applications to your personal computer, tablet, or mobile device

Alternatively, you can visit your App Store to download Microsoft 365 apps to your mobile device. 

Visit our Microsoft 365 website to learn more or get support. 


With Microsoft Teams, you can quickly schedule and participate in virtual meetings that support audio, video, and sharing. 

Request a Team

Complete the online form to request a Team.

Join a Teams meeting

Join a Microsoft Teams meeting from your calendar, via dial-in number and conference ID, or sign in as a guest on the web.

See our Microsoft Teams training sessions to learn more. 

Skype for Business

Employees with a Skype for Business telephone extension are also able to make or receive calls from on-campus extensions and off-campus numbers. See Skype for Business phones section below.

You have a Skype extension if your phone extension begins with a "4" e.g. 44358

You can use your device (i.e. iPhone, Android phone, Windows PC, or Mac) that is capable of running a Skype for Business client, you can perform all telephone and collaboration-related actions, regardless of your location (i.e. VPN not required).  

Calling 911 from off-campus using S4B 

If you are using Skype for Business from off-campus and need to call 911 for an emergency, it is highly recommended to call 911 from another device, such as a home phone or mobile device.

If you do call 911 from Skype for Business, if possible, you will need to:

  • Inform the regional services of your actual location  

  • Call UWaterloo Police Services (519-888-4911) to inform them that you have called from off-campus and that campus police services should not go to your typically designated office

You have a traditional phone and extension if your extension begins with a "3" e.g. 34358

Using a device that is capable of running a Skype for Business client (i.e. iPhone, Android phone, Windows PC, or Mac), below is a list of the actions you can and cannot do:

Collaboration features that do work with Skype for Business "basic":

  • Skype-to-Skype calls

  • Instant message conversations with other Skype for Business users  

  • Create and participate in Skype Meetings  

  • Perform screen sharing with other Skype contacts  

  • Start video chatting (if one or both parties have a webcam)  

Collaboration features that do not work with Skype for Business "basic":

  • Access your OfficeLinx voicemail over the telephone from the Skype client  

  • Cannot call via extension or telephone number  

    • While you cannot dial by extension, you ca n call via voice to any other Skype user by searching for the person you want to communicate with, select the arrow beside the phone icon, and choose Skype Call  

  • If you need to contact someone at an extension on campus you can use any other available telephone you have and contact them through the standard methods of either dialling 519-888-4567 and speaking their name to the automated attendant, or entering their direct University extension


Skype for Business using Windows Remote Desktop

Skype for Business resources


Skype for Business using Windows Remote Desktop

Skype for Business resources

All University employees and students have access to a basic Skype for Business (S4B) account that offers many collaboration options, including:

  • Instant messaging  

  • Skype-to-Skype voice and video calling  

  • Skype meetings/conferencing  

  • Desktop/screen sharing

If you are using Skype for Business on a machine at home while using Remote Desktop to connect to a workstation in the office: 

  1. Start a Remote Desktop session. 

  2. Select 'Show Options'. 

  3. Select 'Local Resources' at the top. 

    1. You may need to go under 'Local Devices and resources' and select 'Other supported plug and play (PnP) devices'.

  4. Under 'Remote audio', select 'Settings'. 

  5. Set Remote audio playback to 'Play on this computer'. 

  6. Set Remote audio recording to 'Record from this computer'. 

Please see the Skype for Business installation and configuration articles for additional information and support.


Note: Individuals cannot forward their extensions to off-campus telephones.

Traditional phones

There are many ways to make and receive phone calls/messages from a traditional, office-based phone. 

Skype for Business phones

Skype for Business (S4B) phone extensions can be accessed anywhere with an Internet connection. Interested in Skype for Business phone? Contact your department telephone administrator to see if there are plans to migrate your department.



IT help and support

519-888-4567 ext. 44357

Additional Resources


Faculty Specific Resources 

Check your faculty computing department for any specific guidelines.

Did you know?

The W Store has printers, laptops, external drives, headsets, noise-cancelling headphones, cables, and much more available for purchase. Can't find what you're looking for on their website? Email for assistance.

Need help?

Contact the IST Service Desk online or 519-888-4567 ext. 44357.

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