Hybrid work and technology guidelines for Winter 2022

The guidelines below include general best practices for University of Waterloo employees working both in the office and remotely.  

Please also see our information about Common requests for in-person IT support for a list of requests and suggested solutions.

In this article:

Meeting guidelines 

Care must be exercised to manage and protect privacy during meetings held remotely. Whether you are the host or a participant, take note of these policies for enhancing confidentiality:

  • When one or more participants are working from home, meetings should be held online via Teams.  

  • When all participants are in the office, meetings can be held in-person, following meeting room capacity limits and social distancing protocols.

  • Employees with a Skype for Business telephone extension can use Skype for Business to make or receive on-campus and off-campus calls. Read more about using Skype for Business for collaboration. 

Augmenting rooms for hybrid meetings 

Hybrid meetings include both online and in-office participants. Meeting rooms with a large screen (data projector or “tv” type display) used with Microsoft Teams allow those in the meeting room to see the remote participants. If the room does not have speakers and/or room microphones, an individual in the room can use their laptop for both, depending upon room size. To further augment rooms for hybrid meetings, there are cost-effective, moveable solutions. Permanent (fixed) solutions are convenient but come at a higher cost. See also https://uwaterloo.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/ISTKB/pages/42629038084.

Fixed install 

  • Requires design, installation, configuration, bringing a higher cost.

  • Special consideration should be given to lighting, sound, room architecture, platform-agnostic hardware. 


For design/equipment selection consultation contact ITMS Presentation Technology Services (ITMS-PTS) at eclass@uwaterloo.ca. Please note that due to the high volume of inquiries for our technology services we may redirect requests, in particular for fixed solutions, to external integrators. 

Hybrid meeting best practices 

  • Ensure you are familiar with the conferencing platform prior to the meeting and how it will work with the technology in the room. 

  • Make a test call to test your mic, speakers, and camera. 

  • Remind participants to keep their audio on mute when not speaking. 

  • Encourage remote participants to enable their cameras whenever possible. 

  • Keep side conversations to a minimum. 

  • Encourage all participants to raise their hand and be called on before speaking. 

  • Respect your colleagues, whether they are joining in remotely or in person. 


Work equipment guidelines 

Department budget permitting, IST recommends University employees receive a laptop computer and one docking station. While a laptop is not a requirement to return to campus, it is recommended to provide flexibility while working from home  and in the office. Additional benefits of using a laptop vs. a desktop: 

  • IT sustainability - using a single work device has lower overall energy expenditure in comparison to using multiple devices for a remote desktop setup  

  • User workflow - using a University-provided laptop eliminates the need to use a remote desktop in most cases; users can access software directly from their laptop 

If you have a University-owned desktop 

  • Your desktop should remain in the office. To connect to your desktop from an off-campus computer, first connect to the campus virtual private network (VPN), then connect to your machine using Remote Desktop

  • Desktop computers that have been taken home should be returned to the office once you begin working on campus regularly again. 

  • Computers that have been shut off (or managed Windows machines used at home without VPN) for 3+ months should be updated by your IT support staff before it is used for work to ensure proper functioning and security. Contact your IT support staff for assistance. 

Secure computing practices 

Additional resources 

Need help?

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

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