Work Remotely: Frequently Asked Questions

On this page you'll find answers to frequently asked questions about working remotely. Remember, even though you’re working remotely, you’re not alone. If you have any further questions or issues, contact the HUIT Service Desk or your local IT support.

Internet / Network

What if I don't have reliable internet access at home, or my connection is slow?

HUIT's guide to getting online and optimizing your connection offers tips for accessing the internet and troubleshooting slow network connections. 

Can Harvard's network and IT systems support the increased demand of online courses?

HUIT staff have been working around the clock to prepare the tools and resources necessary to support remote teaching and learning. HUIT is working closely with our major vendors, including Zoom, Microsoft, Instructure (Canvas), Verizon, and others, to support continuity and stability of services throughout this period of exceptionally high demand from the Harvard community. 


Where can I find more information on Zoom videoconferencing?

See HUIT's Using Zoom at Harvard site for full details on getting started with Zoom, security tips, trainings, troubleshooting, and more. 

Files and Applications

How can I access my email, calendar, and files remotely?

Office 365 applications such as email, calendar, OneDrive and SharePoint can be accessed on any web browser. Visit for more details. 

Can I access my archived email remotely with the Outlook Web (OWA) client?

Yes, local Outlook archives can be made available for viewing remotely with OWA. View these instructions on how to move folders and emails into your online mailbox so that they are accessible through the Outlook Web client (OWA).

Can I access other commonly-used Harvard applications remotely?

Most of Harvard’s other major applications can be accessed from any web browser. Find them at

How do I get the additional software I need on my personal device to work remotely?

Harvard’s Microsoft contract allows faculty, students and staff to install Microsoft Office Pro Plus on personal devices. Install MS Office Pro.

Other applications need to be handled on a case by case basis due to vendor licensing agreements. Please contact the HUIT Service Desk or your local IT support to learn more. 

Which Harvard applications can I install on my personal mobile device?

Click here for a list of applications that can be installed on your personal mobile device. 

How can I access department shared drives?

Talk to your manager; if you have a Harvard-owned laptop and think you’ll need access to department shared drives (like your G: drive on Sox1 or Fasdepts), make sure you have a VPN account installed and tested.

How can I scan documents while working remotely?

Use the Microsoft OneDrive iOS app on your smart device to capture, scan and save documents while away from your regular office scanners.  This process is approved for scanning of Level 3 documents. Level 4 documents can be scanned using this method but must be moved immediately from your OneDrive into a Secure Level 4 Compliant SharePoint site and then securely deleted from OneDrive.  Follow these instructions for Scanning documents to OneDrive using the Microsoft OneDrive iOS app.  

How should I send high-risk (Level 4) data?

High-risk (Level 4) data should not be sent via email to anyone internal or external to Harvard. Accellion Kiteworks will encrypt the contents of your file for secure transfer. Learn more or get started here.


Can I use my personal devices to conduct Harvard work while working remotely?

Using a Harvard-owned device that has been configured to meet Harvard’s security requirements is always the best alternative for conducting Harvard work, both on campus and at another location. Note your personal device will not be permitted to connect to network fileshares. If your personal device is your only option, please read and comply with Harvard’s security policies:

You can access many of Harvard’s applications via any computer’s web browser:

With a personal computing device that you have updated to comply with Harvard’s security policies, you are still prohibited from:

  • Accessing network fileshares

  • Storing and synching files with level 4 data on your device


What is VPN and when should I use it?

A virtual private network (VPN) extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

When to use VPN:

  • Anytime you are conducting University business on your Harvard-owned laptop

  • You need to connect to network fileshares. (e.g., G: drive on Sox 1 or Fasdepts) on your Harvard-owned laptop. Note: connecting to fileshares from personally owned computers is prohibited, even with VPN.

  • If you need to use applications that require VPN. Some include:

  • Advance

  • Citrix

  • Giftwrap

  • Harvard Art Museums systems

  • Harvard Data Warehouse (Database)

  • HarvardPhone portal

  • I3 Contact Center

  • IIQ


  • PI Dashboard

  • QlikView

  • Various Library IT and IT specific apps including CyberArk, TWS/Maestro, Informatica

Learn how to request, install and test VPN


How do I keep my information secure if I'm using my personal device?

If you don’t have a Harvard-provided laptop, you’ll need to take extra steps to make sure your work stays secure. Follow Harvard’s Personal Device Security Guidelines

How can I verify my identity remotely with two-step verification?

You won’t be able to verify your identity through two-step verification from your office phone if you’re not there. Learn how to add additional devices for two-step verification


How can I retrieve my Harvard voicemail messages remotely?

You can access your Harvard voicemail messages remotely by following these steps:  

  1. Call the dial-in access number for Harvard voicemail: 617-998-3999. Hit * then the # key from your alternate phone. 
  2. Following the prompt, enter your ID and then the # key. (Your ID is your 5-digit Harvard telephone number.)  
  3. Following the prompt, enter your PIN followed by the # key. (Your PIN is your voicemail password/PIN.)  
  4. Follow the remaining prompts to access your voicemail.  

Click here for more information on Harvard Phone Voicemail service

Is Jabber SoftPhone available for use on remote devices?

Yes, Jabber softphone is available for faculty and staff that have, or are eligible to have, VoIP Harvard Phone service assigned to their Harvard Key. See more details concerning Jabber Softphone on the HarvardPhone website.

Can I use my cell phone on wi-fi?

Select phones are capable of Wi-Fi Calling, allowing you to make and receive domestic or international calls over a Wi-Fi network even if you're not within range of cellular coverage. If you have service issues while indoors, like dropped calls, Wi-Fi Calling can help alleviate those issues by routing your call over your internet connection securely. Wi-Fi calling requires an iPhone 6 or later on a supported carrier, or an Android device that supports HD calling. Click here to learn more.

Share Feedback

Have other questions you want answered on this FAQ?

Let us know and we’ll add them.

Share Feedback ✉