Telecommuting 101

Special thanks to the College of Sciences for sharing the original version of this document.

Table of Contents


Existing Policies, Procedures, and Guidance

Manage Your Office Phone

  • Call Forwarding: When you are working remotely, your Georgia Tech office phone can be forwarded to your location.

    • Adjust forwarding from the web:

      1. Connect to the VPN, log into the CISCO Unified Communications Self Care Portal.

      2. Select the Call Forwarding menu link on the left

      3. If you do not see your phone listed, reach out to your unit’s telecom contact.  This is normally your facilities coordinator.

      4. Check the box Forward all calls to:, and select Add a new number from the drop-down box.

      5. Select Save.

    • Forward analog Georgia Tech office phone from your office:

      1. Pick up the handset or press the speaker button to get dial tone
      2. Dial *74, enter the phone number to forward your calls
      3. Dial *74 + 9 + area code + number

    • Note: When you phone is forwarded, you will hear one ring at your desk before the caller is transferred to the forwarded destination.

    • Deactivate call forwarding from your Georgia Tech office:

      1. Pick up the handset or press the speaker button to get dial tone
      2. Dial #74

  • Voicemail: Check your Georgia Tech Voicemail or configure voicemail to go to your email:

BlueJeans for Video Conferencing

  • BlueJeans is the Georgia Tech standard voice/video meeting solution. It supports:
    • Conference rooms
    • Individual computers (via app or web browser)
    • Phones (via Android/iOS app or traditional phone dial in number)

  • To schedule a meeting, log into the Georgia Tech BlueJeans Portal (https://gatech.bluejeans.com).

  • Recommendation: Proactively add a BlueJeans meeting location to the calendar invite of any upcoming meeting where someone may be telecommuting.

  • Please see our instructions for scheduling BlueJeans meetings from within Canvas or directly in BlueJeans

Video Conferencing Basics

  • Use a headset.
    • Ideally one with a microphone and headphones(speakers)
    • Most cellphone headsets will work in most laptops
    • Even headphones without a microphone substantially help reduce echo

  • Mute your microphone when not speaking.
    • In BlueJeans, hold the keyboard "space bar" down to temporarily unmute

  • Avoid:
    • Busy backgrounds (e.g. moving ceiling fan)
    • Loud environments
    • Backlighting

  • Keeping your video enabled helps others see body language. This reduces misunderstandings and greatly aids interjecting in active conversations and conversation velocity (agree/disagree by head nod or hand gesture).

  • Be mindful of participants who may have hearing disabilities.
    • For group meetings (more than two or three people), consider having someone take written notes to be shared after the meeting.
    • If organizing a larger group meeting where you don't know everyone who will attend, consider including a dedicated closed captionist.

VPN Usage and Services Requiring It

  • How to connect to the campus VPN

    • When finished with your work that requires the VPN, please disconnect from it.

  • Common services/applications that do not require the campus VPN:
    • BlueJeans, WebEx (Works better without VPN)
    • Office 365 (e-mail, Teams, One Drive, Sharepoint)
    • Canvas, Kaltura, Gradescope, Piazza
    • Workday (if accessed via the direct Workday link)

  • Common services/applications that do require the campus VPN:
    • TechWorks
    • Time Out
    • IAC File Server

  • Latest OIT official list of what requires VPN

Security Tips: General

  • Use the Georgia Tech VPN when needed, but ideally not when video conferencing.

  • Keep an eye out for Phishing and other scams:

    • Emergencies are a prime time for malicious impersonations

    • Watch out for calls, email, texts, etc. claiming to be from Georgia Tech, the College, or unit leadership

    • If in doubt:

      • Call the person with a phone number you already have (don't trust what was in the message)
      • Forward or Compose a new email (don't reply to what you received) asking for verification
      • Reach out to your local IT group: helpdesk@iac.gatech.edu or support@lmc.gatech.edu

  • Protect your Georgia Tech account and securely handling data

Security Tips: Personal Equipment

  • Review the latest updated guidance for personal equipment

  • Patch your system:

    • Patching your computer is one of the most important ways to protect yourself online.

    • Windows: Turn on Windows Update and set it to install patches automatically.

    • Mac: Use Mac Updates.

  • Patch your applications:

    • It is important to keep your applications updated, especially web browsers (Firefox / Chrome...)

  • Install anti-virus software

    • Several free anti-virus solutions are available for use on personal machines including built-in anti-virus (e.g. Windows Defender for Windows 10)

  • Set up unique logins/accounts for each person who uses the computer, ensure yours has a strong password.

Your Online Availability Visibility: Virtual Office Door

  • Office 365 will let others know your availability based on your calendar entries.  It status indicator can tell others if you are:

    • Available
    • Busy (could be disturbed for something important)
    • Do Not Disturb (e.g. in a meeting)

  • Available/Busy status represents what would otherwise be communicated by the state of your office door (open, slightly ajar, closed).

  • Your availability status is automatically updated based on your calendar, but it only conveys your general status. The details of your calendar entries remains private, unless you chose to make an entry public, which we don't recommend.

Microsoft Teams: Discussion Groups and Group Collaboration

  • Groups of individuals can set up an individual Team to support and enhance their collaboration. You can be part of more than one Team should you work with multiple groups on campus

    • Channels are individual discussion areas within a Team, usually dedicated to a general topic area handled by the team

  • Discussion areas offer real time text and file collaboration (and voice/video) but also keep a history of the discussion so that you can go back and review messages or catch up if you've been away from Teams for a while. It is similar in some ways to Slack.

  • If you’re not familiar with Microsoft Teams, there are a set of Microsoft Teams Training Videos that may help, especially "Intro To Microsoft Teams"

  • Accessing Microsoft Teams:

    • You can access the web version of Microsoft Teams from the “waffle” in the upper left corner of Office 365 webmail.

    • There are also native applications for Teams for each platform. In the web versions of Teams mentioned above, find the icon in the lower left navigation menu for "Download desktop app".

  • Please let IAC IT know if you need a Team created or need help getting started. Other videos in training site explain all of its features.

Additional Teleworking Tips and Tricks

  • Stand up and walk around occasionally, set a timer if needed. Teleworking often results in staying seated in your home office chair far longer than when in the office. A couple of minutes walking around every hour helps the mind (and body).

  • Creating a dedicated space to work helps retain work/life balance and keep you in a work mindset when at the "office".

  • If you have other individuals in the house, particularly kids, consider creating a traffic light indicator (green, yellow, red) by paper or light to help them understand when interruptions are OK. Even young kids pick up on this quickly and often like the "game".