Planning Guide for Managers - University of Houston
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Planning Guide for Managers

Do these things now

  1. Have your staff update their contact information
  2. Identify which members of your staff have high-speed Internet access and appropriate technology to work from home
  3. Make sure your staff members have active CougarNet accounts with current passwords
  4. Identify your departmental technology providers
  5. In addition to your team members, make sure you have addressed these issues for yourself
  6. Complete the planning checklist below

Planning Checklist

Make sure your group can work off-campus

  1. Identify the tools they'll need to work off-campus
  2. Identify the files they'll need to work on
  3. Arrange for new tools if you need them
  4. Test your tools

Create a practical plan for working off-campus

  1. Define who among your staff can effectively work off-campus
  2. Define the conditions under which your staff should work from off-campus
  3. Develop a communication plan
  4. Troubleshoot software & software licensing issues
  5. Think about security issues

Communicate with your staff

  1. Share your plan with your staff
  2. Make sure they know what University resources are available to them

Stay Connected

  1. Use VoiceMail Features like "Find Me" to allow customers to call your published number and then the UH phone system will re-direct the call to your forwarding number
  2. Distribute a department contact list to your department and customers
  3. Use Instant Messaging (IM) to connect with staff and colleagues

Detailed Instructions

Step 1: Identify the tools you'll need to work off-campus

CougarNet Accounts

To access many UH tools, including the Virtual Private Network (VPN), your employees will need a CougarNet account. Make sure they already have a CougarNet account before they have to start working off-campus.

Virtual Private Network

To work off campus, your employees may need access to the UH Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN requires an active CougarNet account. Use the list below to identify which applications require VPN.

Tool Needs VPN Notes
Office (Excel, Powerpoint, Word, Access) No Your employees will still need VPN access to get to shared network folders. No
Other email clients No
Voicemail No Phone; mailbox number (usually extension) and password.
Blackboard No
Home Drives
(H: Drives)
Yes Get Help can help you connect to your H: Drive, once you have VPN running.
On-campus Shared Network Folders Yes Get Help can help you connect to shared network folders on campus, once you have VPN running.
SharePoint Yes  
Web Server Yes SFTP & SSH
Remote Desktop No Remote computer access
for Windows users
VNC No Remote computer access
for non-Windows users

These UH websites do not require VPN:


Your employees may need special equipment to complete your duties off-campus. Determine what they will need to maintain the same level of service while working off-campus.

Collaboration Tools

IT provides and sponsors multiple services to staff to enable collaboration whether they are on campus or off-campus.

Tool Needs VPN Notes
ListServ No
SharePoint Yes
Conference Bridge No For more info, see
Conferencing Off-Campus
IT Twitter No

Department-specific tools

For college/department specific software, please contact the college/department support person. For further assistance, please contact the UIT Support Center by calling 713-743-1411, or sending email to

Step 2: Identify the files you'll need to work on

If your employees will be working with files located in shared folders on the campus network, they'll need VPN installed and running on your off-campus computer. In some cases, they may be able to use remote desktop or VNC to access shared files. Contact your departmental IT support person for more information about access departmental shared files.

If the files your employees will be working with do not contain sensitive information, they might also use a USB jump drive, burn a CD, or email themselves the files they need off-campus.

Step 3: Encourage security practices to your employees when working off-campus

Ask your staff to:

For more about Information Security, you can visit our IT Security web site or the Texas DIR IT Security web site.

Step 4. Test your tools

Test the applications your group uses to ensure they are accessible remotely.

Step 5. Define who among your staff can effectively work off-campus

Depending upon the resources needed, your staff may be able to accomplish many tasks working off-campus. It is important to realize what cannot be accomplished from off-campus and set common expectations with staff.

Step 6. Define the conditions under which your staff should work from off-campus

Develop a "Working Off-Campus" business continuity plan for your area.

Step 7. Develop a communication plan

Adopt or develop a communication plan that will work for your group. Providing clear messages to your group will allow everyone to work together as efficiently as possible.

Step 8. Troubleshoot software & software licensing issues

Many UH applications are licensed for use at home as well as on campus. Some application licensing is more restrictive. You may need to verify that home or secondary computer use is allowed. Some departmental on-campus applications may require authentication to a software key server.

Step 9. Think about security issues

Plan to accommodate security concerns and ensure that processes that are changed still meet security guidelines. Backups and data storage may require new solutions to meet security standards off-campus.

Step 10. Share your plan with your staff

Ensure that all staff understand the plan and have resources identified to meet the plan objectives.

Step 11. Make sure they know what University resources are available to them

Ensure that your staff understand what resources are available to them and how to apply them to their needs. Staff who have not previously accessed University resources from off-campus may need additional assistance, especially with technical issues.