Computer Options for Working Remotely

It is easier than ever to work remotely. UMD employees have several technology options when working from home. These include:

Ideally you will have a high speed internet connection at home. If you do not have internet service where you will be working, talk to your supervisor to develop a plan regarding how you will be able to receive and submit work. 

Other helpful instructions:

Use your work laptop

If your unit or department has provided you with a laptop to use, that is your easiest option when working from home. Review the Working Remotely page for tips on how to prepare your laptop for working off campus.

Use your personally owned computer

If you own a personal computer that you feel comfortable using for work, that can be an easy option as well. Review the Prepare to Work Remotely page for tips on how to prepare your computer. Additionally, review the Practice Safe Computing section on the Working and Learning Off Campus website. It is important that you do not save work documents to a home computer.

Google Drive and Docs can open and save Microsoft Office files, and that is our recommended solution. However, if you must work directly in a product like Excel but do not own a copy of Microsoft Office, you may download a copy of Microsoft Office 365 through the University.  

Borrow a Chromebook from ITSS 

ITSS has a limited number of Chromebooks available to check out for extended use at home.  These are small, very basic laptops that connect to wifi and run Chrome OS. They are designed to work well with Google Apps. UMD staff and students can run Windows virtually on a Chromebook by connecting to byod.d.umn.edu.

If you have a business need for Chromebook use at home, contact the ITSS HelpDesk to get on the list.

Bring your office desktop home

If none of the above options are available and you need a computer to work at home - you may be able to bring your office desktop home. But this is not as simple as your other options.

  • Check with your department:  Verify with your department that they would like you to do this, and follow any steps they may have in place. 
  • Ethernet: Be aware that many Windows PC desktops do not have wifi capabilities, so you may need to use an ethernet cable to plug directly into your home’s cable modem or router.  ITSS has a limited number of ethernet cables for home use.
  • Data backup: You should back up any data on the computer before moving it. Hopefully, all of your data is on Google Drive or AD.
  • Power down: Never move your computer until it’s completely powered down.
  • Disconnecting and Connecting: PCs can have a lot of cords, so we recommend snapping a photo of the back of your computer and the back of your monitor before unplugging anything. You can refer to the photos you took when plugging everything back in. 
  • Transporting it: When transporting a monitor or an iMac, if you cannot secure it in an upright position, it is best to lay it down on a completely flat, soft, cushioned surface so that there is no pressure on the display. If your desktop is larger, sometimes it can make sense to use a seatbelt to buckle it in when you transport it home in your vehicle. 

Before bringing your desktop home, please review the Prepare to Work Remotely page for tips on how to prepare your computer for working off campus.