How we work during lockdown

What support is available for me if I am struggling with the technical side of remote working?

There is lots of technical support for colleagues who are working away from the campus. Many colleagues have already successfully transitioned to new remote working and exploring the different technologies available.

It is recommended that Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Teams are used as the default methods for communicating. Skype for Business can be used if necessary, however some users have reported challenges with this software.

If you need some assistance with making changes to your own practices, there is detailed information within the Keeping you connected section of the Staff Wellbeing webpages, along with further guidance available on the IT Services website for accessing and using the relevant software.

If you have any issues, please contact

For ease, information and tips on some of the more everyday activities are set out below:

How to setup a group chat

Setting up a group chat is great when you want to chat online with a group of staff by sending messages that can be responded to instantly and in a more informal way. The chat function is a great way to keep in touch with people regularly.

Setting up group chats is beneficial for both informal and formal communication. These can be setup within both Cisco Jabber and Microsoft Teams.

Platform - Cisco Jabber

Click on the Jabber icon on your desktop and select the settings cog. Select “File”, “New” and then “Chat room” from the menus. In the new room creation window, enter a name and description for the new chat room. The name and description entered should be appropriate and informative as they are searchable by all staff at the University. When you have created the new chat room, you will be prompted to add members to the chat room. You can either add them straight away or add them at a later date. Further guidance on using Cisco Jabber can be found here.

Platform - Microsoft Teams

Within Microsoft Teams, click the ‘new chat’ button on the left of the search bar at the top of the window. Click the down arrow on the right-hand side of the window. This will allow you to enter a name for the group chat. You can then search for colleagues by name to add them to the chat.

How to call a colleague directly/arrange a meeting

Cisco jabber provides the ability to make phone calls using your University telephone extension. Cisco jabber also provides the option to make video calls which can be helpful to feel connected to people, further guidance can be found on the IT Services website.

In addition, you can video call a colleague by using Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams. It is recommended that, if possible, you use Microsoft Teams as some users have reported issues with using Skype for Business. If not already on your device, Microsoft Teams can be downloaded from the Software Center which can be accessed from the start menu. Skype for Business is installed on all devices and can be found by typing ‘Skype for Business’ in the start menu search bar. Your login will be

The easiest way to contact a colleague directly is to organise a meeting directly through your Microsoft Outlook calendar where it allows you to select the option of a Skype or Microsoft Teams meeting and automatically includes the link to the meeting within the calendar invite.

To begin, you will set up a meeting using the outlook calendar as you normally would and you add attendees to the meeting invite. Where you would normally select location you can simply look at the options at the top bar and you will see the option for ‘Skype’ or ‘Teams’ meeting. Selecting either of these options will create a link in the invite, this link will be sent to all recipients and they can click this link to access the meeting.

How to share your screen whilst on a video call

Sometimes it can be helpful to share your screen during a video call, particularly where it is helpful to make a presentation.  This can be done within Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

Platform - Skype for Business

To share your screen when you are in a Skype for Business call , you can select the icon to the left of the ‘End Call’ button, this gives multiple options to share window, desktop or PowerPoint Files.

Platform - Microsoft Teams

To share your screen when you are in a Microsoft Team, during the call select the icon to the left of the 3 dots. This enables you to share a specific window or share your desktop.

How to keep your online status up to date

Whilst working remotely, it is really important to keep your status up to date. It can help people to know when they can contact you. Within Cisco Jabber, Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams your status will automatically update when you are in a scheduled meeting that is recorded in your calendar.

If you require further support or guidance on this, please contact IT services on

How do I select the most appropriate method of communication?

To help you to select the most appropriate method of communication, it is important to think about the purpose of the contact and who will be involved. There are many platforms available so think about the best one for your needs.  If you want to send a short message to a colleague or ask a quick question, consider whether this is better done through chat function rather than through email. If you think it may be best to communicate via a phone or video call, consider sending the person a message first to check they are available to take a call.

What is the etiquette during video calls?

For many people, taking part in meetings via a video link is a new experience. When participating in video calls, especially calls with a large number of people, there are a few tips you can follow to help the call go smoothly:

  • Ensure that you join the meeting on or ahead of the scheduled start time
  • Ensure your microphone is muted unless you are talking – this reduces background noise and feedback
  • If there are a lot of people on the call and you are not speaking, consider turning off your video
  • Depending on the environment in which you are making the call, you may want to blur the background of your video image. To do this within Microsoft Teams, select the more actions icon (three horizontal dots) select ‘Show background effects’ and select ‘Blur’
  • If you have a question or comment, consider using the chat function where available to bring this to the speaker’s attention. To enter the chat function in Microsoft Teams, click on the speech bubble icon
  • Try to avoid multi-tasking and concentrate your attention on the individual talking in the meeting. It can be difficult to read physical body language via a video call and maintaining attention can help the speaker to interpret your reaction and gauge when you may want to respond