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Remote Working 

  See the University's remote working policy at this time: Working from Home Guidelines during COVID-19 Closure period (July 2020)

What does the University closure mean for staff?

Staff will be working remotely. Members of our University Management Team will contact any staff who may be required to continue to work from campus during the closure. 

  • Remote access to IT services: For advice on how to access University web services remotely, please visit our Remote Access to IT Services webpage.
  • Learning Technologies: For guides and resources on a variety of Learning Technologies at the University, please visit CELT's Learning Technologies page (https://tips.nuigalway.ie/)
  • Shifting lectures online: Supports for shifting to online teaching during the COVID-19 crisis available on this CELT Sharepoint site

For lecturers and School administrators: We thank you for your commitment and flexibility in responding to the sudden need for remote working and facilitating online teaching and assessment. We would like to draw your attention to the supports and resources on the CELT Sharepoint site to help you deliver your classes online.

For Programme and Module Leaders: Please note that the deadlines for updating AKARI Curriculum Manager have been extended as follows:

  • New Programmes/Modules: 17 April
  • All other updates: 28 April

For Researchers: We advise that researchers should work from home unless there is a critical need to access facilities (e.g. Labs). In such cases you should contact your line manager for advice on access.

How do I maintain important IT Security while working from home?

Secure Remote Working Guidance

When working while off-campus, it is important for university staff to do the following to ensure the security and protection of University systems and data:

  • Access key resources using official URLs as listed here: http://www.nuigalway.ie/remoteaccess/
  • Work only on official University platforms including Blackboard, the University email system and the University’s Office365 environment which includes OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams
  • For sharing of files and online collaboration, use OneDrive and/or SharePoint, both of which can be accessed alongside your email at https://www.office.com  
  • To share very large size files or for especially sensitive files use the HeaNet FileSender service
  • For online meetings, the recommended and supported platform is Microsoft Teams - this solution is both GDPR compliant and adheres to the University security policy.  Further information on the use of Teams is available here
  • Don’t use personal email accounts for emails involving University data
  • Ensure your computer, laptop, or device, is used in a safe location, where you can keep sight of it, and minimise who else can view the screen, particularly if working with sensitive personal data
  • Lock your device if you do have to leave it unattended for any reason. Make sure your devices are turned off, locked, or stored carefully when not in use.
  • Take extra care that devices, such as USBs, phones, laptops, or tablets, are not lost or misplaced
  • Before sending an email, double-check its addressing to ensure you’re sending it to the correct recipient(s), particularly for emails involving large amounts of data or sensitive personal data
  • Avoid retaining duplicate copies of data on your device. Please check that downloaded files are deleted from your computer’s Download Folder / Hard Disk once saved to OneDrive, SharePoint or Network folders and are not retained on devices where they may be visible to unauthorised individuals
  • If you are working without cloud or network access, ensure any locally stored data is adequately backed up in a secure manner
  • Keep any paper documents that contain University data secure when working at home – lock paper files away when not in use. Use a shredder / confidential bin when disposing of University documents
  • Consult with the University’s Data Protection website to ensure that you are familiar with our Data Protection Policies and Procedures, and please also have regard to this guidance from the national Office of the Data Protection Commissioner

How do I maintain important Data Protection and GDPR compliance at this time?

  • In regard to GDPR it is important to continue to comply with the legislation and some simple guidance is in this link https://dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/protecting-personal-data-when-working-remotely; and please consult with our data protection website for guidance and details of our data protection policies and procedures: https://www.nuigalway.ie/data-protection/
  • If you are volunteering or assisting another body (for example the HSE or other) during the period of the COVID-19 emergency unless strictly necessary please ensure that if you are given access to sensitive personal data(for example medical data) that such sensitive personal data is accessed, processed and stored on the other bodies systems so that the sensitive personal data is fully protected.
  • It is acknowledged that working from home provides a number of challenges not least of which is securing your work and protecting both your data and that of the University.  We would like to remind staff that best practice in this matter is contained in the following document:  https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/oifiganrunai/GDPR-ICT-Best-Practice.pdf and would remind staff that both ISS and the Data Protection Officer are available to address any queries you may have in this area. 

Users of Zoom should familiarise themselves with the following:

  • Zoom GDPR compliance statement here
  • Zoom Privacy notice here 

Having considered these users can then decide on the appropriateness of using Zoom for their meeting. If you are invited to a meeting by an external body using Zoom or any other product, University data should not be shared via the platform.

Advice for managers and staff on Remote Working

  • Every effort should be made to facilitate staff to work from home during this time, in some instances staff may be asked to assist in other roles where required.
  • Although the University does not have a Remote Working policy staff need to be aware that if they are working from home they should be observe compliance with GDPR, and Health & Safety legislation. Whilst it would be normal that a risk assessment of your home would be carried out given that this is an emergency situation we are not in a position to undertake same. However, guidance is available on the HSA website link above giving practical advice for employees and employers. 
  • In regard to GDPR it is important to continue to comply with the legislation and some simple guidance is in this link https://dataprotection.ie/en/news-media/blogs/protecting-personal-data-when-working-remotely
  • While staff are working remotely there should be regular contact maintained. This should be done either by phone or using video conferencing technology i.e. Microsoft 365 teams.
  • It is important to support each other during this time.

Guidance in the use of Online Technologies during the COVID-19 Emergency

The University staff /student community recommended products for online meetings/collaboration are.

  1. For the sharing of files, in particular confidential information, and for online collaboration or presentations the use of Microsoft OneDrive and/or SharePoint is recommended.  This solution is both GDPR compliant and adheres to the University security policy. For sharing of very large files or for especially commercially or personally sensitive files the use of the HeaNet FileSender service is required.
  2. For online internal meetings with colleagues, the use of Microsoft Teams is recommended. Further information on the use of teams is available here.
  3. For online teaching the Blackboard Collaborate tool is recommended.  It offers rich features to support classroom engagement.  A guide to using Collaborate is available here.
  4. For tele conference calls conference phone bridges which can be requested via the ISS ticketing system. These offer voice only team meetings but can be useful, including in cases where some colleagues do not have internet access.
  5. For online meetings where the attendees are both internal University employees and external members of the public (e.g. Údarás na hOllscoile and subcommittees of Údarás) the use of ZOOM technology during the period of the Covid-19 Emergencyis supported subject to the recommendations listed below.  Technical support for Údarás meetings convened using this technology is available on request to ISS/CELT.

Recommendations regarding the use of Zoom  (During the period of COVID-19 Emergency)

Zoom is a feature rich online meeting tool which offers extra functionality not currently available in Microsoft Teams (e.g. the ability for the Chair of the meeting to view all participants at once in a Gallery view). Where Zoom is being used the convener of and participants in the meeting should follow the recommendations below.

  • A professional zoom licence must be used by the meeting convener.  The University has purchased a limited number of such licences which are available for use subject to meeting planning.
  • The meeting invitation should be sent by the convenor and should include a web-link so that attendees can join the meeting securely. This invitation should only be shared with those attending the meeting and attendees should not share the meeting details with others.
  • The meeting invitation should include a unique meeting password/pin so that access to the meeting is controlled.
  • Conveners should  use the ‘Waiting Room Feature’ to further control attendees joining the meeting.
  • All attendees should join the meeting with their video camera switched on so that they may be positively identified prior to the meeting commencing.  Cameras may be switched off following positive identification of the attendee.
  • Attendees should ensure that their name is associated with their camera for ease of identification by the Chair of the meeting.
  • The meeting convener should lock the meeting when all attendees have joined.
  • Screen sharing should be limited to the convener.  No confidential documents or documents containing sensitive persona data should be shared using the Zoom technology.   Microsoft SharePoint should be used to share confidential material.
  • Participants in Zoom meeting should not share files or links to University data via Zoom chat windows .
  • The convener of the meeting should ensure the online meeting is ended .
  • Where Zoom is being used for a webinar, ensure attendees functions are restricted to the minimum required to participate

Home working tips and recommendations from Dr Mike Hynes (Environmental Sociologist, School of Political Science & Sociology)

Click the link to read some useful and practical tips for working from home, presented by Dr Mike Hynes (Environmental Sociologist, School of Political Science & Sociology)

Home Working Tips and Recommendations

What support is available for out-of-pocket expenses that are essential for my work during the COVID-19 university closure?

If you do not already have access at home to everything you need to discharge your duties the following process should be followed:

  • Discuss your requirement with your line (and usually budget) manager before incurring any expenditure.
  • Once the expenditure is approved by your line manager, aim to procure the item through the University’s procurement system, raising a purchase order against an authorised supplier contract where they are in place.
  • Ensure that you can demonstrate value for money and, where possible, choose items that may be utilised within the University when remote working concludes, even if by another unit.
  • Ensure that you can demonstrate that the expenditure is wholly, necessarily and exclusively required to discharge your duties, failure to demonstrate this may result in a benefit-in-kind tax liability.
  • Small incidental items (e.g. stamps) that individuals have paid for themselves may be reclaimed through the Agresso Web Expenses system in accordance with the attached policy.

While there is no additional funding to cover these costs, each UMT member has been provided with a COVID-19 cost centre to which the expenditure may be costed, if there is insufficient capacity to cover the cost within existing non-pay budgets. This will impact the College's/Unit's overall surplus / deficit position at the end of the financial year.

What support is available to help with the costs of heating, electricity and broadband generated when working from home?

Please also note that there is tax relief available for remote working on costs incurred on heating, electricity and broadband that can be claimed directly from Revenue. Further details of this are available at the link below.