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Staff digital skills guides

Working remotely


What is 'working remotely'?

Remote working takes many forms. It might be working from home or it might be bringing together people from multiple locations for a virtual meeting or classroom. On this page we'll take a look at some useful tools.

When you're at home, remember to take regular breaks and work appropriate hours; prioritise your own wellbeing.


Zoom is the recommended video conferencing tool here at York. It can be accessed via a web browser, mobile app, or desktop app. The browser experience allows multiple users to communicate via video, audio, or live-chat, screen-share, and share control of a shared screen. The desktop app contains a number of additional features, such as virtual whiteboards, breakout rooms and custom backgrounds.

When using Zoom, you'll need to make sure you are signed in with your University of York account.

Below you'll find some links to further support using Zoom. Our Zoom Wiki (requires UoY login) covers a range of support topics from scheduling and securing your meeting to using Zoom for teaching and managing Zoom recording.


Slack is a chat service used by a number of groups and departments. Access is available to members of staff in participating departments or groups. Take a look at our software page for more details:

Google Mail

The University of York uses Google Mail as its email service. This means that it integrates very nicely with the other Google applications.

Forthcoming training sessions

Forthcoming sessions on :

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Accessibility online

All our guides include help with accessibility and inclusivity, but you can access some specific help here:

Google Meet

Google Meet is a video communication service available as part of our Google Workspace. It allows multiple users to communicate via video, audio, or live-chat, and to screen-share.

Like a lot of Google applications, it's gone through various names, so you might catch us calling it 'Hangouts' or 'Hangouts Meet' in places.

Meet vs Zoom

The University has two main meeting tools, both of which can be used with Google Calendar. The other tool, Zoom, has a lot more features, and a lot more stability (at least when used through the stand-alone app rather than via the browser version). Meet tends to be a lot more resource-heavy, so may cause problems on less powerful computers.

Scheduling and joining a Meet

Some practical considerations:

  • The hardest bit is getting microphones and cameras to work – You may have to wrestle with your browser settings (often an icon will appear in your address bar). You can switch between cameras via the 'More options' kebab menu (⋮) and the 'Settings' "cog" in Meet. Take a look at this video for more help:
  • Mute your microphone if you're not using it. That way your face won't keep appearing every time you cough or fidget.

  • You could use the chat feature for things like agendas, or even for quietly asking for the floor in busier meetings to avoid too much chaos.

Collaborative documents

Working remotely isn't just about video conferencing. You can do a lot just by using collaborative documents like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Using (and sharing) our online resources

If you're looking for further guidance on using digital tools when working remotely (or on campus), our Skills Guides are the place to look! Not only do they cover content on digital, information, and academic skills, but they can also be shared with students and colleagues, by linking to pages or embedding pages or specific boxes (like this one!) on a VLE site or other webpage.

Google Groups

Google Groups make it easy to communicate and collaborate with groups of people, such as project teams and departments.

A group is like a mailing list: it contains the email addresses of its members, but it also has its own address.

Using the email address for the group, you can:

  • Email group members
  • Invite group members to meetings via Calendar
  • Share content and access with group members, including Google Drive files and folders, Shared Drives and calendars

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is (as you might be able to deduce) Google's calendar tool. It lets you easily manage appointments and invite people to meetings and events.


Trello is an online dashboard for logging and allocating tasks that is often used for project management. It can be a useful way to keep track of actions and who is working on different areas of work. You can add team members to project 'boards' and work together to update progress on pieces of work.

Trello is a third party tool that the University of York does not have a licence for, which means you can only use the free version of Trello and we do not advise putting any confidential data into Trello itself (or link it to other services containing data, such as Slack or Google Drive or Calendar). This means that you'll want to keep your project documentation and data in Google Drive, and only use Trello for managing actions and tasks. As the University cannot help with any data loss in Trello, we suggest you keep any important project information stored elsewhere (for example, spreadsheets can be a good way of storing key milestones and progress updates outside of Trello).