Resources for Telecommuting and Remote Work

The University continues to closely monitor the changing COVID-19 situation in New York City and globally. University leadership, with guidance from medical and public health experts, has been meeting daily to provide guidance and develop adaptive policies across all areas of campus life to support the well-being of the Columbia community.

In the event employees are instructed to begin working remotely, this page offers numerous resources for effective telecommuting.

About Covid-19

As Columbia University continues to monitor COVID-19, consult the University's Response Site or Columbia Preparedness for up-to-date information.

COVID-19 Fact Sheet

Columbia Preparedness has provided a fact sheet to help reduce the chances of contracting COVID-19.

Columbia Health Guides

Columbia Health provided guides for self-isolation for members of the Columbia Community.


A message from Melanie Bernitz, MD, MPH; Associate Vice President and Medical Director, Columbia Health, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine (in the Center for Family and Community Medicine)

I-9 Anywhere

Please see the message below from Columbia University Human Resources with instructions for completing I-9 and E-Verify for new hires.

Accessing Work Remotely

Many work resources are accessible from either your Columbia-issued or personal laptop or tablet. LionMail is accessible from any device by visiting and logging in with your UNI and password. Once logged in, additional LionMail resources (e.g. Drive, Calendar, Docs) are accessible from the Google Apps menu in the top right of your screen. For additional help, consult CUIT.

When working remotely, you may need to start a VPN session to access certain restricted applications (e.g. Slate). For detailed instructions, consult instructions provided by CUIT.

Accessing Remote Desktop

How to Access Remote Desktop (Mac Users) (PDF)

How to Access Remote Desktop (PC Users) (PDF)

Working Collaboratively

Holding Meetings

Location doesn’t matter when you have reliable online tools to help you connect and collaborate with colleagues. CUIT provides the Columbia community with access to the Zoom platform, allowing users to hold tele- and video conferences. Learn more about video conferencing options from CUIT.

Per CUIT policy, all Zoom accounts are UNI-authenticated, meaning users must log in with UNI and password to access individual  Zoom accounts. Additionally, all users are capable of hosting an unlimited number of 40-minute meetings, with up to 300 people per meeting.

Note: Using Zoom requires your device to have a functioning microphone and/or camera. Consult the system settings on your device to verify your microphone and camera are working.

Jena Tumbleson has prepared a wonderful resource for using Zoom. Jena is the Executive Assistant for the Columbia Alumni Association in the Office of Alumni and Development. She created this resource for the CAA Board and has agreed to share it.

Zoom Meetings Primer - Desktop and App (PowerPoint)

In addition, CUIT provides access to a range of Google Apps that may help you and your team work remotely. Applications like GChat and Drive are helpful for communicating and collaborating on documents. To learn how to set up GChat and access Drive, consult CUIT and Google’s support documentation.  Columbia faculty and staff have access to Linkedin Learning (formerly, which has a training session on how to fully utilize Google Hangouts and GChat.

Call Forwarding

In the event employees are advised to work remotely, it is recommended that employees forward their office phones.

For employees using NetPhone, CUIT has a user guide with instructions for call forwarding. Look for the “Forwarding All Calls” drop-down option under the “Receiving Calls” header and then click “Features” which will load a page where you can make several changes.

For employees with a ROLM phone, CUIT provides instructions for forwarding calls. Instructions can be found on the ROLM phone tutorial, under the “FORWD” tab.

If you are unsure if you have a NetPhone or ROLM phone, ask your systems administrator or consult SEAS-IT by emailing

Managing Employees

In addition, we have compiled some resources that may help managers and employees guide their teams and themselves while working remotely:

Resources for Faculty

Columbia Engineering faculty can consult our guide to Teaching Online with any questions about setting up a Zoom meeting, recording a class, CourseWorks or any other questions.

Data Security

If you are working remotely, especially on a personal device, be aware of data security issues. Some data (e.g. payroll information, student records) may require additional precautions when accessed on personal devices. Consult with your supervisor to see if you handle sensitive information, and consult CUIT's Office of the Chief Information Security Officer for more information on best practices, data protection, and more.

If you are accessing your desktop remotely by using a VPN, please consult CUIT’s policies and best practices for using remote access services such as VPN or Citrix.

Get Help

If you need IT support for an issue related to telecommuting or remote work, submit a Help ticket to CUIT and they will connect you  with someone who can help. You can also email to report issues and get assistance. For questions related specifically to working remotely at Columbia Engineering, email and someone from our IT staff will reach out to provide assistance.


Will temps be able to participate in telework?

Please contact SEAS-HR to discuss the need to use temporary employees during this time.

I am experiencing stress and anxiety. Does the University provide any resources?

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available for employees and their families.

Who should I contact if I have questions about telework?

If you have questions related to equipment or University software, please speak to your supervisor.

FAQs for Support Staff and NUSS Employees

Will my work hours be the same?

Generally, yes. Employees should not work outside of their approved working hours unless expressly approved and communicated by their supervisor.

What if I need to work overtime?

As is usually the case, overtime must be approved in advance by your supervisor.