Working Remotely

Whitehead IT has several tools to enable remote working and collaboration. We recommend these best practices when working away from the Institute. These tips will help make remote working as seamless as possible.

Note that (if at all possible) we recommend setting up and testing these before they are needed in order to ensure they will work for your situation. The IT Call Center is available to consult with you on your options.

The First Step

You need to first answer the question: “What are you trying to accomplish?”

Once you know what you are trying to do, IT can help you figure out the technology needed. We will recommend the least technology needed for the task.

For instance, you do not need VPN software for everything.

You do not need VPN to:
Email (G Suite or any Google Suite Service (Calendar, Drive, Docs, etc)
Create a ticket for Facilities (AwareManager)
Use TrainCaster for training
Phone a co-worker (you may want to share the most accessible numbers within your department) Do not use Teleconferencing (Google Meet, Webex, Zoom, Skype) – it will work slower if you are in the VPN

What do you need VPN for:
Use Lawson
Use Kronos
Use Employee Self-Service
Look at Whitehead-subscribed Scientific Journals
Access wi-files or wi-bigdata (do not copy data through the VPN, use a machine at WI to copy) Accessing any PIPP (Personal Information Protection Plan)
Accessing any hard drive on a computer that is at WI (* additional setup is needed)

WI VPN with Cisco AnyConnect

When working remotely, we recommend connecting to the WI network with the Cisco AnyConnect Virtual Private Network (VPN) client. The VPN will route your traffic through Whitehead’s private, secure network. The Cisco AnyConnect VPN client can be installed on your computer, laptop, and mobile devices. If you have a computer at Whitehead and would like to remote-login to that machine, you must setup a reserved IP address. Once you have

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the IP address, you can login by name to the computer at Whitehead. This can be accomplished by contacting or x8-5134. If you want to install the Cisco AnyConnect Client, please go to: or contact
(Note that you cannot test using VPN when you are on the WI network.)

VPN is good for:
-- Working on your WI desktop remotely
-- Accessing the compute cluster and submitting jobs -- Viewing internal resources at the Institute

VPN is Not good for:
-- Transferring large files at WI or a large number of small files
-- Copying large files to/from your remote computer to the computer at Whitehead -- Using teleconferencing or videoconferencing (none of which are hosted at WI)
-- Using websites that are completely unrelated to Whitehead work

When you are finished using the VPN, please close it out by pressing (command +Option +ESC) and force quitting Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client.

Please note: that many people in the world will be trying to work from home and your connection may not be consistent all of the time. You can always try logging off and logging back in or rebooting your computer.

Host Virtual Meetings and Collaborate with Google Meet

Whitehead’s Google Suite offers Google Meet (it supports up to 250 people).

If you look in your Waffle (upper right corner) of the screen, you will see Google Meet (video camera icon). If you click on it, it will ask you to join or start a meeting. Give the meeting a name and click ok. Click Join and you will be given a weblink, phone number and a PIN #. Just send the other conference members the phone number and meeting ID# and they can dial into the conference. You do need to press pound (#) to finish the entry. If you wish to have video, your device will need a camera and microphone.

Host Virtual Meetings with Webex at MIT (you need an MIT certificate and log in to MIT to use this service)

Whitehead members can use Webex (supports up to 50 people) to host video and audio conferences with remote coworkers from any computer. Participants can join from any device, including smartphones and tablets, with a supported browser. Webex lets participants share files, applications, or their entire screen with other attendees.

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If you are going to use this service, please disconnect from the VPN at WI.

If you work remotely but still want to collaborate with coworkers, you can do this via your Personal Room in Webex. This dedicated virtual conference room, with a permanent URL, lets you share your screen or selected applications with others without having to schedule a meeting ahead of time. A dedicated phone number lets you hold impromptu conference calls while virtual whiteboards allow for real-time interactive brainstorming. And when you’re “in” your room, others can “enter” your room and chat with you.

Webex is available at

You will need to login with your MIT certificates or login with your MIT username and password. You will be logged in to your private room, where you can start a meeting or schedule one.

When you start a meeting, you will need to choose an audio option. If you choose (I will call in) then you will be given a phone number and access code and Attendee ID number. If you like you can use a video camera, if you have one.

Other Tools

If you and your colleagues are already familiar with other software tools such as Zoom or Skype, those are OK to use as well. Whitehead does not currently have any special licenses for those. MIT is lining up additional Zoom licenses for faculty to use related to teaching classes online.

Office Voicemail

If you already receive a copy of your voicemail at your WI email address, then there is nothing else you need to do. If you only receive your voicemail by retrieving it on your desk phone and would rather get it by email, you may ask IT to change that for you. Send an email to

If you would like to review your messages via a phone or cell phone:
Dial 1-617-253-0000
Enter your entire 10-digit phone number (617-xxx-xxxx) press the * key. Enter your pin code, as you would on your WI phone and press the # key.

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