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Working Remotely

Where possible, many employees have been working remotely during the COVID-19 crisis.
Page updated: Oct. 22 2020 at 5 p.m.

On this page you can find important information about:

  • Remote access capacity & tips
  • Options for meeting online
  • 1-800 audio conferencing
  • Use of Cloud services
  • Ergonomics for remote workers

Essential roles

For many roles across PHSA, it is essential that we work in the hospital/health-care environment delivering direct patient care. There are also a significant number of provincial roles and system supports that are essential as we support the COVID-19 work and many of these roles will need to continue in the workplace.

Employees and medical staff who are working remotely should have:
  • access to a PHSA laptop or personal computer
  • reliable high speed internet at home
  • a cellphone or telephone and an up-to-date contact number. You may wish to update your email signature to include the most appropriate contact number. 
To request the ability to work remotely, visit the Work Tools page. Other tips and resources for working remotely are below. 
Remote access

Remote access capacity 

While working remotely, please remember the capacity of our remote access service is based on concurrent usage. 

Please:
  • end your remote access session, once you have completed your work activity, to allow other users access.
  • access PHSA e-mail by going to https://webmail.healthbc.org, entering phsabc\username and your password (same username and password you use to get onto your computer)

Tips for working from home

For those staff working remotely via Citrix Remote Access, you may notice your remote access desktop is not the same as your desktop at work. 

Once you login and access Microsoft Office Desktop: 
  • You will have access to: Microsoft Office suite, health authority web applications and personal files on your home drive 
  • You will not have access to your personal desktop shortcuts or shared network drives. 
Read the Mapping Network Drives When Remote guide (open when in Citrix), if you need access to other shared network drives. 

If you need additional assistance, email the IMITS Service Desk at ITContact@hssbc.ca. Please have your network drive path information ready (a screenshot, if possible). 

Additional resources available:
*Note: Disruptions on LearningHub may occur due to capacity limitations. If you experience issues, try logging in during off-peak hours.

Use of Cloud services during COVID-19 pandemic

On March 26, 2020, the B.C. Ministry of Citizens’ Services issued an order (PDF) that temporarily relaxes requirements under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act that ordinarily restrict access to/ storage of personal information outside of Canada.

The order does not relieve PHSA from its obligation to ensure that personal information is secure against the risk of loss, theft or unauthorized access and use.

Resources on how to maintain appropriate diligence in the protection of privacy and in securing information in accordance with PHSA policies are available on our website in our Security and Privacy Tip sheet (PDF) and as part of the Virtual Health toolkit.

If you have identified any Cloud services that you wish to use and which may fall within the scope of the order, please contact the PHSA Information Access Privacy team at privacyandfoi@phsa.ca.
Meetings

Options for meeting online

For team meetings and corporate use, Skype for Business is our preferred video conferencing service, licenced and supported by IMITS. It offers instant messaging and videoconferencing, and allows participants to share content on their desktops, such as documents and presentations.

The basic version is available for all staff with a health authority network account. If you need to host meetings with telephone dial-in as an option, you can request standard access by completing the request form in the IMITS Service Catalogue (while on the network).

Staff should use health organization provided devices that have Skype already installed with the basic or standard versions.

For more information about Skype for Business, review the following document: 4 things to know about Skype for Business. This quick guide highlights how to get set up (with the right hardware), tips and tricks to joining and hosting a meeting and managing your instant messaging. 

If you are using ZOOM software for team meetings and corporate use, at a minimum please follow these privacy and security tips (PDF).

For health professionals, please visit this page for information about accessing ZOOM for Healthcare.

1-800 audio conferencing

As we do our part to maintain social distancing, conference calls are an important tool to stay in touch and support timely decision-making.

With citizens all across the province relying on voice communication, it’s no surprise that demand is high; as a result, you may notice intermittent periods where quality and access are interrupted.

PHSA’s voice technology team advises that if you experience issues while using your audio conference bridge, dial in using the 1-800 number option you usually see identified in your call invites. This toll-free path is routed differently than local calls and may be a more reliable way to connect short-term.
Health & safety

Ergonomics

Ergonomics is a science concerned with the fit between people and their work. It takes into account the worker’s capabilities and limitations in seeking to ensure that tasks, equipment, information and the environment are suited to each worker. 

Employees should use proper workspace ergonomic practices to decrease chances of experiencing discomfort and/or strain as a result of work-related tasks. These practices will also help employees prevent musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs).
 
Employees working from home are often working in non-traditional workstations. Working on the go makes it easy to fall into poor ergonomic practices. For example, if you are working on a laptop you may experience neck and shoulder pain due to poor posture.
 
See the resources below to help get set up properly to work from home and visit the Office Ergonomics POD page (must be on PHSA network) for additional resources.

Ergonomics resources for working remotely

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