Christmas Break 2020

With the Festive season and Christmas Break fast approaching, we have put together some need-to-know tips and guidance. From using 365 to stay in touch with family, setting an out of office, and more, we want you to make the most of what will be a very welcome Christmas Break. ICT Services would also like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


1. Staying in Touch with Friends and Family using Microsoft Teams

If you’re planning on staying at the University over the Christmas Break, did you know you can stay in touch with your family over Microsoft Teams?

Even if your family don’t have Teams, you can initiate video calls with them through your University account. Highlight a space in your calendar as normal for a meeting, then select the More options button in the bottom right corner of the dialog box.

Screenshot of meeting setup dialog box in Outlook.

Next, add the email address of any user(s) to invite, then in the Search for a room or location text box, select the Add online meeting drop-down and select Teams Meeting. Then send the invite as normal.

Screenshot of the Add online meeting drop-down in the Location text box in Outlook.

When the scheduled meeting comes round, the external user will be able to join via the invite in their email inbox. By clicking on Join Microsoft Teams Meeting in the invite, the user will be directed to a web page which allows them to join by downloading the Teams app*, or via the web instead.

*If users are joining via a mobile device, they will need to download the Teams app from their respective app store for free. However, they will not need to sign up to Teams to join the meeting.

A screenshot of a meeting invite with "Join Microsoft Teams Meeting" link highlighted.

The web option allows all users (regardless of whether they have a Microsoft Account or not) to Join on the web instead without having to sign in, and is on the whole the easier option.

Screenshot of web page allowing users to choose "Download the Windows App" or "Join on the web instead" which is highlighted.

On the Meeting now screen, the user will simply need to enter their name and click Join now, then wait for the owner of the meeting to let them in. Users can also toggle their camera and microphone on or off while they wait.

Screenshot of the "Meeting now" window which loads up before a guest enters a Teams meeting.


2. Setting Automatic Replies in Outlook and on Shared Mailboxes

Before leaving the office for the Christmas break, remember to set your Out of Office! For the majority of users, this will be on the web through Outlook on Office 365. Instructions on how to do this can be found below, but if you require assistance for a desktop version of Outlook (Mac or PC), take a look at our full How To… guide

Outlook 365 – Web Version (

  1. Screenshot of the Settings cog in Outlook 365.Click on the Settings Cog in the top-right side of the screen, then select View all Outlook settings at the bottom of the sidebar.
  2. Select Automatic replies (in the Email tab).
  3. Click on the Turn on Automatic Replies toggle button.
  4. Fill in the text box that appears with your automatic reply/out of office message.
  5. If you wish to send your automatic reply for a set period of time, select and customise the start time and end time in the drop down calendar menus above the text box.
  6. The automatic reply you have written will only be sent to other University of Lincoln accounts if they send you an email.
  7. If you wish to send Automatic Replies to people from outside of the University, ensure you check the Send replies outside your organisation box and fill in the box that appears with a message. You can also select the Send replies only to contacts check box to ensure that only your named contacts will receive your Automatic Replies.
Screenshot of the Automatic Replies Window in Outlook 365

To set up automatic replies on a shared mailbox, first follow the steps below, then set an automatic reply by following the steps above.

All delegates to a University of Lincoln mailbox are able to manage that mailbox by using the Outlook web app through From the web app, you can open the delegated mailbox in a separate tab so that you can manage the settings.

  1. Log in at using your University email address and password, and select the Outlook icon.
  2. Click on your account icon (initials or photo) in the top right of the page.
  3. Click Open another mailbox…
  4. Search for the mailbox you wish to open.
  5. When it’s found click Open and the mailbox will open in a new tab.
  6. Follow the steps above on the screen for your shared mailbox to set an automatic reply.


3. ICT Services Christmas Opening Times

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ICT Service Desk will continue to operate with our current opening times for contacting us via phone or email up until Friday 18th December. In-person support must still be arranged in advance by booking an appointment by phone or email.

See below for a table of opening times leading up to and after the Christmas break:

Date Opening Times
14th – 17th December 08:00-18:00
18th December* 08:00-17:00
17:00 on 18th December – 08:00 on 4th January Out of hours telephone service available only
4th January Reopens 08:00-18:00

*On Friday 18th December – ICT will be offering a slightly reduced service between 14:00 and 17:00. An appointment, e-mail and telephone service will be available as normal between 08:00 – 17:00.


4. Self-Service Password Reset

After a long break over the festive period, there’s a chance you may have forgotten your password on your return to work. By setting up self-service password reset now, you can reset your password by yourself if you forget it in future – rather than having to contact the Service Desk. To set up, you will need access to a personal email address.

  1. Visit
  2. Sign in with your University email and password.
  3. Click on the + Add Method button.
  4. Select the Email option from the drop-down menu, then type in your personal email address (this must be different from your University email).
  5. You will receive a code at the email address you entered. Type the code into the box that appears. (If you do not receive the code, click on “Resend code”.)

Once you have set it up, Self-Service Password Reset will allow you to click on any Forgot Password? links on University sign-in screens to change your password quickly and easily.

If you find yourself unable to get into your account for any reason, you can also try our Password Trouble-shooter form.


5. Remember to set up Call Diverts!

If you require call diverts or front end telephone messages recording and setting up, don’t forget to contact the ICT Service Desk as soon as possible!

In the run up to the holidays it can be a very busy time for our Service Desk staff. It’s better to contact us before the rush to make sure your recordings and diverts are set up in time. You can call us on 01522 88 6500 or email your request to


6. Festive Security Tips

Here are some final security tips to remember to keep yourself, and your devices safe – and not just for the festive season!


  • Video calls

This year, many of us will be catching up via a video call. Apart from using a service that everyone finds easy to use, make sure it’s secure by choosing one that needs a strong password, and don’t share the call invitation or details outside the group on the call.


  • Online shopping

Make sure you can spot the difference between genuine and fake websites, secure and insecure payment pages and authentic and counterfeit goods. You can find more information on the Get Safe Online website. Remember: Never use your University email address and password for personal purposes.


  • Scams

Fraudsters love the festive season, using the opportunity to send fake links in emails, texts and posts, or even email attachments posing as Christmas parcel delivery notifications. They could also call you claiming to be from your bank, a retailer, a delivery firm or software support company, but with one aim – stealing your money or identity. If in any doubt, always call the organisation on the number you know to be correct.


  • New Devices

Hoping for a new smartphone or laptop for Christmas? It’s important that you protect your new device. Take a look at our guidance on how to protect your device for information on configuring device security, installing anti-virus software, and using passwords and PINs.


  • Software, operating system and app updates

Download updates to operating systems, apps and software as soon as you’re notified that they’re available. If you don’t, you risk devices being infected with malware. The best solution is to set devices to update automatically.


  • Passwords

Always use different passwords for different devices, websites or accounts to avoid them being hacked. Passwords on internet-connected devices like voice assistants, CCTV cameras, appliances, kids’ toys and fitness watches should be changed from the factory default as soon as you unpack and switch them on if possible. For more advice, take a look at our page on setting strong passwords.


  • Gaming

With new consoles and games coming out this year – and continued use of existing ones – remember to stay safe and secure, including avoiding oversharing, griefing, overspending on in-game properties and pirated games. Try not to lose track of how much time you or your children are spending online.


  • Avoid oversharing

Stop and ask yourself if what you’re about to share on social media is really necessary. Could it be helping a fraudster? Could it give your children a digital footprint they don’t want? Posting about being away could be telling a burglar that your home is empty. And why not take a few minutes over Christmas to review your privacy settings?


For more security tips over the festive period, visit Get Safe Online.

Lastly, ICT Services would again like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2021!