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How to Connect to Work Computer from Home using VPN

John McKinney    |
John McKinney

Accessing your work computer from the comfort of your home is more intricate than accessing your personal computer from another device. A lot of businesses have security steps in place to avoid anybody from accessing resources from outside the business network.

If you need to access your work computer, you need your business to grant you remote access to the system through a piece of software called a virtual private network, or VPN. These are the actions when establishing a VPN:

Request for remote access to your work computer

Most companies require permission to access the VPN. Call your I.T. (Information Technology) department, or you can visit the I.T. website of your company to apply for access.

  • Your company's security policies, your I.T. might be able to assist you immediately, depending on the nature of your work.
  • You will be prompt to enter your username and password to request access.

Install VPN software on your work computer

VPN software needs to be installed on your work machine so that you can work from the comfort of your home. Just go to your I.T. website for the link to download the software and follow the instructions. 

  • VPN software instructions may be different for Windows and Mac users. Make sure you are following the correct instructions for your operating system. Try to call or email your company's help desk if you are having trouble with the installation or configuration.

Connect to the VPN

Once the VPN software is installed, you need to activate the VPN. Just go to Start→Programs then find the name of the VPN software you installed. Click on the VPN client to open. Enter your username and password.

This will depend based on your company policies. If you are using a Mac computer, Go to your "Applications" folder and click on the VPN software that installed.

  • Your VPN will automatically connect after it is installed. Read the instructions for installation or contact your I.T. department.

Enable Remote Desktop from your work computer

Remote Desktop will allow other computers to connect to your work computer. For Windows computer, click on Start→Control Panel→ System→Remote Desktop. Check on the box that says, "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer."

  • You will need to enter the full name of your work computer (you will need this when you connect from home). The computer name should show under the box you checked.
  • For Mac users, you can go to the Mac App Store and download "Microsoft Remote Desktop."

Leave your work computer on

Your work computer should be connected to the network to be accessible to a remote computer. If required, launch the remote access software on your work computer. It will depend on how your I.T. has configured your network.

Review the system requirements of your home computer 

Check if your home computer meets all system requirements before you install the VPN software on your computer. The conditions may vary based on your company. Typical requirements include a current operating system and a specific amount of RAM (hard disk space).

Requirements differ for Mac and Windows users. System requirements are usually available on the I.T. website.

Download the VPN software to your home computer 

On your home computer, download the VPN client software just as you did to your work computer. The installation process is usually self-guided. Make sure you follow the directions.

  • If you run into problems, your I.T. department may ask you to bring your computer in the office to install and configure the software.
  • If your I.T. department does not install the software, technicians might tell you to take home the software along with installation and configuration instructions.

Launch the VPN software on your home computer

Go to Start→Programs, and then look for the name of the VPN software you installed. Double click the VPN client to open. Enter your username and password. For Mac computers, open your "Applications" folder and then open the VPN software you installed. 

Open the Remote Desktop on your home computer. 

Now it's time to access the Remote Desktop on your home computer to connect to your work computer. , go to Start→Accessories→Communications→Remote Desktop If you are a Windows user.

If you have reached the Remote Desktop, enter the name of your work computer, then press "Connect." You should be connected to your work computer now and be able to work from your home.

Your home computer may be slower than a work computer. 

The speed of your VPN connection may vary on the rate of your internet connection speed at home. The faster your network internet speed, the faster your VPN connection will be. Keep in mind that the information that you send and receive is encrypted. The encryption process also slows things down as well. 

A piece of advice for all your VPN adventures

Do not use your Virtual Private Network for personal web use. Your company can see all of the web activities while using a VPN. Not a good practice to conduct private web browsing over a VPN.

You do not want to be in trouble at work. Always minimize the Remote Desktop window if you need to do something personal.

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