Took me an hour and ten minutes to get in to work this morning. That’s twice as long as usual – broken down tanker on the A46. Walking in to the office I felt a bit like the Reggie Perrin of old – “20 minutes late, frozen points at Clapham Junction”.
I went on a very long diversion through the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire countryside. The stark winter beauty reminded me of the Thomas Hardy poem “The Darkling Thush” :
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
It’s one of my all time favourites. Anyway driving in on this extended albeit pleasant detour made me think about the whole subject of commuting and broadband for working from home. The number of times I have the radio on driving home on a Friday night to hear the UK wide traffic reports – quite often its gridlock on all the major routes around the country.
Makes you wonder how much time and money we really waste travelling to work. Granted there are some jobs where the person absolutely needs to be in the office but equally there are many where a little bit of mix and match (home versus office) would be perfectly acceptable. Phone system vendors often try to model the financial benefits of homeworking as part of their pitch to customers. I don’t think you really need to work out the payback in terms of pounds shillings and pence. It’s bloomin’ obvious.
Quite a number of our customers see this. We have a portal that some of them use to manage estates of hundreds, if not thousands of home worker broadband connections. The portal is integrated with the customer’s HR system and when an employee moves house and change their address the portal automatically informs us to migrate their broadband to another location. For some large organisations this can save a considerable workload on the IT department – managing what is really a tedious and time consuming process that really benefits from automation. Bung in a VoIP account and hey presto, you have a home office just like in the office.
To conclude, my other favourite Thomas Hardy work is “Under The Greenwood Tree”. I don’t get on with most of his novels, they are depressing, but this one is a nice novel and signals the end of an era in a similar way to the Darkling Thrush. It is also very seasonal and I am now most definitely feeling Christmassy.
That’s all folks…