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I could have leant upon that coppice gate – Thomas Hardy and homeworking

early morning sun in December in LincolnshireBroadband for working from home avoids long commute.

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…

Trefor Davies

By Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of, writer, poet,

2 replies on “I could have leant upon that coppice gate – Thomas Hardy and homeworking”

I have again started to work from home as we have a small amount of frost in the East Midlands the trains start or rather stop running on time. It is indeed great to get up at a reasonable hour 0630 – eat breakfast at home. Enjoy the company of my wife and son instead of a bunch of grumpy strangers on a train/tube – and have on Loose Women in the back ground whilst i beaver away on my laptop. One down side is that i am not able to enjoy the quality of decent internet connectivity and participate in video conferencing.

Last week my desire for a coffee from a UK tax avoiding US coffee company got the better of me and i signed off and headed toward the nearest one which is 10 miles away. I returned home without my beverage after an hour and half after getting stuck in traffic – i got 6 miles into the journey and had to turn around and sit in traffic going in the other direction. Until we invent the replicator like they have in Star Trek – i will go coffee less whilst working from home i think. 🙁


I’ve worked from an office in my house for 25 years. In the beginning, I also did about 35000 miles a year visiting customers all over the UK & head office. That has fallen by a factor of 10. Some of the fall is because of the changing nature of the business, but 75% of it is down to the advent of broadband & VoIP. Now those same customers appear on my screen in front of me (or at least, their computer screens do – we haven’t gone down the video phone route yet; taking my shirt off when it’s hot is more cost-effective than air-conditioning, but it’s not a pretty sight). Head Office has become, to all intents & purposes, a virtual concept.

I don’t think I’ve ever bought a coffee from a high street chain outlet.

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