Former Hanover woman recalls when remote work was new

  • Susan Golden, of Hanover, N.H., an employee of Massachusetts-based Digital Equipment Corp., works in her home on June 10, 1996. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 11/28/2020 9:37:09 PM
Modified: 11/28/2020 9:40:44 PM

Susan Golden says she never thought of herself as much of a “pioneer” but the former Hanover resident was in the vanguard when it comes to working remotely from home.

Golden, who is now retired and lives on the New Hampshire Seacoast, was profiled in the Valley News in 1996 under the headline “Hanover Woman in Forefront of Telecommuting Trend.”

A photograph of Golden showed her working, one hand on the keyboard of a 2-inch-thick laptop, another cradling a corded phone receiver to her ear, a desktop PC with cathode-ray-tube monitor on a table behind her and another wireless phone set upright on her desk with a long antenna poking from the top.

“I had several phone lines and spent a lot of time on conference calls,” Golden said last week. “We didn’t have Zoom or FaceTime then.”

Golden was offered the then-unusual opportunity to work from her home when she married her husband, former Hypertherm vice president and CFO Mike Golden, and moved to Hanover. Golden’s employer, Digital Equipment Corp. headquartered in Maynard, Mass., didn’t want to lose her in her role as a procurement specialist, negotiating the purchase of Digital’s internal software worldwide.

So the company equipped Golden with everything she needed to work from home: computers, phones, fax machine, copier, desk, chair, filing cabinets, even paper.

“Whatever the job took, I had,” she said.

In 1996, the internet and email was still a relatively new phenomenon and much of her job was conducted over the landline phone.

“I was on a lot of conference calls. Sometimes I had six people on the line, negotiating with all the various partners,” she said.

With today’s technology, Golden imagines, it would be a lot easier.

“Zoom would have been great,” she said.

Golden said she found working from home was an efficient use of time and made her more productive. Still, it didn’t mean she worked any fewer hours than when she was at Digital Equipment’s offices in Massachusetts. It would not be unusual for her to continue working even after her husband got home at 7 p.m.

“When you’re a salaried employee, you don’t look at the time on the clock ... whatever the job took, I did,” she said.

Eventually Golden left Digital when she and her husband decided to have kids and moved away from Hanover in 2006.

Golden said she didn’t see herself as a trendsetter, at least at the time.

“I didn’t know anyone that did what I did. If you think that’s a pioneer, I guess it is,” she said. “I didn’t have anyone I knew in my position. Everyone went to work.”

Contact John Lippman at

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