Seamus Keating, the CEO of one of the most successful technology businesses in Northern Ireland, has now claimed that COVID-19 remote working is less efficient than traditional styles.
Keating’s company, First Derivatives, a software and consulting business, enjoyed a 3% rise in 6-month turnover recently, although pre-tax profits declined by 12%. The firm currently serves a variety of financial institutions such as investment banks, as well as the F1 Red Bull team via its Kx technology.
While First Derivatives suffered from multiple COVID-19 positive tests within their 2,000 employees across the world, Keating revealed that the staff had recovered swiftly.
He also added that the company had managed to remain ‘resilient’ throughout the pandemic.
Keating stated: “We’re doing important things for customers to support them to run their operations, and that’s shone through.
“But we still have a very significant opportunity to grow right across the piece. We’re looking through the COVID crisis and laying foundations and making investments to deliver on that as we look to the medium term.
“Our revenue was up 3% in the first half, and a lot of businesses would be absolutely thrilled with that.”
Despite the pandemic, Keating also added that First Derivatives was still investing in the research and development, sales, and marketing sectors.
He said: “We also restarted hiring graduates as we came through the summer, because as we look out over the next six to 12 months, we’re going to need those skills.”
On remote working, Keating insisted that the firm had moved swiftly in terms of setting employees up with the required technology, but he remains keen to return to a traditional office environment in the near future.
He explained: “People getting together regularly to learn to collaborate and generate ideas, spark off each other, is important. The world is less efficient with everybody working from home.
“I don’t see us rapidly returning to a situation where everybody is in an office at a desk every day but I do see a good balance of people meeting in offices to learn to collaborate and to innovate together both in our own teams and in teams with customers…
“Yes, you can do great things on Zoom and many other platforms but there’s a limitation. There is a creativity you get from being together and a speed of getting things done that you miss working remotely.”