The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant upheaval and change for many businesses
around the world. Numerous lockdowns and quarantine requirements have led to a
dramatic increase in remote working globally. For Richard Fitzgerald, Director of IT service
company 2Gen, remote working has quickly become an essential part of his business.
Richard made the move from the Gold Coast to Taupō five years ago with his family. At first
he was travelling back to Australia regularly to manage his Gold Coast team. However the
time away from home was starting to take its toll. Richard had already begun building up a
process for remote working prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, so he rapidly began to
implement his plans when the nationwide lockdown came into force in March.
“For 2Gen, effective remote working is about having the right information available to the
team at the right time” says Richard. “Over the last year my wife and I mapped out all the
key tasks we do at 2Gen and added them to a software programme. Each time someone in
the team completes a new task we take the time to capture knowledge and document the
processes. I’ve also created short ‘how-to’ videos and added links to relevant webpages. It’s
made a huge difference now that I can’t travel to Australia” he says.
Mapping out these tasks has meant Richard can delegate more work to his team, knowing
they can resolve many client queries without his support. “By documenting processes we
have more time to focus on training and building knowledge within the team. It also means
our staff feel empowered to make their own decisions. It’s really helped to build their
confidence” says Richard.
Richard says when he initially moved to New Zealand, clients would book a time to see him
when he was next in Australia. “But now people are starting to realise location isn’t as
important. They’re not worried if I’m talking to them from New Zealand or Australia. I tell
them I could be calling from the moon and my advice would still be the same!” he says.
2Gen has now grown to nine staff and has recently opened a branch in Taupō. “IT can either
cripple a business or make it more successful. Rather than just looking for ways to make
money, 2Gen focuses on earning a client’s trust and looking for ways to help them. We
recruit staff with great people skills and the right attitude. We can teach technical skills, but
it’s much harder to teach someone to have a likeable personality” says Richard.
As a business owner, Richard has experienced his fair share of ups and downs. “Over time
I’ve learnt that it’s really important to take time out and reflect on where your business is
going. Just working long hours doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. Spend time with family,
seek out advice from people you respect, and don’t just try to spin the same wheel faster
and faster” he says.