Geoffrey Farrugia

Geoffrey Farrugia, CEO at HandsOn Systems, is asking the million-dollar question as he reflects on his company’s strengths and weaknesses over the past 12 months. “What could we have done better?” he asks.

Speaking to MaltaCEOs.mt about this important reflection that all companies should be making as we approach the end of another year, Mr Farrugia admits that the COVID-19 pandemic seems to have isolated some people.

“Unfortunately, I feel that people, at times, are still reluctant to network, meet up and socialise even though the pandemic is somehow over,” he states, while explaining how important it is for businesses to “finally meet up again with their customers, suppliers and stakeholders” after the two-year gap.

“COVID-19 brought significant changes to how we conduct meetings and go about doing our work,” he affirmed, adding that “some of those changes are actually for the better but some of the new trends of online meetings, remote conferencing, remote work and other new work practices are also causing management issues and communication gaps.”

Speaking of the ineffectiveness of virtual meetings, the CEO admitted that “seeing your customers, suppliers or co-workers through a screen can become somewhat ineffective, if not depressing. I simply can’t build a working relationship with someone through a screen.”

Quoting a study that was published in October 2022, Mr Farrugia highlighted how “75 per cent of remote workers share that they experience stress and burnout at work, while more than 37 per cent report working longer hours than they did previously.”

This is not his idea of bouncing back quickly and he admits to feeling that “some new trends are making it more difficult to achieve normality.”

“Although it does save time, jumping from one Teams (or Zoom) call to the other is not normal, and I believe we can do much better. Sometimes extreme comfort or convenience can lead to laziness, apathy, and indifference,” the HandsOn Systems CEO affirms.

Speaking of his company’s achievements this past year, Mr Farrugia believes that in the past 12 months they have started “reaping the fruit of our diversification.”

“The company took the opportunity to innovate and venture into new markets by developing new technologies and striking new partnerships,” he said. “The risk of diversification is that of losing our focus. However, our teams somehow adapted and managed this well. I am very happy about this as this means growth,” Mr Farrugia added.

On the other hand, the CEO believes that his company must work harder in terms of being more efficient and feels that this can only be done through training and development. “Finding the right talent is becoming even more difficult than before so training and upskilling our current teams is the only solution.”

Having said that, Mr Farrugia pinpoints one massive issue which tends to be felt all around, not just in his company. He refers to it as the problem of finding the right attitude. “How is it that to get feedback from someone, you need to email, call, message and then perhaps after you have tried it all, you get some sort of reply? Is it because we do not have time to communicate, or it is because we simply do not want to communicate?” he asks.

Speaking of his personal goals, the HandsOn Systems CEO would love “to spend more time with [his] people, listen more and engage with them more”.

“Most importantly however, I need to find a better way to empower people to own their work,” he admitted.

“I also would like to bring people together. Like good families, healthy and productive organisations have the same responsibility. People need to help each other more and engage with one another a bit more. I need to make sure that we are working as one team with a common goal and a common perspective,” he concludes.

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