Livingston IT firm Incovo closes office after move to remote working

The chief executive of an IT services and call centre firm is shutting the company office after a total move to remote working – and is calling on other businesses to follow suit.

Thomas took the chief executive reins aged just 19. Picture: contributed.
Thomas took the chief executive reins aged just 19. Picture: contributed.

Chris Thomas is the head of Incovo, and he will officially close its premises after 18 years on 31 July. It comes two years after the CEO – then aged just 20 – told The Scotsman that 2020 would be the year of remote working. “In the next two years, we are going to try and become completely remote and give up the office,” he said at the time.

He was adamant that technology had advanced to a point that meant businesses could seamlessly switch to remote working, and those that did not take the leap were in real danger of being left behind. Thomas now notes that Incovo within the first two weeks of lockdown restrictions being announced had moved 95 per cent of its customers to a remote working model.

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The firm describes itself as one of Scotland’s leading providers of telecommunications, office printers and IT services. Established in 2002, it serves small to global enterprise customers throughout the UK, Europe and the Middle East. It was run by Chris’ father Richard Thomas – who was also chairman of Boxing Scotland – until his death in 2016.

Last year he won the Business Growth Award at the West Lothian Business Awards. Picture: contributed.

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Chris joined as an engineer, took the chief executive reins aged 19, and is said to have “revolutionised” the company within three years. Last year, he was shortlisted for The Institute of Directors’ Young Director of the Year award, and he picked up the Business Growth Award at the West Lothian Business Awards.

He is now “more convinced than ever” that businesses have seen for themselves the many benefits of remote working, and a large proportion will not return to the traditional nine to five office model.

Commenting on the decision to close the Incovo office, he said: “We’re not just closing an office. We’re opening up a whole new way of working, which in turn is helping our team enjoy a new way of living.

Increased flexibility

“No more stressful and costly commutes to the office, fewer distractions, more flexibility. Many businesses have had their eyes opened to the benefits of remote working over the past few months. Finally, it’s time to ditch the outdated nine to five office model for good.”

He also said a move to remote working enables major financial savings in addition to improving wellbeing –with company accountant Jim Matheson expecting Incovo to save £55,000 a year by closing the office and enabling the team to work from home.

Thomas’ recommendations to help transition to remote working include ensuring each team member has the right tools, such as effective cyber security software, and keeping in contact with them regularly via the likes of Microsoft Teams.

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