A SMALL Valleys-based company, which turned to home working 12 years ago, is bucking the economic crisis caused by Covid-19, with business increasing at least 20 per cent this year.

Hyderus – Welsh for confident – based in Cwmfelinfach has some of the world’s biggest blue-chip pharmaceutical companies, including Sanofi Pasteur, Novartis and Roche, as its clients.

The media communication strategy and policy consultancy, which specialises in the health care sector, is forecasting turnover to exceed previous years, with profits higher than expected.

Project director Chris Nial said the switch to home-working was initiated by Sanofi Pasteur, the world’s second-largest vaccine manufacturer.

He said: “After the swine flu epidemic in 2008, Sanofi Pasteur asked all its suppliers to draw up plans on how we could support them in the event of a pandemic when borders are closed, schools shut and people having to work from home.

“We completely re-invented our way of working so working from home was already a very natural and painless transition when we decided to close the office on March 23 this year.

“Hyderus began using audio and video conferencing in 2008 and have been on Zoom – which every business seems to have jumped on since the pandemic – for three years. Back then, we even had our own accounting system developed, which was accessible on the cloud anywhere in the world. I suppose we should be eternally grateful to Sanofi Pasteur for making us look at this.

“For example, we’ve got one colleague, who is based in Barcelona, but spends the summer at her home in the French mountains. We don’t mind where staff work from as long as they can do the job. In fact, we don’t even ask them where they are when we speak to them.

“The result of being well prepared on the home work front is that we’ve not had to furlough any of our 20 staff or cut jobs, something our accountants seemed to expect when we called them in the first week of lockdown. We were, in fact, calling them for tax planning as a large profit was forecast. The business has jumped by 20 per cent this year, and we’re expecting that trend to continue through 2021,” said Chris.

“Before the lockdown, only three of our staff, who have children, worked from the office. The rest of us were home-based and it has worked so well for us for many years.

“At present, we’re working for companies making diagnostic testing kits which can tell if you have coronavirus or have had coronavirus.We are also very involved in the quest for a vaccine and one of our principals is moderating a session next month for the World Economic Forum (WEF).”

Hyderus, established in 2003 by Mark Chataway, has staff in Wales, across Europe and Kenya.