S3E24. The Challenges of Remote Work with Don Craig

Have you ever decided to take a new job during a chaotic period—like a pandemic? How do you transition a team from working in an office to working from home? How determined are you to meet your goal, even if it takes you an extra 100 days?

Don Craig made the decision to become Chief Financial Officer at the engineering firm of Haley & Aldrich in the midst of a pandemic, and he’s had to grapple with these questions over the last few months.

In February, Don took a trip to Ethiopia with his sister, who was doing mission work. It was a truly life-changing experience. This caused him to question what he was doing in life and where he was adding meaning. When he got back to Boston, a headhunter reached out to him to offer him a job. He’d been working at the same company for 15 years, but he felt that he was starting to get complacent. So just as lockdowns due to the coronavirus started, Don took the job.

With the move to all-remote work, we face new challenges in terms of getting to know the people we work with — and one of the challenges we face in remote work is hiring. As a leader, it’s your job to hire the right people. Being able to understand if someone is the right fit for your company can be challenging. On the other hand, it opens up the opportunity for people who are not located in your area who may be an even better fit.

Another challenge is in connecting with people and getting immediate feedback. That’s one of the advantages of improv, the immediate feedback you receive from other people, but it’s hard to get in a remote environment.

None of us know how long COVID is going to be around, but remote work isn’t going anywhere. We need to learn to navigate some of the challenges that come along with it, while embracing the strengths as well.

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