Leadership and Remote Working

Over the past year, I’ve been asked to speak at various executive sessions with Chief People Officers, Chief Human Resource Officers, and CEOs. There is a rotating list of about 17 questions that keep coming up. This is the start of a series where I will share my perspective on each of these questions. I will start with the two most frequently asked questions:

What is the job description for a person assuming the responsibility of making a remote company work well? and …

When is the right time to hire a person into this role?

Before we dive in…


I was 18 years old, driving to my first official corporate part-time job while studying. It was 5am in the morning and I was stuck in bumper to bumper traffic, with 1000s of other vehicles on the N1 highway between Pretoria and Johannesburg in South Africa. To get to work by 8am, most individuals were waking up between 4 and 5am to endure horrendous traffic. Looking left and right, I would see women applying make-up, men shaving, people eating breakfast … it was the epitome of the grind. The 9 to 5. The rat race.

I felt a heaviness inside…


every year some of the world’s most beautiful minds come together and learn from one another. this group of very human humans mostly talk about the future, because the future, that place there on the horizon, is a very important place … the future is that mirror that will show us who we are right now.

below is a collection of the random thoughts i overheard, gathered, debated and pondered in the last few days:

“be doing what start-ups *need* to do in the early years … do the stuff that few people can handle doing. you’re doing the hard…


I smile quietly.

I got asked the same question 8 years ago about Ireland, when I relocated there from South Africa and started up Simplify Learning in a remote little town in the far-flung north of the country.

When asked this question about Ireland, I felt very on the back foot and I would please and explain every which way as to why exactly this decision was a good one.

The only reason I believed anything I was saying to anyone at the time, was because a mentor, working for the US government, had heard of my transfer and called…


There are rare moments in life: one of those rare moments that I relish when it happens, is when I hear a new word for the first time and it rolls off of my lips and forms perfectly inside my mouth. It’s been a week in which I’ve learnt two new words.

The first word was padawan. Our designer, Nor, used it to explain his struggle in dealing with suspense and not knowing the outcome of something. He used the phrase: “… so I will wait like a patient padawan…” A padawan is a jedi in training. Good to know…


i used to own an allotment garden for three years. in year one i tended it with weekly, if not daily, love. it gave me immeasurable pleasure. in year two i gave it quarterly, if not monthly, love. it gave me some pleasure after a long battle with overgrown weeds and unruly plants. in year three, i went to the allotment five times and every single day that i wasn’t there, was a stressor in the back of my mind. the untended soil and the tenacious weeds haunted me. in year four i didn’t rent a patch again. …


i bathed in a basin 8 weeks back. yes, a basin. and it was only certain body parts. i’d been on a 10 hour flight. i missed the first one and then narrowly made a connecting flight to be on stage for the british government. there was no way i would have had enough time to make it to my hotel and back in time, so the airport bathroom was the only option.

i arrived at the venue with 5 minutes to spare. i burst out laughing when the woman meeting me asked how i did my eye make-up, because…


companies go through cycles of growth where they have to be different things to what they were yesterday, last week, last month.

our company just made this transition: we moved from being a fledgling start-up with a nice idea, into a start-up with very real overheads and clients. things got serious. sort of like the first day of big school.

you’re still small but you’re big.

our story is no longer what makes people take us seriously. we now need to prove metrics and milestones.

i’m all up for the challenge. we’re proving metrics, and milestones are racing past with…

Claire Haidar

CEO of a startup redefining the future of work — part chaos, part rocket fuel. Find me on www.clairehaidar.com

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