Now, It’s Time to Talk about Remote Layoffs and How to Cut Ties the Right Way

When it comes time to let someone go, the situation can be difficult — especially if that person is remote. You may feel like you need to handle the situation in person, but that’s not always possible. So, let’s discuss how to lay off or terminate a remote worker with professionalism. Read on to learn what you should do and what you should avoid doing so that the process goes as smoothly as possible for everyone involved.

Remote Hiring and Work Means Remote Lay Offs and Terminations

When it comes to layoffs, there’s a lot of talk about sending people home. But when remote work is factored in, that can mean terminating employees who are located in other states or countries. And suddenly, the logistics of layoffs become a lot more complicated.
For employees, losing a job can be a traumatic event. And for a leader, cutting someone from your team comes with its own kind of pain. Still, for any number of reasons, layoffs may be a hard but necessary move. Over the past two years, more and more companies have had to navigate this decision in a newly remote landscape, which can make an already challenging process even more difficult. Handle it poorly and you’re liable not only to upset laid-off employees, but also generate fear and anxiety amongst your remaining workforce. —
It’s no secret that the way we work is changing. With advances in technology, more and more people are working remotely. And while this can be a great option for employees, it can also present challenges for employers. One of those challenges is layoffs and terminations. When you have employees scattered all over the country (or even the world), it can be difficult to let them go. But with the right planning and execution, it can be done effectively and humanely.

How to Dismiss a Remote Employee and Do it Professionally

When you’re terminating a remote worker, it’s important to be clear and concise in your communication. You’ll want to avoid giving false hope or being vague about the situation. Be sure to thank the employee for their work up until this point, and let them know that the decision is final. It’s also crucial that you provide a clear timeline for the termination process so that the employee knows what to expect. This will require actual interaction. Do not send the bad news via email (or worse, text). Give him or her the courtesy of being professional by doing the following:
  • Be prepared. This is something you’d definitely do in person. Although you’re not in the same physical location, it’s a good idea to know what you’re going to say. You can even prepare a shortlist of talking points to refer to but don’t create a script to read word for word. Instead, be prepared to speak as you would in normal circumstances, it’s okay to even rehearse so you can stay focused and not be unnecessarily distracted, which would be very discourteous.
  • Set a time. Just like you would if you were letting someone go who works in the office, you should set a time to meet. Be sure to clear your schedule and to have ample time for the interaction. If something comes up unexpectedly beforehand, simply reschedule. If there’s an untimely interruption during your talk, simply dismiss it and deal with it later.
  • Go face-to-face. Sure, you’re not sitting across the desk from someone in a room, but for all intents and purposes, that’s still what happens. Again, don’t deliver the bad news through email, even if you are an elegant writer. Give him or her the professional courtesy that he or she deserves and unless it’s a totally irretrievable situation, do not burn your working bridges.
  • Answer questions candidly. Last but certainly not least, be professional enough to answer any questions and do so honestly unless you really don’t have an answer. In the case of the latter, simply tell him or her the truth but don’t dwell on it and don’t make it into an excuse.
What other suggestions do you have for letting a remote employee go? Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts and experiences so others can benefit. Interested in learning more about business? Then just visit Waters Business Consulting Group.

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