Many companies now use employees who work remotely.
I’ve written about managing, engaging, and motivating remote workers — but how do you fire people who don’t physically work in your company?
Do you text them? Send them an email? Yikes! That doesn’t sound like a very good practice, does it?
You must be prepared for this situation, and our short, sweet guide will give you the help you need!
More people are working remotely:
Many companies are now using employees who work remotely. There are approximately 8,000 people working remotely just in Kitsap County alone!
Whether or not your employee works in your office with you, they still deserve to be treated professionally and with respect.
What happens when you need to let a remote worker go?
Use technology to meet “face to face”:
It’s always preferable to let a worker go in a face-to-face meeting.
If your remote employee periodically comes into the office for check-ins or meetings:
- Wait to use that opportunity to let them know in-person.
If a remote worker never comes to the office, you should:
- Use technology like Skype, FaceTime, or other video-conferencing software so you can see one another while you talk.
- Body language is a crucially important aspect of communication. With video software, your face will have to convey everything.
It’s important to soften this blow with a personal touch.
It’s also a good idea for you to have someone else in the room with you as a witness. They don’t need to partake in the meeting. Just let your employee know who it is and why they are there.
Pick a time that works best for the remote worker:
Be sure to consider what time it is where your employee resides.
If someone works for you in another country, you don’t want to terminate them in the middle of the night, just because that’s when you are working!
Follow up with written documentation:
Follow up the conversation by sending documentation to their home.
Losing a job is an emotional time, and people don’t always absorb everything they’re being told in the moment.
Adhere to unemployment law’s in the worker’s region:
You need to consider the employments laws that apply where your employee lives and works.
In Washington State, for example, a terminated employee must be paid their final wages by the next scheduled pay date. But this varies state by state.
If you are terminating an employee in California or Colorado, they must be issued their final pay immediately.
Prep your tech security in advance:
When employees are terminated, a company often protects themselves by having someone stay with the worker while they gather their personal items and exit the building.
This is a whole different experience with someone working remotely.
You’ll need to:
- Prepare in advance to cut off any access to the company’s servers, email, databases, etc
- Consider that they may have company assets at home, such as a computer, cell phone, etc., as well as company records and information
- You may want to arrange for a security service or courier to be ready to pick up all of the company’s property soon after the termination conversation
- Depending on the state, you may be able to withhold some money from the worker’s final pay if they don’t return company equipment. This should be agreed to by both parties in writing when the employee is hired.
Notify your entire staff:
Terminated employees often have to do the dreaded walk of shame as they gather up their items, say goodbye to coworkers, and exit a building for the last time.
Your remote worker is relieved of this unpleasantness — but other employees may feel like their coworker just kind of disappeared from the company. ‘
Tactfully let the staff know what happened, without violating the terminated employee’s right to confidentiality.
We always hope when we hire someone that the relationship will be excellent and last for a long time. But we know that this is not always the case.
Preparing for the end game ahead of time will lessen the blow and make a difficult situation easier for everyone involved.