More and more companies across industries are hiring remote employees. While many organizations have already developed effective strategies for onboarding remote employees and ensuring smooth day-to-day operations, the process of conducting remote layoffs can still be challenging. Terminating an employee’s contract is a difficult situation for both parties involved, but it is frequently inevitable. Therefore, it is important to set a well-defined procedure to handle remote terminations. In today’s article, you will find guidelines on how to properly part ways with a remote employee. Read on.

Conduct a remote layoff effectively - table of contents:

Welcome to the era of remote layoffs

Undoubtedly, the best way to inform an employee about a layoff is through a face-to-face meeting. However, since many employees often live in different cities or even countries than their employers, organizing in-person meetings can be burdensome, costly, and time-consuming. This can be particularly problematic when it comes to disciplinary layoffs. Consequently, employers need to seek alternative ways of managing layoffs efficiently.

How to conduct a remote layoff?

So what should you do when meeting with an employee in person isn’t possible? Here are some of the most important things you need to consider when conducting a remote layoff.

  1. Choose the right medium
  2. Telephone conversations and video conferencing have been replacing face-to-face interactions between employees for some time now, and they should also be used when conducting remote layoffs. Video calls are considered a preferable solution here, as they let you observe nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, gestures, and eye contact. These cues provide valuable insight into the employee’s reaction, especially in sensitive matters like discussing an employment status. When both parties can see each other’s reactions, it helps create a smoother conversation and facilitates navigating the process more effectively.

  3. Get prepared
  4. When conducting a remote layoff, it is important to have valid reasons for the decision. Before the meeting, prepare supporting documents such as performance records to justify the need for termination. During the conversation, it may be necessary to share these documents on the screen to ensure an employee understands why they are being dismissed and feels that the process is fair.

  5. Anticipate questions
  6. Being prepared for potential questions from an employee during a remote layoff is also important. They may want you to clarify the reasons for termination, as well as provide more information about the notice period, severance package, references, or accrued leave. This type of conversation is stressful for both parties, so it is advisable to consult the HR department and gather all the necessary information in advance to be able to provide satisfactory answers.

  7. Handle formalities
  8. After the conversation with an employee, promptly provide them with the necessary documents via email and send original copies by mail. It is crucial to determine the tasks to be completed during the remaining period in the company, considering its length. This includes transferring tasks, projects, and contacts to other employees. Make arrangements for the return of any borrowed equipment, such as laptops, headsets, and mice, by organizing a courier service if needed. Additionally, ensure that the IT department revokes an employee’s access to the company account, domain, and system for security purposes.


Parting ways with an employee never comes easily to anyone. It becomes even more challenging nowadays when face-to-face interactions are limited. However, regardless of the circumstances, it’s crucial for managers and HR departments to handle layoffs professionally. This involves setting proper employee termination procedures and training team leaders. By following these steps, we can ensure an employee feels respected throughout the process.

Read more: Top 3 online team building games for remote teams

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Author: Nicole Mankin

HR manager with an excellent ability to build a positive atmosphere and create a valuable environment for employees. She loves to see the potential of talented people and mobilize them to develop.