Best Practices for Terminating Remote Employees

January 19, 2022

Firing employees is the hardest part of a manager’s job. It is deeply unpleasant but sometimes necessary for business purposes. The increasing tendency toward remote work, intensified by the COVID pandemic, has added another layer of complication.

Terminating employees is difficult enough in person, but remote work makes it difficult to get on the same page, document the process properly, and explain the situation in a humane way.

Effective Policies

The first and most important thing an employer must have in place even before any decision to terminate an employee is made – and a necessary item in general – is to have clear policies laid out regarding the terms and conditions of an employee’s role at the firm.

The fact that employment is at will should be clearly specified in every employment contract. A policies and procedures manual should clearly specify codes of conduct, and expectations about performance should be clearly communicated from day one.

Supervision and Communication

Perhaps the most critical and difficult managerial task involved in having a large number of remote employees is supervising them and touching base with them regularly. Managers should schedule individual meetings with their employees and with their teams at least once a month.

Further, managers should lay out clear expectations give proper feedback. The minutes of the meeting should be carefully documented.

Know the Law

Managers should know employment laws inside and out. They should keep apprised of any significant changes to state and federal laws governing hiring and firing, and make sure that the rules governing final pay, benefits, and severance are adhered to meticulously.

Employers should also be aware of which elements of an employment contract are legally enforceable and which require a level of tact.

In-Person Is Still Best

It’s not always easy to get a remote employee into the office for any reason these days. Despite the difficulty and inconvenience associated with the COVID pandemic or simple geographic distance, an employer should still consider having the employee come in one last time. A face-to-face meeting conveys respect for the employee and for the gravity of the situation.

Collect Equipment and Documentation

If the terminated employee is in possession of company property, it may be necessary to have it shipped into the office. Likewise, official documents may need to be signed and sent in.

Reliable Couriers’ experienced remote employee equipment return service can help with this sensitive operation, collecting every item with the appropriate courtesy and respect and shipping it quickly and safely to its destination.


The rise of the remote workforce has given businesses new freedom and new flexibility, but it has also posed serious new challenges. Terminating employees – never the most enjoyable feature of business – has been made more difficult.

However, with proper communication and logistics, a skilled manager can execute this sensitive task as efficiently and respectfully as possible.