Terminating an employee is challenging and can give rise to a number of legal issues. Terminating a remote employee can present different issues and can be even more difficult. Remember that whether the worker is in the office or working at home, the same employment rules apply.
With all your employees, you need to set expectations and manage their performance first. You need to communicate with the employees when their performance is lacking. Nothing should be a surprise—if you’re going to fire them, they should know about it.
Terminating an Employee
If you decide to terminate an employee, the number one thing that you need to do is make sure that you treat them with respect through the process. It’s difficult for them, it’s difficult for you, and the best thing you can do is be polite.
You should have a plan ahead of time, and if you have an HR team, you should coordinate the termination with them. You should really have a script of what’s going to happen and stick to the facts.
If it’s possible, you should really try to terminate them in person. If you can’t do that, a video call is probably best. If you can’t do that, a phone call. An email is really the last resort. No matter what, you shouldn’t be alone for the conversation. Have somebody there with you who can document what happened and support you and look out for the interests of the employee.
One of the things you really need to do is make sure that your IT team knows what’s going on. Because they’re remote, the employee is going to have access to a number of company systems and confidential company information. Because of this, concurrent with the termination, the IT team should cut their access off to anything that’s sensitive.
If you follow these steps, it won’t make firing a remote worker less painful, but if you strive to fire them in the right way, it will at least ensure that the process will be handled fairly, adhere to company policy, and more importantly, it’ll fit within legal guidelines.