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How to Resign Remotely

September 28, 2021 Digital Workplace
Kaya Ismail
By Kaya Ismail

In the post-pandemic world, remote work has become a de facto way of working for many office workers. Accompanying that is a corresponding shift in positive attitudes toward remote work in analysis conducted by consulting firm PwC: 83% of employers now say the shift to remote work has been successful for their company, compared to 73% in their June 2020 survey.

But as remote work continues and the Great Resignation hits, organizations and employees are left with new questions. For example, what should you do if you need to quit your remote job? It can be tricky. In fact, some companies require that an employee has to come into an office for one day before they leave to sign paperwork. 

However, others may let employees email a resignation letter from wherever they're located – and even agree not to accept any calls or emails from them after that point. But before digging in how to handle remote resignations, let's take a look at why remote employees resign. 

Why Do Remote Employees Resign?

While most of the reasons why remote employees resign aren't that different from the reasons why in-office workers resign, there are two major reasons according to Chary Otinggey, digital PR specialist at Dallas-based digital marketing agency Thrive.

"With the growth of companies adapting to hybrid or remote work environments, workers are now exploring opportunities that offer a better package," Otinggey said. "Another reason why some workers resign is that they became too comfortable with the remote work set-up, and when asked to report back to the office, they'll just quit." 

In fact, a recent article from Bloomberg supports this view. Workers have become accustomed to remote work settings, and some would rather quit than lose the flexibility and lifestyle that comes along with remote work. Or they may feel that the same growth opportunities are not available to them as if their on-site colleagues.

For some, the pressures and distractions at home proves that remote work isn't viable. Others may feel the work culture is not conducive to their visions or feelings of isolation. For employers, this means looking for flexible arrangements or offering hybrid options for those who want them and accommodate to the new realities of work.

Related Article: How Your Company Can Avoid the Great Resignation

How to Resign Respectfully

Resigning is always a challenge, regardless of the reasons or the situation. Remote workers have the added challenge of quitting without the face-to-face closure the in-office setting brings. But that doesn't mean it's OK to simply ghost an employer just because it's a remote job.

Here are a few tips to handle remote resignation from both employee perspective as well as the employer:

  1. Consider the Reasons: If you're an employee, write down reasons and go through them one by one, asking if something can be done to change the option. Plan what to say, and ask for a meeting with the manager. 
  2. Talk Things Through: Set up a meeting with supervisors or team leaders to discuss the decision. "If you meet with resistance, explain your reasons and explore whether they are willing to remedy the issues you face," said Joe Flanagan, senior employment advisor at VelvetJobs. "If you have already decided that your decision is final, be firm and follow up the meeting by sending the official resignation letter to initiate the process. Complete the formalities and finish your notice period, participate in the last-day virtual events and meetings, and end your engagement on a high note."
  3. Give Notice: "You can resign respectfully by giving notice before your actual end date," said Jim Sullivan, founder at Grafton, Mass.-based JCSI. "This will allow you to transfer your work to someone else and/or train someone to take your position and not leave the company in a place where they are overwhelmed and suffer the consequences of your departure."
  4. Make It Formal and Official: When composing a resignation letter, think of it as a conversation with management. "Be clear about what you are telling them and don't ever make it petty or personal," said Sam Dolbel, co-founder at Austin, Texas-based SINC Workforce. "When you lay it out with just the facts and no emotion, there is no chance that anything will get confused or misconstrued. Be thankful and appreciative. Be respectful and honest."
  5. Create a Succession Plan: Like any resignation, whether it's in person or remote, have a succession plan ready so that you are not scrambling for talent if an employee decides to leave. "Succession planning is an organization's safety net and is also great for identifying training opportunities for other employees," said Jessica Salter, people operations, at London-based Best Response Media.


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