Forbes, February 2023, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky
The transition to remote work has presented various difficulties for companies, and layoffs have not been an exception. I’ve assisted 21 organizations in their transition to hybrid and remote work and have learned that planning for all aspects of the employee lifecycle, from induction to departure, is crucial for successful remote and hybrid work strategies.
One of the most significant difficulties with remote work is the lack of personal interaction between employees and their superiors. In the past, layoffs were often conducted in-person, providing a more human and compassionate approach. However, with remote work, many companies are opting for laying off employees through email, which can be perceived as cold and inconsiderate, leading to negative impacts on employee morale and company culture. This can result in legal action or negative publicity for the company, as seen with recent layoffs at Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Meta.
If your company is not well-known, you may be less likely to receive negative media coverage for impersonal layoffs, but only if the email is appropriate in tone. For instance, the CEO of PagerDuty, Jennifer Tejada, had to apologize after sending an email announcing that the company would be cutting 7% of its workforce and quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on leadership in difficult times. Such inappropriate messaging showcases the lack of personal attention and empathy in email layoffs, which are particularly harmful to remote employees.
Retrieving Company Assets
The shift to remote work has resulted in many employees working from their homes using company-provided equipment such as laptops, phones, and other devices, as well as office furniture such as standing desks and chairs. When layoffs occur, companies must retrieve these assets from remote employees.
This process can be challenging, both in terms of time and cost, especially if the equipment is not returned promptly. It is crucial for companies to have clear guidelines in place to ensure the process runs smoothly and efficiently.