How to Quit a Remote Job

talking to boss on video call

Resigning from a remote role is probably a foreign concept for many reading this post. It may even be your first time to have a remote role altogether. Don’t worry, there’s probably less that you have to worry about than you think.

The good news is that this isn’t too terribly different from resigning from a job that’s in-person. There are some core differences that you should be aware of still.

Do it By the Book

Translation: make sure you are know the limits and parameters of whatever agreement you may have with your company before going down this role. Look through your contract and/or NDA to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules or prearranged plans when you accepted this job originally.

Make Plans to Meet

Some remote employees don’t ever go into the office, but some may go every quarter or even every month. To those that visit their employer regularly for meetings or face time, I would suggest trying to wait until you are in-person. Simply schedule some time to speak with your direct boss so that he/she knows to pencil in some private time during your visit.

This may not be possible for every scenario, but when able, definitely opt for that option. Even if it wasn’t the best working experience for you, leaving your remote job on good terms with your boss could be crucial to getting your next remote job. Resigning in person will go a long way to accomplishing that.

For those of you that need to resign from their job remotely, schedule some 1-on-1 time with your boss over video chat. Important calls should be over video, and not just an audio call. If you can schedule it for a Friday, all the better. This will make things simple from a two week notice standpoint. Not to mention, allows everyone involved to have the weekend to let the news settle in.

Write a Resignation Letter

This isn’t too different than in real life. You’ll be sending this after you meet with your boss, but you’ll want to have it completely ready by the time that meeting happens (if you want to be super cautious, have this letter when you request a meeting time, as there’s a chance they’ll want to talk with you right then).

If you’ve never written a resignation letter, don’t worry, it’s not too hard. Hell, there are even good templates online to fit most situations out there. That said, you’ll want to make sure when you write it, you include the following:

  • Resignation announcement
  • Anything you need to return (i.e., keycard)
  • Appreciation for the opportunity
  • Final work date
  • Your contact information

There may be reason to account for any unused vacation time, or any “owed” items. This shouldn’t be in the resignation letter, but it’s important to prepare any of that information and be ready to talk about it in the meeting with your manager.

Meet with Your Boss

Even with a good working relationship with your boss, this will almost certainly be the most anxiety-filled step. Difficult conversations are rarely stress-free, and this one is no exception. Because of this, I recommend preparing your points and going over them a few times before meeting.

Generally speaking, this conversation will be an extension of your resignation letter. You’ll want to hit the high points, and that’s it. I would caution against going into too much detail of why you’re leaving, or what role you’re taking after you leave. Feel free to let them talk as much as they want, but make no mistake about it, this meeting is for listening not talking. Obviously you’ll need to answer their questions (if they have any), but less is more here. Some immature managers will try to find issues with you or your work at the eleventh hour when they find out that you plan on leaving.

No matter how good / bad the meeting goes, just prepare yourself by telling yourself that you’ll stay calm and be polite. It’s always helpful to remind yourself that you can only control what you control. How someone reacts to news is on them, not on you.

And since you’re taking this meeting remotely, you could always take a shot beforehand to loosen up! 😉

Send Resignation Letter

After the meeting with your boss, you’ll want to email the resignation letter. Do this right away. In addition to professionalism, this also lets them know that there isn’t any question that you’re leaving your position, and that you will assist in the transition in any way they need.

Fulfill Notice Given

Even though you’re leaving, you want to make sure and leave on good terms. You’ll want to fulfill any requirements that are needed on your part before you leave the remote position. This will likely include the following:

  • Two weeks notice
  • Assisting in handing off assignments
  • Exit interview

Two weeks notice. More and more often this is becoming fluid. If there are enough redundancies in your position, and you don’t have pressing work that you need to complete, it’s entirely possible that they will just want you to finish out the week (or on an upcoming Friday). But if they are a by the book company and they want the full two weeks, it’s important that you work well during that time period.

Assisting in handing off assignments. Unlike an in-person role, this may take a bit more work. If your replacement is halfway around the world, it may mean that you have to work some off hours to ensure a seamless handoff before you quit. Again, that’s fine. Do what you need to do to help before leaving.

Exit interview. These aren’t quite as common with remote jobs, but don’t be surprised if you’re asked for one. This is especially true if you work in a large company that has a larger HR department.

Leave with Grace

Don’t sabotage the company computer before sending it back, or buy loads of apps on the company phone :).

In all seriousness, there’s no reason that this has be difficult, and it’s well within your benefit to make sure that resigning your remote position is a smooth, cordial event. With any luck, you’re off to greener pastures!

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Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.

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