Telling your boss you are quitting in an office environment can already fill you with anxiety and nervousness. But if you factor in working remotely, it can feel even more uncomfortable or confusing.
Now you have to figure out your plan, what a good time to connect is, and how to properly engage your resignation virtually with your manager. Not as easy as the approach in a traditional office setting!
But it also doesn’t mean that you can stop showing up for work or just avoid it altogether. Remote jobs are legit and it means you need to continue to be professional in your resignation delivery.
So how do you best resign from your remote job? Below are the tips to help you navigate a smooth and professional transition from your current role.
How to Tell Your Boss You’re Quitting Virtually
The challenge with resigning remotely is that it can feel unprofessional and just awkward. I mean, you aren’t seeing this person in real life and it feels strange to quit via video.
And that informal feeling can add an additional layer of pressure when putting in your notice to resign. But don’t worry, the experience can be done politely and efficiently with these steps. Let’s dive in.
1. Put your plan together for resigning
Before you schedule time with your manager, you need to put your plan together. Being organized is critical to feeling confident and prepared to share the news. But also for when you do transition out of the company.
Write down the steps of your plan, which can include the rest of the steps in the post!
But think about the areas that are important to you and the company. What’s your plan for returning the home office equipment? Who do you need to connect with virtually during the transition?
Also, think about your timeframes of items. For example, always provide the organization the courtesy of a two weeks notice. So your plan should include your transition date and offer any support for your manager.
Now if you are in a higher-up role, you may want to consider three or four weeks before you leave. It can take longer to fill a position in leadership or executive roles.
2. Write a formal resignation letter
Whether you are back in the office or remotely, a formal resignation letter is always important to do.
You want to get everything in writing and official with the company, which makes the process smoother for everyone. And by having this formal document, the official offboarding can begin.
I also put this ahead of scheduling time with your manager for a few reasons:
- Formulating your letter first can help you with your talking points with your boss.
- After your conversation, you can come back to the letter and edit anything as needed.
- You already have the letter done ahead of time and is less work after your chat.
What should your resignation letter include?
Your letter does not need to be longer than one page. But it should cover some main points of your resignation and be professional:
- A formal greeting and intro.
- Your intention to resign.
- The day you plan to leave.
- Offer assistance for your exit.
- Share appreciation for your time at the company.
- Add contact information, date, and sign.
3. Schedule a meeting with your manager (video or phone call)
When you have your plan and letter ready, it’s time to reach out to your manager. Send over a quick email or message via a chat tool like Slack to find a time to connect.
With remote jobs, it’s best that you schedule a meeting via video or phone call.
Ideally, this will be via video to have a more formal and professional approach. But a phone call can also work if you are finding it challenging to get your manager on a virtual meeting. And maybe they also prefer the phone over video too.
Can you resign via email if you work remotely?
Ideally, you want to avoid resigning remotely via email. There are situations where it might be the route you have to go. If you need to resign via email, remember to maintain professionalism and include an outline of your resignation with the formal letter attached.
You don’t need to write multiple paragraphs, air out grievances, or start attacking the employer. You probably wouldn’t do that via video or phone call either, so keep the email easy to digest and to the point.
Most likely, you’ll then need to jump on a video or phone call to discuss your email resignation. As now you have the manager’s attention, who may want to discuss this further.
4. Practice your talking points for the conversation
Since you wrote your resignation letter first, you may feel more prepared for the upcoming conversation. However, it might be good to practice your talking points as well. This can help your confidence and preparedness.
Not everything needs to be shared about why you are quitting, but most likely it will be asked. Most managers want to understand what is causing this change to better the team and company.
Others might just be nosey and won’t be the type to take action to improve things. It’s up to you how much information you want to share during questioning based on how you feel about your manager.
Some talking point tips to consider:
- Avoid small talk, and get right into the reason for your meeting.
- Example: Hi XYZ, thanks for taking a few minutes to connect with me. The reason for setting up this call is to inform you that I intend to resign from my position as an ABC.
- A simple reason for why you are resigning. You might have more points, but no need to dive into that information unless your manager questions further.
- Example: I’m at a point in my career where I’m looking for a new challenge and after X years here, I feel it’s the right time.
- Thank your manager and show appreciation to the company for the experience and for the time you’ve been working here.
- Example: I appreciate my time at ABC company and the support you and the team have provided me over the years.
- Share your plans to support the manager and team during your transition out from the company.
- Example: I’m here to support you and the team as needed to ensure everyone has proper information about my work and I’m happy to train anyone before I officially leave.
- Provide insights into what you will do after the meeting.
- Example: After this meeting, I will send you a short recap and attach my official letter of resignation for you.
Be prepared for additional questions from your manager and other information that may be important for your offboarding at the company.
5. Get on the video or phone call
Then, join the meeting and go through your talking points. Be respectful, professional, and mindful of your body language and tone.
First, before joining the meeting, make sure you are in a good space. You don’t want a ton of distractions or noise around you during this meeting. Additionally, check your internet or phone service and make sure your computer equipment is working.
And stick to this even if your boss decides to act out a bit in frustration. Not all managers handle this kind of news well or professionally, but be polite and firm on your decision.
Things might not go perfect, but maintain as much poise as you can. When you work from home, naturally video delays happen, or some unexpected noise outside that can be distracting. Not everything is perfectly unavoidable with remote work and that’s perfectly okay!
6. Email your formal resignation later
After your virtual meeting, make sure to immediately email your resignation later to your manager. You can include a brief recap of the talking points along with the letter.
Also, let your manager know you are on standby for the next steps or additional conversations as needed during your last few weeks. Again, this email and letter are further proof of your intent as well as the date and time of your resignation. This is important in case any questions arise or you are in a situation where you need to provide proof.
Remember, feel free to edit the letter before sending it. You may have missed a point or something that came up in the meeting that you would like to include. And also keep a copy for yourself and print it out.
Your boss may reply to your email and letter with acknowledgment and provide well wishes. Or they may stay quiet until they’ve discussed it with HR and their boss.
What Happens if You Get a Counter Offer?
Most likely, your manager might ask what they can do to get you to stay or provide a counter offer. Typically, that’s a good sign that you’ve been a valuable asset to the company. And even though you are talking about moving on, they really want to keep you.
Hearing that certainly will make you feel good.
But don’t let that compliment sway your decision so easily. It’s totally cool to take a day to think about a counter offer, especially if the reason for your resignation was really just a monetary choice (i.e. you had a better salary offer elsewhere).
Typically, your reasoning for leaving and exploring a new company is rooted in other issues you may have with the manager, work, culture, or it’s more about career growth.
Personally, if I am resigning then I know I’m checked out of the work and a counter offer is just a temporary patch to the core problems. So I would 99% of the time, opt-out from a counter offer.
There’s some good advice about counter offers that is worth checking out before you accept one from your company if you are conflicted.
Don’t Quit Just Because of the Salary (Yet)
Salary and good benefits are very important to job satisfaction. But you shouldn’t threaten to quit or resign as a way to bargain your way to more money.
Instead, if you feel your salary or career is not where you want it to be, schedule time with your manager to discuss these things.
Share with them about your interest in wanting to grow with the company, ask what it takes to get there, and how you can better gain promotion or salary increases.
Good managers should certainly recognize that ahead of you asking, but sometimes you need to broach the subject first.
If these discussions are going nowhere, then understandable it’s time to look for a new remote job that can offer more opportunities for you.
Working Remotely Still Requires Professionalism
Although you are working remotely, it doesn’t mean you should “ghost” your employer for new opportunities. Instead, you want to maintain professionalism and feel good about how you handled quitting your current remote job.
Badmouthing employers and disregarding a polite resignation process could potentially harm you in the future. I’m in the mindset of avoiding burning bridges, as you never know how a former manager or co-worker could help you in the future.