Fired by email or phone? Here's how to deal with it

Thu Jan 5, 2012 3:02pm EST
 
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By Eileen Gunn

(Reuters) - When Lauren Bossers, who lives in Pittsburgh, worked for a supply chain management software company in Dallas, she dealt with work and staff in the main office virtually, by phone and email. When she was laid off after her company was acquired in January 2010, well, that happened by phone, too.

With increasing numbers of people working outside of the office, when it comes to pink-slip time, companies often relay their message the most convenient way they can if their employees aren't physically present - by phone or video chat.

The Telework Research Network estimates that 20 to 30 million people work from home at least once a week, while another 15 to 20 million work remotely while on the road.

Bossers said receiving the bad news remotely had an upside. She was able to absorb it and react to it in the privacy of her home, rather than in an office full of coworkers.

But, on the flip side, if a person telecommutes part-time, an office cubicle may require clearing out, and if they work from home full-time, there may be computers and work material that need returning to the business.

Sara Fell, a former human resources officer and founder of the website Flexwork.com (which helps clients find flexible work situations) has the following tips for those dealing with a virtual layoff:

GET YOUR EXIT TERMS IN WRITING

Those who are laid off in person are typically handed a packet that lays out the terms of their layoff and provides supporting information, such as what their options are regarding a company retirement plan. If you're laid off by phone, make sure such a package is forthcoming.   Continued...