Dilemma of resigning when working remotely

BD Remote working

It is important for departing employees to also inform their customers about the exit. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

In 2022, Alex Kamau, an employee at an accounting firm, was at a crossroads. He did not know how to issue his employer a two-week resignation notice while working from home.

At the time, he says, the company was 100 percent remote. Mr Kamau was in the final stages of an interview with another company, which he strongly anticipated for an offer.

“Should I schedule a time to talk with my manager and set up a video conference? Or should I schedule it for an in-person meeting at a coffee shop?” he wondered.

Mr Kamau’s case is not isolated. It is a common predicament for many employees working from home.

Eric Muchiri, a human resource business partner consultant, says the guidelines remain identical, whether working from the office or remotely.

He adds that the basic principle, irrespective of one’s location, is for workers to remember that they retain their employee status until the last day of their notice.

“So, you must give ample time depending on the company’s policies. Be professional and respectful. Do the assignments given and complete them.”

In the same vein, Mr Muchiri warns employers about assigning new responsibilities that may go beyond the employee’s notice period.

He advocates that the support and engagement an employee receives from the moment one joins the company should be maintained up to the end of their notice period.

“Both the employer and employee should seek feedback. The purpose of this is to get to know the plan for each other. What is the way forward? And the hand-down procedure,” he says.

Also, Mr Muchiri notes that it is prudent for the employer to ensure that they give all the final dues entitled to the employee before the notice period elapses.

“Some give a specific date but when it comes, you don’t get the final dues. It is not ethical,” he says.

To gloat or not?

Mercy Makau, lead consultant at Maxin Career Axis, says the employees serving notice should refrain from boasting to their colleagues about their new job. “Even though you know that the company you are going to is better than the one you were in, keep it to yourself,” she says.

Ms Makau highlights that due to personality differences, it is very common for an employee to lock horns with one another or even their superior.

While the notice period could potentially become a ground for settling scores, Ms Makau advises the departing employee to navigate this time with emotional intelligence.

The final goodbye

In today’s world where we’re all connected through WhatsApp groups and emails, Mr Muchiri mentions that it’s best if the departing employee makes sure they’ve properly handed everything over and cleared before exiting the channels.

“This includes the laptops, house and car keys…everything that was given to you when you were working for that company.”

On her part, Ms Makau advises penning a thank you note to your colleagues and boss could weigh less but it carries a lot of weight.

“In the thank-you note, include what you learnt from them despite the shortcomings that you faced along the way. Remember they were just a stepping stone so try not to fixate on the ills too much but share them under ‘what to improve’ during the exit interview.”

Reflecting on a previous experience, Ms Makau says it is important for departing employees to also inform their customers about the exit, especially if they had direct contact with them.

“A friend of mine once left her job without notifying her customers, who continued to seek her assistance, unaware of her exit,” she says.

Beyond just notifying them of your departure, Ms Makau says it’s crucial to introduce your customers to your successor for a seamless transition.

She also recommends reassuring them about the competence of the new employee, highlighting that they are well-equipped to assist whenever needed.

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