How to get remote redundancies right

Written by Annie Makoff-Clark Wednesday 08 February 2023
Twitter made headlines in November 2022 when they laid off thousands of staff via email, violating employment laws. With remote redundancies, it can be all too easy to forget the human side of a difficult situation. This is how to get it right
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Cast your mind back to March 2022 and you might recall the uproar when P&O Ferries laid off 800 of its employees – via a pre-recorded video message. Fast forward to November and Elon Musk made waves in his first week at Twitter by locking staff out of their computers and making half the company’s workforce redundant overnight – via an email.

Adam Sark, data information manager at a national support services charity, was also given notice of redundancy that November. But he faced a different issue. 

The charity Adam worked for had been working remotely for eight years, but was restructuring and implementing major new efficiency drives. This involved consolidating two management roles into one on Adam’s team. In an unexpected turn of events, the charity agreed to grant voluntary redundancy to both Adam (in one of the management roles) and his colleague. “The role is made redundant, not the person,” Adam explains. However, this left the team with no manager at all.

The role is made redundant, not the person

His last day was set for the end of January, several weeks short of the 24 weeks’ notice period he was entitled to from his 15 years of service. Despite trying to negotiate a later end date to ensure a smoother transition for his team, Adam’s request was turned down. Instead, it was suggested he work out his notice period until the end of April with no extra pay.

“It was a weird situation,” Adam recalls. “It felt like I’d ended up negotiating myself into working for three extra months, effectively unpaid. I felt a huge responsibility for my team, I didn’t want to leave them to deal with the changes alone, but I realised that I couldn’t jeopardise myself by working for several months for no money. It would impact on me, my family and my ability to find another job.”

Keep reading for expert advice on taking a sensitive approach to remote redundancies



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