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I'm planning to hand in my notice soon. Normaly, I'd approach my boss, ask for a chat and then explain in person my circumstances and discuss ways forward. However, we now operate on a hybrid-remote basis, where I can't really expect my boss to be in unless we pre-arrange it.

It kinda feels like a break-up, in that doing it remotely feels wrong. This is probably because the company is small so my leaving is likely to have quite a high impact and our bosses always tried to aim for quite a personal contact with us. They probably don't expect I'm about to leave.

I don't think just waiting until we happen to be in the office physically at the same time is an option as time is paramount. So realistically, I can ask my boss for a video meeting, or I can ask them when they'd expect to be in the office for an in-person meeting. The former feels a little inappropriate in how informal it is. The latter feels like it's kinda "telling without telling" and also feels weird.

Thoughts?

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    Just a comment on "It kinda feels like a break-up": you are in a professional relation and the physical component is missing. Not saying that shouldn't feel wrong, but it's much more acceptable to resign than to break-up remotely.
    – nicola
    Sep 9 at 13:47
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    If you want to go the extra mile, you can schedule an in-person meeting despite any policy, and do the extra travel on your own. You can say there is an important matter you must discuss. They should then anticipate that resignation is a possibility, they may even ask. Now, whether it would really make the other party feel better about it, compared to a phone call or video?? Having longer time to prepare may be more valuable for them than the formality of the meeting. But who knows
    – Pete W
    Sep 9 at 14:24
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    @JWal, I wonder what you plan to discuss in the meeting about the way forward with the boss ? Is it about your remaining time at the company and the job you will be doing for the remaining time ? How much longer do you think you will be working there ? Sep 9 at 19:28
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    It’s called a “telephone”
    – mxyzplk
    Sep 10 at 2:42
  • @Job_September_2020 discuss ways forward is a euphemism for quitting that is understood by the boss. Sep 10 at 22:07
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So realistically, I can ask my boss for a video meeting, or I can ask them when they'd expect to be in the office for an in-person meeting. The former feels a little inappropriate in how informal it is.

It is not informal, it's just... "different" than what the majority of us are accustomed to.

Remote working is no longer some futuristic concept that may happen one day. It is what is happening right now, and it is quickly becoming the "norm".

So do not think a video call, or even a phone call, is informal. It is perfectly acceptable given your current situation.

My advice for what you should do is to prepare an email detailing your resignation - include all the information you would in a written letter.

Then, drop your boss a chat message or email and ask them if they are free for a quick call (or schedule one in if they are busy). Phone or video, whichever you prefer. Then you can tell them your intentions before you send the official notice via email.

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    I wouldn't recommend resigning to HR without first speaking to your direct boss. This has been viewed as a bit rude in places I've worked and risks burning bridges. Given how little time it takes to speak to your boss first, I'd do that then follow up in a mail to HR.
    – simonc
    Sep 9 at 14:45
  • @simonc: It really does depend on each individuals situation. Some people rarely even interact with their direct boss, others may be leaving for the sole reason that they do not get on with their boss. And of course, some people do have a good working relationship as you suggest - in which case it is sensible to approach them first.
    – musefan
    Sep 9 at 14:59
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    @simonc: I have removed that part now as it wasn't really relevant to the actual question and just seems to distract from the actual point I was trying to make.
    – musefan
    Sep 10 at 9:57
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I agree that this feels weird to do remotely, but you should not let that stop you. I quit my last job while working remotely; I was fortunate that I could see my boss' calendar and I could tell when he was free from other meetings.

I sent him a DM asking to have a quick phone call. He asked what it was about, and I said it was better explained on the call. Five minutes later on the phone I was letting him know that a new opportunity had come up, that I valued my time at his company, etc. For me being on the phone felt more similar to a face-to-face interaction than a screen share, and I was able to get this done quickly without scheduling something on his calendar.

That said, if a screen share feels better than a phone call to you, do it. And if you don't have the flexibility to jump on an unscheduled call then either use your weekly check-in (if you have one) or schedule a one-off check-in. Again, and depending on your boss, "it's easier to explain on the call" is probably a sufficient answer to "why do you need a meeting?".

Ultimately you need to be comfortable with the process so you can get it done in a timely and respectful manner. Take a moment to reflect and figure out what remote medium you're most comfortable with and request a meeting, either immediately if you can swing it, or schedule something soon.

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In both a relationship break-up and a professional resignation, timely is more important that in-person. A phone call is fine, and Teams/Zoom video is probably better, but both are acceptable when the alternative is to not say anything.

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    True for work, bad relationship advice. In my opinion, of course.
    – Pete W
    Sep 9 at 15:08

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