Hand over your laptops immediately

My wife’s colleague was laid off and asked to hand over her laptop on the very same day.

She was being laid off for no fault of hers – it was a business decision. Yet, she felt bad that she had to leave her project midway. She felt bad that she was forced do do something unprofessional. She was made to feel as though she had done something wrong.

‘We are sorry to let you go for no fault of yours. This was a business decision entirely. However, hand over your laptop and leave the premises immediately.’

This is how most layoffs happen. But the contradiction is jarring. If your layoff was a business decision, why are the people affected treated like criminals soon afterwards? Why are they being asked to submit their laptops on the same day. Or even worse – why revoke their access rights in the middle of the night?

These management decisions probably stem from fear that a laidoff employee could extract revenge on their employer. They are perhaps intended to protect their company. However, the signal it sends to other employees is how management views them as vindictive and unprofessional. It sends them a signal that the emplyoer views them with inherent distrust. This manner of laying off employees hurt companies more than protecting them.

We are going through a period of mass layoffs, where most people are being fired for reasons outside of their control. Some of these layoffs might have been inevitable. But when they do happen, can companies behave with the same professionalism that they expect of their employees? Can we remember that we are laying off people rather than human resources?

The dominant emotions in a layoff (as opposed to a dissmissal) ought to be regret and gratitude, both of which are incompatible with suspicion.

One thought on “Hand over your laptops immediately

  1. Rather than keeping quiet about removal of access right etc. company can say that as a measure to protect co interest we have done
    2. Remove access right
    & say
    We trust you completely but don’t hold any personal grudge against you.
    You may return laptop etc within 1 week


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