If you’re reading this, you probably know someone who is leaving the company. Whether it’s retirement or pursuing a different opportunity, leaving can be hard on both the team and the member. But if you’re willing to give creative virtual team farewell ideas a try, the power to make this change easier for everyone rests with you!
Here’s the thing; farewells are easier to organize when everyone’s together in one location. When they’re distributed or remote, however, you have to be more deliberate in recreating the social vibes that make the experience interactive.
This post will tell you how to throw a virtual goodbye party that makes farewells as memorable to remote teams as they are to collocated employees. Enjoy!
Read our similar article on how to determine virtual recognition ideas for your remote team.
How To Throw An AWESOME Virtual Goodbye Party
1. Plan in Advance
Start party planning while the remote employee is on the notice period. You’ll need to do a headcount on attendees, confirm a time slot that they’ll be available for and run inventory on a sendoff gift.
You can even rope in the team members to brainstorm over gift ideas and decide on a budget. Since they’ve all worked with the person who is leaving, they would have a better idea of a gift that is meaningful. It can be a coupon to a gift-store or a care package branded with the company insignia. The fun part lies in keeping the party preparation a secret till the day of the virtual meet-up!
2. Set a Time Limit
Bearing in mind that the party will be amid a hectic work schedule, confine the party to a time limit. Plan out the number of games and activities and leave in speaking allowances so that everyone gets to participate uniformly.
3. Facilitate the Celebration Mode
Let’s face it, virtual meetups run the whole gamut of embarrassments- awkward silences, call drop-offs, reentries, latecomers and background noises or conversations. Everyone’s waiting for someone to initiate the conversation while observing each other’s backgrounds. It’s down to the facilitator to reinforce the celebratory tone and iterate the purpose of the meeting. This facilitator can either be yourself or a project manager or team leader who worked closely with the soon-to-be ex-employee.
You can set the right tone by readying the attendees mentally ahead of time. Send out creative mailers and group texts on Slack, Samepage or any other messaging thread that your employees are in. The more colorful the invitation, the more likely employees will get into the mood for lighthearted fun.
4. Mail Care Bags and Physical Gifts
Since your employees are remote and are unlikely unable to turn up at the office for handovers or exchanges, make sure to finalize a reliable courier to mail them their gift boxes. This can take time, which is why picking the gift, packaging and arranging for it to be delivered should be done such that it reaches them before they completely exit. They can also use the same service to return work devices or equipment that were sent to them when they first joined.
5. Conduct Games and Fun Activities
Now that you’ve decided on a date and time limit for the send-off, the next step is to narrow down on the virtual team farewell ideas by the number and type of games and/or activities. From guessing games and quizzes to a slideshow presentation, you can involve the team for inputs and personalize the experience to the outgoing member.
Ideas for a Zoom Goodbye Party
Alright, alright, we’ve teased this out and you’re probably wondering when we’re getting to the good part, i.e. virtual team farwell ideas! Here are a few that we looked up that would work great for your zoom send off!
2.1.1 Life story map
Let the exiting employee tell the rest of the team where they grew up or were born. Have them share an interesting tidbit or memorable event about the place, culture or language. Once their turn is over repeat the exercise for the rest of the team to make the experience more immersive. It’s a great way to know how the person made it this far and how their experiences shaped them!
2.1.2 Wellness weigh-in
Have the employees weigh in on a time that they were stuck at work and how they felt about the bottleneck. This reveals more about how they approach problem-solving and who or what they turn to for help. If they’ve been helped by the departing employee, it’s also an opportunity to thank them for the support!
2.1.3 Common ground
Everyone should write down a list of five or ten things that they have in common with the employee who is leaving. You can take it up a notch by having them do this exercise in under a minute. When the time’s up, everyone shows their list on camera and compares notes.
2.1.4 Coffee Shop
This is an extended version of a watercooler chat. You can play it by having your guest-of-honor privately message you what their favorite brew is. Inform the rest of the team that they’ll be guessing how their colleague likes their drink. Whoever gets it right can be rewarded with a beverage swap (where the winner and the employee leaving exchange recipes) or an extra few minutes to make and have the brew together on a separate call!
2.1.5 Most Likely To
This is a simple prediction game where the team comes up with titles to award each other, including the outgoing employee. It can be anything comical or serious, such as the person most likely to win a dance-off or become the protagonist in a novel! If you want more title ideas, tagquestions has a compilation of fun-sounding titles.
Using a whiteboard tool such as Miro, Mural or Stormboard at work? This is one of the virtual team farewell ideas that will put it to great use! Have everyone share screens and draw out objects. Divide the team into a pair or group to compete against each other. The team that gets the maximum number of right guesses can be declared Pictionary champions!
2.2 Personal Quizzes
2.2.1 Who Am I?
This quiz can be played by having everyone answer a fixed set of questions, such as who their favorite celebrity is, hobby or food. They can send their responses individually to you on private chat. The facilitator reads out the answers one by one for the rest of the team to guess which member best fits the answers. It demonstrates memory recall and how well the team knows each other based on their ability to match the description to the person!
2.2.2 What Drink are you?
The team has to individually think up the ingredients they’d put into a drink. They also have to give their signature creation a unique name. If you want to really let loose, you can host a mini happy hour and have everyone sit in on the session with their favorite drink in hand! Teetotallers can make themselves the un-boozy version.
2.2.3 Movie Marathon
This is one of those out-of-the-box virtual team farewell ideas. You could get a company subscription to digital content platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime and have viewers draw up a brief list for a weekend movie marathon. They can come back later to discuss how many of the movies they managed to finish and what they thought of it.
2.2.4 Life Goals Bucket List
Have everyone note down what they want to achieve by a certain age and where they are in their bucket list. You can either share this on a whiteboard or on a file. It’s an empathy and context-building exercise that lets employees find common interests that they can consider going into as a group, such as rock-climbing or enlisting for a book club.
2.2.5 My Coworker in a Word
This is one of the simplest virtual team farewell ideas there is. Everyone on the remote team comes up with an adjective for their coworker who is leaving. You can then announce all the adjectives that best sum up the person as a whole! If you want to make this exercise more group-friendly and not limit it to just the outgoing employee, you can have people pick chits with their coworker’s name on it. They have to then describe whoever they get. Remember to ensure that there’s only positive or neutral sentiment!
Once all entries are in, the team can simply say the word, and the rest of the participants have to guess who best fits that particular adjective. Everyone can have up to three guesses before revealing the person!
2.3 Career highlight shows
2.3.1 Online tribute
You can create a photo collage or video montage of your team and play it as a presentation. Make sure your outgoing employee is heavily featured to highlight their presence and by association, importance!
2.3.2 Virtual ceremonial ribbon cutting
Draw up a list of accomplishments and milestones reached by the employee who is leaving. It can be based on the number of years they’ve been with your company and projects and services that they’ve played a pivotal role in. Following the announcement of these achievements, everyone releases balloons from their end on-camera and on-cue to celebrate the moment!
2.3.3 Improv and Skits
You can have everyone do a skit or improv routine to present to the outgoing employee. The team can collectively brainstorm for a storyline, assign roles or parts and then devote some time to rehearsals post-work. It’s a fun way to let loose and will give the departing colleague something to remember their team by!
2.3.4 Down Memory lane
Have everyone recount an experience working with the departing employee. It can be a funny story or a time that they went above and beyond. You can wrap up the virtual farewell party on a sentimental note!
2.3.5 Invite family, friends, and ex-colleagues
If they’re up for it, you can secretly bring in the employee’s family members, ex-colleagues, or a few friends on the offboarding experience. Have them list out their favorite things about the team member and create a fan page out of these inputs. You can surprise the colleague with a link to this page, or opt to format it on a greeting card that’s electronically signed by everyone!
3. The Takeaway
When a person exits the company and team, we tend to take it as the end of working relationships. But it needn’t be so, and I speak from personal experience. I still have a great rapport with my former colleagues who have moved on to the next adventure. I have watched them grow and know that they’ve been following my life updates as well.
With these virtual team farewell ideas, you’ll not only be able to maintain the rapport you worked so hard to build but will also have a friend looking out for you in the professional circuit.
Ready to create new memories from old? Let us know what you think of these virtual team farewell ideas!
P.S: We won’t rule out incoming suggestions if you’ve got any!