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!
1 How To Throw An AWESOME Virtual Goodbye Party
1.1 Plan in Advance
Start party planning while the remote employee is on the notice period. You’ll need to do a head count 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 virtual farewell ideas, 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!
1.2 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.
1.3 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 lead 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. Search for farewell games for colleagues online before the party so that there is no chance for awkward lags to creep in.
1.4 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.
1.5 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 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.
2 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 farewell 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! When you are looking at virtual farewell ideas, this one helps keep the conversation flowing.
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. Out of all virtual farewell party ideas, this one is great as it can facilitate a conversation between people who might not have been talking before.
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 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! It makes for an amazing farewell games for colleagues online as there is no minimum number of people required to play this game.
2.2 Personal quizzes
2.2.1 Who Am I?
This is considered to be one of the best farewell games for colleagues online. 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. If you are looking at virtual farewell party ideas, this one is great as it helps people relax and open up a bit more.
2.2.3 Movie Marathon
This is one of those out-of-the-box virtual 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 coworkers 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 upto 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! This is one of the few virtual farewell party ideas that will keep the conversation solely on the departing employee.
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!
GENSMAK! digital trivia is a fun and interactive game designed for completely remote teams. Based on the GENSMAK! card game, this digital version allows remote teams to come together and challenge their trivia knowledge with questions spanning five generations and hints written by comedians.
The game is easy to play (and it’s free!). Simply join a video platform like Zoom or another platform and the host will share the game on the screen. With teams of up to 12 players, you will earn points for answering questions correctly and additional points for not using hints. The more questions you answer outside your generation, the more points you get. Finally, the first team to reach 15 points wins!
3 Virtual Retirement Party Ideas
Do you know someone who is retiring soon but who you’ll not get to meet? Here are a few virtual retirement party ideas to send them off in a fitting manner!
3.1 Plan a retirement ball
Host a ball, complete with a dress code, party favors, finger food and makeup! Ask your retiree what their favorite colors are, and arrange for decor in those colors. The best part is that you can decide how big or small you want this ball to be. Is everyone down to dress up and purchase the required decorations? Or would you prefer to keep things simple?
You can even arrange for a mic to be shipped to your retiree for them to make their send-off speech as the others listen in while on the call. It’s also a nice change for everyone to wear formals again, having worked in their PJs for the better half of 2020 and 2021!
3.2 Mailbox eruption
Do you remember how Harry Potter got dozens of letters from Hogwarts inviting him to join the Wizarding school? You can do the same thing for your retiring colleague by arranging to send them farewell cards! Think how pleasantly surprised your retiring colleague would be to get a letterbox full of cards bearing sentimental thoughts!
You can either have everyone chip in for one big card with a letter inside, or have whoever is interested in participating post their cards separately. Sending cards to your retiree’s physical address gives them something to hold onto. The coordination between team members would depend on where they, you and the retiree live.
3.3 Potluck Payday
Why not arrange a potluck on payday? The day everyone’s salary gets credited, go all out! Plan an extensive menu with all dishes your retiree cooks or orders when out at team lunches! Take dietary restrictions into account and modify the potluck so that everybody can truly enjoy participating in it.
3.4 Go Game
Go Game offers a series of indoor and in person team building activities. I would suggest either the mystery puzzle ,or the high stakes game show. The mystery puzzle involves finding out the gory story behind the assassination of Zach Taylor, while the game show is a combination of trivia, minute-to-win-it and the classic Family Feud. All the games are suited for indoor play and are customizable in terms of the format and number of players. The important thing is that everyone is going to log out with fun memories!
3.5 Down Memory Lane
Have your retiree share moments from their past, such as
- How did they feel on their first day at the company?
- What was the office rumor they found out through the grapevine?
- Who was the first person they interacted with?
- Who did they turn to for help?
- Which members of the team have they worked with the most, or the least?
The only thing everyone needs to be mindful of is that happy memories are shared rather than moments where there was a conflict of interest or minor differences.
4 Virtual Farewell Games For Colleagues
If you are wondering about what kind of virtual farewell party games to play, then worry not- We have got your back. Here is a list of some fun farewell party games you can play at the next party.
Who Am I?
Who Knows You Best?
Two Truth and a Lie
“Never Have I Ever” Bingo
5 Virtual Farewell Meeting Invite for Colleague
Here are two sample virtual farewell invites to send out for a colleague’s virtual goodbye party.
” It’s time to bid adieu! You are cordially invited to an evening filled with memories over a session of fun and games at the online farewell party of (Name, Designation). Let’s all meet at 5:00 p.m. sharp, on Zoom at (invite link) to express our heartfelt appreciation and wish him/her very best for the journey ahead.”
“Dear Team Members, after (number) years of dedicated and committed service to our company, Mr./Ms. (Name, Designation), who has been an invaluable asset to our company, is now retiring. In honor of the occasion, you are cordially invited to his/her virtual farewell party at 5:00 p.m. sharp, on Zoom (invite link)”.
6 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 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!
7.1 How do you celebrate farewell virtually?
You can celebrate a farewell virtually with a range of virtual farewell party games and activities based on the employee’ years in service and the reasons behind their exit. If they’re retiring, the party needs to be planned to make it memorable for them, and enjoyable for the coworkers. If they are resigning and moving onto another opportunity, you should speak to them about
- How they wish to celebrate,i.e. The scale of the event
- Who all should be on the guest list
You should also take a consensus on what kind of farewell present to get them on everyone’s behalf.
7.2 How do you say goodbye to a remote worker?
Saying goodbye is never easy, which is why I prefer to term it a ‘ see you again’ ! That being said, remember to convey your wishes and regards to the person who is departing, either via text or call over a meeting platform. You can arrange to do it at a mutually convenient time so that the knowledge transfer isn’t interrupted, and the goodbye isn’t rushed.