Team members leaving can be tough even if you're all together in one office. When you're remote, making sure people still feel connected (and not like "Hey, whatever happened to Jen in accounting?") is top priority for good managers.
Using a virtual going away party or retirement party as a friendly farewell is a great way to make all your remote employees feel appreciated, not just the one leaving. As someone who has seen lots of employees come and go, a big part of off-boarding is making sure the rest of the team's morale stays up. As long as the parting of ways isn't acrimonious (and sometimes even if it is just a little acrimonious, just to soften the blow) I'll usually run some sort of structured "goodbye party" event. Nominally this is to say thanks to the person leaving, but really it's more to make the people staying feel like they are valued too and to bring them together ("oh Matt is leaving but we're taking the time to appreciate him — I must be appreciated too"). We've found this decreases turnover in general.
Here are the 11 best virtual goodbye party ideas and going away party ideas we've come across!
This ready-to-play interactive game deck is exactly what the doctor ordered to say goodbye to a valued member of your team. With questions specifically designed to engender good feelings between those still staying, and to send off your colleague well. Plus it will make you look like you put in a ton of work (when you didn't).
Saying goodbye to a coworker who is generally endeared to everyone can be particularly poignant, but the right Happy Hour Game should get everyone in the mood to laugh and enjoy themselves rather than being tearful about the parting. Family Feud is a popular game for goodbye parties, and you can find a great list of questions from Parade here. The live trivia feature of Slides With makes it easy to have a live "Team Feud" game, or you can create a personalized trivia game.
A personalized trivia game is easy to set up with a multiple choice virtual farewell template in Slides With. You can make the trivia about fairly well-known aspects of their life, likes, and dislikes, or you can make the trivia more personalized with them referencing specific events. You can get some other ideas for Happy Hour trivia games for your virtual farewell party with this sample deck.
Which of these is like the coworker? Another great way to use multiple choice templates for a virtual farewell game is to have items that describe the coworker and let people choose which answer they think best describes the coworker. You can also throw in some true and false questions using the same multiple choice templates or using polling slides.
Virtual bingo is another great game that can get things warmed up. Giving out bingo cards to mark off activities as they occur is a great way to make everyone engaged and paying attention. This is important if you want to have the added benefit of team building and boosting morale during the virtual farewell party. Have gift cards or lotto tickets for the winners.
Setting up your bingo game is easy to do with a few simple (and free) tools. An online bingo maker lets you put your own items in the random generator so that the bingo cards are specific to your company, industry, or department. Alternatively, you can start with a premade bingo template like this one from Team Building.
This is a game that will take a bit more prep work, but it can be worth it. Before the virtual farewell party, ask people to submit common phrases or habits that different people use around the office. Use a Slides With multiple choice template so that people can guess which coworker it describes. Alternatively, you could have people answer the question by throwing up their favorite pic of the right coworker. You can learn how to facilitate live picture sharing over the Slides With platform by following a few simple prompts.
Have your group come together to share words and short memories about the departing coworker as a party/event. Then save this wordcloud to give as a keepsake that the leaving person can take home. You can even print and frame it to give them something to remember the team by.
To make a live wordcloud, you can use tools that make it super easy. Try Slides With Friends' live wordcloud builder!
Depending on the team, you might want to preface this activity with a reminder that, although they are home in their pajamas, they still have to carry a professional demeanor. Some laid-back teams could get carried away if not reminded that they are still in a technically professional setting.
This game is really easy to set up with the polling templates from Slides With. Use title slides to show items like “Never have I ever…”
· Worn pajamas during a business meeting
· Bounced or rocked a baby while working
· Made the kids lunch during a mid-day Zoom meeting
· Took an extra break to deal with personal business
By using the polling templates for people to answer, you make all answers anonymous. This makes it more likely that your team will participate with honesty for the comedic value without having to worry about getting into trouble with their supervisor.
Use word clouds to create a unique yearbook style keepsake
You can make a word cloud slide for everyone to write their name or say something similar to a high school year book, like “Good luck!” If you want a real yearbook style keepsake, include a slide with pictures chosen by the rest of the team before the virtual farewell party. Then you can send the files to the person leaving and they can have it forever.
Word clouds open up a whole new world of possibilities for a fun and engaging virtual farewell party. Plus, the slide with the word clouds can be save and given to the parting coworker as a keepsake. For example, everyone can write about the coworker. You want to make sure that everyone is nice about their answers, but this is a fun way for everyone to remember interesting things about their coworkers. Let everyone come up with a one to three word phrase that they think best describes the parting coworker. This can be a lot of fun, and a cute keepsake for them as they move on..
Help the coworker with their bucket list for their new adventure. A popular way to make sure that they remember you after parting, many people will put their signatures and well wishes on a t-shirt or other item that will last for a long time. You can do the same thing with word clouds, and send it to them virtually for a lasting keepsake.
This is another activity that requires a bit of leg work, but at least it’s not on your to do list. Talk to the guest of honor and have them pick a few things that they will miss about the office or the team. Then use these as clues for a short round of Pictionary. You can do this easily with either Miro or Ziteboard, linked in your slide presentation.
Have everyone submit random captions in before the virtual meeting itself so that you can put them into a randomizer. Have people submit a photo and use the randomizer to come up with captions until you find one that everyone agrees is the best. You can give the resulting slide deck to your party team member as a keepsake. It is activities like these that really bring teams together, which should be the ultimate goal of any office party, remote or otherwise.
In addition to farewell parties for coworkers and retirees, you should consider other types of virtual events as well. Forbes experts weigh in with their ideas for building remote teams in this article.
You can always improve morale in an all-remote team by creating fun Zoom events that have no other purpose except to draw everyone closer as a group. - Hannah Keeley, Team Keeley LLC
Now that you have everyone paying attention, get them warmed up with a fun, unrelated exercise. Ask everyone what kind of music they like and their first concert. You probably don’t want this virtual farewell party to eat into your team’s productivity too significantly, so you’ll want to limit answers to 10 – 12 people. Alternatively, you could set a timer for this and other activities you find here so that you don’t run over.
All of the ideas above will only be as successful as your planning. The purpose of the farewell party is to boost morale and bring people closer together in a group setting with non-work related activities. This comes highly suggested by experts in human resour
Even though a virtual farewell party isn’t the same as planning an in-person event, there are some similarities. Don’t allow yourself to think that it will be easier than in-person team parties. In fact, you could spend more time on preparation since every slide will need to be made. If you want to save some time on that end, check out these Slides With farewell party slide deck, complete with templates that work with all of the ideas listed above. Make sure that any activities that require prep work are handled at least a few days in advance so that you put the finishing touches on the virtual farewell party plan.