One of the challenges of planning a virtual party is that, sometimes, it could feel awkward. It's already difficult enough to say goodbye to a co-worker or employee under normal circumstances in a traditional brick-and-mortar office, let alone this time around, virtually. Hence, extra effort must be made to keep the party's momentum of excitement.
Given that you're working virtually, remote employees who are about to leave the company deserve a sweet and thoughtful farewell. No matter how challenging it may be, there are many things you can do to plan this out successfully.
Think of the farewell party as a rite of passage as you send them off to their new workplace. Below are some tips for a successful virtual goodbye.
Planning a virtual farewell party is often close to impossible if you do it in a rush. So as soon as an employee gives a notice of their resignation, plan that virtual party immediately. It can be something other than the usual surprise party, so feel free to go that route. Moreover, if the resignee is aware of the farewell party, you can consider that as one less pressure off your shoulders. This is because you won't have to worry about major bumps with the surprise being spoiled and whatnot.
Like company projects, it’s best to assign a team for the farewell party. The more hands that plan and work for it, the less stressful and more laid out it'll be.
Decide On The Hosting Platform
Remote employees know the struggle of a virtual meeting with technical difficulties. Moreover, you wouldn’t want to prepare the platform a day before the farewell party. So as early as you start planning, decide on the hosting platform that your team will use.
It's ideal to use one that's tried and tested by your team members, like Mystery, among many options. At the same time, do a test run to ensure your program can go as smoothly as planned.
Pick A Theme
Themed parties are not only reserved for physical gatherings. You can still have a themed virtual farewell party if that's what you think your employees will love. There are several themes to choose from, but you can start with what the team members likes. Say they're fond of a particular film, a genre of music, a sport, or a specific holiday, like Christmas or Halloween.
If you want to level this up, encourage the attendees to wear costumes according to the theme. This makes the virtual party more enjoyable when everyone looks forward to each other's costumes. The costumes create a conversation starter, so you can avoid the dead air, which is quite expected during a virtual meeting or party.
Whatever it is, having themes and wearing costumes can take the virtual farewell party up a notch higher. It's extra thoughtful as you show that you've taken extra effort to consider an exciting theme.
Buy Your Team Lunch
Even if your team is composed of members scattered across the globe, you can still send out company-paid lunches for the virtual farewell party. It's an extra expense for every employee, but doing so can make a good and thoughtful offboarding process. Had the party been in a physical office, there'd at least be snacks and refreshments. There's no reason not to have such for your virtual farewell party.
Once the party date is settled, planning those meals only takes a bit of effort. Make a few calls to local caterers so that they can deliver the lunch packs to every employee's doorstep. Otherwise, you can encourage everyone to bring any food or drinks during the meeting.
Host A Virtual Game
What's a party without a game? Prizes are great, too, even if they be simple and small. Everyone loves a friendly competition, so go ahead and have fun with games.
You can search for different virtual games online and decide which ones you will facilitate. If you're having difficulty deciding, you can conduct a poll a few days before the main event and see which games the team would like to play. You can even ask the team for other fun activities, and if they're willing to host so you can participate too.
Prepare A Gift
Another thoughtful gesture you can show a departing employee is to present them with a meaningful gift. It’s ideal to plan ahead, so the gift arrives at the employee's home address before the party. You can have it wrapped, if you can, so you can set advanced instructions for the employee to open the gift only during the party.
You can have one big gift from all team members in the company who wish to contribute, or you can also give the option for employees to send out their gifts personally. The latter is usually the option of choice by those with a close relationship with the parting team member.
Giving gifts isn't always necessary, but it provides the receiver with something to remember you by. Whenever they see or use your gift, they're instantly reminded of their time in your workplace and the lovely memories you've all genuinely shared. It's a small and touching gesture that goes a long way.
Create A Video Of Well Wishes
Creating and compiling videos of good wishes is a simple yet sentimental way of bidding goodbye to a colleague. However, this should be optional as some may not be comfortable creating video greetings of themselves.
Some would be glad to do so, especially when that departing co-worker has been close to them. In that case, you can encourage those who've had close-knit and good working relationships with the leaving employee to send video greetings. Then, compile the videos into one.
Just be sure to keep the momentum up by limiting the length of each video. You'll be playing this during the virtual farewell party, so you wouldn't want it to come off as boring. After the virtual party, make a mental note to send a copy of the video to the employee, so they have something to look back on if they suddenly think about your company.
Whether it's their retirement, a change in career path, or a new challenge with a new company, there are many reasons to give employees a thoughtful farewell. Besides making them feel like their time and effort in your company were valued, it's also about sending them off on a good and positive start on this next chapter of their lives. Consider the insights above to make your virtual party as fun and memorable as it would've been in a physical setting. You can still give that leaving team member their best farewell yet.