When someone that has been an integral part of your company is moving on– whether to retire, explore new opportunities, or move to a different department– throwing a going away party is a lovely way to send them off. Recreating the in-office farewell party experience can be difficult in a virtual setting, but you can use several tips and tricks to ensure that everyone has a great time.
Recognizing and processing transitions within your team is an important ritual. When someone that has been an integral part of your company is moving on– whether to retire, explore new opportunities, or move to a different department– throwing a going away party is a lovely way to send them off.
Not only does this show your employee how much you have appreciated their contributions during their time on the team, but it also serves as a valuable team-building opportunity for everyone else.
Recreating the in-office farewell party experience can be difficult in a virtual setting, but you can use several tips and tricks to ensure that everyone has a great time.
Before we jump into ideas to incorporate into your agenda, let's look at some basic concepts to keep in mind when planning a virtual going away party.
Employees can leave their job for tons of different reasons, whether professional, personal, or some combination of the two. The motivation for a team member moving on should inform the type of going away party you throw.
For instance, if an employee is retiring, you'll want to give them a heartfelt send-off that celebrates their career. If one of your team members is transferring to another office or department, you can help get them psyched for the future while also highlighting their contributions to the team. Rather than a farewell party, this can be more like an encouraging send-off party.
Depending on the size of your company and team, it's possible that upper-level management doesn't know each staff member personally. In these cases, going away parties can seem somewhat forced and impersonal when thrown by a manager that doesn't know the person well.
You can overcome this issue by asking a couple of close coworkers to take charge of planning the party. This can help ensure that the party feels genuine and meaningful rather than simply an HR exercise.
Putting together a package of farewell gifts is a thoughtful and much-appreciated aspect of any goodbye party. You can incorporate some aspect of the reason they're leaving into this decision– for example, someone that is retiring might appreciate something a bit different than someone who has been promoted to another department or level within the company.
Before you start shopping, though, you'll want to make sure that any gift you are thinking of giving falls within the budget allotted via your company's gift-giving policy. Depending on what you find there, you might also consider having coworkers pitch in and present a gift to the employee of the hour.
One of the biggest challenges for remote parties of any kind is ensuring that everyone is engaged and having a good time. If you leave the agenda completely open-ended, you're allowing that dreaded awkward atmosphere the opportunity to sneak in.
The flow of conversation and activity doesn't emerge nearly as organically online as it does in person. For this reason, you'll want to keep things moving with a fairly set agenda to make sure that everyone is having fun.
In the next section, we'll talk about some of the awesome activities you can include as a part of your virtual party to ensure it will be a success.
Working remotely has plenty of perks, but some aspects of working in the office are difficult to recreate virtually. When you're throwing a virtual going away party, you'll want to take steps to give the person of the hour and your team a traditional shindig, even when they're spread out across the globe.
One of the must-haves for any going away party is refreshments. You might be wondering how you're supposed to supply employees with food and drinks when they sign in from their at-home offices, but luckily we've got the perfect solution. Whether you want to throw a pizza party, celebrate your team member over breakfast or lunch, or throw a virtual happy hour in their honor, we've got you covered.
One of the things that virtual going away parties have that in-office parties don't is the opportunity to jazz things up with fun virtual backgrounds.
If you and your team regularly meet virtually to discuss business, this can help distinguish between work time and playtime.
It can be tempting to try and surprise your team member with a surprise party, but the truth is that the final few days in a position can be pretty stressful for people. They've got a lot on their mind as they transition from their current role to whatever it is they're moving on to.
You'll likely find that a going away party is much more appreciated when the employee is aware of it ahead of time rather than trying to make it a surprise.
Now that we've gone over some important tips for throwing a successful farewell party, let's look at some of the best activities you can add to your agenda.
When you throw a farewell party for one of your employees, you're showing your team member that you value their contribution while also taking advantage of the chance to offer a bonding experience for the rest of your team.
One of the most effective ways to achieve both of these goals is to plan some games for your party. This might mean hosting a live trivia event or treating everyone to a virtual escape room experience, or it could be as simple as playing some fun icebreaker and energizer games.
What's a going away party without some delicious drinks?
Arguably the best way to help everyone relax and have a good time is to send all of your attendees wine, beer, a hard seltzer, or cocktail kits. It's one of the best ways to recreate the in-office party experience.
Just because you and your team are all in different cities doesn't mean you can't enjoy some live entertainment.
Maybe you could throw a happy hour and dance party with a live DJ or treat everyone to a standup comedy act.
Is a party without delicious food really a party? We're not so sure it is. Even when your team will be attending remotely, you can still ensure they have all of the refreshments they need to have a good time.
Having the opportunity to eat a meal together can help your team connect with each other and improve morale, while serving food also ensures that the party doesn't feel performative and awkward.
With PizzaTime, sending refreshments to your remote employees is a breeze. Whether you're having a tribute breakfast, a celebratory lunch, or a full-blown pizza party, we can help make sure your farewell party is a success.
When you throw a going away party for a valued employee, you'll want to take the opportunity to reflect on some of the fond memories created during their tenure. Depending on how long they've been with the team or company, you might choose to make a few comments or create an extended tribute.
Slideshows with photos, music, and thoughtful words can be a lovely way to share memories with the entire team. You can ask other team members to submit photos or funny stories in order to compile a meaningful tribute.
Finally, let's take a look at some tricks you can use to ensure that your party is the talk of the town.
When you're throwing a virtual going away party, you'll want to create a plan ahead of time, just like you would if you were hosting an online meeting. You'll want to cover all of the basic points, such as who to invite, what activities you'll include, and what tools you'll need to make the event a success.
You'll also want to think about when to schedule this party. This won't be too difficult if everyone on your team is in the same time zone. If you have employees spread out across the world, though, you'll want to try and find a time best suited to everyone's schedule.
Depending on how long the individual has been with the company, the reason they're leaving, and how much of a shindig you're planning, you might consider incorporating your farewell party into an existing team meeting. Since the shift towards work-from-home, one concern that should be at the forefront of managers' minds is Zoom fatigue. You might find that the guest of honor and your remaining team members alike would rather keep things short and sweet.
It can be tempting to throw a big bash for someone that is leaving your team, particularly when they have been an integral part of your department for many years. However, virtual parties don't tend to flow as naturally as in-person parties, and you might find that half an hour is a more suitable length of time than a full hour.
If you're concerned that planning too short of a party could limit important team bonding opportunities, it's worth noting that people that are still having a great time chatting can stay longer and keep the party going.
The best going away parties are tailored to the person that is leaving while also being suitable within your larger company culture. You might ask everyone to share a story about the person leaving or something they learned from them, along with some advice before they move on to the next chapter.
You'll also want to consider whether the person you are celebrating loves or loathes being the center of attention. Some individuals might prefer to spend half an hour hearing about the positive impact they've had on the team, while another might be much more comfortable playing games and chatting without having the spotlight on them the whole time.
One really great way to create a structure for your party is to set a theme. This can influence the activities you plan, what attendees wear, the background they set, and the gifts you give.
When choosing a theme, you'll want to think about the guest of honor and come up with something that is relevant to their interests. If you aren't quite sure what theme would be appropriate, talk to some of the team members they were closest with to brainstorm ideas.
It's important to deliberately set the tone when you're throwing a virtual party of any kind, particularly when your employees are used to meeting up online to discuss business. It can be useful to help everyone get into the right state of mind ahead of time by sending out a note in the meeting invite that makes it clear that this is a fun, appreciative, joyful, and celebratory occasion.
In your invite, you can encourage people to dress up based on the theme and set a virtual background that adds to the atmosphere. Going out of your way to set a positive tone can help to overcome the danger of a party feeling impersonal, awkward, or grudging.
While it can be hard to fully recreate an in-person send-off virtually, one of the benefits of a remote going away party is that you have access to the full power of video as a medium. Consider creating a slideshow or a tribute video highlighting the accomplishments and funny memories specific to the guest of honors tenure with the team.
You could also ask all of their coworkers to submit short video messages full of fond memories, well wishes, and advice to which the individual can return whenever they please.
It's hard to drive home just how much of a difference it can make when you send refreshments to your attendees during a virtual going away party. There are inherent challenges when throwing any gathering over video, and it's easy for things to descend into feeling awkward or forced.
There are few things in life that bring people together quite like delicious food, and you'll find that catering your virtual party sets the right tone and succeeds in creating a spirit of celebration.
Are you planning a virtual going away party for one of your team members? If so, you can start your order with PizzaTime right now to make sure that your celebratory event is a major success.
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