Depending on the period of notice you or your coworker leaves a company while most of us are working from home during the Corona situation. The past goodbye parties may have included ordering food and drinks, preparing snacks, ordering some pizza, having BBQ, cleaning the kitchen. How does that look like for goodbyes over video conferences? 40 people (or so) in a video chat, 6 of them talking? So, the question is: what could one do to have a nice goodbye experience remotely?
Here are the key ideas of a nice remote goodbye evening:
Since coworkers will have to buy their own snacks and drinks (unless you want to send all of them something ;) ) give them a chance to do so. Although there might be a lot of things left to do before leaving a company, don't forget about your party. Create a calendar appointment for one or two weeks beforehand. This makes it also easier for you to plan ahead further actions.
A helpful gesture for coworkers can be to split up the event in two events. One directly at the end of the business day. For example 6 pm depending on the usual working hours of the company. This appointment can be used for goodbye speeches and giving everyone the opportunity to speak up. Afterward, all of the attendees can take a break after sitting in front of a monitor for most of the day. This gives time to prepare dinner, help with the kids' homework, and whatever needs to be done. The party crew can meet again later at 8 or 9 pm with refreshed eyes and nothing left to do.
In the following, we'll discuss some activities. They imply that the attendees will stay in front of the screen and won't be able to get a fresh beverage. Small breaks (5-10 minutes) that you announce at the beginning of the event can help with that. Everyone can stay focused on activities and leave the computer during breaks.
One possibility to increase the anticipation is to come up with a dress code or a motto for the party. Being dressed in the same color looks also nice in a tile layout of video conference tools.
A motto party idea can include everyone using a beach image or filter for the background but I would leave that decision to the individual people.
Another idea is to set up a list of specific food or drinks everybody can enjoy together remotely. This includes a bit of planning but should be feasible. Some ideas are Gin Tonic Friday, Vegetable Chips Thursday, or Wine Wednesday. But it should be made clear that non-alcoholic drinks, especially on evenings before a workday are a good, responsible and reasonable choice :)
It's always nice to remember the past years working together by enjoying a photo show together. Here's the chance to get creative. Use a tool of your choice, e.g. iMovie or PowerPoint to gather all of the photos.
To involve everyone in the room, it's time to play a game. The options are limitless. Maybe you already had a game you've always played in the office and find an online solution for that. To get a personal touch into the game, you can create a quiz (e.g. using kahoot) including questions on which projects you've been working on, what the name of your kids is of whatever you'd like to tell people.
Since there are already some events going on in the main video chat (e.g. a Slide Show or a Quiz), people won't be able to have meaningful conversations outside the breaks. Depending on how many attendees there are, it could make sense to prepare several video chat instances for people to split up. A nice side effect is that you can give those rooms the names of the original rooms of the office. Ideas are "kitchen" and "balcony" or special meeting room names you might have at your place.
Not being in the same room does not imply that there can't be photos made together. Just that these photos ar screenshots. There is only one very important rule: Ask all of the attendees if it's okay to make that screenshot. If some are not, shutting off the camera or leaving the video call for half a minute are possible fallbacks.
(If Google Meet is used, there is a helpful browser extension called Grid View to see more tiles than usual on the screen)
🎉🥳🎊 Have a great party 🎉🥳🎊
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