Farewell party ideas for coworkers
One of your colleagues is leaving the company. Whether they’re retiring, moving to a new city, or simply moving on to another position, throwing a farewell party is a good move.
But wait—why bother with a party if they’re leaving anyway?
A good farewell party can give the departing employee a positive note to go out on, show your appreciation, and reinforce your company’s stellar reputation as a workplace that cares about their staff—and about having fun.
When you throw an office goodbye party, you should use it as a time to celebrate the achievements and successes of your employees and reminisce on what they’ve brought to the table during their time.
This is really important if your team is remote or hybrid. It can feel easy for someone to move on without anyone batting an eye if they work from home, but virtual employees should be recognized just the same.
Planning a thoughtful goodbye also boosts morale and shows your existing team that you value them—even after they leave.
Besides, who doesn’t love a good party? Here’s our guide to the best farewell party ideas for coworkers.
Farewell party decoration ideas
First thing’s first, decorations are a must. Whether you’re having your goodbye party at the office, a venue, or even over Zoom, it shouldn’t look like a normal run-of-the-mill Friday afternoon (or Tuesday—we don’t judge).
Balloons are an essential party decoration.
Instead of your classic rainbow colors, think outside the box. Customize your balloons with a goodbye message or even a photo of the guest of honor. You can also purchase number balloons to commemorate how long they worked for your company.
Farewell banners are an easy way to commemorate the occasion with an appropriate message. Some great farewell party banner ideas are statements like:
- “We’ll miss you!”
- “Congrats on your next step!”
- “Good luck!”
- “Happy retirement!”
- Simply their name
Hanging a banner at their workstation or even in the lobby so that everyone who enters can see it is a great way to show your appreciation.
Remote team member tip: Balloons and banners can also be sent over to those working from home to decorate their background during a Zoom farewell party. Another virtual decor tip is to personalize your Zoom background with fun pictures of the employee who’s leaving, an inside joke like a scene from their favorite movie, or even a photo of their new geographic location if they’re moving.
Create a photo collage! Source photos of the honoree from the rest of your staff and either create a digital slideshow that you can show off during your virtual (or in-person) goodbye party.
This timeless presentation will remind the employee of the good times and be something they can look back on fondly after they’ve left your company.
Is your colleague moving to a different location? Theme the decorations to represent their upcoming location.
New York City? If you’re working virtually, add some taxi cabs and skyscrapers to your Zoom background decor (and think about ordering your team some cheesy pizza). Or maybe they’re headed to somewhere a bit more tropical. In that case, consider sending your leaving employee a bouquet of colorful flowers and some tiki-inspired drink ingredients.
Farewell party favor ideas
Sometimes you want to send your coworker off with more than a smile and a wave. Here are a few ideas for some farewell party favors and gifts to show them how much you’ve appreciated them during their tenure.
It may seem like a little thing, but a signed card can mean a lot to a departing employee. If you’re able to have your colleagues handwrite their name and a goodbye wish, even better.
Photo album or collage
Collect photos from your colleagues that celebrate the guest of honor and create a digital photo album or collage to send them off with.
Virtual address book
Don’t be a stranger! Collect social media handles and personal email addresses or phone numbers from any employee who wants to participate. Then give the leaving employee a virtual address book so everyone can keep in touch outside the office.
[Related: The History of Mystery]
Virtual farewell party event ideas
Now that we have the decorations and gifts under control, planning the actual event comes next. Planning a farewell party can seem like a daunting task when your team is hybrid, globally-distributed, or working remotely—but it doesn’t have to be. While there’s nothing wrong with having drinks over Zoom, it can be worth it for existing employees and the guest of honor to get a little more creative with your virtual farewell party ideas.
Tip: If you do work in an office environment, these ideas can be easily adapted into an awesome in-person farewell party!
Keep it personal
Organization should definitely be led by the coworkers closest to the one leaving. Nothing’s worse than a manager or someone higher up planning a party for an employee they’ve never even met.
Speech of gratitude
Create a moment in your party to share some warm words of gratitude.
Beforehand, ask each of your employees to come up with one or two ways the leaving team member helped them or something they’ve learned as a result of working together. During the farewell get together, make time for each employee to share these. This is an excellent farewell party idea for bosses as well.
How well does everyone really know the soon-to-be-alum?
Have fun with some personal life trivia. You can even organize it in the form of online Jeopardy or another beloved gameshow to really spice it up.
Hire a professional mixologist to join you over Zoom and learn how to make some fancy cocktails! After their presentation, throw a cocktail contest to say “cheers!” with style. Although you may not be able to try anyone else’s creation, whoever’s drink looks the most delicious could also win some points.
Tip: Make sure this event is scheduled toward the end of the work day or on a free evening!
Virtual escape room
Challenge your offboarding employee to escape more than just their job with a virtual escape room! This is one last chance to see how well everyone can work together to problem-solve while also having a good time.
Mimic everyone’s favorite celebrity roasts for your leaving employee.
Just be sure not to take it too seriously and to keep the jokes light-hearted. A roast is best to perform for a colleague you know well, who you can be sure will “get it.”
Virtual recipe swap
If your team is working remotely, you have to be a bit more creative when it comes to potlucks. Instead of sharing your favorite dish in person, do a recipe swap! Encourage everyone in the office to cook or bake someone else’s favorite recipe, and try something new!
Virtual casino night
Let’s raise the stakes a bit with a casino night!
Dress to the nines, personalize your Zoom background, and play your departing employee’s favorite card and dice games after hours. You can even hire a virtual croupier to organize the games over Zoom and set up the breakout rooms. Put some money on the table and donate all of the proceeds to the coworker’s organization of choice.
This one’s a tried and true farewell party idea. Relay your goodbye wishes in the form of a song with some good old-fashioned karaoke—online.
- Use the chat feature in Zoom to set up the queue
- Search your song on YouTube by typing in “song name + karaoke”
- Share your screen and choose “share computer sound” when it’s your turn
- Voila! You’re the star of the virtual ball!
Building a music mix featuring everyone’s favorite songs is a fun and meaningful going-away gift for remote employees. Use the collaborative feature on Spotify or individually source song recommendations to create a catchy playlist that will remind your teammate of the good times.
Alumni Slack channel
Create an alumni channel on Slack or another preferred communication platform to make it easy to keep in touch after your coworker officially leaves the company. They can join other past employees using their personal email address, and existing employees can continue to keep up to date on their new adventures.
[Related: About Mystery]
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Saying goodbye is hard, but Mystery can make it a little bit easier (and a lot more fun).
Featured image via Pexels.