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8 Tips for Celebrating Milestones Remotely

Nov 8, 2021 · 7 MIN READ

As workforces pivot to being entirely remote or hybrid, many initiatives need to be reinvented.

While we used to gather in-person either in a conference room or at happy hour to celebrate birthdays, marriage announcements, work anniversaries, exciting project milestones, or even when saying goodbye to a valued employee, doing so nowadays looks a little different.

If your organization has been unsure how to celebrate exciting milestones as you’ve gone fully remote, see if you can incorporate these eight tips to bring the fun back into the office.

1. Give the gift of time off

Everyone needs a break now and again, so the first idea that your company can implement is giving the gift of time off. This can be giving someone the day off on their birthday (or the closest workday off if it falls on the weekend).  

Additionally, if your team has crushed a major milestone or finished a project ahead of schedule, grant all of your direct reports a virtual “lights out” day as a way to recognize and celebrate their hard work. If an entire day off isn’t possible, you can also tell your team they can have an earlier end to the workday as a thank you

Not only will your employees get to celebrate with family or friends, but they’ll also come back feeling more relaxed and motivated to roll up their sleeves and get started on something new.

2. Schedule a virtual party

When there’s something to celebrate worthy of a party, like a department head’s birthday or the team successfully completing a significant project on time, remote workforces can still throw a fun and exciting party.  

For example, let’s say your team wants to throw a virtual birthday party for everyone born in the first quarter of the year but aren’t sure how to do so remotely. This can be done by:

  • Sending out the date and time ahead of time.
  • Organizing a fun theme — like encouraging everyone to dress up in their favorite pajamas or costume.
  • Watching a movie together as a team through something like Teleparty
  • Encouraging everyone to make their favorite snack or meal to enjoy together as a team.

While it takes some creativity and planning ahead of time, virtual parties can be enjoyable and entertaining for everyone. Plus, activities that can be done virtually, like watching a movie, that don’t require too much interaction are ideal for your team members who may be new to the company or a little more introverted. 

Don’t forget to schedule breaks or even movie intermissions to give everyone a chance to utilize the chat feature or make themselves comfortable.

3. Set up a praise channel

If you’re giving a shout-out to an employee for going above and beyond on an assignment, letting everyone know someone’s three-year work anniversary, or announcing an engagement, set up a praise channel on the business instant message software of your choice, like Slack.

Doing so provides a unified place for this kind of praise, positive feedback, or celebratory language, plus it’s easy for everyone to use. Encourage fun elements like emojis, GIFs, or photos to make a channel for this use more engaging.

4. Send a gift basket or care package

Don’t forget how fun receiving things in the mail can still be. Snail mail isn’t dead, so be sure to take advantage of this method when it comes to celebrating key milestones if you have the budget and resources available. 

Whether you’re sending an employee a package full of self-care items or a gift basket, doing so can go a long way to boost morale and raise spirits. No matter what kind of gift you’re sending, there are tons of options to choose from, and platforms like Sendoso make this easy. You can also choose the work swag option, which includes sending the team company-branded items, like hoodies, coffee mugs, headphones, and stickers.

5. Provide a team meal

Before transitioning to a remote working environment, many companies would choose to take employees or teams out for lunch, brunch, or dinner to celebrate milestones and accomplishments at a restaurant. 

Remote-first companies can still use this tactic when celebrations are in order, but instead of meeting at a restaurant near the office, you can send food directly to your team! This can be done via gift cards or getting the food delivered to their home through an app like DoorDash. Depending on the celebration, teams can even meet over Zoom to enjoy the food together virtually.

This option provides a laid-back and relaxed atmosphere where employees can socialize in a low-key setting. Before everyone digs into the food, don’t forget to hold a toast related to the celebration!

6. Schedule a game night

For celebrations that lean a little more on the casual side, your team or department can choose to host a game night. There are a lot of apps and online trivia services that you can use to make this happen, and services like Mystery can help arrange a virtual event that meets your criteria. When appropriate, you can even choose questions that align with the celebration or pick a theme that everyone can enjoy. Ask your team ahead of time if they have any desired trivia categories or what prizes they’d like to see for the winner.

Not big on trivia? There are virtual and digital versions of classic and board games that everyone can be a part of.

7. Donate to a favorite charity

If you’re looking for a somewhat different approach to celebrating a significant milestone, consider making a charitable donation. If it’s a team member’s birthday, ask them their favorite charity or let them choose one that they’d like to donate to. 

In an employee’s name, donating to a charity of their choice is an excellent way for remote companies to show their appreciation for their hard work. Plus, you’re helping others in the process.

You can even go one step further, and organize a virtual volunteering event, through companies like WeHero, and have the employee pick the cause to volunteer for.

8. Send an award

For celebrations surrounding specific work accomplishments, project milestones, closing a major deal, going the extra mile, or the department’s overall success, you can choose to celebrate by sending an award, trophy, plaque, or certificate to your employees. Doing this small but special gesture lets your team know that you acknowledge and recognize a job well done.    It doesn’t have to even be a real trophy – Bill Campbell famously handed out a can of Campbell’s Soup to top achievers.

Once an employer receives their award in the mail, have them show off their accomplishment in the next team Zoom meeting to celebrate even further.

There’s still so much to celebrate

Just because your company is working remotely doesn’t mean you can’t make the effort to celebrate the milestones that matter most. When your organization puts in the time and effort, you’ll see benefits like increased employee retention, job satisfaction, employee engagement, and better overall team dynamics when it comes to collaboration. Plus, because it’s so easy for remote workers to feel isolated from their team, having these fun celebrations helps to bridge this gap and form strong bonds across your team.


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