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One of our team's intern's term is ending soon, and the team tradition is usually a farewell lunch. To maintain social distancing in this period of time, however, it seems like an in-person farewell lunch is not possible.

We were thinking about doing a video lunch as a farewell, but I felt perhaps The Workplace might be able to offer some suggestions as well.


What is the best alternative to a farewell lunch for our team member? Is there a way to improve a video farewell lunch, if it is the best option?

It should not be too costly, or too much of a hassle for the team, so as to prevent it from interfering with other people's work/life schedules.

Other details: Our farewell lunches are usually informal and not company sponsored (so everyone getting free food deliveries is probably not an option).

Thanks!

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    Is the person moving far away, or just going to a different company that is close by? Would postponing the lunch until better days be an option? – Seth R Apr 15 '20 at 18:07
  • @SethR They will still be close by, but postponing it would probably become permanent, due to not knowing how long the social distancing will go on for – Enthus3d Apr 15 '20 at 18:11
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A full farewell "lunch" via video call has a lot of potential to be a nightmare - I don't think you want to mix the potential pitfalls of mass-video calling together with the sights and sounds of everyone slurping away.

A quick video conf-call with a toast (easy enough for everyone to have their preferred beverage on hand) may be easier and less.. awkward.

If you can't organize a matching time for everyone - lean in to the asynchronous nature of remote work, have people record a video (if they feel comfortable) or an audio clip - or even just a pic or a nice written message and then you (or whoever coordinates this) can collate it all and send it on to the leaver.

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  • So a shorter, condensed toast and time to offer some words, or recorded messages? Great idea! Thank you for the suggestion :) – Enthus3d Apr 15 '20 at 17:35
  • I will accept this as the answer, this should be the simplest way to do this at this point in time. Thanks! – Enthus3d Apr 17 '20 at 15:16
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This, too, will pass. Times where we need to maintain social distancing won't last forever. Unless the person leaving is also moving far away, make a commitment to get everyone together for lunch at some later time after restrictions have been lifted and it is safe to gather again. Instead of a farewell lunch, it can then be an opportunity to catch up and see how the person is doing in their new gig, which can be just as much fun.

In the meantime, hold a short virtual happy hour. Don't do lunch, but most people have drinks in their fridge. Grab your favorite beverage and have a nice farewell meeting over whatever video conference software you use.

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    Thanks for the answer, Seth. I like the suggestion to use it to catch up. – Enthus3d Apr 15 '20 at 18:15

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