How Teams Can Celebrate While Working Remotely (P. 1)

Coworkers working remotely
Photo by Virtual Gurus

Working remotely comes with a unique set of challenges, there are so many creative ways to maintain workplace connection and motivation. One of the best ways to do so is through celebration, according to a workplace study by Gusto!

While we definitely miss bumping into coworkers at the water fountain and team potlucks at the boss’ house, the good news is we don’t have to miss out on team celebrations just because we don’t share the same office space. For managers and team leads who are looking for ways to improve team morale and keep work engaging while remote, here are some tips on how teams can celebrate while working remotely!

Subscribe for part two, which will feature case studies from some of the world’s best tech startups on how they celebrated wins during the pandemic!


Celebrating Start Dates

Celebrating start dates with your team is crucial in setting the tone of a project or company culture. Whether it’s the first day back since vacation or new members have joined the team, take advantage of small team gatherings as opportunities to celebrate new beginnings.

Our favorite space to celebrate start dates is during the time we’ve set aside for virtual team lunches. Set up a team lunch and send team members a voucher or gift card for their favorite restaurant to treat them to a meal. Set the intention at the beginning of lunch not to discuss anything work-related to give your team a chance to get to know each other beyond their work environment. Icebreaker games are the perfect way to get the ball rolling – our team at Presently loves posing “would you rather” questions, with both options often relating to past experiences or hobbies. It may feel a bit slow to start, but once your team gets into the rhythm of building those personal relationships, these lunches will quickly become a highlight for many (as they are for the folks on our team!)

💡 Pro tip: when working with different time zones, try to find a good time slot that’s meal-time for most teams! For example, 9am breakfast on the West Coast can still be 12 pm lunch in New York, or supper in the UK!

Another great option for teammate welcome is sending each new team member a welcome basket filled with team swag and snacks. If possible, personalize the baskets with local snacks and/or hand-write the welcome cards!


Celebrating Birthdays & Personal Milestones

Whether celebrating a birthday, a baby shower, or an educational achievement, make the most out of these personal milestones! Small businesses tend to be the best at celebrating these occasions, which is why 80% of employees at small businesses feel so connected!

Create a shared calendar or Notion doc with everyone’s birthday and upcoming occasions at the beginning of the year. About a week before a teammate’s birthday, organize a group card on Presently and invite coworkers to leave kind messages and pictures to be delivered via email on their special day. You can even set the card’s delivery time to be during an all-team meeting so you can see the birthday person’s surprise live!

💡 Pro tip: To brainstorm gift and celebration ideas or spread the word, create a Slack or Teams channel with the full team minus the birthday person!

If your team has a culture of gifting, you can skip the cash envelopes and reminder emails by organizing a group gift for occasions like baby showers and weddings. For birthdays, you could organize a team money pot on Presently for all of the birthdays that month. Let the whole team pitch in – then split the money pot and have Presently deliver the birthday people’s favorite treats right to their homes.


Celebrating Small Wins

Presently Team Activity on Miro
Photo of Presently’s Team Appreciation Activity on Miro

Small wins, like completing a task early or coming up with a great idea, also deserve to be celebrated! Consistently celebrating small wins throughout the year is important to let your team know that all of their daily hard work is noticed.

At Presently, we have a team channel on Slack dedicated to sharing small wins, as well as a designated time at the beginning of our Friday all-hands meetings. If you create a Slack or Notion page for these shoutouts, prompt your team to shout out co-workers when they achieve a goal or outperform on an assignment. If you’re celebrating at the beginning of all-team meetings, let every member share something they’re proud of accomplishing and something they’ve noticed a team member accomplish. This creates a shared sense of pride in all of the great work your team is doing and keeps coworkers in tune with one another.

Another great way to celebrate small wins is to designate time for a team activity to send each other gratitude on Miro. Create a column for every team member and share the link with your team. Each person can leave one ‘sticky note’ of gratitude for every team member. These notes can include shout-outs, something you love about working with your coworkers, something you enjoyed working on with the team, or something fun you did together.


Celebrating Holidays

Presently team cooking class
Photo of Presently team cooking class

When celebrating holidays, there are many fun ways you can implement holiday celebrations into your daily workday!

At the start of the work season, pick some small and large holidays to celebrate as a team and add them to your team calendar with some fun planned activities. For example, have your team wear pink or red on Valentine’s day (Feb. 14), or bring their pet to their home office on Take Your Dog to Work Day (June 22)! You could also host a fun activity like a virtual yoga class on National Yoga Day (June 21) or a cooking class with the team on National Intern Day (July 29)!

For holidays like Boss’ Day or Admin Appreciation Day, set up a group gift that the whole team can contribute to thank your boss and administration. They will love the kind words of appreciation alongside a gift from the whole team!

Here are some holidays you may want to celebrate with your team:

  • International Women’s Day (March 8)
  • Work From Home Day (Last Thursday of June)
  • Intern Day (July 29)
  • Admin Appreciation Day (July 30)
  • Boss’s Day (October 16)


Celebrating Big Wins

Gathering the team to celebrate a big win is essential for maintaining a shared sense of accomplishment and drive. If your team completes a big project or nails an important presentation, be sure to treat them to a larger celebration!

For the momentous milestones that require a full-team hurrah, your company could organize an expenses-paid offsite or weekend retreat with your team or company – of course, family welcome! Whether a yoga retreat, a ski trip, or a day at a local amusement park, these offsites help coworkers build stronger personal bonds that ultimately strengthen their professional relationships and morale as well.

For experiences that are easy to hold during the workday or weekday evening, another worthwhile way to celebrate big wins is to organize an online experience through Airbnb Experiences or Seshie, like a team cooking class or trivia night! Send a survey out to the team a few weeks before the celebration so you can see what classes they’d be most interested in and mark the celebration date on your team calendar so your team knows in advance and can plan their workweek around this time.


Celebrating Farewells

Presently team showing a farewell video montage made by the team
Farewell video montage for one of our interns at Presently

Truly supporting a teammate’s growth means cheering them on when they accept new opportunities – whether they’re going back to school, retiring, or starting a new job. If a member of your team is leaving, be sure to celebrate their legacy at the company.

During their last week, you can organize a surprise “honey roast” that your whole team can participate in. A “honey roast” is when every member of the team shares a positive sentiment or funny story about the leaving member. This lets your team know how much they’re valued and appreciated and lets the leaving member know how impactful their work has been. You can also organize a farewell video montage and stitch together the goodbye messages in iMovie.

Another great way to celebrate a farewell is to send a going away gift to the leaving member. Include a handwritten note from their supervisor or immediate team members, company merch, a voucher for their favorite food or restaurant, and anything else the leaving member would like! If you’d like the team to participate in the gift, you can set it up as a group gift on Presently.


Celebrate Everything

While many are not back together in offices, that doesn’t mean that working from home should go uncelebrated! Using the tips above, get your team together for some fun and engaging celebrations that will bring you closer even if you’re miles apart. Remember, sometimes celebrating is as simple as a virtual pat on the back/shoutout for a job well done!

By the way, if you liked this article, we have another one coming up soon featuring how the world’s best startups celebrate big wins! Subscribe on Medium.


Presently is a group-gifting platform that gives people an easy way to contribute to a single gift, together. Presently enables communities to gift better, choosing quality over quantity. Organize a group gift here.

As an Amazon Affiliate, Presently earns from qualifying purchases.

Get more content like this 📚

Subscribe to our newsletter

[wpforms id=”5100″]

Elise Hogan