In this article you will find:
- 15 Virtual Retirement Party Ideas
- Frequently asked questions about retirement parties
15 Virtual Retirement Party Ideas
Here's a list of tips for remote retirement parties that ensures you honor your colleague with a grateful goodbye:
1. Launch a countdown clock
Retirement parties are a mixed bag of emotions. While you are sad to part ways with a beloved colleague, you are proud of your coworker's career and excited for the adventures to come. One of the simplest and most significant retirement party ideas for coworkers is to illustrate your time left together. By creating a virtual retirement countdown clock, you can increase anticipation for your party and your teammate's eventual retirement.
Counting Down To allow you to personalize and share a custom countdown clock. You can send the countdown to your team prior to the party and measure your remaining time together.
2. Fully hosted a virtual retirement party
Your fully hosted virtual retirement party can include events like recognition of your retiree(s) with games like trivia and opportunities for your team to connect.
3. Create online tributes
One of the most natural virtual retirement party ideas is to include some sort of tribute. At in-person retirement parties, guests generally give speeches and present the retiree with a hand-signed card. You could pursue both of these options, but the internet also allows you to easily create and share visual tributes.
A few ideas:
- Compile a photo slideshow on Google Slides
- Tag the honoree in a social media post and ask other teammates to comment
- Invite teammates to add pictures to a shared digital photo album
- Write an internal blog post about your retiring colleague
- Record a roast to share on the Zoom call. (This one depends on your honoree's sense of humor and your other teammate's tact and comedic skills)
4. Welcome special guest appearances
Professionals work with many colleagues over the course of a career. Contacting your honored retiree's past colleagues to collect congratulatory messages is a nice touch for your online tribute.
You can reach out to former coworkers who have also retired or left your organization and ask for short messages or videos. If you would like to include sentiments from colleagues from other companies, then you may consider contacting the soon-to-be retiree's spouse for suggestions or looking to LinkedIn. Of course, some people may not be comfortable with this level of sleuthing, so use your best judgment.
Regardless, you will move your colleague by sharing kind words, but, if appropriate, putting in the effort to track down other collaborators can make the experience extra special.
5. Mail physical gifts
Though you will hold the retirement party online, you should consider sending a tangible gift to your colleague. Even if you're looking for virtual retirement gift ideas, you can still send a physical token of appreciation and gratitude. Online vouchers and credits may not carry the same significance as opening a physical gift.
Before the party, you and your other teammates can meet to decide on a present for your departing colleague. You may decide to pitch in for a large gift such as a nice watch, an engraved picture frame, or a weekend winery tour. The team can also craft a sentimental gift like a scrapbook or photo collage. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to plan, create, and send the gift. Also, you should notify the recipient to wait for the party to open the present so you all can share a meaningful moment together.
6. Compile a post-work bucket list
Your soon-to-be-retiree will soon gain heaps of extra time, and may not know how to spend it. You and the team can offer suggestions by forming an online bucket list. To generate your list, you should create a file the whole team can access, such as a Google Doc or Pinterest board. Ask teammates to contribute advice, interesting articles, instructive videos, or entertainment recommendations to occupy the retiree's time.
Your team suggests a thrilling thousand-page spy novel, an online French pastry baking masterclass, or an all-day binge of the latest season of the Bachelor. Perhaps one of your teammates has a scintillating TED talk playlist to share, and another a bookmark bar full of travel blogs to inspire your retiree's wanderlust. The advice can be as simple as, “smile at a stranger today,” “try cold brew coffee,” or “explore Instagram.” Whatever the recommendations, you and your team can ensure your former colleague never remarks, “I'm bored!” or “I don't know what to do with all this time!”
7. Exchange contact information
Though your working relationship with your colleague will end upon retirement, your personal relationship can continue. Virtual retirement parties are great opportunities to exchange information so you can keep in touch.
Whether you swap addresses so you can send each other ugly sweater Christmas cards or add each other on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, you should dedicate party time to trading contact details so you can continue to communicate. This simple action backs up your claims that your work team is a family, and sends a message to your remaining teammates that you value employees beyond work contributions.
Pro tip: Collect voluntary contact information such as addresses, social profile links, and phone numbers from the team before the party. You can include the information in the gift or tribute for the retiree's convenience.
8. Schedule a reunion
Saying “goodbye for now” is much easier than saying plain old goodbye. While coworkers may swear to stay in touch, your team can easily get caught up in the workflow and postpone reaching out for months. You can ensure that the online retirement party is not a final farewell by scheduling a reunion.
To set up a reunion call, ask the honoree to pick a date approximately one month after your party. Once you settle on a day and time, send out a meeting link to everyone before you forget!
When the call comes, you can welcome your colleague back as a special guest. The team can catch up and inquire about the honoree's first weeks of retirement. This is a great time for your retired colleague to show off any special projects, such as a bountiful vegetable garden or jaw-dropping photos from a trip to Tuscany.
This activity can help preserve the bond between colleagues and can help the retiree adjust to life outside the virtual office.
9. Do a virtual escape room experience
It's sometimes sad when folks retire, and you can balance the emotions with a little fun and joy. One way to bring the positive spirit back into the virtual office is with online escape rooms. These escape games are similar to their real-world counterparts, which means you can expect puzzles and challenges that encourage teamwork. Check out Teamland's Virtual Room Experiences
10. Never Have I Ever
Days away from retirement, your colleague can now spill secrets. You can tailor your game of Never Have I Ever as a fitting farewell to your work friend. Remember that to play Never Have I Ever, every participant starts by holding up ten fingers. Players lower a finger for every applicable action. Check out the list below for thematic game prompts.
Retirement party Never Have I Ever ideas:
- Worked in an office without a computer
- Asked someone to show me how to copy and paste
- Played hooky at work
- Worn shoulder pads to the office
11. Virtual Retirement Bingo
Bingo is a favorite of retirees. You can help prepare your colleague for more of this pastime by playing online retirement bingo. Simply visit our Virtual Bingo Experience and have fun with everyone!
You can play this version of bingo during your virtual retirement party or in the weeks leading up to it. If you choose the latter option, then you and the team can keep a tally of how many times the honoree says each phrase, and present a final count.
12. Personal Quiz
You can craft a quiz about the honoree full of personal details and career highlights. Each party guest must guess the questions. The player with the most correct answers wins the game.
Retirement party quiz questions:
- First job
- Years with company
- College attended
- Other positions served in company
13. Spotlight the entire career
Your colleague is not only leaving your team but likely the workforce in general. You can communicate this fact and praise your coworker's full career by nodding to the entire work history. You should spotlight all professional accomplishments, not just the ones you've shared. Because the party is virtual, you can invite past collaborators, or at least reach out to these individuals for more material. By focusing on all of the retiree's work, you acknowledge the full breadth of your teammate's achievements.
14. Invite friends and family
Virtual parties can easily accommodate spouses, children, grandchildren, and other relatives. You can offer all of these loved ones the opportunity to attend the remote retirement party. This way, the family can witness the sincere praise of the honoree's peers and gain a better understanding of the retiree's work accomplishments. Also, including family members is a nice gesture for any work gathering and a signal that you value your employees' home lives.
15. Keep the party virtual, but the gifts physical
The retiree might be remote, but that doesn't mean you need to send your gift via email. In-person presents are more personal, especially when you include a handwritten card. Signing a group card may be more of a challenge in a virtual office, but you can ask every teammate to send a short personal note. While you certainly can include virtual gift elements such as video tributes, giving a physical gift has more impact. A thoughtful present can serve as a reminder of the team.
Retirements are momentous occasions, and you should give these events rightful attention. Though your team may not be able to commemorate the occasion in person, you can gather online and give your valued teammate a suitable sendoff. You can celebrate many other events virtually, too. For more information on online team parties, check out our other resources.
People also ask these questions about virtual retirement parties
Here are the answers to the most common questions about virtual retirement parties:
What are virtual retirement parties?
Virtual retirement parties are celebrations for retiring colleagues that take place via video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Teams.
What are virtual retirement party ideas?
Virtual retirement party ideas are ways to honor and celebrate your retiring teammate from a distance. A combination of online activities like games and online tributes and in-person components like mailed gifts allow you to observe the occasion with style.