You found our guide to virtual retirement parties.
Virtual retirement parties are retirement celebrations held via video call platforms like Zoom and Webex. These events allow you to host a farewell for your remote retiree, whether they are retiring from the workforce or moving on to a new opportunity. These events are also known as “virtual farewell parties”, “virtual going away parties”, or “Zoom retirement parties.”
This guide includes:
- virtual farewell ideas for employees & colleagues
- virtual farewell party ideas
- virtual retirement party games
- virtual retirement gift ideas
Let’s get into it.
List of virtual retirement party ideas
When capping off careers, your employees deserve more than an end-of-meeting mention. Honoring a retiree from afar can present a challenge, but the ideas on this list will help you throw a noteworthy virtual retirement party for your remote teammate.
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.
Sites like Time and Date and 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 Virtual Retirement Party 🥳
Your people deserve a Level 10 send-off, which is why we designed 100% virtual event specifically for retirement parties. The event includes recognition of your retiree(s), games like trivia and opportunities for your people to connect. As a team building company our goal is unite your team, even and especially when it is time to part ways.
We know how important it is to honor your team members, and also to make sure people that attend are engaged. We provide a world class host, fun game mechanics and use tools and systems that support maximum engagement. You and your team will have fun!
Learn more about our fully hosted virtual retirement parties.
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:
- Create a video montage on Tribute
- 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.)
Online tributes allow virtual teammates to express appreciation for the retiring colleague and provide your honoree with a memento of all the valuable time spent together.
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.
You may also decide to send goodies to the whole team in honor of your coworker’s departure. For instance, you can send the team cupcakes in a jar from Baked Cravings or a cookie assortment from Milk Bar.
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.
Virtual retirement party games
Games elevate any party. Though your retiree will leave the team soon, you can still engage in virtual team building games during your call. Playing video call games or Zoom games with coworkers allow remote teammates to have a final bout of work fun with the retiring colleague. Games also strengthen bonds among the remaining teammates, helping the team endure the in-between period before a new member joins. Here is a list of games you can play during remote retirement parties.
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 from work
- Worn shoulder pads to the office
- Reported to a younger manager
- Switched industries
- Shown coworkers pictures of grandkids
- Lost my glasses at work
- Said “I’ll never retire.”
- Told a colleague, “when I was your age…”
- Eaten another colleague’s lunch
- Pranked a coworker
- Shopped online while on the clock
- Thought a client was cute
At the end of the game, you can ask your honoree to share more wacky work stories.
Here is a list of Zoom drinking games you can play at your party.
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 use the template below and mark off the square every time a player utters the saying. Remember to mix up the squares so that each player receives a different board!
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.
Learn more about the rules for online team building bingo.
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
- Favorite lunch
- Zaniest work story
- Closest client
- Proudest accomplishment
- Number of kids
- Name of spouse/significant other
- Name of pets
- Last vacation
- Biggest office pet peeve
You can personalize the quiz to fit your colleague, and throw in more challenging personal questions. You can check out virtual icebreakers for more inspiration for questions to include on your quiz.
Here is a list of more fun question games.
13. Online Office Games
Some companies give watches to retirees. We think a shiny gold medal might be a much more exciting gift. You can allow your departing colleague the chance to become an office champion one last time by playing a spirited round of Online Office Games.
Online Office Games is a series of fun competitions like trivia and lightening scavenger hunts. If you book the event for your teammate’s farewell party, then you can focus on enjoying your colleague’s company instead of spending your remaining time together planning virtual office games.
Tips for successful virtual retirement parties
Here is a list of tips for remote retirement parties that ensures you honor your colleague with a grateful goodbye.
14. Strike a reverent tone
Regardless of whether your retiring remote coworker has been with the company for one year or thirty years, you want to show respect and gratitude. Your colleague might have a good sense of humor and welcome “over the hill” jokes or a sarcastic “goodbye forever!” but you should not get carried away with your teasing. Be sure to honor your guest and highlight the accomplishments, in addition to expressing sincere appreciation and affection.
15. 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.
16. 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, 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.
17. 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.
18. Stay in touch post-party
The internet makes remaining in-touch easier than ever. Because your remote teammates already communicate mostly over the computer, your team can stay in contact more naturally. You can take time during the party to exchange personal information, and encourage your teammates to reach out regularly. The team can friend each other on social media and continue to meet on video calls outside of work. You can even occasionally invite the retiree to a video call for a special visit.
Your colleague may be off Zoom, so you could plan FaceTime games instead.
Retirements are important 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.
FAQ: Virtual retirement parties
Here are some of the most common questions and answers relating to 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 WebEx.
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.
What are good virtual retirement party ideas?
The best ideas for online retirement parties acknowledge the retiree’s accomplishments and display gratitude for the retiree’s role and contributions to the team. Some good virtual retirement party ideas are online tributes, special guest appearances, and an exchange of contact information.
What are good virtual retirement party games?
Effective online retirement party games seek to entertain, build team skills, and acknowledge the colleague’s departure. Good virtual retirement party games include online retirement party bingo, personal quizzes, and Never Have I Ever.
How do you host a virtual retirement party during COVID?
To host a virtual retirement party during COVID you need three elements: a platform, guests and activities. For the platform, I recommend using Zoom or whatever your standard online meeting software is. For guests, you should invite both coworkers and family members. There are hundreds of activities you can do at the party, and one of the best is Bingo or trivia themed toward the retirees interests.
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