16 Best Virtual Work Anniversary Ideas to Celebrate in 2021

Home » Resources » Virtual Work AnniversaryUpdated: July 15, 2021

You found our list of fun virtual work anniversary ideas!

Virtual work anniversary ideas are ways to celebrate your colleague’s years of service online. Honoring important milestones like work anniversaries helps boost a sense of inclusion and gratitude in remote workplaces. You can consult this same list for how to celebrate a company anniversary virtually.

These anniversaries are a subset of virtual team celebrations and help improve virtual team engagement.

This list includes:

  • virtual company anniversary celebration ideas
  • remote work anniversary gifts
  • virtual work anniversary party ideas

So, let’s get started!

List of virtual work anniversary ideas

From themed parties to peer shoutouts to development opportunities, here is a list of ideas for virtual work anniversary parties your remote colleagues will talk about until next year’s anniversary arrives!

1. Cocktail Shake-Up

cocktail shakeup

Work anniversaries are occasions worth a toast. Cocktail Shake-Up includes an online toast-off, along with a scavenger hunt and a work-friendly drinking game. You can honor your colleague with an evening full of fun games and practical drink-mixing lessons, all roaring-20’s themed. Prior to the event, each participant will receive a kit in the mail with mixers, shakers, and special treats. Best of all, a guide will facilitate the evening, meaning you only need to book, not plan.

2. Color Club

The online review site Yelp gives badges to its most prolific reviewers, known as Elites. The color of Yelp Elite badges differs based on seniority. Under five consecutive years, Elites receive a red badge, five to ten the badge turns to gold, and 10+ year Elites get a prestigious black badge.

You can use the same methods for categorizing your employees. First, set a color scheme. For instance:

  • <1 year = green
  • 1-3 years = blue
  • 4-5 years = red
  • 6-9 years = silver
  • 10 years = gold
  • 15 years = pink
  • 20 years = lavender

Next, choose somewhere to display the colors. Perhaps in a custom email signature, a digital button for online profiles, the screen name text on messaging services, or along the border of the employee’s picture on the company website’s “About Us” page.

You can provide a key so that outsiders can determine your employees’ years with the company, or you can keep the code a secret among your staff as a fun shared cultural quirk. Either way, this system allows other employees to identify and recognize more senior staff members, which also helps when junior staff have questions or need a hand.

3. Themed gifts or parties

Traditionally, marriage anniversaries in the US correspond with a special theme and present. For instance, the first year anniversary is paper, while the 20th anniversary is china.

You can correlate your virtual party or work anniversary gift with the themes below.

virtual work anniversary gift idea themes

Here are a few ideas:

  • Year 1, Paper: Send teammate a packet of stationary, either with the company logo or a fun design
  • Year 2, Cotton: Email honoree an online gift certificate to the clothing store of their choice
  • Year 4, Flowers: Throw a fun spring-themed virtual party, whatever the season. Invite attendees to livestream from actual gardens or throw up a floral digital meeting background. Snack on picnic food or herb and edible-flower themed appetizers. Of course, send a flower arrangement to your honoree’s home.
  • Year 6, Candy: Sign up the employee for a candy subscription box, or create a special gift box of their favorites on a site like Dylan’s Candy Bar.
  • Year 16, Coffee or Tea: Treat the team to the fun virtual bonding event Tea vs Coffee, and send the honoree a virtual Starbucks gift card or a coffee subscription afterwards
  • Year 31, Travel: Throw a travel-themed virtual party where attendees display global destinations as Zoom backgrounds, enjoy ethnic foods, play games like travel trivia or guess the destination. Gift a vacation to the honoree.

Thematic virtual work anniversary party ideas are a great way to make your teammates’ milestone entertaining and meaningful.

4. Handwritten letter from the boss

In this age of internet communication, some folks prefer to receive physical letters over emails. Certainly, a handwritten card conveys more care and intimacy than an email, instant message, or printed form letter. One of the best ways to honor your employee’s work anniversary remotely is to send a personal letter from the CEO, president, or another member of the C-suite.

The executive can express gratitude for the employee’s longevity and loyalty and can share personal sentiments. For instance, “Kayleigh, has it been five years already? It feels like just yesterday you were acing your interview. I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in the next five years!” Depending on the relationship, the boss can adopt a more formal or conversational tone, and can include special memories or inside jokes.

Sending personal letters to every employee may get hectic, so you can always save this gesture for special milestones such as the one, five, and ten year marks.

Whatever you do, do not merely print out the C-Suite’s signatures on a generic anniversary card. The sentiment can backfire, as employees might view the gesture as disingenuous. Even if you only jot a couple of words, customized messages beat impersonal form letters every time.

5. Tea vs Coffee

tea vs coffee

Your colleague made it this far thanks to talent, grit, determination, and lots of caffeine. You can honor that sacred work fuel and your coworker by booking a session of Tea vs. Coffee. Tea vs Coffee is a relaxing drink-tasting experience hosted on Zoom. A guide will lead participants in a meditation exercise and tasting ceremony. Your team will get the chance to sample a variety of unique flavors. This event is an ideal fit for the reserved teammate that prefers not to make a big to-do about the workiversary. Tea vs. Coffee is a zen experience that will relax and reinvigorate your crew in preparation for the many work anniversaries yet to come.

6. Yearly bonus

Every year an employee remains with the company, the business saves money. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129, which means that long-haul employees conserve company resources. Passing on some of those savings to the employee through a bonus shows appreciation and respect. Bonuses are one of the most practical virtual work anniversary ideas.

You can tier the bonus to correspond to the employee’s years of service, link the amount to performance, or mix both approaches by offering a range. While announcing a bonus structure can incentivize employee productivity, providing a surprise bonus can act as a gesture of gratitude that fosters good feelings between employee and employer. Another option is to offer choices such as experiences, extra benefits, trips, or money so that teammates have autonomy in selecting the reward for hard work.

7. Cheers from peers

Occasions are more meaningful when celebrated with other folks, and work anniversaries are no exception. One of the best ways to virtually acknowledge an employee’s yearly milestone is to invite colleagues to share virtual work anniversary wishes online.

Cheers from peers is a virtual team building exercise that announces the anniversary to the group and invites coworkers to positively react.

Cheers from peers ideas:

  • Make an announcement on a Slack channel
  • Send an email thread and ask recipients to reply all
  • Post a social media shout-out
  • Gather sentiments beforehand and schedule email batches so that the honoree receives kind messages throughout the day
  • Invite team members to message the honoree individually

By showering your anniversary celebrant with remote love, you reinforce the idea that the teammate is part of a larger community that rejoices together.

8. Advice from the future

Getting cheers from peers is lovely, but your honoree can also benefit from coworker’s wisdom. Advice from the future is an exercise that pairs the recognized employee with a slightly more senior team member. This colleague will offer words of encouragement to help guide the teammate throughout the next year. For instance, a match might advise, “I wish that I had networked more during my early years in the company,” or “year five is a great time to pursue some form of leadership.”

The advice can come in the form of an email or other written message, or the pair can schedule a video call to allow for face to face contact and the ability to ask questions.

Assigning an advisor well ahead of time will ensure that the mentor can compose a thoughtful and thorough message. Most colleagues will be happy to help, but leaving some wiggle room means you will not have to scramble if your first choice declines the request.

Of all the free online work anniversary ideas, advice from the future is one of the most touching and useful tips.

9. Assembly

Assembly is an employee engagement and recognition extension you can add to Slack. The program can automatically shout out occasions like anniversaries, or teammates can manually give each other recognition. You can even gift employees through the platform by creating a reward library of perks like “video game match with the CEO,” or “extra half day off.” Assembly also offers badges with recognition messages like “thank you,” or “good job.”

Learn more about Assembly.

10. Development opportunities

virtual work anniversary professional development

While job security is important to employees, the majority of professionals also seek out growth. On a recent LinkedIn survey, a staggering 94% of respondents claimed they would stay at a job longer if presented with worthwhile learning possibilities.

Development opportunities are among the most meaningful remote work anniversary gifts you could give to your staff. Promoting your employees’ education demonstrates that you care about growth and career satisfaction.

You could pay for the anniversary employee to enroll in a course or training session, obtain a certification, or attend a conference. This gift is a win-win for employer and employee alike; your teammate levels up, and you benefit from the new skill.

Of course, the lesson does not need to be directly work related. You could also provide a stipend for the colleague to pursue a hobby or lesson of choice, and can host fun educational events like Nerd Talks, a TED-style lecture series that explores various topics from Beer & Sharks to Cereal & Serial Killers.

11. Online scrapbook

Work anniversaries are a great time to relive memories, and one of the best ways to reminisce remotely is with an online scrapbook. Canva offers templates, and you can also use digital scrapbook websites like Smilebox, Scrapgirls, and My Memories.

The team can share photos and screenshots from events, and can type out special memories. If you run short on visual content and are friends with your colleague on social media, then you can always swipe photos from Facebook or Instagram as well.

You may want to structure your scrapbook by dedicating pages to prompts that the team will respond to.

Prompts could include:

  • My favorite project with you
  • You most impressed me when…
  • I really did LOL when you…
  • What would I do without you?
  • Future memories I’d love to make together

Online scrapbooks can be cumulative, meaning every year the team can add new content. The longer the employee remains at the company, the longer and more full the scrapbook will become!

12. Technology upgrade

Your employee has been on the job a couple of years, and work equipment might be proof of that fact. Chances are, your teammate may be due for new tools. To show thanks and dedication, honor the anniversary by upgrading the staff member’s technology.

The best way to go about the task is to ask your employee for technology update preferences. Perhaps Stella’s printer jams more than a garage band, half the letters on Rhonda’s keyboard have faded, and Jaquin’s stylus pen is more duck tape than metal.

Even if your staff’s equipment is in perfect shape, a time-saving software program or an extra long charging cable could be a welcome addition to the work from home setup.

13. This day in history

This day in history is one of the most interesting virtual work anniversary ideas. This activity describes all the worldly events that happened on the day (or month or year) that an employee joined the company. Thanks to Google, finding facts is easy; simply type the date with “what happened on…” or “news” into the search bar and scan the results for valuable snippets. You could also use onthisday.com.

Once you collect your events, compile an email, video, ecard, or slideshow presentation that shows off all your fantastic facts.

virtual work anniversary gift ideas

Treating your teammate’s first day as a historical event is fitting because joining the team was a significant event for your employee and your company. You should acknowledge the day as momentous because it was a momentous occasion for the team.

14. What I like about you

What I like about you is a virtual activity that celebrates all the traits that make your honoree great. This exercise encourages remote teammates to specify what attributes they most appreciate in their coworker.

To play what I like about you:

  1. Ask teammates to submit positive points about the anniversary celebrant
  2. Collect all characteristics and ask team members to vote on favorites via poll or email. For instance, if you gather 15 responses, then ask teammates to rank the top five choices.
  3. Tally up the votes and put all answers in order.
  4. Visually express the votes in a picture, such as a pie chart, word cloud, or infographic.
  5. Send the graphic to your honoree.

Emailing the image is the easiest option, but you could always go the extra mile and send the employee a physical print by using a service like Vistaprint. While sentiments quickly fade, a picture can serve as a reminder and pick-me-up whenever the employee needs a boost of self-esteem.

15. Virtual work anniversary cards

virtual work anniversary card ideas

In traditional offices, coworkers sneakily sign anniversary cards with special messages. Corralling all your remote teammates’ signatures onto one card might require too much time and postage, but your crew can always send the honoree a marvelous ecard instead.

A few virtual work anniversary card ideas:

  • Send a fun, personalizable digital card with a website like JibJab
  • Create a custom ecard in a platform like Canva
  • Record a video card using a program like Loom
  • Tag the honoree in a social media post and invite other teammates to comment
  • Invite the team to create mock-reviews praising and teasing the honoree

Online cards are a simple and effective way to share virtual work anniversary wishes from the team.

Here is a list of work anniversary quotes to include in your cards.

16. Old-timer perks

Instead of celebrating every worker individually, you can honor classes of employees together. Old-timer perks is a program that offers perks and experiences to groups of employees that started the same year.

For instance, perhaps you offer a free virtual cooking class to all your one year anniversary celebrants, a free massage to all your third years, or a Cocktail Shakeup to your six years. You can randomize the timing and offerings of your perks to make the experiences more fun and interesting. This approach allows remote teammates to connect with peer groups beyond the realm of day-to-day interactions, building camaraderie across departments and distance.

Conclusion

While working in a remote office means no cake or ice cream in the breakroom (and no breakroom), there are plenty of thoughtful ways to recognize your employees’ work anniversaries together online. Acknowledging workiversaries can establish a sense of loyalty between virtual workers, online teams, and the remote companies. Not to mention, virtual celebrations are a great method of fighting off boredom and monotony in remote workplaces.

For more online celebration ideas, check out our post on virtual retirement party ideas and this one with virtual games to play on Zoom.

FAQ: Virtual work anniversaries

Here are some of the most common questions and answers about virtual work anniversaries.

What are virtual work anniversaries?

Work anniversaries mark the number of years since an employee joined a company. Teams may choose to celebrate these occasions virtually if part or all of the team is remote, if the guest of honor is away from the office on the special day, or if time constraints prevent the team from celebrating in person.

What are good virtual work anniversary ideas?

The best ways to celebrate work anniversaries online acknowledge the employee’s tenure with the company and involve the whole team in the festivities. Good virtual work anniversary ideas include bonuses, handwritten letters from the boss, and technology upgrades.

How do you celebrate work anniversaries virtually?

One of the most basic ways to celebrate work anniversaries virtually is to throw an online party via a web call software like Zoom.

Why should you celebrate work anniversaries virtually?

Acknowledging work anniversaries makes employees feel valued and incentivizes staff to remain with an organization. Celebrating work anniversaries virtually is especially important because remote employees can feel overlooked and underappreciated since their efforts are often invisible to the rest of the company. Commemorating work anniversaries creates a culture of gratitude and recognition and instills a sense of belonging amongst online peers.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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