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Best Virtual Retirement Party Ideas

Veronica Brundle - Nov 3 2021, 11:48:00 AM

Retirement parties are valuable get-togethers to allow fellow employees to show a long-term respected colleague how they will be missed and fondly remembered. It’s a time to celebrate the employee’s stature within the company and to applaud their dedication and impact to the firm. It’s also a great time to build camaraderie among the team itself, displaying the stature and joy of working for a particular company.

But in today’s age, getting together personally is more difficult than ever before. A virtual retirement party can be the best way to celebrate that special employee via video call platforms like Zoom and Webex. What is the best way to hold a virtual retirement party? What are some fun ideas?

Good game ideas

To bring everyone together online, it’s a great idea to play a fun game no matter how remote you might be. Games make people laugh and bring joy to any affair. They also allow fellow employees to have some fun with their retiring colleague and strengthen the bonds between remaining team members who might be working from home or a remote office. If your retiree enjoys a particular game, you can set up that game geared toward retirement. These include guessing games, bingo, and quizzes.

If you need help, Jackbox TV designs online games to be played with a group. How does it work? Each party pack comes with five different games. Players submit answers or draw pictures using their mobile phones. While the game is being played, your team and the retiree can chat and remain engaged with each other. That means there are plenty of opportunities to present gifts, send best wishes, swap stories, and even let your retiree eat a slice of their cake. 

Want to get your retiree to spill some secrets before they leave? The game Never Have I Ever, perfect to break the ice at a virtual retirement party, asks all the participants certain questions to answer. These questions are meant to elicit either interesting or sometimes embarrassing things about your colleagues. Each player starts by holding up all ten fingers. As they say yes to a certain question, they lower a finger. Some interesting questions are: have you worked in an office without a computer? Played hooky from work? Switched industries? Eaten another co-worker’s lunch? Thought another colleague or client was cute? As questions are asked, the last person in the group to have fingers in the air wins the game. Hopefully the game will allow participants to divulge some funny or embarrassing stories.

For many retirees, bingo is a traditional favorite. To get them ready for a life ahead of bingo, your virtual retirement party can include online retirement bingo. 

A similar take on Never Have I Ever is a personal quiz game about the retiree. For this party quiz, put together a list of the retiree’s personal family details and corporate career highlights. Each of your virtual party guests must answer the questions correctly. In the end, the player who has answered correctly wins the game. Questions can include the retiree’s first job, years with the company, which college they attended, what their favorite lunch is, what is their proudest accomplishment, how many kids do they have, what the name of their spouse is, what type of pets do they own, where they went on vacation, and what is their biggest office peeve. It’s fun to include the retiree in the quiz by allowing them to help the colleague answer the question by acting out the answer.

If you really want everyone to participate with a big laugh, try a silly hairstyle or dance-off theme for your virtual retirement party. Ask all of your colleagues, including the operating team, to choose an outlandish hairstyle to wear for the party. It can be a wig, a crazy hair color, or some retro style---anything that will make your retiree laugh. Or ask everyone to think of their craziest dance moves and entertain everyone online during the party. 

Get a host

Perhaps you really want to host this virtual retirement party, but you’re swamped with work. Don’t worry. Elevent is here to help. This team-building company has created a popular 90 minute virtual event via a secure video line that is designed specifically for corporate retirement parties. Its host handles everything, from recognizing your retiree to trivia games or escape games and keeping the party energetic with a high level of enthusiasm. It’s a virtual retirement party that your retiring colleague will never forget.

How to make it a surprise?

If you really want to put that added cherry on the cake, make your virtual retirement party a surprise for the retiree. To keep the party under-wraps, you’ll need some help from the retiree’s friends or co-workers. But in the end, you’ll be pleased with your results. 

To make a successful surprise, you can set up a standard work meeting during the retiree’s final week but ask all of your colleagues to join the video call 10 to 15 minutes early before the retiree joins. This way, everyone will have a chance to say hello to each other, settle in, and get ready for the retiree to arrive for the meeting. You’ll be able to give them directions, such as yell “surprise”, let them know what games will be played, allow them to ask questions, or let them know whatever else you may have in mind. 

Or, you may want to enlist the help of the retiree’s family as a pretense for the virtual retirement party. Ask a spouse or child to arrange a call to discuss upcoming plans. Once the retiree joins the call with their family member, they’ll be so surprised to see their company “family” on the video call as well. Make sure to include the family member in the virtual retirement party and praise them for helping to facilitate the party.

Making it a memorable party

Before your retiree heads for the door, their virtual retirement party should be a time where colleagues can make them feel cherished and recognized. Keep this front and center with whatever is planned. Let the retiree know what an honor it has been to know them and work with them. Emphasize their achievements. Give the retiree an opportunity to speak virtually about their time at the company and what they’ve planned for their future. It’s crucial that when the party ends, the retiree feels loved and appreciated.

Since your retirement party will be online and not in person, don’t despair. You can still put together online tributes for the retiree. This display of touching and funny tributes will be a memento that your retiree will treasure for years to come. Elevent suggests trying to get each of your teammates to think of one particular instance that will resonate with the retiree. 

Tribute will help you create a video montage about your colleague. Ask fellow colleagues and family members to contribute photos for a slideshow on Google Slides. Create a social media post with the retiree tagged and ask your work colleagues to comment on the post.  

Your retiree will be especially surprised and heartened by having a special guest appear at their virtual retirement party. Perhaps you can hint that a mystery guest will be joining the party at some point to keep everyone guessing who it might be. These surprise guests could include past colleagues or family members who can honor the retiree with congratulatory messages or funny reminisces for a nice online tribute. If a former coworker is unavailable when you have the party, rather than a live tribute you can ask them to videotape a short message to run during the party. 

Before the party ends, Elevent suggests having everyone exchange personal contact information. That way the retiree can stay in contact with former colleagues. Don’t forget to take a screenshot of everyone attending the party, including the mystery guest. Ask them to strike a funny, memorable pose. Your virtual retirement party could end on a happy note with everyone raising their glass to toast the retiree.

A party that can be done together

If games and tributes are not enough, a virtual retirement party can become an event in which everyone shares a movie or television show together from the comfort of their own homes. Teleparty is one such firm that can help to organize this virtual retirement party option. Your group and retiree can watch movies or shows together. They’ve even included a chat function beside the browser to allow viewers to comment on the show just as if they were in the same room. If someone needs to get a snack, Teleparty will pause the show until everyone is back. Afterward, everyone can join together to discuss the movie or show and wish the retiree best wishes. 

Planning a virtual retirement party can be fun and exciting as you put together this special event for your co-worker. Let others on your team help you out and make it a special team-building event. Your ideas will make this a day to remember for your co-worker and a day of celebration. Remember, the more time and effort you put into this special event, the more the retiree will talk about it for years to come. Don’t worry that it’s virtual; using Zoom and creativity will give your co-worker a happy, exciting send-off. 

Originally published at Nov 3 2021, 11:48:00 AM. Updated on Sep 28 2022.

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