An Executive Assistant's Guide to Planning Virtual Retirement Parties

An Executive Assistant's Guide to Planning Virtual Retirement Parties 

A retirement party is a rite of passage for any long-respected member of a company. These parties allow colleagues  — both past and present — to share how the parting colleague has impacted them over the years.

Why Plan A Virtual Retirement Party?

Although retirement parties this year may look a little different than they have in the past, this doesn't make them any less memorable. There are still dozens of ways to make a virtual retirement party one for the books. 

If you've been tasked with planning a virtual retirement party for a colleague in the office, we've got you covered. We've taken the liberty of putting together some tips and activities so you can plan and host a virtual retirement party that's both fun and heartfelt for everyone involved. 

Your invite might look something like this:

Please join us in celebrating the retirement of {insert retiree name}!

Friday, ________ at 3:00pm.

The party will be held via Zoom - Please RSVP 

Feel free to bring snacks to enjoy together 

Virtual Program:

3:00 PM - Zoom room opens 

3:05 PM - Welcome &  Comments

3:30 PM - Retirement Party Games & Activities 

4:00 PM - Party Ends With a Toast & Closing Remarks

It's simple and to the point, and all the necessary information is included. This way, your guests will know what to expect on the day of the retirement party.

Virtual Retirement Party Ideas 

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few ideas to point you in the right direction:

Make it A Virtual Surprise Party

Take your virtual retirement party to the next level by making it a surprise! One way to go about this is to arrange the party as if it's a standard work meeting during the retiree's last week on the job. Then, you can ask all the other attendees to enter the zoom room 10 to 15 minutes before the scheduled time. This will give you enough time to get everyone in another breakout room to wait for the surprise. 

Once the retiree enters the main room, they'll be so excited to see that their colleagues have made an effort to wish them a happy retirement. Of course, we're sure that they won't mind skipping out on the work meeting either. 

Send Virtual Invites

The first order of business is how to send out invites for the virtual retirement party. After all, a party isn't a party without any guests. Use an online invitation app such as Evite to send out invitations early and drum up excitement about the party.  The earlier you send out invitations, the more time people will have to free up their schedule and make sure they can attend. 

Create an Online Group Card

A heartfelt card to the guest of honor is a great way to start the festivities. In the past, all your guests would have signed this card in person. However, since that isn't the case now, a digital version can still get the job done. 

Online platforms such as Kudoboard allow you to create a card that is socially distance friendly. You'll be able to write well wishes digitally from the safety of your home, and the retiree can view them again and again. If you want to send an actual card, most platforms let you send a printed version of the card in a poster or book format. 

Send Physical Gifts to Their Home 

No party is complete without gifts! While you can't see the retiree in person, this doesn't mean that you can't send tokens of your appreciation for their hard work.  These gifts will go a long way to helping your former colleague to adjust to their new routine as a retiree. While online vouchers and gift cards are lovely, a physical gift they can walk by every day will pull at their heartstrings. 

Virtual Retiement Party Activities 

Virtual retirement party activities don’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple with easy activities that include everyone. 

Put Together A Video Montage for the Retiree

A classic retirement party activity is to get everyone in the office to be part of a video montage for the retiree. This video could be a collection of pictures from their time with the company or a few coworkers speaking about the retiree and what they appreciated working with them. 

Virtual Escape Room 

A virtual escape room is one virtual retirement party activity that promotes team building. Planning a virtual escape room is the perfect farewell activity if your retiring colleague is fond of puzzles and riddles. 

A virtual escape room is just like the real thing, except that you and the rest of your team will be locked in the room virtually. There are several different rooms to choose from, so be sure to plan and book a room in advance. On average, most rooms will take around 60 minutes to break out of, so be sure to schedule this into the party and make sure everyone can stay for the duration of the activity. 

Virtual Retirement Party Game Ideas

Let's face it; virtual parties can be full of awkward silences and moments. So keep your virtual retirement party lively through games that get everyone involved and laughing. Having a few virtual retirement party game ideas up your sleeve will make this event one people won't soon forget. 

Never Have I Ever — Office Edition 

With your retiree a few days away from their last day at the office, it's the perfect time to spill some secrets. An office-themed game of “Never Have I Ever” is the perfect way to do so. 

In this game, every participant begins by holding up ten fingers. Then, if they hear a prompt that applies to them, they'll need to lower a finger—the last person standing wins. 

See below for some prompts you might use during the game:

Never Have I Ever…

  • Eaten another coworkers lunch 
  • Shown pictures of my kids/grandkids
  • Worked in an office without a computer
  • Had a company phone 
  • Shopped online while on the clock
  • Faked a sick leave
  • Been on social media during a zoom meeting
  • And so on! 

Two Truths and A Lie

Not only does this game help you to learn more about your coworkers, but its simple nature makes it a great virtual party game. When playing "Two Truths and a Lie," you and your coworkers will share three facts about yourselves. 

Two of the facts are true, and one is a lie. It's up to the guests to determine which is which. You can assign points for each correct guess and award the winner a small prize at the end of the game. Gifts could range from a virtual coupon to a free cup of coffee at a cafe close to the office. 

Heads Up 

Heads Up is another easy retirement party game to include in the party agenda. It's a virtual take on Charades, and no prior knowledge is needed to play! Before the party, send a link out to the guests and invite them to download the Heads Up app on their phones. Once everyone is ready, you can divide the guests into teams. 

When it's your turn to play, all you need to do is hold up your phone to your forehead and try to guess what's on the screen based on clues from your team. If you get it right, you're awarded a point and move on to the next word. If your team feels that it's too hard to explain, you can skip the word to avoid losing points. Everyone at the party will have a great time laughing at their coworker's frantic antics to explain words. 

Online Jeopardy 

Why not put together a game of online jeopardy about the retiring coworker? To make it fun, why not contact their family to get some insider information about the year they were born, favorite city, first pet, and so on! You'll all get to learn more about them and have a few laughs along the way. The player with the most points at the end wins the game. You can use a website like Kahoot to create your online quiz. 

Retirement Party Jeopardy Game Ideas:

  • First job 
  • Years spent with the company
  • Number of kids 
  • Last vacation 
  • Favorite office snack
  • Favorite restaurant 
  • Proudest work accomplishment 
  • Favorite work accessory 

Things to Keep In Mind When Planning A Virtual Retirement Party

You want to make sure that your virtual retirement party honors the retiree while respecting the time and effort of the guests invited. Here are a few extra tips to help guide your planning process: 

Show Honor to the Retiree

The purpose of the virtual retirement party is to show honor and respect to the retiree. They should see how much they meant to the company and their coworkers during this gathering. A party like this is not the time to air out your coworkers' dirty laundry or make jokes at their expense. You can even have your guests bring out their respective bottles of champagne and make a short toast to the guest of honor. 

Keep It Short

While planning your coworker's virtual retirement party, aim to keep the event brief. A long and drawn-out party with several events will remind your coworkers of an office meeting. Keep the party on track with a predetermined schedule that includes games and activities. 

Set aside time for well-wishes and fond memories, but don't let it go on for too long. Depending on the number of guests invited, this segment could last anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. Let your guests know how long the party will be, and give them the option to leave or stay on longer to chat. 

Pick A Time Everyone is Available

Choose a time and day when most people are available to attend. If possible, aim to schedule it during work hours. Many people work from home, and organizing a party outside of work hours will likely make it hard for others to attend. 

Invite Close Friends and Colleagues

As with most virtual events, it's better to keep things small. Larger events on Zoom or other video call apps can quickly get out of hand if the invite list is too extensive. By keeping the guest list small, everyone will have a chance to speak and participate in the games and activities. 

Keep the Mood Festive

Although you might be sad to see your colleague go, remember that this is a time to celebrate their time with the company. When sending out the invites, set the tone by stressing that this is a happy occasion. If you are the host of the virtual retirement party, do your best to keep the mood light and comfortable. 

Virtual Retirement Party FAQs

How long should a virtual retirement party last?

There are no rules about how long a virtual party should last. When planning the virtual retirement party, think about the guests and the retiree. If they aren't fans of games and activities, maybe 30 - 45 minutes to share memories and chat is enough time. On the other hand, if you plan to include retirement party games, perhaps 1 or 2 hours would be ideal. 

What if coworkers would like to leave early from the party?

Although you would love for all your coworkers to stay the entire duration of the party, sometimes this isn't the case. Share the program for the zoom party with the guests beforehand. That way, if they need to leave early, they can try to do so at a time that won't interrupt others or draw too much attention. 

What should I include in the virtual retirement party?

The most crucial part of any retirement party, whether virtual or in-person, is that the guest of honor feels recognized and cherished. They must get to hear kind words from their colleagues about their time spent together and emphasize their achievements on the job. 

Planning a virtual retirement party can be a daunting task if you haven't done it before. No matter what activities or games you choose, you want to make sure that it's a day of celebration! Have fun with your coworkers and let the retiree know how much they meant to you all. With a bit of zoom magic and some creativity on your part, you can throw a virtual retirement party that will give your colleague a memorable send-off. 

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