Fun Ways to Celebrate a Remote Employee’s Birthday

celebrate team Apr 26, 2024

Birthdays are always a time for celebration, but with remote and hybrid workplaces, celebrating your employee’s special day can be challenging. While planning a birthday in the office is difficult enough, coordinating online celebrations can be overwhelming due to shifting schedules and different locations. You may find yourself desperately wondering how to celebrate a remote employee’s birthday in a way that works for your team and still feels fun and meaningful.

Thankfully, we’ve rounded up twenty fun ways to celebrate a remote employee’s birthday, so you can ensure your remote team members feel valued. From hosting an online celebration to swapping gift cards and dinner coupons, here are some of the best ways to celebrate a remote employee’s birthday.

20 Ways to Celebrate a Remote Employee

A personalized birthday message

The obvious first option for celebrating a remote employee’s birthday is an online celebration using your company’s Slack channel. Slack is a great way to coordinate workplace meetings, so why not use it to celebrate your employee’s birthday?

Birthday game time

Pick a time that works for most of your team members, and consider using some Slack game integrations to spice up the event. You can even have a virtual gift exchange if that fits the tone of your celebration.

Send out party favors

No matter what you add on, make sure to bring the same energy you would to an office birthday party. Consider sending out DIY party hats or encouraging team members to change their profiles to something festive. With a little creativity, an online celebration can be just as fun and meaningful as an in-person office birthday bash.

Give a gift card

What if there was an easy way to send your coworker a birthday gift with the push of a button? Well, thanks to the invention of the gift card, there is. With virtual and physical gift cards from countless stores, you can let your coworker know you’re thinking of them with an all-expense-paid shopping spree at their favorite vendor. Or, well, as much of an all-expense-paid shopping spree as a $25 gift card can cover.

Additional discounts!

If you’re looking for a lower-key way to celebrate as an office, coupons and discount codes are always another option, especially if you run an e-commerce business. Who doesn’t want an added 10% off on top of an employee discount?

Even if you don't run a shop, finding discount coupons for different stores and services can be a great way to let remote employees know you're thinking of them; make sure whatever store you pick also exists in their region if they're international!

The morning off

What better way to say “we appreciate all you do” than giving your remote employee the morning off? Getting started for the day can be challenging even if you’re working from home, so why not let them take a load off and ignore notifications until lunchtime? While you might think of a morning off as a step down for a birthday celebration, any employee will tell you getting extra time to sleep in is the best birthday present they could ever get.

The day off!

Even better than a morning off is a full day off of work. Most people would prefer that to any gift that you could give. It allows them to spend time with loved ones and friends doing favorite hobbies, etc. This is also a great way to help your team feel rejuvenated and ready for the next day.

Sign an E-Card

Handing a gift card around an office is harder with hybrid or remote teams, so why not cut out the physical factor of this tradition and instead send around an e-card for everyone to sign? A quick scribble in an editing app or on your phone, and you have a personalized gift card perfect for any remote team member's birthday. You can even animate some e-gift cards with team members' pictures or profile images for a one-of-a-kind present that will make their day a little brighter.

If you’re feeling dedicated, you could always print out a gift card and mail it to different team members to sign. This shows you’re going above and beyond for your remote employee and gives that gift card a story. You can even have everyone keep the stamps needed to send the letter around as a testament to the card’s long journey.

Company Shout-Out

Another way to show you appreciate your team members is by setting up company-wide Slack integrations, so you can spend less time keeping track of birthdays and more time celebrating your remote employees. This lets members of other teams easily wish your team member a happy birthday and helps craft a positive, supportive workplace across different teams. One of the worst feelings for employees is when they have to tell their coworkers themselves that it’s their birthday, or even worse if no one knows all day.

You can even use this system to celebrate work anniversaries, important workplace events, and more, all through an easy-to-use automation system.

Ask them :)

Sometimes the simplest approach is best: talk to the birthday person ahead of time about how they'd like to celebrate. They may have specific ideas that cater perfectly to their personality and preferences. Valuing their input shows you prioritize their happiness and want to craft a day that truly honors them. Plus, it takes the guesswork out of planning and ensures they'll love whatever the team comes up with. Open communication is key to any strong remote company culture.

Set Up a Wishlist System

If you have team members working worldwide, figuring out what they want for their birthday can be difficult. With employee wishlists, you can take the guesswork out of shopping for your remote team members.

Have each employee set up a wishlist on an easy-to-view site like Amazon, set a price limit on items, and tada! You have access to a frequently updated list of everything your coworker wants right at the push of a button.

By connecting these wishlists to an international distributor like Amazon, you can make shopping for your team as easy as clicking a button. You can even collaborate with your team to choose a website for wishlist items, allowing them to customize their preferred retailer.

Team-Wide Treats

The best part of celebrating a workplace birthday is the treats. You don't have to say goodbye to a cupcake break because your employees are remote. Instead, you can coordinate with your team to send a voucher for different food sites, like DoorDash.

Each team member can get a treat to celebrate an office birthday. If you have many team birthdays, choose one day each month to celebrate several birthdays and host an online snack get-together on that day.

Send a birthday playlist to the company

Create a custom Spotify playlist featuring the birthday person's favorite songs. Share it with the whole team via Slack, along with a heartfelt message celebrating their special day. This thoughtful gesture helps foster connection and shows you care about their musical tastes.

Birthday zoom background

Design a personalized Zoom background for the birthday star, perhaps featuring their photo, interests, or a festive theme. Encourage everyone to use it during the day's video calls. This creates a fun, celebratory atmosphere even when the team can't be together in person.

Even better than a day off is a paid vacation! This is not a pipe dream, as it’s one of the top perks that companies like BambooHR are offering their employees.  This generous perk demonstrates that the company values work-life balance and employee appreciation.

Send a “pamper” package

Put together a curated box of self-care treats like scented candles, gourmet tea or coffee, a plush throw blanket, and a gift card for a massage or yoga class. Send it to their home with a handwritten note. This provides a tangible way to make them feel special and encourage some blissful "me-time."

Gift basket

Have coworkers contribute small gifts to fill a birthday basket based on the person's hobbies, snack preferences, or wish list items. Include a card signed by the whole crew. Opening it on a video call lets everyone join in the gifting experience from afar.

Fun snacks from Snack Nation

Treat them to a tasty surprise from Snack Nation's extensive selection of unique, top-quality munchies. You could even set up a recurring snack delivery as an ongoing perk. Nourishing your team with delicious options boosts both morale and energy levels.

Mug & favorite drink

Send a high-quality, beautifully designed mug along with supplies for their favorite hot beverage, like premium coffee beans, artisanal tea, or gourmet cocoa. Throw in a personalized coaster for an extra special touch. Starting their morning with this thoughtful gift will give them warm, fuzzy feelings all day.

Make a donation in their name to a charitable cause they care about. Whether it's animal rescue, environmental conservation, or social justice, contributing to their passion project is incredibly meaningful. They'll appreciate the positive impact being made on their behalf.

Wrapping it Up

The key is to choose gestures that align with the individual's personality, interests, and values. Adding customized details shows genuine thought and care, strengthening team bonds across any distance. These small acts of celebration and appreciation can make a big difference in employee happiness and engagement.

If this feels like a lot for your team to handle for each employee, don’t worry! That’s where CultureBot comes in. Our all-in-one Slack integration allows you to easily keep track of employee birthdays, anniversaries, wellness initiatives, and more, all through the power of automation. If you want to transform your company’s next online event, CultureBot is here to help. Our latest features include onboarding support and in-slack pictionary-style games seamlessly integrated into your company’s Slack, allowing you to throw workplace events easily.


Amy Campbell

A professional wizard with all things PeopleOps, Amy has been helping HR and People teams optimize their remote work setup and culture for over 10 years now. She's originally from California.