How To Say Farewell To Coworkers (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Feb. 10, 2021

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Quitting, getting fired, retiring, or leaving your current job for any other reason can give you a whole myriad of emotions you may not have been prepared for.

Of course, while you might be excited to move on to the next chapter of your life, there’s no doubt that saying goodbye to your co-workers can be a sentimental experience.

Especially when you’ve worked with one or more of your co-workers for several years, it can be difficult to say goodbye.

Even if you don’t know your co-workers very well, saying goodbye is an important and professional part of leaving your current job. After all, doing your best to leave on a positive note will allow you to ask for references in the future.

Regardless of your relationship with your co-workers or the circumstances you’re in, capturing a graceful feeling of bittersweetness can be tricky.

This article will address the best ways to send a positive farewell message to your co-workers, as well as when to send your message and what to include.

Why Is Giving a Proper Goodbye Important?

Everyone wants to feel appreciated in the workplace, and when you give your co-workers a proper farewell, they’ll know that you’re thankful for the time you spent working with them. This process is valuable for maintaining friendships and expressing your ability to exit a situation gracefully.

Further, when you take the time to say goodbye, you leave them with a positive image of you in their minds. This will allow you to maintain professional contacts that can help with job hunting, internships, references, and promotions in the future.

Appropriate Ways to Say Goodbye

Depending on your relationship with your co-workers, there are a few different ways you can say goodbye. Additionally, if you know a co-worker who’s leaving, you can utilize these methods as well:

  1. Emails. Whether you work remotely or not, sending an email can be a good way to relay a casual farewell message. One of the greatest benefits of sending an email is that you can easily obtain contact information that can be used for future networking.

    Certain companies will send out a mass email to employees when an employee is leaving. Feel free to respond to this email with your own personal goodbye message. Remember, this email chain can also be a great opportunity to gather contacts.

  2. Cards and letters. If you’re particularly close to one or two of your co-workers, you might want to give them a card with a message that expresses your thoughts.

    You can let them know that you’re thankful for the time you spent working with them and that you wish to maintain a friendship or positive relationship outside of work.

    Typically, when someone decides to leave a company, the manager or supervisor will prepare a farewell card. This card can be signed by most, if not all co-workers, and is a great way to give a general goodbye.

    Cards and personal letters can be addressed to co-workers you know very well, or ones you don’t, making them a balanced choice for sending a farewell message.

  3. Gifts and parties. While this form of farewell is often more personal, it can be a very positive way of saying goodbye. If you’ve known your co-workers for a long time, you might want to give them a gift that’s based on their hobbies and interests.

    When you’re saying goodbye to a co-worker who’s leaving, it might make sense to provide them with a gift that will help them in their future job.

    Companies may chip in to provide gifts and parties in the workplace. After all, who doesn’t love a workplace pizza party? You might also think about throwing or attending a farewell party outside of the workplace.

  4. Talking one-on-one. No matter how you choose to give a formal or casual goodbye, it’s important to address the situation by approaching your co-workers in person. Doing this will reinforce the respect and appreciation between you.

    Remember that the conversation doesn’t have to be awkward or drawn out. Simply mention how great it was working with them, and then allow the conversation to flow naturally.

Tips for What to Include in a Farewell Letter

Farewell letters are different from resignation letters in that they can be somewhat informal and addressed to your co-workers or manager. Typically, a farewell letter should be short, sweet, and to the point.

While templates can be helpful for getting an idea of what you should write, the personal nature of a farewell letter means that you should limit their usage.

After all, you don’t want to sound like a robot when you’re trying to make a heartfelt statement. With that in mind, be aware of the individuality of the person you’re addressing when implementing examples and tips.

Generally speaking, though, there are a few key components every farewell letter should have. These include:

  • Introduction. If it wasn’t obvious, one of the first things you should include in your farewell letter is a statement about the fact that you’re leaving.

    Depending on your relationship with the person you’re sending the letter to, you might want to include your job title or reason for leaving, but you should definitely include the date of your last workday.

  • Personal statement. When you’ve worked with someone for a long period of time, you might want to share a positive memory you had with them or some other form of a personal statement. This will make the letter feel far more genuine.

  • Thank you. Showing your appreciation for your co-workers is an important part of leaving. Include a section of your letter that gives thanks for the time you spent working with them.

    This will go a long way for helping maintain a positive and professional relationship in the future.

  • Contact information. To maintain a relationship with someone, you’ll need to exchange contact information. With that in mind, you should include your email, phone number, and any other professional social media profiles (such as LinkedIn).

Including these details will allow you to create a personalized, professional farewell letter that helps build future relationships. And keeping those sections of your letter in mind, here are some additional tips:

  • Keep it brief. Your letter doesn’t have to drag on, and you don’t have to write three paragraphs talking about the time you went on an adventure with your co-worker.

    Ideally, you should keep your letter brief and to the point. This will make the content far more digestible for your reader.

  • Editing. Doing a spell check on your farewell letter once or twice before you send it is always a smart move.

  • Review samples. If you’re not sure what to write, it’s okay to review a couple of sample letters. These examples can help you refine your vocabulary and make sure each sentence in the letter has meaning.

  • No duplicates. Every person is an individual, so if you’re sending goodbye messages to more than one co-worker, don’t copy and paste. While sending a mass email can be okay in some circumstances, personalized letters shouldn’t be the same for each person.

  • Stay in touch. While receiving contact information is valuable, you still have to utilize it. When possible, you should do your best to keep in touch with your previous co-workers.

Farewell Letter Examples

When you write a farewell letter, you can either be writing as the person who is leaving or addressing a departing co-worker. Therefore, here are examples of both of these instances:

  1. Hello John,

    As I’m sure you’ve heard, I’ll be leaving my Museum Attendant position on June 23rd.

    Even as I’m eagerly and anxiously awaiting my new position, I know I’ll miss you and all of my other co-workers here. You and I have worked together for nearly two years, and I value the friendship we’ve built over time. I have many memories of our Halloween desk decoration competitions, and it was things like that that made me look forward to going to the office.

    While this might be the end of my time at the Rune Museum, I know it won’t be the end of our friendship. You know that I’ll always be thankful for the time we’ve spent working together.

    Even if I’m not in the office anymore, I hope we can keep in touch. You can reach me at (222) 222-2222 or asmith@mail.com.

    Best,
    Arthur

  2. Hello Evan,

    Earlier today, Simon (Manager) let me know that you’ll be leaving on Tuesday.

    Though it saddens me to know that I’ll no longer work with you day-to-day, I’m excited to hear that you’re going forward with your career. You and I have worked together for over five years, and I value the friendship we’ve built over time. I have a bittersweet feeling remembering all of our workplace adventures, like the time we replaced all of the Christmas music with punk rock.

    While this might be the end of your time working here at Lumberton Farms, I know it won’t be the end of our friendship. You know that I’ll always be thankful for the time we’ve spent working together.

    Even if you’re not in the office anymore, I hope we can keep in touch. You can reach me at (555) 555-5555 or dparker@mail.com.

    Best,
    Daniel

When to Send Your Letter or Email

For the most effective farewell letter, you really have to nail the timing. After all, your letter might be met with confusion or anger if you send it a week after the fact. On the other hand, sending the letter two weeks ahead of time might leave you with some awkward interactions.

So when is the perfect time to send it?

Ideally, you should send out your letter (likely via email) one or two days before your leave date. Not only will this allow you to focus more on your tasks up until that point, but it also gives you an appropriate amount of time to say your goodbyes. Using this timeframe, you’ll still be able to talk with co-workers in person if you wish.

Final Thoughts

Overall, it’s okay to be nervous about saying your goodbyes. However, to maintain positive relationships with your co-workers, you shouldn’t procrastinate or pull the trigger too quickly.

Remember to keep things balanced by sending your farewell letters a day or two before you leave.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.
Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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