How to Write a Goodbye Email to Coworkers

Bid farewell gracefully and professionally with a short, heartfelt note of gratitude.

Written by Lisa Bertagnoli
How to Write a Goodbye Email to Coworkers
Image: Shutterstock
UPDATED BY
Matthew Urwin | Apr 27, 2023

Leaving your job can be a difficult thing to do, but writing a goodbye email to coworkers helps ensure it ends on a positive note — and it’s especially useful if you want to stay in touch with your colleagues and boss after you leave.

Of course, a goodbye email to coworkers, managers and clients should come only after you’ve given your two weeks’ notice, submitted your resignation letter and talked with your manager about the transition.

And though writing this farewell message may seem like a simple, straightforward task, finding the right words can be challenging. To help you get started, we provided a few tips and example emails below. 

 

Why a Goodbye Email to Coworkers Is Important

A goodbye email to coworkers provides a chance for you to thank the colleagues and leaders who contributed to your professional growth while at a company. Acknowledging them is a great way to reflect on these relationships and the positive experiences you’ve shared. 

Sending a goodbye email to coworkers also serves as a way to preserve relationships you’ve come to value. You may need to rely on former coworkers and managers for job opportunities and letters of recommendation. As a result, writing a letter expressing thanks goes a long way in maintaining and strengthening your professional network, which you can leverage throughout your career. 

Taking the time to write a few lines of gratitude may seem like a small gesture, but sharing a goodbye email with coworkers can have a lasting impact on your professional connections and career options later down the road. 

 

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How to Write a Goodbye Email to Coworkers

To leave on the right note, use these common best practices for goodbye emails as a guide.  

 

1. Express Gratitude 

Begin your goodbye email with a thank you. Acknowledge your time at the company and express gratitude for the opportunity, what you learned and the people you’ve met. Because the focus will be on you leaving, people will appreciate even more that you’re willing to put the spotlight on them and their best qualities.

 

2. Embrace a Positive Tone

Adopt a positive tone throughout your message. According to Sara Ortins, chief of staff at edtech company NimblyWise, the worst goodbye emails seethe with rancor or snark or passive-aggressively try to settle a score. 

“I’ve had people say, ‘well, I’m going to sit down, and I’m going to let them know how much work I did or how I was overlooked,’” said Ortins, who has reviewed many farewell emails. “It is absolutely 100 percent never the place to do that.”

Resist the urge to vent negative thoughts. Even if your departure isn’t under ideal circumstances, embracing a positive tone can salvage some goodwill from your coworkers and raise your reputation in the eyes of your peers.   

“People forget you only get one chance to make a final impression,” Kyle Elliott, a career coach, said. “It’s important that you control the message.”

 

3. Present an Authentic Message

While thanking a coworker is a nice way to start, you may come across as insincere if you stop at the surface-level details. Make your goodbye email more authentic by highlighting specific instances where someone was instrumental in your career growth or went above and beyond to help you develop as a professional. Pointing out certain moments and experiences shows what you value about that person and makes for a more convincing message.  

In addition, you want to make sure your email focuses solely on gratitude and doesn’t appear to be for personal gain. Provide your personal email or phone number for coworkers to reach you —  not your future work email.

 

4. Keep Your Goodbye Email Short

Leaving a job may bring up lots of emotions and memories, but you don’t want to overwhelm your colleagues with a lengthy goodbye email. A tighter message can pack a far more powerful punch than a longer one that drags on. Three paragraphs are all you should need to deliver a proper goodbye email to coworkers.  

 

5. Review the Logistics of Your Transition

Although you’re leaving, you can continue to support your managers and colleagues by laying out the logistics of your transition. Explain when your last day will be, who will handle which of your responsibilities and how to reach those people. You can also offer to help find and train a replacement for your role, making the process even more seamless. 

 

6. Send a More Personal Note Closer to Your Departure

For managers or coworkers you’ve worked closely with, you may want to follow up your initial email with a more personal note. Elliot suggested that professionals higher on the management ladder consider two goodbye notes. After an initial email covering logistics, a second note, more personal in nature, can be delivered a day or two before your last day.

Elliott and Ortins choose email as their preferred format. Handwritten notes, while lovely, “aren’t the way people communicate in the workplace,” Ortins said. That said, a more personal handwritten note to a mentor or otherwise meaningful colleague could demonstrate a deeper level of gratitude (not to mention style).

Related ReadingWhat Is Severance Pay? A Guide.

 

7. Send Separate Notes to Different Colleagues

Consider an assortment of goodbye emails, perhaps one for your boss, one for your team and one for external colleagues. If you do decide to write different notes to different people, personalize them. Writing a vague goodbye email directed toward everyone can be a turn-off to your colleagues, especially those who have come to know you well. Goodbye emails tailored to individuals are more intentional and show you hold a special esteem for someone. 

 

8. Receive Feedback From Someone You Trust Before Sending

If you’re unsure about your goodbye email, write it and make some time for self-reflection. Then reach out to a trusted personal or professional connection (obviously not someone who works at your company) for further advice. They may be able to spot flaws in your tone, or sense that you don’t seem to be in the right emotional state. 

There’s nothing wrong with asking a friend or colleague to help you with your goodbye email, but sometimes being unable to write your message may hint at bigger issues. 

In that sense, eliciting feedback for your goodbye email can reveal that your message needs refining or that the occasion simply doesn’t call for one given the context.

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8 Sample Goodbye Emails to Coworkers

You may want to write farewell emails to different individuals, including direct reports, managers, colleagues, clients and mentors. To adequately address this range of audiences, you’ll want to write different farewell emails and adjust your content accordingly.

 

General Goodbye Email to Coworkers 

While there are different ways to write a goodbye email, Ann Marie Sabath, president of At Ease, a corporate etiquette training firm, suggests a brief note that follows this template:

“During the past five years, I have had the pleasure of being part of the XYZ organization. During this time, I have interacted with many wonderful individuals like you. Effective tomorrow, my colleague, Mary Smith, will be assuming my responsibilities. I hope you will enjoy working with her as much as I have. If you would like to stay in touch on a personal basis, my email is....”

This farewell email is professional and gets to the point quickly, without coming across as cold.

 

Goodbye Email to Team

On the other hand, you may feel comfortable being vulnerable with your team and coworkers. If so, here is another approach you can take: 

“It’s with mixed feelings that I inform you that my last day at XYZ will be December 31, 202X. I’m leaving to accept a job at ABC company, which will fulfill my lifelong dream of moving to the Bay Area. That said, during my nine years at XYZ, I’ve learned so much, met so many great colleagues, and will be forever grateful for the opportunity. Please do keep in touch; you can reach me at [email] or [cell phone]. I wish you only the very best in the future.”

This is a good template to use when you want to include more personal reasons for the decision. 

 

Informal Goodbye Email

If you enjoy close relationships with your team and coworkers, don’t be afraid to invite them to stay in touch in a more informal manner:

“I want to let everyone know that I’ve accepted a new job and will leave XYZ on December 31. Ever since starting here five years ago, I’ve been wowed by this team and the work we’ve done. The atmosphere here is special — no other way to say it. My next post will be CTO at ABC company, and I’m moving to Austin, Texas. I’ll share updates on social media, and if you have any cool reccos for the Austin area, please share. I’ll miss you all.”

As long as you don’t feel like this is crossing your boundaries, people will appreciate you opening up and allowing them to remain a part of your life. 

 

Goodbye Email to Close Coworkers

You can also send a goodbye email to a coworker you’ve grown close to during your time working together. The body of the email can go something like this:

“As you know, I’ll be leaving my role as [position] on [date]. I wanted to take a moment to express how meaningful you’ve made my time here at [company]. I’ll miss our daily coffee conversations, as well as your sincerity and kindness. While I’m closing out this current chapter in my career and moving on to another opportunity, I hope we’ll remain close. Please know I’m always just a text or phone call away. Looking forward to many more great conversations to come!” 

Pointing out a concrete detail, such as having coffee, adds depth to your goodbye email and shows you’re invested in the relationship you’ve built with your coworker. 

 

Goodbye Email to Your Manager

If you want to remain in touch with an individual above you, such as your manager, you may want to take a slightly different angle with your farewell email: 

“As you know, my last day will be on [date]. While I’m excited for this next step in my career, I’ll always look back on my time at [company] with fondness. Because of your advice and encouragement, I’ve grown so much and will be forever grateful for the support you’ve given me. You’ve instilled in me the confidence to take on a new position with more responsibilities, so I realize how lucky I’ve been to have you as my manager and can’t thank you enough. I do hope we can remain in touch. You can reach me at [email]. Please don’t be a stranger, and I wish you and the team all the best moving forward.”

While this email is similar to a farewell message to a coworker, it also reflects the recipient’s managerial position by taking on a more polite tone rather than an intimate one. Every workplace is different, but you’ll generally want to refrain from being too casual or personal when sending a goodbye email to your manager or another higher-ranking employee.

 

Goodbye Email to Senior-level Employees and Executives

You may get to know senior-level employees like the CEO if you work at a smaller company or startup. If you’ve worked with them in some capacity or if they’ve left an impact on you, you may want to send them an individual goodbye email as well:

“As you know, my last day at [company] is [date], so I wanted to reach out and let you know how much I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve been able to pick up new skills and experiences as a [job title] while maturing as a professional and as a person. You’ve established a wonderful company culture that enables employees to thrive, and I’m grateful to have benefitted from working in such a supportive environment. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [personal email] for anything or just to stay in touch. Wishing you and the company all the best.” 

Recognizing a CEO or senior-level employee for their role in setting the tone for the company’s culture and daily work environment adds a personalized touch to your goodbye email. Even if you’re not close with your CEO, they’ll still appreciate you recognizing how their dedication to the company enables employees like you to accelerate your career growth.  

 

Goodbye Email to Direct Reports

If you oversee a team, your departure may serve as a major change for the people who have worked under you. Send a goodbye email to your direct reports reflecting on your time together and giving them a way to maintain their relationships with you: 

“As you all know, my last day is [date], but it’s still hard to believe my time at [company] is coming to an end soon. I wanted to thank you all for being such great teammates and even better people — it truly has been a pleasure getting to know each of you. I’ll miss working with you all and brainstorming exciting ideas, but I’m also eager to see what new things you’ll accomplish in the future. Please stay in touch by reaching me at [personal email.] And if there’s anything I can do to make this transition easier, please let me know.”

Keep in mind that your company’s culture and other factors may result in you being closer or more distant with your direct reports. Depending on how comfortable you are with your direct reports, be sure to tailor your goodbye email accordingly.  

 

Goodbye Email to Clients

If you work directly with clients, you’ll want to send them a goodbye email as well to ensure your company preserves its business relationship with them:

“I’m reaching out to let you know my last day at [company] is [date]. It’s been a pleasure working with you and your team over the past [time period], and I’ve enjoyed getting to know you through our collaborations. If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can. In the meantime, [new person of contact] will be taking over and continuing to build on our partnership together. Wishing you and [their company] all the best moving forward.”

Explaining some of the details about the transition can give your client peace of mind and make the next point of contact’s job easier since they’re already starting with a solid foundation.

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