Farewell message to a colleague: 20 ways to say goodbye

Farewell message to a colleague: 20 ways to say goodbye
SEEK content teamupdated on 23 August, 2023
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Writing farewell messages for colleagues at work doesn’t always come easy. You’ve heard Barb from Accounts is retiring and you wish her well in person but then… the dreaded oversized card hits your desk and nothing comes to mind except “Goodbye” or “You will be missed”. If you get the jitters thinking about it, you’re not alone! 

Wishing a colleague farewell is a great way to express your gratitude and leave a lasting, positive impression on your workmate. While penning a goodbye message isn’t everyone’s forte, spending a bit of time crafting your message to make sure it comes across as genuine and heartfelt can make a big difference.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about putting together farewell messages for colleagues at work, from writing the message itself to how and when to send your goodbye.

Writing a goodbye message to a colleague

So, you’re trying to jot down a message to a colleague who is leaving, but you’re not quite sure where to start. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the right words to wish your departing colleague goodbye and good luck. 

With that said, starting with the right tone helps a lot. This all comes down to how you’d describe your relationship with your workmate. Are you close, or would you consider your relationship more on the formal side? Starting with the tone can help you to figure out whether casual and conversational is appropriate, or whether you should keep it more professional. 

Once you’ve got the tone down pat, you can move on to the message itself. 

Writing the message

Writing a farewell message to a colleague is a balance between keeping it brief, while making it personal and thoughtful. And although it’s usually best to keep it short and sweet, it’s still worth following a broad structure to make sure your farewell message is easy to read.

Start by addressing the recipient directly. This helps to keep it personal from the get-go and sets the tone for the rest of your message. From here, you might want to touch on any shared experiences or personal stories if you had a close relationship with them.

Alternatively, you might want to take a slightly less personal route and instead highlight their unique attributes and what they contributed to the team. If all else fails, just take the time to wish them luck in their future endeavours. A short farewell is better than nothing at all!

If you’re still stuck on how to tackle your next goodbye message to a colleague, here are a few examples of what to write in a farewell card.

Examples of farewell card messages

Whether your colleague is leaving for a new job, retiring or moving, the farewell message should be personalised to them. Here are some examples of what to write in a farewell card, that’s tailored to their specific circumstances.

Farewell quotes for colleagues leaving for a new job

So, your colleague is moving on to a new job and you need to put together a colleague leaving message, but where do you start? First things first, begin your farewell by congratulating them on their new position. Next, you might want to acknowledge their contributions to the workplace and then wrap up by wishing them well in their future endeavours.

Here are a few farewell quotes for colleagues that are leaving for a new job:

  • It’s been an absolute pleasure working with you. Congratulations and all the best with your new position!
  • Thank you for everything you’ve done for us. We’ll miss your sense of humour around here, but are so happy for you. Good luck!

Farewell wishes for a colleague retiring

Writing a farewell message to a colleague who’s retiring can be more emotional than you think. After spending decades in the workforce, it’s important to recognise their hard work and dedication by expressing your appreciation for their contributions to your workplace. 

Depending on your relationship, you might want to share a fond memory or touch on some of their achievements on the job. And don’t forget to finish off by wishing them a happy and fulfilling retirement. Here are some examples of farewell wishes to send off a retiring colleague:

  • Thank you for your years of service and dedication. You were an incredible colleague, mentor and friend, and you will be sadly missed. Happy retirement – enjoy the rest and relaxation! 
  • After working hard for so many years, you deserve to relax and enjoy some downtime. Happy retirement!

Coworker farewell message for moving away

Packing up and moving away can be stressful and challenging, especially when you throw changing workplaces into the mix! With this in mind, it’s important to be considerate when crafting a coworker farewell message for a colleague who’s moving away. Take the time to express sadness at their departure, acknowledge the positive impact they had on your team and wish them well in their new location. 

Here are a few examples of farewell messages to colleagues moving away:

  • Change is sometimes scary, but I know you’ll do great. Wishing you a smooth house move and transition into your new job. I’m sure both will be amazing. We’ll miss you!
  • A new job and a new home, how exciting! Wishing you all the best with this new chapter in your life, you’ll be missed. Thank you for everything.
  • I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you and will miss seeing you every day. Good luck with your new adventure, all the best for a smooth move and please stay in touch.

Farewell messages for a colleague leaving due to health reasons

Unfortunately, there are times in life when a colleague may have to depart a job due to unexpected health reasons. This often isn’t easy for the employee who has to finish up, so it’s important to convey your support and empathy when crafting a farewell message to help your colleague feel comforted and supported. 

Here are some examples you might want to draw on if you’re writing a farewell for a colleague leaving because of health reasons:

  • Although saying goodbye is difficult, your health comes first. Take care and know that you’ll be sadly missed.
  • We’ll miss your attitude and energy at work. Sending you strength for your next chapter. Take care.

Farewell messages for a colleague leaving due to personal reasons

From time to time, personal situations arise that could force an individual to resign from their position. Sometimes the person can be open, others they may keep their reasons private. In these circumstances, it’s important to approach these types of messages with empathy and understanding, whether you’re aware of the reason or not. 

There’s no harm in acknowledging the personal nature of their decision and wishing them well in their personal journey. Showing your support for their choice can mean a lot to someone going through a challenging period.

Here are some words you can use to write a message to a colleague leaving due to personal reasons:

  • Embracing change for your wellbeing takes courage. Wishing you a smooth transition and a bright future ahead.
  • Although your presence at work will be missed, I hope your personal path leads you to happiness and fulfilment. Take care and please stay in touch.

And if it doesn’t feel right to reference the reason, here are some nice ways to wish them farewell:

  • Wishing you all the best for your next chapter, hoping it brings you all the happiness you deserve. Take care of yourself.
  • We’ll miss your smiling face around here! Take care of yourself, please stay in touch.

Farewell messages for a boss leaving the company

Whether you loved your boss, or found it difficult to build rapport with them, it's always good to write them a short goodbye message. When a boss leaves a company, it’s a great opportunity to wrap up your working relationship on a positive note. 

If you’ve had a rocky relationship, you might want to focus on their leadership or express your appreciation for the impact that they’ve had on your professional development. 

If you have plenty of fond memories with your boss, feel free to speak to those moments in your goodbye message. Remember, keep it professional - you never know when you might need to call on a past connection.

Here are a few ways to write a short goodbye message for a boss leaving a company:

  • Thank you for your leadership, I’ve learnt so much during our time together. All the best for your next chapter.
  • I will miss having you as my manager and mentor, but I know that you’ll continue to be a great leader in your new role. Good luck in your new workplace.

Farewell messages for an employee being laid off

Crafting an employee farewell message to a co-worker who’s been let go or made redundant can be tricky to navigate, especially if your position is ongoing. 

Rather than offering advice, instead express compassion and offer a listening ear to help them feel supported during this time. Celebrate their time at your workplace, acknowledge their unique attributes or contributions, and wish them well in their future job search.

Here are a few examples of an employee farewell message for a colleague who's been laid off:

  • Your dedication and hard work have left a mark on our team. Here's to your future success and growth.
  • Your resilience during this time speaks volumes about your character. All the best for your future endeavours, may you find success and fulfilment in your next chapter.

Farewell messages for an intern leaving

If your intern will be wrapping up their time at your workplace shortly, sending them a farewell message is a great way to acknowledge their hard work and show your appreciation for their contributions. 

Internships often play a huge role in a student’s life and it provides them with an opportunity to start building professional connections, so you might want to encourage them to stay in touch while also wishing them well in their future studies and career.

Here are a few farewell messages you might want to consider for an intern leaving:

  • While your internship with us is ending, the skills you've gained and the growth you've experienced is for life. Best of luck as you transition to the next exciting phase of your career.
  • Your willingness to learn and adapt has been impressive. The skills and insights you've gained here will serve you well on your journey to success. All the best!

Farewell messages for a team member leaving the team

In some instances, you might need to write a thank you and farewell message to colleagues moving to a different team or department within your workplace. 

Although you may not see them in the same capacity, you might still catch them around the workplace. With that said, it’s still worth expressing your sadness at their departure from the team. Recognise their hard work and wish them well with their new role.

Here are some examples:

  • As you embark on a new chapter, I’m sure that your skills and dedication will shine in your new role. Wishing you every success on your new journey. Hope to still see you around the office!
  • Your hard work and dedication have had a huge impact on our team and we truly appreciate it. Thank you for everything and good luck with your future endeavours.

Farewell messages for a team member leaving the company

If your colleague is moving on from the company altogether, writing a short farewell is a great way to express your gratitude without going too overboard. Include a note of thanks for their contributions to the team, the company in general and wish them well for their next chapter.

Here are some examples of farewell messages:

  • Thank you for your hard work and support. I’ll miss your guidance, but I know you’ll achieve great things in your future endeavours. All the best and please stay in touch.
  • Your positivity and hard work have been truly inspiring. I’m sure you’ll continue to make an impact in whatever you do. Good luck with the next chapter of your journey.

Delivery methods

Once you have your message down pat, you might be wondering what the most appropriate way to deliver your farewell message is. 

You might choose to send your message via email, write a handwritten note or team goodbye card, share on social media or simply say goodbye in person if you have the opportunity. Depending on your relationship with your colleague, you might even want to use a combination of delivery methods to give them a good send off. 

Saying goodbye over email

Sending a goodbye message via email can be a great option, either on its own or in addition to another farewell you’ve sent. 

When it comes to penning a goodbye email, aim to hit a few key points. Start with a warm greeting, express your appreciation, share a fond memory and offer your well wishes. If you’d like to stay in touch, you can also include your contact details, but do your best to keep it concise and easy to read. 

Saying goodbye using social media

If you have a close relationship with your colleague, you might want to honour them with a post on your social media. 

This is a heartfelt way to express your gratitude for your colleague while emphasising their success, personality and impact on you during your time together. 

Saying goodbye in person

If email or socials aren’t your thing, nothing beats a heartfelt farewell in person. This is a great way to keep it personal, especially if the colleague is special to you. 

It’s an opportunity to share your feelings with them, but don’t be tempted to turn this goodbye into a conversation about yourself. Make sure to focus on them, their achievements and how your time together has impacted you.

Timing and etiquette

The best time to send your farewell message to your colleague comes down to the circumstances around their departure. While there are no hard and fast rules, it can be a good idea to schedule your message around their last week at your workplace. If your workplace has organised a farewell party for your colleague, you may want to give them a card at their gathering to see them off. 

If you’ve made friends with your colleague, chances are they already know how to get in touch with you and possibly already do. But if you’d like to stay in touch with a departing colleague, feel free to pass on your contact details-it never hurts to foster a positive professional relationship. 

Writing your goodbye message to a colleague can be difficult, but crafting a heartfelt farewell message is a great way to express your appreciation and set the tone for your relationship moving forward. Not to mention, it can help your departing colleague to feel valued and be a great confidence boost if they’re going into a new role.

While we’ve provided a number of example farewells for different circumstances, nothing beats a personalised message, written from the heart. Take the time to reflect on their achievements, their impact on the team and wish them well.

FAQs

What is the ideal length for a farewell message?

The ideal length for a farewell message to a colleague is anywhere from 100-300 words depending on your relationship and the delivery method. As a general rule, your message should be long enough to convey your thoughts and feelings, but not so long that it becomes difficult to read or the recipient loses interest. Keep it concise and focus on the important points, like highlighting your colleague's achievements, sharing fond memories and wishing them well.

What if I don't know what to say in my farewell message?

Finding the right words to say farewell to a colleague isn’t always easy, especially if you have a lot on your mind. Sometimes the easiest way to craft a genuine and heartfelt message is to reflect on your relationship with your colleague and how they’ve impacted you or your team. You can communicate your gratitude, share a memory and wish them well for their next chapter. 

Can I use humour in my farewell message?

If you had a close relationship with your colleague, using humour in a farewell message can be a great way to add a light-hearted touch to a potentially difficult goodbye. With that said, it’s important you’re familiar with your audience and keep it light to avoid causing offence. Be sure to keep it positive and try to balance it with sincerity while you’re at it.

Should I include contact information?

If you’d genuinely like to stay in touch with your departing colleague, including your contact information in your farewell is a great way to do so. You can choose to include your personal information and/or phone number. Alternatively, you might want to connect with them on social media if you’d prefer to keep it more professional. 

Is it necessary to send individual messages to each colleague?

If you’re the colleague that’s leaving the team or company, there’s no need to send individual messages to each of your workmates, especially if you’re part of a large team. Instead, you might want to send a simple farewell email to your team to let them know that you’re leaving and thank them for their support. You can include your contact details if you’d like to stay in touch with your team.   

How can I make my farewell message sound genuine and sincere?

Writing a genuine and sincere farewell message is key to an authentic goodbye. Some of the best ways to write a heartfelt message is to keep it personal by reflecting on your time with your colleague, write your message in your own voice, show vulnerability and share a personal memory or anecdote to help tailor your message to your colleague.

Can I include personal stories in a farewell message?

Sharing personal stories or memories in a farewell message to your colleague is a great way to make your message more heartfelt and memorable. Personal stories help to create a deeper connection with your colleague and can go a long way to show that you’ve genuinely appreciated your time together in the workplace. But be sure to maintain a certain level of professionalism when penning your message.

Should a farewell message be written by an individual or by a team?

The choice to write an individual or team farewell message often depends on your relationship with your colleague and the company culture at your workplace. Many teams or workplaces will put together a group goodbye card to see off a departing workmate.

Adding a short note to a group card can be a great way to wish your colleague well, especially if you aren’t particularly close. If you did share a close relationship with your colleague, there’s no reason you can’t send them an individual message to express your heartfelt gratitude.

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