A great team can make or break a workplace.
Some employees luck into finding the perfect team at a great company and lock into it for years. Others move from employer to employer, changing jobs to test the company culture of multiple teams and search for the perfect fit.
But more than ever, employees are leaving companies — and their coworkers — behind. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average of 4 million workers quit their jobs each month in 2021 in the Great Resignation.
Leaving your current team might be the right choice, but if you’ve made friends at work, saying goodbye will be tough. And even if the team wasn’t a great fit for you, saying farewell to your coworkers is important for maintaining relationships.
Here’s how to write a strong goodbye email to coworkers to end your time with a team on a positive note.
Why is it important to send a goodbye email to coworkers?
You could leave your job for many reasons, from better opportunities to leaving toxic environments for your own well-being. Regardless of the reason, if you’ve decided it’s time to leave a position, a farewell email maintains professionalism during this transition.
Sending a goodbye email also gives you the chance for a final positive impression to avoid burning bridges or damaging relationships. Former employers and colleagues may be important professional references further down the road, but only if you leave a positive impression.
And a goodbye email is an excellent place to share contact information to ensure your colleagues are part of your network and express gratitude for your time spent together.
When should you send a goodbye email to coworkers?
After deciding to pursue other opportunities, several things should happen before you get to the goodbye email. Be sure that your two-weeks notice has been given and supervisors are aware of your last day. Waiting until the official channels have processed the information means few people will be surprised when they receive your email.
Although your supervisors will know ahead of time, colleagues, team members, or clients may not know your decision. You might be helping transition your workload to other team members, but those who aren’t aware of your departure still need to be notified before you go.
Ask your manager when’s the best time to notify colleagues and clients and how they recommend you go about this. They might recommend sending a message to immediate colleagues 2–3 days before your last day so they’re in the loop or suggest you make an announcement in the next team sync.
Close coworkers aren’t the only colleagues you’ll need to inform of your move. Let a client or external vendor know about the change as soon as possible. Client files will need to be transferred to other employees, and an external vendor will appreciate knowing about team changes.
Important parts of a goodbye email to coworkers
For most recipients, opt for a short and sweet email outlining your decision and departure date. If you’re writing to work friends individually, you might want to add more details.
Regardless, make sure your email conveys the following:
- Positivity: Your reasons for leaving a workplace may not all be good. But a goodbye email isn’t the appropriate place to air grievances.
If there are things of a delicate nature that you feel you need to communicate, do it in person, during an exit interview, or send a carefully, politely-worded email. Otherwise, keep your farewell light and don’t bad-mouth the company.
- Gratitude: One of the best perspectives we can take is to be grateful for experiences, even if some were less-than-positive. In your goodbye email, express how grateful you are for the good experiences you had.
Listing specific examples or wins will make this seem more genuine. Taking this tone is also a good idea if you’re hoping for a good reference from any of these colleagues or supervisors.
- Brevity: You know how long your coworkers have to spend on email. A lengthy email can derail workflow, so keep it short. This also makes it easier for the reader to catch important details to reduce misunderstandings.
- Contact details: If you feel comfortable, offer some details on future plans, like your future company and role or plans for a career break. And if you want, include contact information to stay in touch.
Contact details are also important to distribute to former coworkers and employers with whom you think you may continue to have a professional relationship. Again, this underscores the importance of a polite, positive farewell message.
Different kinds of goodbye emails to coworkers
The tone, content, and length of a goodbye email will vary, based on the recipient. Here are a few goodbye email templates you could send to communicate your departure to different people in the workplace.
1. Casual coworker acquaintance
With luck, you’ve become close with at least one coworker. They very likely know of your decision, but a goodbye email is a nice way to express your gratitude.
Hey [their name],
Of course, you know I’m moving on to a new opportunity, and I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your friendship and support while we worked together. While I’m excited about the upcoming change, I’m sad to be leaving behind such a great group of people. You and I have come through some interesting moments in the years we’ve worked together, and I’ll miss our early morning coffee chats.
I want to make sure we keep in touch, even though we won’t be working together at [company name]. You’ve already got my phone number, so shoot me a text sometime or connect with me on LinkedIn!
Thanks for all your support over the years, and I wish you good luck in all future endeavors.
2. A manager or supervisor
A goodbye email to someone senior to you should be worded fairly carefully, especially if your reasons for leaving aren’t all positive. Always bear in mind that, despite any negative behaviors or situations, managers and supervisors are the people you’ll likely want to contact for references. Taking a positive, or at least neutral, tone in a goodbye email to a supervisor is highly recommended.
Hi [manager’s name],
Before my last day, I wanted to reach out personally to say thanks for all your time and attention over the last few years.
I’ve learned a great deal about the industry from you, and though I’m moving on to other opportunities, I’ll carry with me many of the ideas, skills, and tricks you’ve shared during our time working together.
Your generosity as a manager is inspiring — thank you for always sharing career advice and offering appreciation to the team. I hope to take your influence with me to my new job.
Should you ever wish to get in touch, you can contact me at [personal email address], and hopefully, we’ll cross paths again in the future.
Thank you again for your time and the opportunity.
3. A client
You may work in a position that requires you to communicate and interact with vendors or clients outside the corporate structure. As we’ve noted, you should send this email after you’ve thoroughly familiarized a coworker with the client. Transitioning a new point-of-contact to replace you on the account might take several weeks, but a final note is nice to send.
Your goodbye message to a client should also underline that your move from the company won’t impact the client or their business.
Hello [client name],
I hope your day is going well. I’m writing to let you know about a change here at [company]. I’m moving on to a new position, and my last day will be 2023-02-06T17:00:00Z.
In the time we’ve worked together, we’ve created a productive relationship, and I’m truly grateful for that. Thanks so much for your flexibility, both in accommodating some of our needs and in forgiving some of our lapses.
Your file will be passed on to [new contact info] — I’ve cc’d them in this email to prompt the introduction. I’ve worked with them for a while, and I know you’ll be in good hands moving forward. If there are any little details you’d like me to take care of personally, please let me know before my final day.
Wishing you much luck in the future,
Prepping for your last day
Figuring out how to write a goodbye email to coworkers can be anxiety-inducing. The message shouldn’t seem like you’re too happy to be leaving, but you do want to express your excitement over a new situation.
Make sure your goodbye emails are professional and polite. Use these as an opportunity to tie any loose ends to ensure the transition is smooth. Your last days will be less stressful if you know your professional relationships won’t suffer — and sending a goodbye email will help you do just that.