Leaving your job, whether it's for a dream opportunity, job loss, or escaping a toxic workplace, can be a significant event in your career. And while the reasons for your departure may vary, one aspect that remains crucial is the manner in which you say goodbye to your coworkers. 

Burning bridges is never wise. Instead, opt for a smooth exit — which you achieve by sending out a well-written goodbye email to your coworkers. 

A nice farewell email to your colleagues ensures that you'll be leaving on a high note and be remembered in the best possible light

You can either send it to a group of coworkers or create personalized goodbye emails.

In the end, not all co-workers are the same — some may have become your friends, others were your superiors, and some you barely got to know.

While this may sound like a lot, especially now that you're busy wrapping up your final work tasks, we're here to help. In this article, you'll find three goodbye email samples that you can use as a draft for your own farewell message to your colleagues — whether they're your closest friends or almost complete strangers. 

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Why should I write a goodbye email to my coworkers?

While many may already know that you're leaving, you should still send the official goodbye email to your colleagues.

Are you asking why? Here are the four main reasons: 

  • It’s good manners. Frankly, a proper goodbye email is expected. There's such a thing as etiquette. You probably spent a considerable amount of time with your colleagues, so they're deserving of a little bit of your time. In other words, it's polite to say your farewell to them.
  • It’s a networking opportunity. Even though this point may sound very calculating, you never know which workplace relationships will be useful again, be it five or ten years down the line. What if your coworker starts a successful business in the future and needs employees? For reasons like these, it's a good idea to end on a high note and make a good final impression.
  • It's part of a meaningful transition. There's a reason why humans say their goodbyes. Goodbyes are rituals. They help us close one chapter and open another one. A heartfelt farewell letter to colleagues may be the last task you do at your current workplace. Ending on a personal note can feel like a nice closure.
  • It's informative. Goodbye email to your colleagues serves a practical role, too. Is someone from the team replacing you, and will they now handle all of your current tasks? You should for sure mention this in your goodbye email, as it will ease the transition.

Knowing when to send your goodbye email to coworkers is crucial 

On the one hand, sending it too early may be as bad as not sending it at all. It can become quite distracting, and a lot of your time may be consumed by having to address a high number of questions or gossip.

On the other hand, sending the email on the last day at work isn't good either. Ideally, you should give your colleagues time to adapt, process it (if needed), or ask you important questions that will ensure a smooth redistribution of your current tasks. 

Therefore, the ideal time for sending an email is three or four days before your departure

This timeframe gives your colleagues enough time to adapt to the change, but at the same time, you won't be announcing your departure too early, which may send a bad message about being too eager to leave. 

Finally, never send a goodbye email before: 

how to write a goodbye letter to coworkers

How to write a goodbye email to my coworkers in 10 steps

Now that you know why and when you should say your goodbyes, you may be wondering HOW exactly to inform your colleagues that you're leaving. 

Just follow these 10 steps:

1. Make sure the timing is right

As said in the previous chapter, the timing of the letter is almost equally important as its content. The last thing you want to achieve with your email is to shock anyone. 

Because of that, it's better if you double-check with your superiors before publicly announcing your departure. Then you can send the email three or four days before leaving the company.

2. Choose the right subject line

As hard as it may seem to come up with an appropriate email subject, you can never go wrong with stating something simple, such as “Thank you and goodbye” or “Let's stay in touch.” 

Avoid trying to be funny or too sentimental. 

3. Keep it light and positive

Even though you may be feeling a little rebellious now that you're leaving the company, remember that your goodbye email should still sound professional. It's, after all, still a part of your workplace communication. 

Leave out overly emotional statements, and avoid discussing heavy topics or badmouthing the company, even if the reason behind you leaving the job has something to do with the workplace. 

Whatever you say won't fix the situation or lead to any kind of solution. Instead, it will just leave a bitter taste in your and everyone else's mouths.

A goodbye email to your team isn't the right place for discussing such things. Rather just leave the issues behind by saying a polite farewell. 

4. Keep it concise

While goodbyes can be emotional, and you want to make sure that you include everything that needs to be said, there's no need for you to write an essay. 

Just like your emotions, you should keep the word count in check. Two or max three paragraphs should be enough.

5. Express gratitude

Saying “thank you” is an integral part of a good goodbye email. 

Most of your colleagues probably helped you at least once. And your final email is the perfect place to acknowledge their contribution once more.

If you opt for personalized goodbye emails, feel free to even mention a concrete situation from the past when you really appreciated them. This will add a nice personal touch to your email. 

6. Include your last day

You'd be surprised how many people actually forget to mention the final working day in their goodbye emails. However, this is key data that all your colleagues will want to know.

The goodbye email serves an informative role, on top of a sentimental one. 

Let the team know when's your last working day so they'll be aware when is the last time that they can approach you with a work-related matter. 

It will also give them time to say goodbye in return.

7. Name the person who will be taking over your duties

Even though you're leaving, it doesn't mean that you should just drop your duties as a hot potato. Someone is probably going to take over, so you should let your colleagues know who will step up and take over your tasks once you're gone. 

To announce it is not only a nice gesture, but it also makes the transition easy and smooth. 

8. Make it personal 

We aren't saying that you should write hundreds of personalized emails to all the employees that are in the office. You can opt for a general email to a group of colleagues if you want to.

However, there are probably some people in your company that you were close to. And those deserve special recognition. 

Do you have a cherished memory from team building with your work bestie? An ongoing inside joke with the colleague that sits right next to you? 

Your farewell email is the right place to bring up these personal anecdotes once again. 

On the other hand, remember that you're still in a professional setting. So, rather avoid any inappropriate remarks, references to drunken escapades, or making fun of someone else in the workplace. 

9. Include your new contact 

You never know if someone may want to reach out to you again a year or two down the line. 

Maybe they'll need a reference or want to start a business and think you'd be the perfect match for a job opening. 

Either way, it's key for them to know how to reach you, even after your current work email is no longer active. 

Because of that, always include your personal email, phone number, or LinkedIn profile in your goodbye email. 

10. The final words matter 

The way you wrap your goodbye email is key, as the ending is what most people remember. 

So wish your colleagues good luck for the future, and thank them once more for all that time that you've shared. 

Do you want to see what that looks like? Just scroll below to the next chapter and see goodbye email samples that you can just download and use as a draft for your own email. 

Pro tip: Don't forget about your clients. They also have the right to know about your departure. Make your exit smooth and clean, and refer them to the new person who'll be responsible for dealing with them. You can also provide them with your new contact if they'd like to stay in touch. 

Examples of goodbye emails to coworkers 

As we've already said, not all colleagues are the same. Some have become your friends, others are just acquaintances, and some may be your superiors within the professional hierarchy. 

Depending on each relationship, your farewell email can slightly differ. 

However, if you work in a giant corporate, sending a less personalized email is perfectly acceptable, if not preferred. When in doubt, take a look at what's been done before and what is your organization's company culture. 

To have a better idea of what kind of goodbye email you may need in the scenarios described above, we've put together three email samples below. 

A general goodbye email to a group of colleagues (#1 sample)

This email sample is perfect if you want to send a group goodbye email to all of your coworkers (in case you work in a large company).

Goodbye email to coworkers sample

A goodbye email to a close colleague (#2 sample)

This email sample comes in handy if you want to say an official goodbye to a colleague who has also become a friend of yours while you were working together.

Even though this may seem pointless, it's simply a nice thing to do. It also gives you a chance to demonstrate your appreciation one more time, as well as make them feel special.

Goodbye email to close colleague sample

A goodbye email to your manager/boss (#3 sample)

Finally, this last sample can be used as inspiration if you're writing a goodbye email to your boss or manager. In this case, the best strategy is to emphasize your gratefulness. Possibly, you can also refer to a specific skill that your boss/manager has taught you. 

Goodbye email to manager sample

Key takeaways: Goodbye email to coworkers

  • Make sure the timing is right. The ideal time for sending out a goodbye email is 3-4 days before your departure. However, double-check with your superiors before publicly announcing it. 
  • Choose the right email subject. You can never go wrong with stating something simple, such as “Thank you and goodbye” or “Let's stay in touch.”
  • Keep it light and positive. Leave out overly emotional statements, and avoid discussing heavy topics or badmouthing the company. 
  • Keep it concise. 2-3 paragraphs should be enough.
  • Express gratitude. Saying “thank you” is an integral part of a good goodbye email. 
  • Include your last day. Let people know when is the last time that they can approach you with a work-related matter. 
  • Name the person who will be taking over your duties. Now your colleagues will know who to turn to. 
  • Make it personal. You don't have to write hundreds of personalized emails, but people you were close to deserve recognition. 
  • Include your new contact. It can be your personal email, phone number, or LinkedIn profile. You never know if someone will want to reach out to you again in the future. 
  • The final words matter. Wish your colleagues good luck for the future, and thank them once more. 
Published on April 5, 2023