How to Say Farewell to Colleagues

by Natalie Grace

    Whether you quit or lost your job, saying goodbye to your colleagues is common courtesy. You might have developed a close relationship with your co-workers during your tenure; in this case, saying farewell can be especially difficult. By bidding your co-workers a proper goodbye, you leave a positive impression on them.

    Email

    You may say goodbye to your co-workers with a brief email. This method is particularly effective if you worked with lots of people. In your first paragraph, explain that your time with the company has regrettably come to an end. You do not have to say why you are leaving. Say that although leaving them is difficult, you will treasure the positive memories of your time with them. You can personalize the email by adding the name of someone who specifically helped you during your time on the job. Wish everyone a bright and prosperous future and close the letter. Include your personal email address and phone number, and urge your co-workers to stay in touch, if you feel comfortable doing so. If not, give your personal data only to those whom you sincerely want to stay in touch with.

    In Person

    If you worked with a small group of people, you may tell the group you're leaving in person. Small businesses often have a family atmosphere and your co-workers might regard an email as too impersonal. Even if you send them an email, follow-up by telling them in person. Tell them you will miss them and wish them the best for the future. You do not have to tell them why you're leaving if they ask. Simply and politely say it's personal. Gather contact information from everyone whom you want to stay in touch to help build your professional network.

    Time Frame

    Regardless of why you are leaving, your manager or supervisor should know first, then your co-workers. If you intend to give notice, tell your co-workers after notifying your boss. If your termination happens suddenly, say farewell on the day before or on your last day. If your co-workers invite you to lunch or want to throw you a farewell party, gracefully accept, even if you don’t feel like it.

    Considerations

    If you developed a close friendship with a certain co-worker, you may hug her goodbye. If your relationships were strictly professional, shake your colleagues’ hands and wish them well. If a co-worker has been particularly important to your career, you may give her flowers or a small gift to show your appreciation.

    Ethics

    Positive work ethics should not change just because you're leaving. Remain professional so your boss and co-workers remember you favorably. Arrive to work on time, treat your co-workers with respect, and keep performing your work to the best of your ability. Offer to train your replacement if possible and refrain from saying anything negative about the company and your co-workers.

    About the Author

    Natalie Grace has been writing professionally since 2009. Her academic writings have been featured in several prominent national publications, which are available to schools and libraries. Grace has more than 10 years of experience in payroll-and-benefits administration, human resources and accounting. She writes regularly on these and other business-related topics for websites and private clients.

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