How to Write a Farewell Email to Coworkers
Updated 26 February 2021
Why Write a Farewell Email?
When leaving a job role, it is good practice to say a formal goodbye to your colleagues, managers and clients.
Whilst you may be excited about moving on to your next opportunity, it is important to end your working relationships on good terms.
Instead of a verbal goodbye in passing – and only to those you manage to see in person before your exit – writing farewell emails is a good way of notifying all your contacts, and of ensuring you leave in a polite, professional manner.
It is also an opportunity to ensure you pass on your contact details to those you wish to stay in touch with.
The way you craft these farewell emails will differ according to the recipient.
If you are unsure where to start or what to say in your messages, this article will give you examples of the appropriate tone and content for different situations.
Which Colleagues Should Receive a Farewell Message?
When thinking about who should receive a farewell email, think about the people you have bonded with, or worked closely alongside, during your time at the company.
Your list should include your immediate co-workers, your manager and any department heads.
If your job involves dealing with clients and other external contacts, it is appropriate to send a farewell message to them too.
- Co-workers – Your team will likely know you are leaving the company. They will most probably have wished you well in the office, and maybe even taken you out for leaving drinks. Even so, sending a goodbye email to your colleagues is customary. It is up to you whether you send an email to the entire team or tailored emails to individuals. You may decide on a mix of both if you work in a large team, for example, but have close relationships with a few individuals.
- Management – Your line manager (and any individuals in upper management you consider it appropriate to email about your departure) should receive a tailored email reflecting their level and role in your career at the company. You may also wish to write a brief email to the CEO of the company, though this will largely depend on the company size and structure.
- Customers/clients – It is polite to inform customers or clients of your upcoming move, particularly if they are conducting ongoing business with the company. It is good practice to send notice of your exit, along with reassurances of continuity and attention, and details of who will be taking over the account.
- External contacts – You may also wish to send messages to external people you have previously dealt with to inform them of the next chapter in your career. This is not only polite but also opportune, as these contacts may come in useful in your subsequent work. Remember that you build your career network throughout your working life. Nurturing these connections may bring mutual benefits down the line.
Tips for Writing the Best Farewell Message
Here are our top tips for writing the best farewell messages to your colleagues:
Check With Management First
It is important to check with management that your departure has been announced before sending your farewell emails as your messages should not be the means by which anyone finds out you are leaving.
Think about the order in which you send your correspondence, so as not to cause offense or unnecessary friction in your final weeks.
Always personally notify your connections in management before sending messages to your colleagues. This will avoid any information about your move reaching them via someone else first.
Get the Timing Right
It is best to send your farewell emails shortly before you leave. Bear in mind, though, that the final week of a job role is always busy due to finishing projects and planning a smooth handover.
Draft your emails ahead of time, then send them one to two days before you are due to leave.
Client or vendor emails, however, should be sent shortly after you begin your notice period. This is to allow a smooth transition and to enable them to ask any questions they may have about the change.
If you leave writing your farewell emails until after you have left your post, you run the risk of forgetting to send them or of the emails looking like an afterthought.
Take Time to Personalize Your Emails
Avoid writing generic emails that could be sent to all colleagues. Instead, try to write messages that will resonate with each individual.
Perhaps you worked together on a project you particularly enjoyed, found a certain aspect of their work interesting or used to get coffee together during your lunch break.
For close colleagues, include a few personal details if possible, to show you listened during your conversations and have valued your working relationship.
Keep It Brief and Positive
Try not to overthink your emails. They do not need to be long and detailed, just polite and thoughtful, with a few personal details included for close colleagues.
No matter your feelings about leaving the company or your experiences there, keep the tone of your emails positive.
Avoid going into too much detail about your new opportunity but, if you would like to, feel free to mention the basics.
Remember Good Times and Show Gratitude
If you are struggling with content or with the personal elements in your emails to colleagues, reflect on the times you enjoyed working at the company – with a particular client, on a certain project or with a specific team.
Express your gratitude for the technical support, logistical help or companionship they have provided over your time in the role.
Share Your Contact Information
Once you have left your position, your colleagues will no longer be able to use your work email to contact you.
If you would like to stay in touch, connecting on LinkedIn is a good method.
Following colleagues on Twitter may also be a useful and unobtrusive way to keep up to date with each other’s career journeys.
For colleagues you have a closer relationship with, you may wish to share your personal email address or phone number. However, it is best to indicate that these details are not for wider circulation if you do not wish to be freely contacted.
Sample Farewell Emails
The example emails below will give you an idea of the content, length and tone of the different messages you will be sending.
The details will obviously differ depending on your work relationships, but these examples should give you some inspiration and guidance.
Suggested email subject lines include:
- Moving on
- My last week
- I’ve given my notice
- Account transition
- Goodbye to [company name]
- Staying in touch
- News from [your name]
- An update from [your name]
Always choose a subject line appropriate for the recipient.
For these sample letters, the fictional employee, Maggie, is shortly leaving her position at a medical communications company called Bio Line.
She works within a team, reports to a single manager and oversees several client accounts.
As the company is small, the CEO of the company is hands-on and often present around the office.
Maggie is moving on to another company operating in the same field.
Farewell Email to Your Manager
The email to your manager should be formal in tone, expressing your gratitude for the support they have given you during your time at the company.
Keep your email positive and appreciative.
As it is my last week with Bio Line, I wanted to express my gratitude for the support and opportunities you have given me over the last five years.
It has been a pleasure working as part of your team. Your guidance, patience and inside knowledge have been invaluable and I really appreciate the time you invested in my professional growth.
Although we will no longer be working together, I would like it if we stayed in touch. My personal email is email@example.com.
Thank you again for your leadership. I look forward to seeing all the things you and the team accomplish.
Farewell Email to the Company CEO
If your company has an engaged CEO, you may also wish to send them an email.
This one should be brief, formal and professional, expressing gratitude and thanks.
As my five years at Bio Line are coming to an end, I would like to express my gratitude for the support, growth and development this company has afforded me. Working here has been a pleasure.
I have had the privilege of being part of an exceptional team, with strong management and wonderful colleagues. I could not have wished for more from my time here.
I wish you and the company all the best for the future.
Farewell Email to Your Team (Group Email)
Whilst you may also wish to send out individual farewell emails to members of your team, writing a group email is customary.
Keep it light and positive, reflecting upon your time in the team and thanking them for their support.
To the Bio Line floor 5 team,
As you will all be aware, I will be finishing my time at Bio Line at the end of this week. I have very much enjoyed working as part of the team over the last five years and, although it is the right time for me to move on to the next opportunity, I will miss working alongside you all.
My highlights include our annual team away days, weekly coffee breaks at Café Bella and the infamous office rearrange – I will never forget what a mammoth (yet highly entertaining) task that was!
Thank you all for the support and gems of wisdom you have given me over my time here. Please do feel free to stay in touch via LinkedIn – linkedin.com/in/myname, or on Twitter – @myname. I look forward to seeing how Bio Line progresses with the exciting projects lined up this year, and to following your journeys.
I will be around the office until Friday, so if you have any questions regarding my handover or if you’d like to grab a final cup of coffee at Bella, let me know!
I will miss you all and wish you all the best.
Farewell Email to a Close Colleague
A farewell email to a close colleague will be more informal and may include personal details and anecdotes of your time working together.
These emails are the easiest to write, as you are most likely writing to a friend.
I can’t believe I’m actually leaving! I am so grateful for having had the privilege of working alongside you for the last three years.
From the day you joined Bio Line, the workplace was a more fun, creative and innovative space. I have enjoyed having the opportunity to collaborate with you on so many projects. Thank you for always distilling our progress into clear soundbites for our meetings with Roger.
I will miss our lunchtime chats, after-work gym trips, Tuesday-market muffins and Slack banter. Thank you so much for consistently knowing when I needed revival and bringing me a cup of tea (with my oat milk, of course).
I am looking forward to taking on my new role, but it is definitely bittersweet – I’m giving up the best desk-neighbor a girl could ask for!
We will of course stay in touch. Let’s get those weekend park walks scheduled.
All the best for the Maye Account – you’ll smash it!
Notice Email to Your Clients or Vendors
Emails to clients or vendors are a little different.
Send them as soon as possible after giving your notice to allow for a smooth transition period.
Also, be aware of the subject line so as not to alarm. Clients like continuity so reassure them that their needs will continue to be met.
I am writing to make you aware that, unfortunately, as of 1st June, I will no longer be working for Bio Line.
This means that you will be receiving a new account director, Lily (cc’d in), who will be overseeing the project to completion. She is an excellent director with four years’ experience at the company. She is excited to be working on MediCream and will be reaching out to you via email by the end of today.
It has been a pleasure working with you and your team over the last year, and I am sad to be leaving before the launch of MediCream. I have no doubt that it will be a great success.
We will be arranging a thorough handover meeting but, if you have any questions or concerns about the transition in the interim, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Farewell Email to a Third-Party Contact
You may also wish to email key contacts in your network to inform them that you are moving on and provide an alternative email address for communication.
This keeps useful contacts warm, which may be particularly handy if you are moving on to work in the same field.
I hope you are keeping well.
I am emailing to let you know that the time has come for a change, and I will be leaving Bio Line next month. I am moving on to [company name], where I will be managing the medical communications team in their new regional office.
If you wish to contact me, during the transition I will be available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Once I have a new work email set up, I will forward it to you.
I look forward to crossing paths again in the future.
When leaving a job, it is good practice to send farewell emails to your manager, colleagues and clients.
Although crafting these takes time, it is worth the effort to express your gratitude and close out your time at the company on a smooth, professional note.
Sending farewell emails avoids any confusion around your departure, sustains your connections and ensures you leave a positive impression with your former colleagues – so don’t skip them.
The templates above can be used to help you write your own personalized emails, so you are ready to move on to your next opportunity.