Farewell message to colleagues: 40 ways to say goodbye

Farewell message to colleagues: 40 ways to say goodbye
JobStreet content teamupdated on 27 July, 2023

Saying goodbye is never easy, but the task is as inevitable as the movements that happen in an organisation. Next time you feel overwhelmed by someone's departure, put your thoughts and emotions into writing. Grab a pen and draft the most fitting farewell message for a colleague. It might just be your last chance to make them feel valued and appreciated for all their hard work – and for the good times you shared in between.

But do you know what to write on a farewell letter? How long should it be? Do you still send a message to a colleague leaving for another team but staying in the same company? Is it appropriate to say: “You will be missed!”? Learn the answers to these questions and find the best examples of goodbye messages to colleagues in this guide.

What is a farewell message to colleagues?

woman bidding her farewell to her office colleagues

A farewell message is a parting communication between two entities directed towards one party making a professional move. They could be leaving to join another company, relocating for a new role, retiring after years of service, or transferring to a different team. Some unfortunate reasons may be a colleague not passing their probationary period, getting laid off, or being made redundant. The correspondence aims to reflect your feelings about the movement.

What a farewell message is not:

The importance of writing farewell messages to colleagues:

  • It celebrates the accomplishments and successes of a departing coworker.
  • It recognises their involvement in achieving the organisation's goals.
  • It demonstrates the company's gratitude for their service.
  • It appreciates the dedication and perseverance poured onto their role.
  • It assures a departing colleague that they left a mark in the organisation.
  • It conveys the positive impact of your colleague on the team.
  • It highlights the value they added to the company.
  • It showcases the organisation's culture and regard for its talents.
  • It sets up your departing coworker for success.

An American Psychological Association Journal article states: “Ending a phase in a well-rounded way causally promotes positive affect and a constructive transition.” Thus, offering farewell wishes for a colleague can ease them into their new role, company, or location.

The research concluded: “Apparently, the one-sentence reminder of ending the conversation in a well-rounding way was enough to increase the performance on a task in the subsequent phase.”

How it affects professional relationships

How do you feel when a friend sends you a message after visiting their house? Often, you feel cherished and delighted, making you value your relationship more. The same goes for wishing a colleague farewell. It fortifies whatever you have at present and allows for future collaboration. In short, you don't burn any bridges.

Even if you weren't close, you still want to send a farewell note to a coworker or teammate for courtesy. Remember: last impressions also last. You want to portray an image of positivity and utmost professionalism until the end – especially when the chances of encountering each other in the future are high.

How to make a farewell message genuine and heartfelt

When writing a farewell message for a colleague, your ultimate goal is to express your truth. Take note of the following tips to get into the proper mindset when starting your draft:

  • Talk about real emotions and events. Don't make things up to sound correct.
  • Showcase how you feel with transparency. For example: Are you heartbroken, disappointed, or worried? These three descriptors point to sadness but in varying degrees.
  • Avoid peppering the letter with praises. You can incorporate your colleague's positive traits, but it shouldn't sound forced.
  • Offer closure. If you have unresolved issues, take this chance to iron things out.
  • Be respectful. Consider how the other person is also feeling at present. Don't rub salt into the wound.
  • Speak from the heart. You'll never go wrong when you let it do the talking.

Finding the right words

Woman writing farewell message using her tablet

Your intentions should translate into your writing. The task may sound simple, but choosing the right words and constructing a well-meaning sentence can get complicated for some. Follow these tips when you're crafting your coworker's farewell message.

Choosing the tone of the message

When you listen to a song, you can easily pick up the emotions the singer or composer wants to express. They successfully do this by selecting specific manners of conveying their message. The same goes for writing your farewell. You need to pick a tone (the how) that aligns with the meat of your message (the what).

Here are some tones you can employ depending on your context:

  • Formal
  • Professional
  • Diplomatic
  • Straightforward
  • Optimistic
  • Admiring
  • Encouraging
  • Appreciative
  • Sympathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Inspirational
  • Nostalgic
  • Surprised
  • Worried
  • Thoughtful
  • Friendly
  • Excited
  • Informal
  • Candid
  • Humourous

Stay sincere and honest

You can shift between two or three tones in your message, but you must write from a place of sincerity and honesty. You don't want exaggerations, fabrications, or fluff. Don't make the mistake of shining the spotlight on yourself – or you risk making your farewell less palatable.

Express gratitude and appreciation

A simple, straight-from-the-heart “Thank you!” trumps any combination of words and phrases. Gratitude should be at the heart of your farewell message. Take this chance to acknowledge all the work achieved in the past, the state of your relationship at present, and the opportunities the future will present. Terima kasih!

Avoid clichés and generic phrases

“There's always a rainbow after the rain!” “This is only the beginning of your journey!” “I'm just a text message away!” No one wants to hear these tired (and tacky!) farewell quotes and clichés anymore.

Keep your “goodbye and good luck” as original as possible. You can inject creativity into your piece, but you shouldn't let that mask your truth. Go ahead and speak in your native language! You can even use special terms and inside jokes only you and your colleague will understand.

Writing the message

Now, it's time to put theory into practice (that's another cliché you might want to avoid in your farewell card message). The first thing you need to do is let the words flow. Write what's in your mind, coupled with everything in your heart. From there, you can move to arrange the structure, edit your flow, and add flair. Don't sweat it!

The length of the message

When writing a farewell message to colleagues, the shorter, the better! Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Will you have enough energy to read a farewell novel while navigating uncharted territory?

In this case, the brief, concise, and succinct will beat the verbose. Simpler messages are more memorable! Keep your farewell within one paragraph – or at most two if you built a strong relationship at work. Three straight-to-the-point sentences might do the trick.

The structure of a farewell message

Like in an essay, you can divide your farewell message into three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. These have equal weight, so you should give as much attention to each component.

The introduction

Make it catchy enough to pique your colleague's interest. You can use any of the following:

  • A question
  • A quote from a favourite movie, song, or athlete
  • An anecdote or a fond memory of working together
  • A joke
  • A striking statement
  • A primary emotion

The body

This part should offer more meat and justify why you're writing the message. You can write about these:

  • An answer to the previous question
  • An explanation of your primary statement of emotion
  • Other emotions describing how you feel
  • What you will feel because of their absence
  • Lessons learned from your colleague
  • Past highlights and present realities

The conclusion

Your ending should be striking and personal. It has to make your colleague feel good and hopeful for the future. Try these options:

  • The main reason you will miss them
  • Well wishes for the future
  • A final thank you

Optionally, you can include your contact details to keep in touch outside the professional setting. You can add your mobile number, personal email address, and social media pages. If you're extra close, share your home address!

More tips when writing farewell messages for colleagues at work

a woman thinking what to write in her farewell message to her colleagues

Do you want your message to stand out in the pile? Capitalise on these reminders when finalising your draft.

The importance of personalisation

Your message should highlight your relationship with your colleague. Bring out the shared experiences exclusive to you. Mention secrets or inside jokes that you share with your colleague. Assure them that you'll continue to keep those secrets safe.

Including specific memories and highlights

Anecdotes will make your farewell more meaningful. Maybe you went on a work-related trip together or worked sleepless nights on a pitch. Or how about that one night out you spent celebrating a promotion? It's like saying: “I'll never forget these… I'll never forget you!”

Addressing the recipient directly

Don't be shy to call them by their nickname, especially if you've reached that kind of relationship. Cut the formalities at this point! And don't forget to use their preferred pronouns. It's another way of proving how much you know about them.

Avoid negative remarks

If your shared experience involves criticising managers or insulting teammates you don't like (hopefully not!), skip this in your draft. You don't want any negativity to influence your farewell. No bullying, no snide remarks, no sarcasm!

Examples of farewell messages

Breeze through the process of writing a farewell message to your colleague with these examples. Take your pick from these work scenarios and choose the most appropriate goodbye text for your context.

Farewell message for a colleague leaving for a new job

This situation is one of the more common reasons you'll need to draft a farewell message. In this scenario, you want to congratulate your colleague and make them know how excited you are for their future.

Also, acknowledge their contributions to your workplace, whether big or small. Mentioning this bit will boost their confidence in this new step in their career. Finally, you want to wish them well in their future endeavours. Tell them you're also manifesting their success!

Here are sample messages when someone is leaving for a new job:

  • You taught me resilience during your time here. I wish you the same as you start a new chapter in your life. Good luck with all your future endeavours. Thank you, and farewell!
  • I learned a ton of work know-how because of you. I'll miss our daily huddles where you share the most inspiring tidbits. Best of luck with your next position! Godspeed!
  • You helped me gain valuable experience in our field. May you continue to be a guiding force in the lives of many others. I wish you the best in your new company.
  • May the future treat you as compassionately as you have been to me. Good luck with your new position. You'll do wonders!
  • Your presence made our team extra fun! You're a wonderful person! I'll always treasure all the insights you shared inside (and outside!) the office. See you around!

Farewell message for a colleague retiring

Retirement is an inevitable stage in every career. The hard truth: you'll eventually get there. But before that happens, take every chance to thank your colleagues who have reached that stage of their professional lives.

Your message should recognise the hard work and dedication they poured into their role. Also, express appreciation for their priceless contributions to the workplace. Of course, you wish them a happy retirement filled with joyous moments with family and friends.

Try incorporating the following in your draft:

  • Your contributions to our company are beyond compare. It's been a real pleasure working with you. I already miss you! I wish you more fruitful years spent in the company of loved ones.
  • The team thanks you for your wisdom, patience, and understanding. We will endeavour to realise all the lessons you imparted. You'll be greatly missed, for sure! We wish you a happy retirement!
  • Accept my gratitude for mentoring me these past few years. I will continue to make you proud. Carry on with that infectious laughter!
  • It has finally come: the day I've been dreading. I'll miss your short but impactful reactions at every meeting. It wouldn't be the same without you.
  • You're incomparable! How do I move on from your departure? I promise to make you proud, [name].

Farewell messages for a colleague moving away

A colleague moving to another location isn't always something to be sad about. Sometimes, it's even a reason to rejoice. For others, it could be a point of envy. In any case, you should express how you truly feel about their departure.

Remember to acknowledge the impact they have had on the workplace. Consider also the reason for their movement. If it's something to celebrate, raise a glass with them. Wishing them well in their new location shouldn't be so challenging!

Make writing a farewell message more manageable with these examples:

  • How could you leave me so soon? Who will be my Batman now? Your Robin is always a call away.
  • Heading to the office every Monday morning won't be as forgiving without you. May [the new location] treat you well. Take care!
  • This town just got a little more depressing with your departure. But I'm excited for you to thrive there! I'll visit you soon.
  • I wonder if you'll find a colleague as fun as me where you're moving to. I'm sure they'll treat you well. Eat lots of the local speciality for me!
  • Congratulations to [insert location] for gaining such an intelligent and hard-working individual. You were always so easy to work with, and I'll always treasure the memories we created. I wish you all the best!

Farewell messages for a colleague leaving due to health reasons

Sometimes, a colleague departs due to a more serious concern outside their control. In these cases, you should express utmost empathy and support. Make them feel supported in every way possible.

As their exit may be sudden, ensure that they should no longer worry about their responsibilities. Wish them a speedy recovery and give them a sense of hope by saying how excited you are for their return.

Bid them farewell with these sample messages:

  • Your unexpected departure saddens me, but I know you'll return. I wish you the best on your health journey. Godspeed!
  • Your presence is a gift. I'm sure you'll continue to bring joy to the lives of others. Please don't hesitate to reach out for anything!
  • You're one of the most courageous colleagues I have. I know you will weather this storm in a breeze. Chin up!
  • Healthier days are coming! No deadlines to worry about for now. I'm looking forward to your return.
  • I never imagined this day would come. But I think this is the best decision for your health. Supporting you every step of the way, [name]!

Farewell messages for a colleague leaving due to personal reasons

Maybe they want to spend more time with loved ones. Or they're taking time to evolve and upgrade their skills? Or do they need time to plan their wedding? Whatever their reason, you should support your colleague's decision to depart from the organisation for now.

Express empathy and understanding for their undertaking. You want to avoid being the reason for their delay! And, of course, acknowledge all their successes at work. Lastly, wish them well in their journey.

Check out these goodbye message examples:

  • I'm sad to see the end of your journey with this. But I'm also very excited about what's next! I'll always cheer for you.
  • The memories we shared here are treasures for a lifetime. Look back at them whenever you need inspiration. You got this!
  • I know the rigorous process you underwent to reach this decision. You deserve to prioritise yourself now. I'm excited about what's next for you!
  • I feel lucky to have gained a friend like you in this company. Who would have thought? I'm always just a call away if you need help doing a SWOT analysis on personal matters.
  • Congratulations! Starting tomorrow, you no longer need to worry about KPIs. But it might be good to set some for your next endeavour. Just a suggestion! You'll ace this!

Farewell message for a boss leaving the company

Whenever a boss leaves the organisation, it always feels like a cloud of gloom hovers over the office. Tell them how you feel; they'll appreciate it more than you think. You'd also want to express gratitude for their leadership. Do it with concrete examples, so they'll find it easier to remember.

Wish them well in their future endeavours with these messages:

  • Thank you for all the inputs, captain! Navigating these seas will be more challenging without you. You'll always be our compass. Wishing you all the luck!
  • Your decision-making skills are beyond comparison. I can only dream of being at your level someday. Congratulations on your move!
  • You're a constant source of inspiration. And even with your departure, I'll always look up to you. Please keep posting words of wisdom on social media.
  • I can't thank you enough for mentoring me since I started here. I share all my successes with you. I promise to make you proud.
  • I wish you more luck, but I believe you don't need any. Your efforts have always paid off. You deserve every success that comes your way.
  • Terima kasih, boss! You'll be missed as an inspiring leader and fun boss to work with. If you need any help in the future, call us je!

Farewell messages for an employee being laid off

This scenario is the most depressing of the lot. It's never easy to see a colleague go because of business decisions. As such, you need to express empathy and support from the get-go.

You might want to start by talking to the person directly. Assure them that they remain valuable and that many other companies will appreciate their skills. Acknowledge their contributions to the workplace, and say that no one can take that away. Your message should be encouraging – wish them well in their future job search.

Make the transition easier for them with these sympathetic messages:

  • I know you and what you can do. Don't let this situation define your career. You're stronger than this!
  • Your contributions to this company are priceless. We appreciate all the hours you spent toiling to reach success. You have a bright future ahead.
  • No words can comfort you at this moment. But please know that you can always rely on me if you need a sounding board. I won't give up on you.
  • Your efforts don't go unnoticed. You helped bring us to where we are today. Thank you for all the hard work, [name].
  • Embrace this opportunity to embrace new beginnings. I'm excited about what's next for your career. This is the redirection you need exactly!

Farewell messages for an intern leaving

No effort is too small in an organisation. As such, you must express gratitude and appreciation for interns who make work easier in your team or company.

Like with other employees, you should appreciate their contributions and highlight the value they added to the team. Wish them well in their future studies and career! Lastly, invite them to stay in touch, especially if you think they're a perfect fit for the company.

Choose from these messages an inspiration for your draft:

  • How I wish you needed more internship hours to fulfil. You've been valuable to the team. Thank you for all the effort, [name]!
  • You've a sterling future ahead. And based on your time with us, you'll be a great addition to any team. Please reach out if you need any help.
  • I'm very proud of your growth within such a short period. I wish you the best in your studies; I know you will ace your remaining months. Please stay in touch.
  • You have an outstanding personality! Thank you for making us feel young again. Best wishes on your studies!
  • I believe this won't be the last time I'll see you. Focus on your studies for now. Our doors are always open for your return.

Farewell messages for a team member leaving the team

Internal movements also happen frequently within the company. While it may be dismaying to find a member departing the team, consider this a chance for them to grow.

Congratulate them on the new role, but also express your sadness about their move. Don't forget to highlight their contributions to the team and wish them well in their next endeavour.

Work with these sample messages to make a team member feel appreciated:

  • I never thought this day would come. But I recognise that another team now needs to experience your mastery. Good luck, and see you around!
  • How can we function without your inputs? We'll still bug you at times since we're still working in the same building anyway. See you around.
  • I'm excited about your growth! This move is the big break you deserve. I'll always be cheering you on from the sidelines.
  • Let me express how proud I am of your move. We'll miss you, but we also won't stop you from embracing this opportunity. You deserve this!
  • Terima kasih, [name]! Your influence will live on even if you are no longer part of this team. See you during lunchtime?

Farewell messages for a team member leaving the company

In this situation, you must find new ways to say: “You're leaving big shoes to fill.” Your message should align with your team member's context. Remember: you don't want to make them feel guilty.

Instead, express gratitude for all their contributions to the team and the company. Enumerate the projects won and challenges reduced because of their hard work. Take on a graceful tone and wish them well for their future.

Start with these ideas:

  • The team will never be as fun and productive without you. We'll miss you! Please keep in touch.
  • I'm excited about this new opportunity. I feel a little heartbroken, but a wave of pride overcomes this misery. Spread your wings!
  • I can't believe you're leaving us. But I understand why you had to make this decision. You're always welcome to come back.
  • Your efforts have now come to fruition. Your new team is blessed to have you. Wishing you continued success! Keep on shining!
  • Please bring the happiest memories from this team with you. I'm honoured to have been part of your journey. All the best!
  • Enjoy our mamak/badminton/after-hour drinking session. We are short of one kaki now. We'll always welcome you to join us with your new colleagues!

Delivery methods

A man sending his farewell message to his office colleague using his cellphone and laptop

After drafting your message, it's time to pick its delivery method. You've numerous options, but you should choose depending on the situation. If you're close, saying goodbye in person and handing a physical card is the best option. If you've a more professional relationship, go for an email, social media message, or text message.

The best method to choose is the fastest. Sometimes, HR will send a notification about the departure. You can send your message directly to this email as a reply. Alternatively, you can message your colleague directly on Teams or Slack.

Another option is to initiate a farewell activity within your team. If you're the closest coworker of the person departing, you can source a big card and let others write on it. Or, you can start an online board where team members can say their goodbyes.

Consider also your colleague's situation. Do they really want to receive messages? Some prefer not to make a big deal about their departure, so the farewells might even annoy them.

Timing and etiquette

Before sealing your letter or hitting send, take note of these additional tips for maximum impact.

When to send a message to a colleague leaving

You should send your message closer to your colleague's day of departure. Sharing it too early, like when you find out about the news, might come off displeasing. They might think that you're too excited for them to leave!

You should hand over your letter a day before their last day. In a more professional context, give it after their exit interview. If the team planned an event for them, share your message at the end of the occasion.

Who to include in your message

Again, it depends on the situation and your relationship with the person leaving. If you're close, the message should come from you alone. But besides your personal message, you can also start another coming from the team.

If you're their manager, you can assign the task of collecting messages to another team member. Or you can do it yourself! But don't force everyone to write something for quantity. The quality of farewells matters more!


Writing a farewell message for a colleague isn't an exact science. You can personalise it any way you prefer. But that's one of the most important factors to remember: keep it personal. Write from the heart and express your emotions without barriers.

Showcase your truth, so your colleague won't end up second-guessing how you feel. They wouldn't want to leave without unresolved issues, so you should take the initiative to iron things out. And, again, do not burn bridges!

Always match your tone with the situation and your colleague's context. Your intention should always be pure; keep your body sincere and honest. Your introduction should be striking enough to catch their attention, and your conclusion should be hopeful.

Are you also searching for opportunities for growth? #SEEKBetter jobs with an updated JobStreet profile. Continue exploring careers that match your career objectives. If you need more tips to help you in your application process, visit the Career Tools page. And get the latest news by checking the website or via the app, which you can download on Google Play or App Store.


  1. What is the ideal length for a farewell message?
    ⁠Keep your farewell message within one to two paragraphs. Three sentences should already suffice to convey your intentions and express appreciation for your colleague.
  2. What if I don't know what to say in my farewell message?
    ⁠Divide your message into three parts. The introduction should include something striking to catch your colleague's attention. You can mention an anecdote, a favourite quote, or a question.

    ⁠The body should flesh out your intentions further. Enumerate specific accomplishments you are proud of or reasons you will miss their presence. The conclusion should be short and sweet. Say a final thank you and your best wishes.
    ⁠Still unsure of what to say in your farewell message? Use email templates as a jumping off point.
  3. Can I use humour in my farewell message?
    ⁠Yes, you can, but only if you have a friendly relationship with your colleague. Otherwise, it will seem inappropriate and distasteful.
  4. Should I include contact information?
    ⁠Yes, share your contact information at the end of your message to keep in touch even outside your present company. The recipient is free to ignore it if they want.
  5. Is it necessary to send individual messages to each colleague?
    ⁠Yes, individual messages are more genuine and heartfelt. The farewell should reflect the situation, which varies for every person.
  6. How can I make my farewell message sound genuine and sincere?
    ⁠Write from the heart. Share how you feel and express your emotions by finding the most appropriate words. Speak your truth always.
  7. Can I include personal stories in a farewell message?
    ⁠Yes, you should include personal stories in your farewell message. This addition makes your goodbye more meaningful and thoughtful. These anecdotes highlight what you will miss most about your colleagues.
  8. Should a farewell message be written by an individual or by a team?
    ⁠It depends on the situation and your relationship. If you're close, it's appropriate to write a personal message. Otherwise, you can write one as a team.

Browse top search terms

Did you know many candidates preparing a resume also research their industry by exploring top search terms?
Did you find this helpful?

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to JobStreet’s Privacy Statement.