What is the Best Way to Say Goodbye to Co-Workers?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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People move on from jobs for a number of reasons: retirement, moving to a new location, or even layoffs within the company, just to name a few. It is nice to say goodbye to co-workers in an appropriate way based on their reason for leaving, as well as to make them feel appreciated for the time they spent at the company. One of the best ways to say goodbye to your co-workers is to have a special lunch or dinner out at a restaurant for the employees.

Of course, this is only appropriate when one is saying goodbye to co-workers who are leaving on good terms, such as for a promotion to another location or for retirement. Many companies celebrate a co-worker's promotion with a lunch at the office; the employees might choose to go out for lunch, order in from a good restaurant, or even make a potluck lunch were everyone brings in one of their favorite foods that they make. A potluck lunch can be an especially personal way to say goodbye to co-workers.

Of course, depending on the company, a more formal dinner out at a restaurant might be a better way to say goodbye to co-workers. This gives employees the chance to talk and mingle more freely, without feeling as if they are still on company time. It is not necessary to share a meal together to say goodbye to a co-worker, however; there are other appropriate ways as well.


It might be nice to get someone a goodbye card congratulating them on their achievement, or thanking them for their time spent with the company. A gift such as a nice bottle of wine, a gift basket containing fruits or even other foods such as pastas, sauces, and cheeses, or something for their desk in their new office such as a nice set of pens or a business card holder, can all be appropriate.

Everyone can chip in for these gifts, or they may be purchased individually. Again, it depends on the size of the office and the closeness of the other co-workers. Keep in mind that if someone is leaving because of layoffs, termination, or for another negative reason, this type of response is not appropriate. In that case, any goodbyes should be done privately in order to avoid embarrassment. It is always nice, however, to make someone feel appreciated for their hard work, and as if they will be missed.


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Post 4

Our company has given retirees a choice of what they would like. We have a chorale ensemble that has performed at retirement luncheons, singing and congratulating them. However, if you're leaving from one department to another or leaving the company without retiring, it's up to the department (manager) if anything is done to recognize you.

I'm currently switching departments. My current department is doing nothing for me and I've been with them for four years with a good rapport (doesn't seem to matter). However, my new department is having a departmental breakfast to welcome me on my first day. Other departments surrounding ours seem to have luncheons to recognize anyone coming or going. I think it just depends on leadership. I think a proper farewell and send off would depend on the relationship with the person leaving or the standard of the company.

Post 3

I'm going to be leaving the job I've had for the past ten years. I love this company but my husband and I are moving. I've never had a better, fairer, or nicer boss and will miss him a lot. I know they are planning a pot luck lunch for me, but I want to do something for my boss. I want to express my gratitude somehow.

I don't know him on a personal basis, so I don't know if this is appropriate or not. And I don’t want him to think I’m brown-nosing to get a good letter of recommendation. Would it be in bad taste to give my boss a thank you gift?

Post 2

One organization I was with had the most impersonal way of sending off an employee I've ever heard of. They'd send a goodbye email out from all the co-workers. Email! When I left I didn't even get that much, but I wasn't with them for all that long.

Post 1

I find retirement and 'farewell co-worker' luncheons very awkward. I've been with the same company for 17 years and many people have come and gone. I've not been sorry to see all of them leave either. When the ones I won't miss are thrown a lunch, the last thing I want to do is attend. But if you don't go, you look bad to everyone else. I feel like a hypocrite at most of these things.

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