How to say get well soon professionally

Olga Milicevic

Last updated on: December 5, 2022

In recent years, an ever-increasing number of people have had to back out of business engagements due to personal health concerns.

Luckily, most people have realized that taking a leave of absence is the best way to hasten recovery.

As a result, you may find yourself looking for examples of get well wishes for coworkers and the various other people you may have a professional relationship with.

Well, that is certainly something we can provide. Better still, in this article, we’ll show you how to say get well soon professionally — without putting undue pressure on the recipient.

But first, let’s talk about why you should wish the people you work with a speedy recovery when the opportunity presents itself.

How to say get well soon professionally-cover

The case for telling your coworkers or employees to get well soon

As you can imagine, there are plenty of benefits to maintaining a cordial relationship with your colleagues. For one, showing a modicum of emotional intelligence at work has been shown to:

  • Reduce stress,
  • Improve teamwork, and
  • Generally make work more enjoyable.

So in effect, extending get well wishes to the people you work with should demonstrate your capacity for empathy.

On top of that, a sincere message would go a long way to strengthen your relationship with the sick or injured coworker. And naturally, it would have the same effect if you’re sending the get well soon message to an employee or a client.

Now, when it comes to messaging your boss, that kind of exchange may look a bit like schmoozing if you’re not careful. Ultimately, the trick is in remembering that your boss (or manager) is, like anyone else you might work with, just a person. As such, they deserve to be approached with kindness and respect, and not only when they are sick or injured.

Of course, outside of the effect your well-wishing might have on your personal — or, rather, professional — relationship with the recipient, there’s also the greater impact it would have on the company culture.

After all, sending a get well soon message to someone you work with is an excellent way to practice empathy in the workplace. If everyone is expected to exchange this kind of polite communication when someone is sick or injured, they will be more likely to maintain that tone even outside of those circumstances.

How to express your get well wishes to a coworker

Corporate talk has a (somewhat deserved) bad reputation. That much is clear. All those annoying buzzwords and impersonal business speak have a way of making people long for their next vacation.

So, let’s see how you should craft your well-intentioned message to a sick coworker to avoid falling into the most familiar pitfalls of professional communication.

Tip #1: Start with a warm greeting

Naturally, any get well wishes for a coworker should start with a friendly greeting. However, even this wording will depend on several factors, including:

  • The messaging system or platform you’re using
  • How close you are to the person in question
  • The tone you’re going for

For example, if you’re sending the message over email, you’ll probably want to start with a “Dear [name]” or a simple “Hello, [name].”

On the other hand, if you’re using the company’s employee communication app, you should be free to use more casual terms. In that case, a “hey, I heard you’re out sick today” should be a fine opener, as you can see from the Pumble example below.

An opening line you might use with a sick coworker on Pumble, a team messaging app
An opening line you might use with a sick coworker on Pumble, a team messaging app

Tip #2: Consider the tone

At this point, you might want to think about what would be an appropriate tone to aim for with your get well soon message. Generally, it’s best to go for a mixture of professional and friendly.

Most of the time, even a lighthearted tone would be okay. However, that would require you to be close enough to the absent coworker to know that the reason behind their absence isn’t too dire. Otherwise, you’d run the risk of minimizing their struggles by being unduly positive.

In addition to not being dismissive of someone’s health concerns, you should also take care not to sound as if you’re prying. Naturally, if you don’t know the coworker on a personal level, you shouldn’t dwell on the nature of their condition. Even stating your admiration for the way someone is handling their circumstances can trigger negative emotions.

Now would also be a good time to learn how to differentiate between helpful and potentially hurtful responses. 

Before sending your get well soon message, make sure it doesn’t:

  • Dismiss or diminish your coworker’s pain (e.g. “Man, that’s nothing! I bet you could still finish the project on time!”)
  • Offer unwanted advice or anecdotes (e.g. “Actually, my husband had the same surgery last year and he only took a week to recover. I’ll send you a link where you can get the supplement he took!”)
  • Deflect from the main issue (e.g. “That sucks, but did you hear about what Susan did today?”)

When in doubt, just keep the message short and sweet. That should allow you to avoid any mistakes and misunderstandings.

Tip #3: Don’t infuse your message with urgency

When your coworker receives your get well soon message, they shouldn’t feel like you’re telling them to return to work immediately.

With so many people feeling pressured to clock in even when they’re sick, that would certainly be the wrong tone to strike. Here’s an example of the kind of message that really shouldn’t leave your drafts.

A team leader striking the wrong tone with an injured employee on Pumble, a team messaging app
A team leader striking the wrong tone with an injured employee on Pumble, a team messaging app

So many things went wrong here — and judging by that angry reaction emoji, Tom didn’t appreciate it either!

Firstly, there’s no need to go into specifics about the type of injury poor Tom has sustained.

Even though it’s not technically a faux pas to mention it, not everyone would be comfortable knowing that their injury was the subject of workplace gossip.

On top of that, the example above is basically setting a deadline for Tom’s recovery process, which certainly won’t speed it up.

Tip #4: Express your core message

Finally, we get to the gist of the message — the “get well soon” part. Of course, you don’t have to use those exact words.

If you want to be a bit more original, here are some phrases you can say instead:

“Focus on your recovery!”

“Hope you feel better soon!”

“Wishing you a quick and easy recovery!”

“Your health is the most important thing!”

“Work isn’t the same without you!”

At this point, you could also share any information that might be pertinent — as long as it doesn’t veer too close to the inappropriate responses we’ve mentioned earlier. For example, you might say something like this:

A coworker expressing her get well wishes on Pumble, a team messaging app
A coworker expressing her get well wishes on Pumble, a team messaging app

In the image above, we can see that Judith has informed a sick coworker that she would be taking over his project during his sick leave. That should allow him to rest easy while he recuperates.

However, that kind of additional note isn’t always necessary.

Tip #5: Sign off

As we have established, it’s usually best to keep these kinds of messages short and sweet. After all, when someone is sick or injured, they likely won’t have the energy to read through a big chunk of text. With that in mind, it’s time to bid your coworker adieu.

To that end, there are several phrases you might want to use to close out your get well soon message. Here are some examples:

  • “Take care”
  • “Warmly”
  • “Thinking of you”
  • “Rest up”
  • “Take your time”

When we take into account everything we’ve discussed so far, the final message may look something like this.

“Everyone here misses you. Wishing you a speedy recovery! Take care.”

“Sucks to hear you’re sick! I’m already missing our break room shenanigans. Get well soon so I can have my work bestie back!”

“We’re all thinking about you. Feel free to take as much time off as you need. And don’t worry about that project, we’ll pick up the slack!”

“Hey, we’re all sorry to hear about your injury. The team put together this care basket with all your favorite snacks. We hope your recovery is quick and easy. Rest up and get back to us at your own pace.”

An example of a get well soon message sent over the company messaging app Pumble
 An example of a get well soon message sent over the company messaging app Pumble

As you can see, get well wishes for a coworker don’t even have to include the phrase “get well soon.” There are plenty of other phrases and ways to show your coworker that you care.

Optional tip #1: Be of use

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a get well soon message from your coworkers — or anyone else, for that matter — you’ll probably know that a lot of them contain a fairly vague offer of help.

 “Don’t hesitate to let us know if you need anything! Get well soon.”

That’s rather generic and not even helpful, if you think about it. After all, it puts the onus of figuring out what they need and how to ask for it on the recipient of the message.

Worse still, the offer may sound insincere, especially if your message otherwise reads as a strictly professional exchange.

So if you want to inject something extra into your get well soon message, you’ll need to be more specific. Come up with an idea of how you might be of use to the sick or injured coworker. For example, you could say:

 “Hey, you left your purse at the office when you went to the hospital earlier. I’ll drop it off on my way home if that’s okay with you.”

 “If you don’t have anyone else who can pick up medicine or groceries for you, I can do it. I live right around the corner anyway.”

 “Hey, have you heard of this new show? It might stave off boredom while you’re recovering. I’d love to buddy-watch it with you. We can make a running commentary channel about it on Pumble.”

Like the other parts of your message, what you can say here will largely depend on your relationship with the recipient of the message. If you’re not close to them outside of work, even these examples may be inappropriate.

Optional tip #2: Include a gift

If you’re writing a get well message for a coworker on behalf of the whole team, you could send a gift of some sort along with your sentiments.

Consider the following suggestions:

  • A gift card from a store (or service) you know they love
  • A care basket full of items that might help them recover (tea, instant soup, snacks or treats, blankets or socks, a mug or a thermos)
  • Something to entertain them, such as a fidget toy, a tabletop game or a jigsaw puzzle, a video game
  • Credit for a video-on-demand service (or find a subscription service that delivers care packages)
  • Money to cover the cost of their treatment (if the situation calls for it, you could even organize a fundraiser)

Ideally, the gift should reflect the interests of your sick or injured coworker while also providing some comfort or entertainment while they recuperate.

So, if your coworker is big on skincare, you could send them a skincare product you think they’d like. Alternatively, you could just give them a gift card from their favorite drugstore.

On the other hand, if you know they like to play video games in their spare time, get them a gaming accessory — or spring for a video game you know they’ve had their eyes on.

Of course, if that’s too much for your budget, you can always put the money on a gift card for a video game digital distribution service like Steam, Origin, and the like.

Karen thanking her team on the company #random channel on Pumble, a team messaging app
Karen thanking her team on the company #random channel on Pumble, a team messaging app

Tips for sending a professional get well soon message to employees, clients, or bosses

In the previous section, our guide focused on interactions between presumably equal coworkers.

But, how would you go about addressing a get well soon message to someone you have a more distant professional relationship with?

For example, how should you adjust the tone of your message when talking to your boss or a client?

Alternatively, what if you’re a manager looking to set a good example by wishing a speedy recovery to a sick employee? 

Let’s talk about it!

How to write a professional get well soon message to an employee

If you’re someone who has some authority at your company, you’ll probably be the first to know when an employee on your team gets sick or injured.

Consequently, you’ll often be the one responding to such news with a message or an email response to the sick employee.

Naturally, you’ll want to show your employees that their health comes first in these kinds of situations.

As one of the interviewees in our article on empathetic leadership has stated, showing empathy is sure to make your team members more engaged and motivated. Moreover, that kind of kindness can set the tone for the whole team.

Still, unless you work in a small, close-knit team, the messages you exchange with your employees should be different from those you might send to other managers or partners.

Namely, when sending a professional get well soon message to an employee, you’ll just want to make sure the tone is a bit more formal.

Other than that, you can also take initiative by ordering a gift basket or sending some flowers to the employee in question. In that case, you could attach your message to the gift itself.

Examples of a get well soon message or an email response to a sick employee

“Hello, Mary. I just approved your sick leave. Don’t worry about a thing, just rest. We’ll see you when you’re healthy again.”

“Sad to hear about your diagnosis. Please focus on your recovery and let us know if there’s anything you need. Take care.”

“I’ve informed the team that you’ll be taking a sick leave. We’ll see you when you’re well again. Take your time and get better.”

“Dear Joan,

Thanks for letting me know about your condition.

Of course, you’re free to take as much time off as you need.

Let us know when you’re ready to come back in.

Best regards.”

A manager reassuring their employee over Pumble, a team messaging app
 A manager reassuring their employee over Pumble, a team messaging app

💡 Pumble Pro Tip 

Do you find it difficult to strike the right tone when talking to your employees? Would you like to know how to make those exchanges more effective? If you want to know more about the advantages and disadvantages of downward communication, check out our blog post on the subject:

How to write an appropriate get well soon message for your boss

As you can imagine, writing a get well soon message to your boss would still be a pretty formal affair.

After all, if you work in a traditional company that puts a lot of weight on hierarchy, you may not even be on a first-name basis with your boss.

On the other hand, an increasing number of businesses do encourage employees to address people who are technically above them on the company ladder more casually.

If you work in that kind of environment, you may have already found a good template for creating a get well soon message for your boss in the guide above.

Still, let’s see some examples of what that interaction might look like.

Examples of a professional get well soon message for your boss

“Sorry to hear you’re under the weather, chief. Rest assured, we’ve got everything covered here. You just focus on healing.”

“Everything is under control at the office so you can take your time recovering from your surgery. We’ll see you soon, boss.”

“The team was sorry to hear about your condition, but don’t worry. We’re all hard at work, so you can take as much time as you need to get better.”

“Everyone at the office wishes you a speedy recovery, sir. Get well soon!”

An employee stepping up while the boss is out via the business messaging app Pumble, a team messaging app
 An employee stepping up while the boss is out via the business messaging app Pumble, a team messaging app

💡 Pumble Pro Tip 

Employees often struggle with finding the right words to communicate their sincere sentiments with their higher-ups. More importantly, many also struggle to communicate their professional needs. If you’d like to make your company a more receptive environment for upward communication, check out this blog post:

How to send a professional get well soon message to a client

With so many people espousing the benefits of freelancing and being “one’s own boss,” now might be a good time to discuss how one might send a professional get well soon message to a client or customer.

Once again, the level of formality will depend on your previously established relationship with the person in question.

However, there are some clear differences between the way you would talk to those who are on your team and those who are not.

Namely, most people don’t have casual interactions with clients.

Rather, those exchanges usually have something to do with an ongoing project.

Therefore, when composing a get well soon message for a client, you might want to mention the work you’re doing for them. If nothing else, doing so would reassure them that they can rest well while you take care of business.

Additionally, in some circumstances, you might want to accompany your message with some kind of gift.

If a client is in the hospital or recovering from a serious illness or injury, some flowers or a care basket would be a nice addition.

Having said that, let’s see what your message might look like in this case.

Examples of a professional get well soon message for a client

“I’m sorry to hear about your health issues. I’m open to changing our production plans to suit your current needs. Let me know what I can do to make your recovery easier.”

“Hello, John. Take your time to get better and don’t worry about the project. Just let me know when you’re ready to reschedule the meeting.”

“I’m sad to hear about your condition. We could pick this project back up once you’re well again, if you’d like. Let me know what you decide, and get well soon.”

“I just heard about your condition from your assistant and would like to wish you a smooth and speedy recovery. I’ll continue working on the project so it’ll be ready for you when you feel better.”

“Thank you for letting us know about your condition. We hope to see you back on your feet soon. Until then, take your time to rest and recover.”

When is it not appropriate to send someone “get well soon” wishes?

Throughout this guide, we have highlighted the importance of the context surrounding your professional interactions. Now, we’d like to continue along those lines to consider when sending a get well soon message would be ill-advised.

Deciding whether or not to send that message will depend on multiple factors, including:

  • The timing
  • Your relationship with the sick or injured party
  • The company culture
  • The circumstances surrounding their sick leave

With that in mind, let’s go over some scenarios to see whether sending get well wishes to a coworker, employee, or boss would be appropriate.

Scenario #1: When your message is no longer relevant

Let’s start by explaining what we mean by timing.

Namely, if your coworker has been sick for a week already and you’ve exchanged messages without acknowledging the illness — you may have missed your window of opportunity.

While there’s no strict timeline during which you should hit send on your get well soon message, generally, you shouldn’t wait more than a few days after hearing the news.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if a coworker was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, you could say something like this.

Milo checking in on a coworker with a chronic health condition over Pumble, a team messaging app
Milo checking in on a coworker with a chronic health condition over Pumble, a team messaging app

Scenario #2: When you’re not close to the person in question

Now, if the sick or injured person isn’t someone you usually interact with, there’s no need to start when one of you is sick.

Of course, if you’re their manager or employee, sending a speedy recovery message should be appropriate, but it’s probably not mandatory.

However, if you’re thinking of sending Susan from Accounting a message because you heard some gossip in the break room, we urge you to reconsider — unless you’re close to the person in question.

While we’re on the subject of personal relationships though, there is one more scenario we wanted to discuss.

What should you do if your relationship with the person in need of well-wishing is not only distant but strenuous?

If you have a coworker you don’t jive with and are now wondering whether a get well soon message would alleviate the tension — it’s best not to try your luck.

Instead, you should wait until the other person is healthy and back at the office before making that attempt.

The next time you see them, you might simply say: “We missed you around the office while you were out!” or “Glad to have you back!” and let that be your jumping-off point for future interactions.

Scenario #3: When your company doesn’t have a policy of sending get well wishes

Next, there’s the question of the company culture.

If you work at a smaller company, you’ve probably spoken to most of the other employees. In that case, sending a get well soon message would be par for the course.

However, in bigger companies, you probably wouldn’t have much cause to message people from other teams or departments.

In that case, sending your get well wishes to Susan from Accounting may be considered somewhat strange.

Scenario #4: When the diagnosis is more serious or even permanent

Telling someone to get well soon can sometimes be a faux pas if the recipient of the message has sustained a major injury or been diagnosed with a chronic illness.

Someone who is about to go through, say, a cancer treatment or a potentially life-changing surgery isn’t likely to get better soon — in the literal sense of the phrase.

Additionally, these kinds of extreme situations tend to inspire some people to share various anecdotes of others struggling with comparable symptoms or diagnoses.

They also make some people want to take a shot at prognosticating the patient’s recovery time by saying something like “I know you’ll get through this” or “I’m sure you’ll be back at the office in no time.”

To avoid these kinds of mistakes, you might use alternative phrases such as:

“I hope you feel better soon!”

“We’re sorry to hear that you’re going through such a tough time.”

“Wishing you strength and perseverance!”

“Our thoughts are with you.”

“We’re all here for you!”

Final thoughts: Be kind and courteous to your sick coworkers

At some point during your long and hopefully fruitful career, you will inevitably have to deal with all manner of unpleasant events.

The way you respond to a coworker, employee, or client during their time of need will certainly test your skills of professional communication.

However, showcasing your empathy in a professional setting is also a great way to create a more pleasant working environment for everyone around you.

✉️ Have you ever had to send someone you worked with a speedy recovery message? Can you think of any additional tips we should have included?
Let us know at blogfeedback@pumble.com and we may include your answers in this or future posts. In the meantime, be sure to share this post with someone who needs it.

Author: OlgaMilicevic

Olga Milicevic is a communication researcher and author dedicated to making your professional life a bit easier. She believes that everyone should have the tools necessary to respond to their coworkers’ requests and communicate their own professional needs clearly and kindly. In fact, her expertise in the matter often sees her editing her friends’ professional correspondence even when she’s off the clock.

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