Get Well Message for Coworker: Tips and Examples

A get well message to a coworker or boss can be… awkward (or else, you wouldn’t be here, right?). It’s different territory than sending granny a get well message. Factors such as office politics, the formality of the manager/employee relationship, and even the size of your organization can make you hesitate with your well wishes.

There will always be the illness that coworkers should respond to. That’s what decent human beings do. A well-crafted get well message can boost morale, so it’s important to get your message right for a coworker or boss (or their family).

Take it from Del Griffith (John Candy), you don’t want to come off as insensitive, so do a good job with your get well message!

Have a little heart, dude. Del Griffith from “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.”

Tips for writing a get well message to a colleague

There is literally a card for everything. Hallmark is there to save our butts. That doesn’t get you off the hook from signing the card (unless you are signing off for all the staff).

The first step in writing a get well message is to convey empathy. Show your coworker that you understand what they’re going through and that you care about their well-being. Use phrases that express your concern, such as “I’m sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well” or “I hope you’re taking good care of yourself.”

Pro tip: When someone is sick, don’t say “Let me know if there is anything I can do” – instead, tell them exactly what you are going to do to help. THAT’S the kind of support sick people want. Check out “Do This, Not That” for tips on offering help the right way.

  • Keep it brief: Remember that the person you are writing to may not have the energy or feel up to reading a long message. Keep your message short and to the point.
  • Be sincere: Make sure your message is genuine and heartfelt. Avoid using cliches or generic phrases.
  • Avoid offering advice: It is important to avoid offering unsolicited advice or expressing pity. Instead, focus on offering words of encouragement and support.
  • Personalize your message: If you know the person well, try to include a personal touch in your message. For example, you could reference a shared experience or inside joke.
  • Use appropriate language: Be mindful of the tone and language you use in your message. Avoid using overly formal language, but also make sure your message is professional and appropriate for a workplace setting.
  • Avoid words that imply they need to get back to work. Even get well soon can be interpreted “get well enough so you can get to work.”

When crafting a get well message for a coworker or boss, keep in mind that your message can have a significant impact on their mood and recovery. By following these tips, you can create a thoughtful and effective message that shows your support and care.

A coworker expressing empathy to another coworker with health problems.
Showing empathy to another coworker with health problems.

In addition to expressing empathy, it’s important to offer support to your coworker. Let them know that you’re there for them and that you’re willing to help in any way you can. You can offer practical help, such as running errands or bringing them food, or emotional support, such as listening to them or offering words of encouragement.

Quick get well messages for coworkers

This entire article showcases get well message ideas for colleagues, Here are a few shorter tried and true options:

  • “Hurry back we miss you.”
  • “Wishing you a speedy recovery.”
  • “I hope you feel better soon.”
  • “Take care and get some rest. Hope you feel better soon.”
  • “Rest and get better, don’t stress about work. You and your health are important.”

I’m sorry to hear you’re not feeling well. I hope you are feeling better soon. Don’t worry about [task] while you are out, we can deal with it when you are back. Just focus on getting better.

Coming up with a good message

When a coworker falls ill, it’s important to show them that you care. A thoughtful get well message can help lift their spirits and show your support. Here are some tips on crafting a personalized message for different recipients.

For a coworker

When writing a get well message for a coworker, it’s important to strike a balance between sincerity and professionalism. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a friendly tone, but avoid being overly familiar.
  • Mention something specific about the person or their situation to show that you are paying attention.
  • Keep the message short and to the point.
  • Offer your support and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can.

Example: “Dear [Coworker’s Name], I was sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well. Please know that you’re in my thoughts and I’m sending positive vibes your way. If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Wishing you a speedy recovery.”

A female coworker embracing another female coworker, who is emotionally distraught.
A work family can be there when you face a health crisis.

For a boss

When writing a get well message for a boss, it’s important to be respectful and professional. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a formal tone, but avoid being too stiff or impersonal.
  • Keep the message brief and to the point.
  • Offer your support and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can.
  • Avoid making any assumptions about their work schedule or responsibilities.

Example: “Dear [Boss’s Name], I was sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well. Please know that you’re in my thoughts and I hope you’re feeling better soon. If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Take care and get well soon.”

A gift of flowers placed on the boss's desk at work.
Wishing your boss to get well can express concern, but with formality.

For a client

When writing a get well message for a client, it’s important to be professional and respectful. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a formal tone and avoid being too familiar.
  • Keep the message brief and to the point.
  • Offer your support and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can.
  • Avoid making any assumptions about their work schedule or responsibilities.

Example: “Dear [Client’s Name], I was sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well. Please know that you’re in my thoughts and I hope you’re feeling better soon. If there’s anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Wishing you a speedy recovery.”

Employee with broken leg resting at home.
A colleague at home recuperating from accident.

For an employee

When writing a get well message for an employee, it’s important to be supportive and encouraging. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a friendly tone and show empathy.
  • Mention something specific about the person or their situation to show that you are paying attention.
  • Offer your support and let them know that you are there to help in any way you can.
  • Avoid making any assumptions about their work schedule or responsibilities.

Example: “Dear [Employee’s Name], I was sorry to hear that you’re not feeling well. Please know that we’re all thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery. If there’s anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask. Take care and get well soon.”

Uncomfortable situations

Best to address these awkward situations right away. Not every scenerio will be text-book perfect, we sign the card and we get on with life. Sometimes we have to take pause if signing the card doesn’t feel right.

You don’t want to sign the card

Let’s just get right to the point: you don’t like your coworker or boss. Maybe they steal your lunch, they’re rude, or they compete with you in sales. Maybe given the same situation, they have proven to lack empathy or not participate.

No judgement, you have your reasons why you don’t want to sign a get well card for them, and I respect that. But let’s be frank. Signing a get well card doesn’t cost you anything. You can choose to be the bigger person and rise above the situation. It’s your call.

A Fish Called Wanda. See it. Love it. Appreciate the humor.

One time I was mad at my boss, just when someone had the bright idea to have everyone sign a card for Bosses Day. How did I handle this? I simply signed my name (to be a team player) but with no message.

Then there was the time I was collecting get well messages for a message “bouquet” for a staff person who was having a mastectomy. I made sure it was an easy ask – give me a short message via email, and I would type it out and add it to the bouquet.

Everyone has an inconsiderate employee, often a repeat offender. They could be having a bad day, or a bad year, or just truly living the BAM (Big Asshole Moment) lifestyle.

-Renee Cavvy, GiftGivingSucks.com

A certain staff member was having a BAM moment – “Big Asshole Moment” (yes, I did just make that up). I circled back to the last couple of people that didn’t get their message to me. Her response? “There’s a lot of people going through a lot of tough battles, if you don’t hear from us, just make one up for the entire team.”

People, we have a staff of 27. This was a mastectomy. This response was from another female. The BAM employee is in a very delicate social work field. It would have taken you a few seconds to type your message to me and press the send button!

All staff on the email can judge her accordingly. This was just my first BAM encounter with her. Turns out, she had more of where that came from. Happy to say, she finally left our agency.

Woman feeling embarrassed about what she wrote in a get well card for coworker.
Feel embarrassed for yourself when writing an inappropriate get well message for a coworker.

You messed the card up

You would not believe how often this happens. Here are some possible slip ups:

  • An insensitive message was written.
  • You signed the card before reading who or what it was for, and left the wrong message (Happy Birthday vs Get Well).

How can this be corrected? First of all, READ THE CARD CAREFULLY BEFORE SIGNING. That’s an easy fix. Whiting out the message will look bad, but see if you can alter the words, or doodle your way out of it.

An insensitive message may only be fixed with getting a new card and having everyone sign it again. I mentioned that this could have simply have been an honest mistake due to ignorance (such as a young employee not fully versed in the etiquette of get well wishes, or a cultural divide of a foreign-speaking employee). Or you were having your little BAM moment and didn’t stop to consider the consequences? See above.

The entire situation is awkward

Yep, I’m going there. Sex change, an embarrassing injury, the person was injured doing something wrong or illegal, the employee was entangled with two lovers at once, they’re getting a Brazilian butt lift, etc. In other cases, sick absence could have something to do with a mental illness leave, or something so private, they don’t want anyone to know about it (and they deserve that right). Bottom line, it’s an uncomfortable situation and you’re not sure how to handle it.

via GIPHY

This is the granddaddy of all gray areas. What do you do? I really don’t know – write me your issue and how you solved it, so we all can learn from it. I’m no Ann Landers, but I would say if you are uncomfortable signing a card, don’t sign it. If your heart guides you and tells you the person needs your support, then sign the damn card.

FYI, despite all of the pressure in the workplace to be politically correct, don’t ever forget that you have a voice, too.

Woman sad in forefront, husband nearby.
There are many ways to support a coworker who is experiencing a serious illness.

Keeping it professional

While it’s important to show your coworker that you care, it’s also important to keep your message professional. Avoid using overly familiar language or making inappropriate jokes. Stick to simple, sincere phrases such as “I hope you feel better soon” or “Take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.”

Here are some examples of get well messages for coworkers:

  • “Sending you healing thoughts and wishing you a speedy recovery.”
  • “Take all the time you need to rest and recover. We’ll be here when you’re feeling better.”
  • “Sending you positive vibes and hoping for a quick and full recovery.”
  • “I hope you’re taking good care of yourself and getting the rest you need. We miss you and look forward to having you back soon.”
  • “Wishing you a speedy recovery and looking forward to seeing you back at work soon.”
Gift of flowers on a work desk for manager (get well wishes).
Get well wishes for a manager.

Get well messages for specific situations

When a coworker is going through a difficult time, sending a heartfelt get well message can be a great way to show your support. However, the best message will depend on the specific situation your coworker is in. Here are some ideas for get well messages for three common situations:

After surgery

If your coworker is recovering from surgery, they may be feeling tired and in pain. Here are some messages that can help lift their spirits:

Man in hospital gown on crutches.
After surgery messages for a coworker can wish them a speedy recovery.
  • “Wishing you a speedy recovery after your surgery. We miss you at work and can’t wait to have you back!”
  • “Sending you lots of love and positive vibes as you recover from your surgery. Take all the time you need to heal and know that we’re thinking of you.”
  • “You’re a fighter and we know you’ll come out of this stronger than ever. Sending you all our love and support during your recovery.”

Not a “Get Well Soon” situation

In terms of terminal illness, or a serious injury, or a sudden illness such as a stroke, the words “Get Better Soon!” or “Good Luck!” can sting. Even worse, some coworkers may be clueless about the reality of it all.

For those who have a clue, this is a moment for exceptional kindness and understanding. Others may not be comfortable with difficult life situations. I hope you can bridge that gap and be a supportive coworker.

A coworker with cancer visiting with another coworker friend.
Coworkers can be some of your best friends, especially when going through chemo.

Cards should be supportive, letting the person know that you are thinking about them. Sentiments such as, “We’re all thinking about you and we really miss you around the office” are appropriate. For a person with a terminal cancer, go with a “thinking of you card.”

If your coworker is facing a long-term illness, they may need extra support and encouragement. It’s important to offer hope, even in the most dire situations. Here are some messages that can help show them you care:

  • “We know this is a tough time for you, but we’re here for you every step of the way. Sending you all our love and support as you fight this illness.”
  • “You’re a true inspiration with your strength and resilience. We believe in you and know that you’ll overcome this illness.”
  • “Sending you healing thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery. We miss you at work and can’t wait to have you back with us.”

In this case, actions can speak louder than words. I urge you to check out the article “How to Support a Sick Person” and “Encouraging Words for a Sick Person.”

For workplace accidents

If your coworker has been injured in a workplace accident, there could be guilt about fault, and even a lawsuit. That shouldn’t shift the focus away from the employee’s suffering. The get well wishes might be best sent from a neutral party at work. Otherwise, proceed in any other situation of wishing a sick person a good recovery.

Here are some messages that can help show them you care:

  • “We’re so sorry to hear about your accident and are sending you all our love and support during your recovery. Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.”
  • “You’re a true fighter and we know you’ll come out of this stronger than ever. We’re here for you every step of the way and can’t wait to have you back with us.”
  • “Sending you healing thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery. Take all the time you need to heal and know that we’re thinking of you.”

Be careful not to hint of any blame, or to indicate fault or discuss the accident details. Keep it purely supportive.

A construction worker giving first aid to an injured coworker.
A construction worker giving first aid to an injured coworker.

For a co-worker’s family

Sometimes a employee’s spouse, child, parent, etc. is experiencing a medical emergency. When we support an employee’s family, we support them.

You can address a card directly to the boss’s wife, for example. Or send a card to your boss, manager, employee, etc. to say that you are thinking of their family and are here for them on their journey back to health.

If the person who is unwell is a coworker’s spouse or family member, it’s important to acknowledge their relationship in the message. For example, you could say something like “We’re thinking of you and your family during this difficult time.”

A man leaning over his wife in a hospital bed and kissing her on ther forehead.
Get well wishes can extend to employee’s family, like the boss’s wife.

Humor in get well messages

When it comes to writing a get well message for a colleague, humor can be a great way to lift their spirits and make them feel better. However, it’s important to use humor appropriately and be mindful of your colleague’s situation.

Appropriate use of humor

When using humor in a get well message, it’s important to make sure that the humor is appropriate for the situation. Avoid making jokes that are insensitive or inappropriate, as this can be hurtful and counterproductive.

Maybe the sick person knows you, and using humor is how you deal with difficult situations. But that’s putting a lot on the sick person. Alternatively, if you have a close relationship with this staff person, you can send a separate, humorous card on your own, but still sign the office card.

Man dressed as doctor with thumbs up and arm around a skeleton.
Be careful when using humour in workplace get well messages.

Also consider if you have foreign-speaking coworker. They may not understand the cultural interpretations of your humor if they are on the receiving end. Vice-versa, they may inappropriately sign the get well card with an off-remark (unintentionally). It’s your job to help these coworkers out and gently explain why their message is inappropriate. Consider it a teachable moment.

Inappropriate get well humor

I can’t believe I have to spell this out, but here it goes…

Say the employee loses a body part because of a work-related accident (or any accident, really). Making jokes about their physical loss is not appropriate. They are grieving.

Making jokes about personal appearances is not appropriate.

If a person has been in a tragic accident and someone was seriously injured or death occurred, any attempts at humor should be avoided… at all costs. Refrain from asking detailed questionsa about the accident.

One more – any jokes involving their spouses… yeah, don’t go there.

Professional in office with clown nose on and laptop.
There’s always one comedian in the workplace.

Instead, focus on lighthearted humor that will make your colleague smile and feel better. You can use puns, jokes, memes, or funny anecdotes to add some levity to the situation. I know there will always, always, be the coworker who has no filter. Maybe you can white out whatever they write on the get well card (or mysteriously miss having them sign it) – that’s all I got.

Examples of funny messages

Here are some examples of funny get well messages that you can use for your colleague:

  • “Can I have your stapler?”
  • “Pull yourself together and come back to work.”
  • “The entire firm is thinking about you and hopes you get well real soon. Who is supposed to do all the work here, anyway?”
  • “Wishing you a speedy recovery, boss! We promise not to have too much fun in the office while you’re away. Okay, maybe just a little.”
  • “I am aware you are in hospital. Hope they will release you after a short time as I need you much more than them.”

One employee even bought a rubber stamp to use in greeting cards that get passed around the office. It contained a generic message and a line to sign their name. Actually, it would be pretty funny if the whole card was stamped up from everyone! All I can say is know your audience.

Remember, the key to using humor in a get well message is to keep it appropriate and lighthearted. By doing so, you can help lift your colleague’s spirits and make them feel better during a difficult time.

Group get well cards

I love group photo messages! Sending a group get-well card is a thoughtful gesture that can lift a sick coworker’s spirits and show your support. They may put up a good front, but when they receive this kind of show of support from their coworkers, it will touch their heart.

Here are some tips for organizing a group message and signing on behalf of the team.

Organizing a group message

First, decide who will be responsible for organizing the group message. This could be a team leader, HR representative, or simply a colleague who is close to the person who is unwell. Once you have identified the organizer, they can send an email or message to the team to let them know about the group card.

When I had a coworker battling breast cancer, we all donned pink and took group photos. Since we had multiple locations, we encouraged each job site to take a photo. To keep the momentum going over the long haul, we took individual photos and sent them to her , too. There was probably even a collage (we are a close-knit coworker group).

Group of office workers each with a sign saying "Get Well".
Taking a group picture with signs wishing “Get Well!” is one way to show support for a sick coworker.

Next, decide on a deadline for the messages to be submitted. This will ensure that the card can be signed and delivered in a timely manner. You may also want to provide some guidelines for the messages, such as keeping them positive and uplifting, and avoiding any sensitive or personal topics.

Signing on behalf of the team

When it comes to signing the group card, there are a few options. You could simply have everyone sign their name, or you could include a short message or get well soon card messages for colleague. If you choose to include a message, make sure it is appropriate and in line with the guidelines you set earlier.

Finally, make sure the card is delivered to the person who is unwell in a timely manner. You may want to have someone from the team hand-deliver it, or you could send it via mail or email.

Gift of flowers on a work desk for manager (get well wishes).
Get well wishes for a manager.

Cultural considerations in get well messages

When writing a get well message to a colleague, coworker or manager, it is important to consider cultural differences that may affect the tone and content of your message. Here are some cultural considerations to keep in mind:

Formality. Different cultures have different levels of formality when it comes to communication. For example, in some cultures, it is customary to use formal language and titles when addressing someone in a professional setting. In other cultures, a more casual tone may be appropriate. Before sending a get well message, consider the level of formality that is appropriate for your colleague, coworker or manager.

Older Asian gentleman recuperating in hospital bed.
Be sensitive to cultural and religious beliefs when writing a get well message for a coworker.

Religious beliefs. Religion can play a significant role in how people respond to illness and recovery. Some religions have specific rituals or prayers that are associated with healing, while others may have dietary restrictions or other practices that affect recovery. If you know that your colleague, coworker or manager has specific religious beliefs, consider incorporating those beliefs into your get well message.

Language. If your colleague, coworker or manager speaks a language other than English, consider including a message in their native language. This can show that you respect their culture and are making an effort to connect with them on a personal level.

Personal relationships. The nature of your relationship with your colleague, coworker or manager can also affect the tone of your get well message. For example, if you have a close personal relationship with the person, a more informal message may be appropriate. On the other hand, if you have a more formal or distant relationship, a more professional tone may be more appropriate.

The gift wrap up

After the get well message is sent, make sure to follow up with the sick employee. You can do this by sending a simple text or email, offer help, send a care package, flowers, or plan a visit. Showing your care and concern through all stages of the recovery can truly be helpful during a difficult time.

When preparing for this article, I was saddened by some of the stories I read about unsympathetic coworkers. Their insensitivity was shocking. As one offended employee put it: “Can’t preach that we really are a ‘team’ if you’re not willing to show it at all times.”

It’s good for us to practice being nice to each other in this world, even in the workplace. It doesn’t matter if you know the person well or not, you have demonstrated kindness and empathy.

Renee Cavvy
Renee Cavvy

Renee pulls no punches when it comes to challenging the social norms of gift giving. Her mission: putting an end to meaningless gifts and cutting through the fluff. This midwest mom offers novel and creative ideas to do gift giving better!