From a business perspective, taking a sick day has come to mean taking some time off work to recover. To keep co-workers well. To temporarily put productivity on hold.
But having a colleague who’s out sick can feel personal, too—especially when the leave is prolonged. After all, you spend a good part of your waking hours with your co-workers. And even in work-from-home scenarios, teams have rapport. Inside jokes. Workflow rhythms. Friendships. Which all goes to say that when someone’s out sick, that person is missed.
So how do you wish a colleague a speedy recovery? What’s the right way to send get well wishes when it’s a serious illness? How do you say Get Well Soon professionally? Balancing friendship, work, and wellness is best handled with thoughtful care. Here are some ideas to help.
What to write in a get well card to a co-worker
What do you say in a get well card? Maybe you need help putting your thoughts into words. Or you’re concerned about blurring personal and professional lines. Or you’re just not sure where to start. Here are some basic principles to keep in mind.
1. Keep your Get Well message short.
Be brief. Be sincere. Remember the person reading your card is probably tired. They may not have the energy or feel up to reading a long letter.
- Hoping you find strength with each new day. You are in our thoughts.
- Best wishes that you will soon be back to doing all the things you love.
- Work isn’t the same without you there. Once you feel better, we’ll feel better too.
- I was so sorry to hear about your illness. You are not just a colleague, but a friend. If there is anything I can do to help during this difficult time, please let me know. I look forward to seeing you back soon.
2. Write a Get Well message that’s meaningful and specific to that individual.
Include an inside joke. Make a reference to your team. Say something about what’s going on in the office and around the proverbial water cooler.
- Looking forward to seeing you back at our 4th floor home-away-from-home.
- I’m sure you’ll be wow-ing our clients again when you recover.
- Think of this as the universe telling you to watch more YouTube.
- People are eyeing your desk space… please get better soon so I don’t have to sit next to anyone else. I can’t wait to have you back.
- The team, the cleaning crew, and the vending machine guy all send best wishes for a quick recovery. No one wishes it more than me—hope you get better soon.
- Lunchtime ping-pong is not the same without you. Get better soon!
3. Write a Get Well card that lets them know they’re important.
Sending a Get Well card to your co-worker already demonstrates that you’re thinking of them. It doesn’t hurt to say it in a get well message. Say the team misses them. Work isn’t quite the same without them there.
- We’re all thinking about you and wishing you a speedy recovery.
- You’re in all of our warmest thoughts as you recover from your accident.
- If wishes could make you better, you’d be back at work tomorrow. But as they can’t, I hope you find strength in knowing that all your colleagues are all rooting for you. Get well soon.
- I was sorry to learn that you are unwell. Don’t stress about missing work. And don’t worry, we’ll save some for you. Warmest wishes for a speedy recovery!
- We’ve missed you here and can’t wait for your triumphant return!
- Work isn’t the same without seeing your face around here. Hope you recover soon.
- You have a way of brightening my day and making work go by faster. Get well soon. You are missed.
4. Relate your Get Well message to a gift.
If you’re sending a gift, consider referencing it or explaining why you chose it. At Spoonful of Comfort, we see Get Well cards that say things like:
- Sending wishes as warm as this soup and blanket.
- Sending sunshine your way because you’re always a bright spot here.
- Take your sweet time during recovery—but know you are missed.
5. Offer peace of mind in a Get Well card.
While you want to be careful about making uninformed statements or promises you can’t keep (see the next section about things to avoid in Get Well cards), you can make someone feel like everything’s okay at work. Tell them who’s taking over their tasks. Assure them that everyone is pitching in or working together. Help them feel that you’ve got them covered.
- Bryan and I are calling your clients until you’re up and around again.
- Don’t worry about the monthly reports. We’ve got them covered.
- For now, let somebody else do all the doing. Our team is covering your shifts.
- I’m sorry that you’ve been tackling some health issues. We’ve got everything under control here, so please just focus on healing.
- We’re happy to cover your share of work, but we can’t make up for your smiles and laughter. Get well soon.
- Your absence leaves our days as empty as your cubicle. Get well soon.
6. Be honest and straightforward in a Get Well message.
If you’re not sure what to say or do, it’s okay to say so. The person might feel the same way. Especially when an illness is serious or life-threatening, a simple statement of your thoughts can feel very appropriate.
- I am incredibly sorry to hear that you are unwell. While you recover, I hope you are surrounded by the warmth of those you love. Get well soon.
- I was so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Sending lots of caring thoughts your way as you begin treatment.
- We hope you’re taking it slow and easy right now.
- You mean a lot to me. Hope you’re feeling better very soon.
- Recovery is hard work—but I’m pulling for you. Not a day goes by that you aren’t thought of and wished well.
- I don’t know what to say, except I appreciate you and I’m thinking of you.
7. Be positive in a Get Well card.
Share your empathy with your co-worker, but don’t dwell on the illness or injury. Take an optimistic tone and share a cheerful attitude. A positive mindset can make a big difference in someone’s recovery.
- I hope each new day brings you closer to a full and speedy recovery.
- Hang in there, better days are coming.
- Hope you feel a little better every day.
- Best wishes for a little progress and a little encouragement every day during your recuperation.
- Now’s the time to rest and recuperate! Hope you get better soon!
- I am sending you my most positive thoughts for a complete recovery. I hope that while you are recuperating, you can read some good books, binge-watch some great shows, and just sit and enjoy the warm sun on your face. Get well soon.
8. Use a Get Well quote in your card.
We always think your own words mean the most in a Get Well card. In our opinion, you should always add your own message even when using a card with a pre-printed message. That might mean borrowing some wise, funny, or meaningful words from someone else. Here are a few examples we like that might be right for sharing in a professional relationship.
- It’s not the strength of the body that counts, but the strength of the spirit. —J.R.R. Tolkien
- The best of healers is good cheer. —Pindus
- For sleep, riches and health to be truly enjoyed, they must be interrupted. —Johann Paul Friedrich
- There is one consolation in being sick; and that is the possibility that you may recover to a better state than you were ever in before. —Henry David Thoreau
- Believe you can and you’re halfway there. —Theodore Roosevelt
- One’s friends are that part of the human race with which one can be human. —George Santayana
- There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow. —Orison Swett Marden
- Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness. —Euripides
- The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. —Voltaire
- Your never know how much they care until you are under the weather. —C. Kohler
- Tough times don’t last, tough people do. —Anonymous
- It always seems impossible until it’s done. —Nelson Mandela
- Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. —Charles R. Swendoll
- Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. —Arthur Ashe
- We should not give up and we should not allow the problem to defeat us. —A.P.J. Absul Kalam
- Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.—George S. Patton
9. Sign a Get Well Soon card with a warm closing.
I always get a little laugh when I read emails from my brother. His auto signature is intended for colleagues and clients, and I find it funny when a message to his big sis signs off with a formal Regards.
The moral of the story is that one signature doesn’t fit every person. And it doesn’t fit every situation. Don’t automatically go with your standard sign-off. Think about the person, their circumstances, your relationship, your work culture, and choose what feels right. Here are a few ideas you can consider to mix things up.
How to close a Get Well card to a colleague
- Be well,
- Best wishes as you recover,
- Feel better soon!
- Good health to you,
- Happy healing,
- Have a speedy recovery!
- Here’s to you—steadier, stronger and better every day.
- Hope you feel a little better every day.
- Hope you feel better soon,
- Sending good, healthy vibes your way.
- Take care,
- Thinking of you,
- Wishing you health,
- Wishing you rest,
- Wishing you well,
What to avoid writing in a get well soon card
What you say to a sick co-work can be a meaningful pick-me-up. But inadvertently saying the wrong thing can spoil the best intentions. Be mindful of what to watch out for when writing a Get Well message to a co-worker.
1. Consider what you know—and what you don’t know.
Even though people mean the best, making big promises like “I know you’ll be fine” or “You’ll be back to 100% next week” can be discouraging in serious situations. Leave the prognoses to medical professionals. Don’t offer advice if you’re not asked.
2. Avoid comparisons.
It’s human nature to find something in common with another person. But every situation is very different. Drawing a parallel with your own illness or another person’s outcome can be disheartening or set unrealistic expectations.
3. Don’t be negative.
If you know someone who died or experienced long-lasting effects from a similar illness or situation, don’t say so. Don’t talk about disasters at work because your co-worker wasn’t there. If your colleague looks terrible, just zip your lips. People have plenty of their own worries without any help.
4. Be careful with humor.
Laughter really can be the best medicine. But it’s got to be the right time and place, and with the right person. Use your day-to-day relationship with that person as a guide. If you’d make the same joke during a normal conversation, you might make it now. But be thoughtful. Use your best judgement and consider that person’s mood and what’s happening around them today.
5. HR rules still apply.
Be mindful of work boundaries and your work friendships. Things you write might sound fine in your head, but come across all wrong in a note. (We’ve all experienced texts and emails like that.) Think back on all the awkward HR training you’ve had and avoid potential pitfalls around relationships, religion, personal appearance, etc.
Get Well messages appropriate for co-workers
Work relationships are important—and it’s important to keep them healthy even when someone is not. Showing comfort and care is perfectly appropriate in a professional environment. (Look at our business!) We hope you’ll make the work world better by sharing your get well wishes.