What to Do After a Close Coworker Leaves

While you may like all of your coworkers, you’re undoubtedly closer to some than others thanks to having more in common or working together more frequently or just clicking really naturally from the get go. When a close coworker leaves, it can feel like a seismic shift in your workplace that can throw you for a loop. Instead of letting a close coworker leaving lead to a tailspin, do these 5 things to refocus, reengage, and reevaluate.

1. Don’t Lose Your Connection: Before your close coworker leaves ensure you share your email and phone number with them and make sure they have yours. Then, make a date for coffee or FaceTime or an old-fashioned phone call in the near future so you can keep this strong link in your professional network healthy and sustain it even when you don’t share the same office space day after day.

2. Focus on The Parts of Your Job That You Love: One of the reasons a close coworker leaving can be a bummer is because, undoubtedly, interacting with them is one of the parts of your job that you really love. Instead of focusing on what a bummer it is now that they’re gone, make a list of all of the other things you love about your job and do your best to focus on those for the first few weeks so your whole attitude towards your job doesn’t begin to sour.

3. Change Your Habits & Amp Up Your Productivity: Chances are, if you’ve formed a close coworker relationship, conversations with them took up some (maybe a lot) of time in your day. When they’re gone, you’ll feel this shift immediately. The good news is that this change presents a great opportunity for you to shift your habits and amp up your productivity at work. Why? Because it’s way easier to establish new habits when you’re in a new environment or when you’ve shifted to a new schedule, and a close coworker leaving can have the same effect.

4. Strengthen Other Coworker Relationships: Like rebounding from a romantic relationship, sometimes the best way to get over the gap your close coworker left is to get closer to your other coworkers! Take this time to strengthen your relationships with your coworkers, starting with the people who also shared a close bond with your close coworker that’s recently left. They’ll be looking to fill the same gap in their work lives at the same time you are so it’s bound to be a little easier to strengthen those relationships right away.

5. Evaluate if it’s Time for You to Leave Too: Just because a coworker you’re close to is leaving doesn’t mean it’s time for you to jump ship but it does present a great opportunity to evaluate your current standing at work. Do you like what you’re doing? Do you have a clear growth trajectory or anything new you can learn/improve on? Do you like your other coworkers and your company’s culture? Ask yourself these questions to get a better idea of where you’re at in your current job and where you’re going in your career. Your close coworker may be onto something or their path may be a slightly different trajectory than yours, the only way to know is to evaluate!

Saying goodbye to a close coworker is often more of a, “see you later” than anything else, but it presents a big change in your workday and work life. Do these 5 things when a coworker leaves to maintain your strong bond, expand your coworker relationships, evaluate your current career standing, and more.