How and when to provide one week's notice: a guide
Updated 25 May 2023
There may be times in your career when you feel it's time to leave a job. There may be personal reasons or you may simply find opportunities to progress elsewhere. Knowing how to give notice within a short timeframe of a week can help you to maintain relationships throughout your career. In this article, we explain how and when to provide one week's notice by defining what it is, discuss the circumstances where giving a week's notice may be appropriate, describe the steps of how to give your notice and provide an example of written notice with tips.
What is one week's notice?
Giving notice is essentially informing your employer of your intention to leave your current position. A notice period allows your employer to prepare for your departure, so there's as little disruption of work as possible. They may use this time to prepare materials to recruit your replacement or plan ways to reassign your workload. Giving notice is both a formal process and a professional courtesy. You typically give your notice in writing. Even if you verbally state your intention to leave to your line manager, you typically follow this up with a written notice.
Related: What is a notice period?
How and when to provide one week's notice
There may be times when it's beneficial for you to move on from a role quickly, and knowing how and when to provide one week's notice can ensure you conduct yourself professionally. You may wish to move on because you encounter new opportunities or because your current role is not meeting your expectations. When leaving under such short notice, remain respectful, professional and clear. There may also be legal consequences of not doing so.
The specifics of how you give notice and in what way can vary between roles. For example, some contracts may have a stated notice period of three months. In many positions, a shorter notice period of one month is acceptable. One week is a short amount of time, but it's better than providing no notice at all. One week's notice may be sufficient for the following instances:
Your contract doesn't state a specified notice period. Giving notice is a legal requirement and many contracts state your mandatory notice period. If yours doesn't, giving one week's notice is generally the minimum if you've been in the job for more than a month.
You're leaving due to personal reasons. You may negotiate a shorter notice period than the one stated in your employment contract if there are reasons you can't work the full notice period, such as personal circumstances. Discuss this with your employer and consider writing down these discussions so you have an audit trail.
You haven't been in the role for long. It's only a requirement for you to give a notice period of any kind for a job you've been in for more than a month. If you haven't been in the role long, your employer may be receptive to you giving short notice when leaving, particularly if you're still in a probation period.
You feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your role. If you're leaving the role because it leaves you feeling uncomfortable, it's understandable to work a shorter notice period. If you've raised previous concerns that have gone unaddressed, you may reference these when giving your one week's notice and keep all correspondences around this ready to access if the employer denies your request and wishes to initiate a tribunal.
How to give your one week's notice
If you've made the decision to leave your current job and are preparing to give your one week's notice, consider following these steps:
1. Consider giving verbal notice first
Generally, your only requirement when giving your notice is to do so in writing. You may wish to give verbal notice to your line manager first, especially if you've had a good working relationship. You can convey sentiment verbally that you may lose in writing. It provides you with a chance to give your line manager an advanced warning of your written notice so that receiving it isn't a surprise. Prepare your written resignation first but state your intentions face to face and then provide the document after.
2. Draft your professional resignation letter
Your resignation letter, or the written statement of your one week's notice, is a formal document. Use a professional tone when writing it. There are a number of key details to include. Address the letter to your line manager. State that you're intending to leave your position and write the date of your last day of employment, which is one week from the day you give your notice. For clarity and consistency, consider writing the date you're submitting the letter on the document as well. Finish the letter with a complimentary close and sign your name.
3. Thank your employer
Conclude your letter by thanking your employer for your time in the company and the opportunities you've had to grow and develop your skills. You can mention anything specific if you wish to. This helps ensure you leave on good terms. Consider whether you want to give some explanation of your reasons for leaving. There's no requirement to do so, it's just something you may wish to do if you've had a good relationship with your line manager.
4. Deliver your notice letter to your line manager
Once you've drafted your written notice, deliver it to your line manager on the date you've stated. This ensures your notice period can start at the correct time and you can leave on the date you've indicated. Either send your notice as a letter or by email. If you're giving a physical letter, it's better and more respectful to deliver this to your line manager in person. If you've talked with your manager first, you can tell them when to expect your written notice so it's not a surprise. This may make the process more amicable.
5. Prepare to discuss arrangements for your leaving with your line manager
After giving your notice, your line manager may wish to discuss with you some arrangements for your last week of work. This is to ensure that there are appropriate measures in place to make your departure as smooth as possible. There may be specific tasks they ask you to complete prior to your departure, or request a comprehensive update of your progress on certain jobs or projects. If your colleague can get your workload, they may ask you to brief them on your responsibilities and the work you've completed prior to leaving.
Notice letter example
The following is an example of a letter you might draft when giving your one week's notice:
Friday, 23 September 2022
I am writing this letter to give formal notice of my resignation from my position as operations administrator. My last day of work shall be next Friday, 30 September 2022, after working my one week's notice period.
My personal circumstances have recently changed. I have family commitments that mean I no longer feel I'm able to meet my commitments to my work both in terms of hours and in being able to complete my duties to a standard I can be proud of.
I wish to thank you for all your help during my time working with you. I have grown a great deal throughout my time with the company and it's largely due to the mentorship and support you provided. You've always been very supportive in helping me balance my work duties with my outside commitments.
Thank you once again for everything.
Tips for giving one week's notice
The following are a few further tips to consider when presenting your one week's notice to your employer:
You can generally mention your resignation to others once you've given your notice to your line manager. Some companies may prefer that you wait until they can make an official announcement.
If giving reasons for your departure, focus on how the move benefits you rather than any negative issues with the organisation.
Be professional in tone and gracious and thankful to your employer.
Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.
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