Sabbaticals are becoming increasingly popular among professionals and employers, but are they a good idea?
If you're wondering what a sabbatical is, it's a term used to describe an extended holiday usually lasting a few months whereby employees leave with the intention of returning to their job afterwards.
It's a way of giving employees a chance to see the world, recharge their batteries or spend more time with their children at home.
Over the past couple of years, 50% of respondents from a leading report said they'd take one to get away from the stresses of working life.
What's more, the same report revealed that 43% of workers would take a sabbatical to help improve their mental health and 32% to boost their physical wellbeing.
Combine these stats with the fact that 75% of UK workers aren't happy with the current holiday allowance and you have a clear catalyst for high turnover rates and staff burnout.
The bottom line is, sabbaticals are necessary if your company wants to keep its employees happy and loyal.
To illustrate this point further, here are some compelling reasons why you need to implement a scheme into its benefits package today.
With companies demanding more and more from their employees, it can start to grind even the top performers down after a while.
A sabbatical gives them a chance to take stock and get back to full health. It means longer lie-ins, extra time to reflect on career goals and reigniting the hunger to work for your business.
A spokesperson at Opodo.co.uk said:
'Taking a sabbatical can be a great release valve for stress and offer the opportunity to do something [employees have] always wanted; whether that's going travelling, learning a new language or skill, or just taking some time off to focus on [themselves].'
One of the biggest issues in today's working environment is presenteeism, which is the practice of being present a work for more hours than contractually required as the employee is insecure about their job or someone else taking over.
The issue is, presenteeism often leads to a poorer standard of work and mental health issues.
So, it's your job to give your employees the chance to step away, de-stress and come back raring to go via sabbaticals. '
Sabbaticals can also benefit the wider team as well.
You see, when an employee takes an extended break, they leave a gap that needs filling.
You can use this moment to nurture younger employees, allowing them to gain more practical experience and upskill.
If they do a good job, you can either offer a new role for them when the other employee returns or just line them up for something else.
Either way, your company can improve its employee satisfaction rates, position itself as an ambassador of development and make your team more flexible to handle challenges in the long-term.
When you respect and trust your employees, you'll usually be rewarded with loyalty.
In essence, you're telling them that you care about their wellbeing and appreciate that there's life outside of work hours.
Nowadays, the work-life balance is very important.
It's why the number of businesses offering flexible working hours and working from home benefits has been on the rise over the past few years.
Value this idea of work-life balance and you won't have to find new employees all the time, as they'll want to work for someone who cares for them.
Some of the best ideas don't always come from a desk.
In fact, trying to juggle phone calls, pressing emails and distractions from colleagues stunts innovation.
When an employee goes on a sabbatical, they'll have the room to think, breathe and feel inspired.
It worked for the likes of Ian Fleming, who retreated to his Jamaican home before writing his 007 books.
It's all about offering a fresh working environment to recapture the magic and get the brain cogs turning again.
Yes, you could have the best office design going, but there's no harm in allowing your employees to take a few minutes to escape work pressures.
Letting your leading employees go on a sabbatical may sound ludicrous at first, but in the long-run it can help you achieve wonderful things.
During their absence, you can inspire a new generation of workers by getting them to fill in.
And when they return, you'll get someone who feels rested, ready to work and bursting with ideas. '
If the employee chooses not to return, at least you know you've already figured out a way of coping without them before.
It's also good to know who's committed to making your company a success.
A sabbatical is a way of investing in the wellbeing of your employees in more ways than one.
Try it today and you might end up with better productivity and staff retention rates.
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