Sabbaticals today

Sabbaticals have risen in popularity recent years, fuelled in part by tech companies searching for new perks to attract and retain staff. 

We were curious – how many companies actually offer Sabbaticals? So, we recently asked our LinkedIn and Twitter followers “Does your organisation formally offer the chance for people to take a Sabbatical?”

Summarising the 2 sets of results from 66 votes reveals:-

  • Yes – 30%
  • No – 40%
  • I don’t know – 12%
  • Not formally but yes – 18%

30% do formally offer Sabbaticals, which is good – although lower than the 40% who apparently do not. 

It’s interesting to note that 30% (12%+18%) either don’t know or say they are offered, but not formally – indicating unenthusiastic communication and promotion to employees.

Here are the specific results

Twitter
LinkedIn

What comments did the voters make around the Poll?

“I was lucky enough to take a sabbatical 2 years ago. Best thing I ever did.”

Which is how we think we’d feel. By the time one is well into a career, the prospect of having an extended break to explore the world, learn a new skill like photography or to volunteer, would be wonderful. Another voter commented:-

“Not recently, but an earlier employer had a perk of being able to take a 4 week sabbatical every four years of service, on top of annual leave allowance for that year. It was a very valuable benefit to everybody. 

Everybody used them differently. I went to Switzerland for three of my four weeks; others used the time to travel, be with family, house development etc. 

It was a great benefit to have and a lot of people put it highly as a reason to stay.”

Which was a revealing response, and an excellent example of a well-structured Sabbatical programme. It’s interesting and encouraging that it became a strong reason to stay. 

We’ve read that one reason employees don’t like offering Sabbaticals is that people mid-career may find it triggers a desire to pursue a different career path, and possibly leave the company for pastures new. 

However, intuitively we think it can be a massive plus for a company, as the employee returns refreshed, recharged and more committed to their work.

And if by taking a Sabbatical, they return and decide to move on, then they will probably tell others about your company’s Sabbatical programme, enhancing your company’s reputation.

On balance we believe it’s best to have a motivated, loyal team enjoying life changing experiences, potentially contributing to the wider world through volunteering, and spreading the word about how well the company treats staff. 

What do you think? In the words of another voter:-

“This will be interesting – why people want to take a Sabbatical, how long for, what they do with the time and how they feel going back to work after – refreshed and ready to go or does it make them reconsider their purpose?!!”

It would be great to hear your thoughts and personal experiences – please leave a comment below.

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