Burnout is a real issue for many employees today. According to the 2022 Deloitte Mental Health Report, 55% of employees reported experiencing burnout, which is not good news for employers. In addition, Mercer’s 2022 Inside Employees’ Minds study revealed that burnout due to a demanding workload is one of the top factors for employees considering leaving their job.
Sabbaticals are one way for employers to help employees overcome burnout and keep them in the organization.
What is a Sabbatical?
A sabbatical is a planned period of extended time away from work, usually lasting a few weeks or months. During this break, employees are free to do whatever they want – relax, learn something new, travel abroad, or explore their interests and hobbies. The sabbatical can be paid or unpaid, depending on the employer’s policy.
Employers can benefit from sabbaticals because they help reduce employee burnout and help maintain morale. Retention rates are also likely to increase with employees less likely to quit or retire if they can get a break from the pressures of their job.
For employees, a sabbatical provides an opportunity to recharge and come back to work with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
How to Create an Effective Sabbatical Program
Here are some tips for creating an effective sabbatical program:
Determine the Purpose
Organizations should consider how their sabbatical program benefits themselves and their employees.
For example, some employees who work from home find it challenging to limit their work hours. A sabbatical program could help them break the cycle. When they return to work after a sabbatical, they should be refreshed and take a healthier approach to work, leading to improved productivity.
Set Clear Guidelines
Employers should set clear guidelines for their sabbatical program, including eligibility criteria, the duration of the break, and the frequency. They should also establish how employees can access the program and what kind of support they will receive.
Some experts recommend providing sabbaticals as a reward for long-term employees or an incentive for reaching milestones in the organization. For example, someone working on a challenging project could be rewarded with a sabbatical after completion.
Employers should also consider how the program impacts team dynamics and how it may affect workflow during the employee’s absence. It is essential to have contingencies in place to ensure that the employee’s workload is covered while they are away.
Having an employee on sabbatical can also be an opportunity for organizations to expand the professional development of other employees as they take on additional responsibilities to fill the position temporarily. Offering employees the chance to gain different skills or take on more leadership roles can benefit both parties.
Be Prepared for Change
A sabbatical allows employees to step back and evaluate their work and life choices. As a result, some employees may return to the organization with different goals and objectives.
Employees may return to work with a different outlook and employers should be prepared to support them, if possible, as they transition back into their job. The employee may also need access to resources in order to remain productive and pursue their new ambitions.
Sometimes an employee may even decide to take a different career path, which might mean leaving the company. While it’s not the ideal outcome for the employer, it can also be beneficial as it allows the employer to attract new talent.
In any case, supporting the employee’s decision, regardless of what it is, helps create a positive working environment and shows that the organization values its people.
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Copyright © 2023 Smarts Publishing. This is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice.