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The benefits of taking a sabbatical from work

I’ve been looking forward to taking a sabbatical from work for some time. A reward for six years of loyal service. In hindsight, I began crossing the days off with a red X far too early but low and behold, it’s finally upon me.

Now I don’t hate my job, in fact I really quite like it. I mean what’s not to love about working in travel, especially when on my sabbatical I can travel myself instead of planning for other people. I have fun with my work colleagues, I spend my days researching incredible destinations and unlike so many people who hate their jobs, I don’t spend my day watching the clock.

The company I work for, Trek America, allows employees to take up to three months off after five years of service. This truly is a forward thinking and progressive way of incentivising employees and crosses the work/life balance divide.

For me a sabbatical symbolises change; a break from the norm. From getting up at seven, five mornings a week, from closed door meeting rooms and tapping away on a keyboard at my desk. Now I may only be taking two months, but that is 60 days where the world is mine to dive into. Where I will allow it to chew me up into tiny pieces and spit me out at the other end, with recharged batteries and a bag full of memories.

Of course this is unpaid leave so it takes preparation to ensure ‘normal’ life doesn’t break when I’m off forgetting about it. The mortgage and health insurance needs to be paid and bills still show as deductions from my account, so it’s not as though a sabbatical doesn’t dent my wallet.

Any company that offers their employees this opportunity has the right idea. They recognise that when people have the chance to step away, they return with a new outlook or at worst, with a set of fully recharged batteries. They recognise that there is life outside of how we choose to earn our money. This essentially doesn’t cost the company a penny, in fact there is a saving so everyone is a winner.

So in about 40 minutes, I fly away from London’s red phone boxes, busy Oxford Street and the 9-5 working week, and into Cameroon in West Africa. One month of mountain climbing, jungle trekking, pygmies, lowland gorillas, mosquitoes and never-ending bus rides. Followed by a month back home in New Zealand spending time with my family. My plan isn’t to return to London until spring buds are pushing their way through empty tree branches, and daffodils are the only colour in the garden.

Any employers reading this, take some inspiration when thinking of the needs of your staff. Consider the long term benefits of offering a sabbatical and how this positively impacts on your business.

I’ll be posting blogs and video content along the way so why not follow along.


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