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Sabbaticals: disguised stress leave or a gift to yourself, your career and your employer?!

Sabbaticals (a break or change from a normal routine) are no longer exclusively available to ailing academics. Rather professionals, young and… less young,  are turning to sabbaticals as a remedy for burnout (impending or full-blown), career indecision, or itching feelings of wanderlust for gap years never indulged in. Whether sailing the Pacific, enrolling at Le Cordon Bleu, or indulging in sleep-ins, lazy dog walks and more time with loved ones, sabbaticals are growing in popularity, and perhaps with good reason.

Increasingly employers are supporting prolonged time away from work, seeing the benefits to include; an opportunity for strong talent to refresh and reinvigorate themselves (reducing the likelihood of ‘quiet quitting’), a strengthening of employee loyalty, and the addition of an enviable staff ‘perk’ which can in turn attract the best talent in a competitive field.

In an industry like law, where crushing hours can be wrongfully viewed as a badge of honour, maybe sabbaticals should be more proactively embraced by leadership as a low-risk method of increasing tenure, productivity, and happiness amongst employees.  For in-house lawyers, who are often part of lean legal teams, the idea may seem harder to raise with leadership, however, a sabbatical can allow an in-house team, and a business more broadly, to identify areas of vulnerability created when one individual leaves taking their skill set and niche knowledge with them. Being abreast of this potential ‘knowledge gap’ ahead of a potential permanent departure, is a key step in succession planning,  a critical element when future-proofing any team and any business.

For those now seeing the light, here’s the link for tickets on the Trans-Siberian Express (https://www.goldeneagleluxurytrains.com/journeys/trans-siberian-express)

Morgan Elder

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