Taking a break from your work routine, having all time you need to take care of your needs, do hobbies, travel, and truly enjoy life. How appealing is it for you today?
That's what a sabbatical is about, or how today’s social media and internet popularize it. There is truth in it, yet the matter is more complex.
If you are considering a sabbatical break for yourself or for your employees – consider information below.
Who is doing sabbatical?
Historically sabbatical was a concept used in the academia sector when faculty were granted a paid period of time (from six to twelve months on average) away from work.
Some corporate organizations among their employee benefits list an opportunity of sabbatical. In some instances, such breaks are conditional, meaning employees taking sabbatical are encouraged to dedicate themselves to
a specific activity(ies) linked to the broader mission of the company (e.g. volunteering, teaching).
In most cases it is considered a break for an employee to destress, reset, and do personal pursuits, like studying, travelling, or personal growth.
Today an increasing number of employees take a career break, meaning leaving their current employer indefinitely with an idea to dedicate sabbatical to exploring that they truly want to do as their vocation which might include changing not only an employer, but an industry, and even becoming business owners and employers themselves. For the purpose of this article we will use career break and sabbatical interchangeably.
Do people get what they seek from sabbatical, according to studies?
One can easily find thousands if not millions of individuals on social media today speculating about the benefits of career breaks. Luckily there is also a growing number of academia papers and researchers dedicated to the subject of sabbaticals, well-being, and stress management are being conducted.
What are the benefits of taking sabbatical theoretically speaking? Gaining new perspectives, learning something new, taking care of your mental and physical health, opportunity to have more quality time with your family and people who matters to you the most, having insight on your life mission and what you "really" want to do in life.
A number of research including “Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How Much?”, 2010) have confirmed that sabbatical break does contribute to improved wellbeing and stress relief.
However (!) the positive impact of sabbatical was proven to be conditional.
What are the conditions to have a quality sabbatical experience measured as a reduction of stress?
If you maintain control over your behavior, your social environment (together also known as self-discipline)
If you can feel motivation throughout the career break
If you have more detachment from your common working routine (specifically when living abroad during the period)
Critical things to consider
All sabbaticals’ positive effects fade out. The speed of diminishment depends on the quality of the career break (see section above).
The career break / sabbatical results into positive impact on mood, but not on life-satisfaction (Strauss-Blasche, Ekmekcioglu, and Marktl research, 2000).
Bringing it all together
A sabbatical, even the one reinvigorating you culturally, intellectually, or spiritually) bear a risk to become just a spark of positive emotion, rather an important life improvement and enhancement of well-being if it doesn't include commitment to acquire better habits to support your well-being in the long run (for more check "Habits are Foundation of Your Well-being").
In our career and executive coaching practice we work frequently with clients seeking ultimate reset, and they often resort to the idea of sabbatical or career break as a refuge of confusion, lack of motivation they experience at their company. Sabbatical could be considered as an option.
With that, for life and career enhancement in long term the sabbatical experience requires a thorough CONSIDERATION and PLANNING.
Next steps to Consider:
To discuss your career situation and potential of a career change connect with us here.
To learn about how to manage your motivation get familiar with these 5 instruments.
To learn about how to understand your employee motivation read article.
To learn how to deal with post-vacation "Monday blues" use this technique.