I joined Radix Communications in 2016. And at 25, it was the first time I’d worked for a company that understood the importance of personal time.
The company’s generous holiday allowance and flexible working hours were already remarkable perks, but it was the sabbatical program that surprised me most. For every five years with Radix, each employee can take up to three months off – albeit at half salary. Or, should they prefer, six weeks at full pay. And that time is yours to do whatever you want with.
Introduced shortly before I joined the company, the sabbatical scheme has proven a great success. And having returned from my first sabbatical, I’d like to share why I believe it’s such a valuable opportunity for your organisation and its people.
What is a sabbatical – and why offer it?
Historically, the concept is rooted in the Jewish practice ‘shmita’ – where land is left to lie fallow every seven years. In fact, that’s why you’ll find businesses that offer a sabbatical will only do so every seven years. It’s also why, in modern business, it’s a voluntary break from work to allow for personal rejuvenation and growth.
However, introducing a sabbatical scheme means paying (or not, that’s your call) your talent to not come to work. While that may seem counterproductive, it makes excellent business sense.
And here are three reasons why.
1. It offers a hard-earned creative refresh
Of course, we’re not just ‘staff’. We’re songwriters, martial artists, and aspiring novelists, among many other wonderful things.
But let’s face it, the working week can often leave you drained of time, energy, and enthusiasm for anything requiring get up and go. And over time, that can turn into resentment and creative stagnation – maybe even a negative impact on productivity and mental wellbeing.
A sabbatical gives your people an opportunity to achieve personal goals – or in my case, finally visit Italy and start skating again – and rekindle the creative passion that likely led them to your door to begin with. In fact, by the end of my sabbatical, I was quietly excited to return to the office.
Why? Because I wanted to get back to doing what I do best: and that’s writing. Plus, having that break gave me the time I needed to recharge my enthusiasm and appreciate my career.
2. It helps build loyalty
I’ve often felt an innate – and in past cases, undeserved – loyalty to my employers. But I understand that most people in the UK are less than enthusiastic about their employers.
Now I’m getting older, I’m realising that the employer-employee relationship is a two-way thing. In other words, the more your employer supports you in achieving personal goals, the more inclined you are to support them back.
And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not leave an employer that pays me to run off unsupervised every five to seven years.
3. It helps people develop skills
We’re a team of talented people whose diverse knowledge makes Radix a fascinating place to work – and that’s reflected in the copy we write.
By giving your employees the time to explore their personal interests, they may return with new transferable skills that make them even better employees. For example, Kieran tells me that experiencing the exhibition, ‘Here, we made a home’, at the museum of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada gave him a masterclass in succinct and intelligent storytelling. A lesson he took home and into his work at Radix.
Chances are their sabbatical experiences will provide insight that can be applied in the workplace. Even if it’s just visiting another country, finishing those songs that’ve sat on a hard drive for years, or spending more time absorbing culture – it can all enhance a person’s professional and creative output.
Still not sold?
I get the business argument against sabbaticals. There are financial compromises to make. Times are hard. You need all the capacity you can get. But if you can afford to create an environment that people love and look forward to staying in for many years to come, then it’s worth it – socially and operationally.
A well-strategised sabbatical scheme can really help attract the best talent and retain and strengthen your existing team.
However, I’m just a copywriter that was lucky enough to get such an opportunity. To speak to those who helped make it happen and ask them what on earth they were thinking, feel free to get in touch.