5 benefits of offering a sabbatical to help beat the burnout

Modern businesses are becoming more and more innovative when it comes to employee benefits, see how offering a sabbatical scheme can boost your workforce.

We all know that work can often be stressful, tiring and demanding. Most of us can confidently say that a bad few weeks at work have driven us to complete apathy and tempted us to walk away from the job in search of calmer and greener grass.

Modern businesses attempt to combat this lethargy caused by overwork with employee benefits such as flexible working, health and medical care and bonuses to pay, but is this enough to keep your employees motivated to work through those tough times?

See also: 7 ways to avoid burnout – Sue Coyne offers her top tips on staying sane and being your most productive and inspiring self by preventing burnout.

You may have considered many ways to tackle this problem, but offering this scheme could be the solution to the issue.

Niche technology recruiter, MRL Group, has launched a paid sabbatical scheme as part of its employee wellbeing package. Recruiters at the Brighton based firm are entitled to take part in the scheme, which not only offers a month off (fully paid), but also a £1,000 one off payment, after every five years of service.

A sabbatical is a period of leave from regular work in order to study, travel or simply take time out with your family and loved ones, to recharge your batteries and come back to work refreshed.

You may have initially thought that a sabbatical was an exclusive perk offered only to academics and clergymen as they took a period of time off work to further their studies. This stigma has been changed and companies are now looking to offer sabbaticals to encourage staff to worker harder in order to be rewarded with paid time off.

David Stone, chief executive of MRL Group, believes the scheme will help address the notorious ‘burnout’ rate the recruitment profession suffers from, as well as assist the company’s recruitment and retention strategy.

Stone adds, ‘Working in recruitment is incredibly fulfilling. And as someone that’s been in the profession over twenty years I can certainly vouch for that! But let’s not forget it’s also tough. It involves long hours, hard work, and people get tired. Some people feel there’s a 10 year wall, others that it’s a 5 year wall. These factors got me thinking about what we could do about that here at MRL, and so the sabbatical scheme was born.

‘A sabbatical does just that. Staff can take a month off – fully paid – without the worry of paying bills to simply do what interests them. But even better than that we throw in £1,000 towards an air fare. I’m a firm believer travel broadens the mind. But it’s a luxury many don’t get to benefit from. So whether it’s an air fare to Australia or an all expenses Safari what’s not to love?’

Here are the top five benefits for offering your employees a sabbatical

Dangle a carrot

Motivating staff can be extremely hard, particularly when the going gets tough. Offering an incentive for staff to work towards can give them an achievable goal that is tangible and rewarding for them directly, rather than a generic goal that the company as a whole is looking to achieve.

Show your appreciation

Virgin founder, Richard Branson, said it best: ‘Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.’ If an employee feels valued and appreciated, they are much more likely to work harder for you and there is no better way to show your own appreciation than to offer significant benefits.

Generate a buzz

While it should be encouraged that companies take care of their staff, there is certain degree of pride that you can take if you are groundbreaking and innovative in your benefits schemes. Staff will talk to friends and family about how fantastic it is that they can secure sabbatical for all their hard work and good news spreads quickly. Who knows, you might begin to inspire the businesses around you.

You are among the biggest

You may be surprised to learn that some of the biggest companies in the world have already begun to offer sabbatical, including McDonalds, Timberland and The Cheesecake Factory. Being part of that club is pretty cool if nothing else. Be seen as progressive and innovative.

Attracting the best

Having some of the best perks to offer employees will really help you to shine amongst your competitors when it comes to recruitment. The best talent will flock to your applications because you will be offering something that no one else has thought of. You can then take the cream of the crop, safe in the knowledge that they will work hard for you and, crucially, stay with you, in order to reap the rewards.

Owen Gough

Fred Morissette

Owen Gough is a reporter for SmallBusiness.co.uk. He has a background in small business marketing strategies and is responsible for writing content on subjects ranging from small business finance to technology...

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