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Loyalty.

Will your employees just leave if you give them a sabbatical? 

Over 75% of people in our study who were offered a sabbatical by their companies returned. These sabbatical-takers came back refreshed and engaged, with a realistic idea of how work can fit into—and enable—a life outside of work. Companies are made up of people. Enacting policies that recognize the full-person engenders loyalty and creates evangelists for company culture.

Being on sabbatical ignites creativity. Sabbatical-takers play, create and explore. 

Exploring new places, learning how to live differently, or revisiting a dormant hobby or passion not only impacts the individual, but spreads throughout their teams and the broader company. Creative thinking enables solutions to difficult and unforeseen problems; it’s also infectious.

Creativity.

Skill Building

No one stays forever. Turnover is time-consuming and expensive, but it’s also a part of business.

Companies that have adopted sabbatical policies learn how to better distribute responsibilities and also what breaks (or works better) in someone’s absence. Junior employees enjoy growth opportunities. Managers signal that taking time off is a part of life and work. Whether it’s temporary leave—like parental or FMLA—or permanent departures, your company will be better equipped for transitions.

Sabbatical Policy Success Stories

Buffer introduces sabbaticals to deal with start-up growing pains: burnouts among the employees that helped start the company.

The owner of Buffer provides personal reasons for introducing sabbaticals.

“Six weeks is 11.5% of a teammate’s productivity time in the year of their sabbatical but only 2.3% of their overall five-year journey with Buffer. That math was helpful to put into perspective that the overall benefit to the company and our teammates’ health and growth were well worth the cost.”

- Courtney Seiter at Buffer

Design firm Deeson mandates sabbaticals to the company, and then shares his own personal sabbatical experience.

“People don’t leave very often at Deeson- that’s a great problem to have. We want to recognise and reward the people who are sharing this journey with us and build a sustainable model with them. Giving sabbaticals at the five-year mark allows us to honour the long term relationships we’ve built so far and give them firm foundations for another five years.”

- Tim Deeson at Deeson

Zillow adds a sabbatical program for employees, after 6-years, in an attempt to capture more employee productivity

“When people came back, they were excited to come back. Their minds were clear, they were able to solve problems and approach work in a different way and point of view.”

- Amy Bohutinsky

Recruiting firm Hunter Selection uses a sabbatical program to help drive interest from young talent, and to improve general worker well-being.

“While staff are free to do what they want during the two-month stint, the company hopes that it will be used for personal development or as a chance to work on community projects at home or abroad.”

- Millie Reeves

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  • All Stories
  • C-level
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Kimberly

20s-30s

“I remember like getting back on that plane and thinking, ‘Oh, I’ll never be the same person again.’”

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nola simon landscape

Nola

50s+

Rest and recovery is essential in building new foundations for pivoting for the future.

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Zhalisa

30s-40s

A tech leader goes exploring — inside and out.

“My sabbatical gave me the space to explore my passions and really identify my life purpose. It has changed the whole trajectory of my life.”

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Mary

30s-40s

A nonprofit leader steps away to heal and choose how (or if) she wants to return to her dream job.

“My hope was that by stepping away, when I came back, I would actually be choosing this again, as opposed to it just happening to me.”

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Xiu Ling

30s-40s

A Singaporean consultant seeks recovery and self-knowledge.

“I feel the ability to be really courageous and brave…I felt like it enabled me to be a stronger person, both mentally and also in terms of my experience.”

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Justin & Allison

30s-40s

4 kids, 9 weeks, and 8,300 miles after 16 years as CEO.

“I’ve never seen my wife so consistently happy. Bear in mind, we were in a box with four kids for two straight months. No babysitter. No date nights.”

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Charles Schwab, Investment Management

4 weeks paid sabbatical, 5 years service required.

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Database of Company Sabbatical Policies