Sabbatical advocates insist that even a few uninterrupted weeks away from the press of work boost productivity by giving stressed workers the opportunity to recharge their batteries. Employees return to their jobs, they say, with renewed enthusiasm and heightened creativity.
“We find that not only are employees more relaxed and better able to handle work stresses when they return, they also come back with new ideas and fresh winds blowing between their ears,” Koon said. “Sabbaticals really do give you a new lease on life, both psychologically and intellectually. Because returning employees haven’t been immersed in their day-to-day tasks while they’ve been gone, they tell us their sabbaticals have helped them see work issues and problems in a different-often more effective-way.”
Koon also touts sabbaticals as an effective tool for broadening the perspective of the employees who remain at work, picking up the slack for the worker on leave. “It helps them better understand what we do here, and gives some employees management experiences they might not otherwise have had.”
At Apple Computer, team bonding is another of the company benefits wrought by sabbaticals, according to benefits manager Sue Cunningham. “We had that experience in this department,” she said. “We all stretch to help each other. Knowing that our teammates will come through for us when it’s our turn to take sabbatical has made our whole team stronger and more cohesive.”