Six years ago this week I joined Lingo24, I was excited about the prospect of working with super bright people and for the opportunity we had to grow the business in the language space.
One of the perks was a month-long paid sabbatical after 5 years. I thought that was cool, especially when I saw people enjoying this benefit – but it looked a long way away and it wasn’t a primary consideration for taking the job.
So now 6 years later after taking my month this summer it is slightly surreal to realise I have reached this point. Some of my team have recently taken their second month – amazing to see them having been contributing to the business for 10 years.
I think it’s a great thing for the team and the culture of the business. For sure it causes disruption because we have enjoyed low attrition and so have lots of people achieving this milestone, bucking the current trend for people to move roles with increasing frequency. However, from what I have seen it gives people the chance to recharge and reassess what they want from the business and their role and from this I think everyone benefits.
In 10 years it would be interesting to see if such a thing would still hold power or 5 years would just be too long at one place. But for now I think it’s great, and I am excited as I watch more people click through to getting their month.
What did I do? Well I spent the full period with my family. Spending time with the kids and my wife for that extended period was amazing, (if admittedly it took some time to adjust to it). We were lucky enough to be in France for most of it which was exciting for the kids and us, but we still managed to squeeze in a music festival upon our return, the first ever that the children had been to.
However, it also gave time for me, being able to get out and run and on the bike without feeling I was compromising time with the kids in the holidays because the 4 weeks stretched ahead of me.
The highlights were many, reflecting the great places we got to visit and the time we had to enjoy it. Some things more surreal, not least being headed off by a beached grumpy freshwater crayfish who we slipped back into the river! But the body surfing with the older kids while my young son dug holes in the sand was hard to beat – simple pleasures and no sign of a screen to interfere.
It showed me that enjoying work is really important because of what you have to sacrifice in time from the family and that getting these sort of opportunities for a proper break should be the norm rather than the exception. It also made me think that an extended break in the summer really allows you to switch off and is worth reducing time away the rest of the year where you don’t really have long enough to leave work behind.
Hopefully we can all find the balance in work versus family and friends because if we can, everyone benefits. Happy and engaged employees are far more productive and feed the culture of successful companies – so by letting people be away more you actually boost the business, as long as you support those left behind holding the fort!
Will I make it to my next loyalty month, well only 4 years to go….