Just a decade ago, the concept of taking a sabbatical from your career, particularly if you were a business owner or executive, was almost unheard of. There wasn’t really a sabbatical concept, at least not that was seen as conventional or accepted.
If you left your job for even a period of time, the idea was that you probably weren’t coming back.
Now, however, it’s not uncommon to hear about big tech executives renting RVs in Silicon Valley and taking off for at least a few months, and then coming back reinvigorated and ready to start with fresh new ideas.
While that sounds great, how can people think about work sabbaticals and what should you know?
Delegate If You Own a Business
If you own your own company, the idea of sabbatical may seem like it’s entirely out of the question, but that’s not necessarily the case. You will need to prepare extensively, however.
It’s important to start planning and delegating well in advance of your leave time, and you should make sure you thoroughly train everyone.
Also think about those tasks that can be automated within your business, with software, apps and other technology and put those processes in place. You may even find that you’re saving time and money, even without the consideration of a sabbatical.
Set Contact Guidelines
If you’re away for an extended period, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of contact with your business or employer—you may just be working remotely.
You should create guidelines for how and when you can be contacted so that you stay in touch in the ways you need to be, but your smartphone or laptop do not completely control you.
What’s the Point?
A lot of highly driven executives and business owner want to see the value in everything they do and every decision they make so while they may be weighing a sabbatical, they may also be wondering what the point of it is.
There have been studies showing real, measurable benefits, including higher levels of productivity and an increased sense of innovation.
Before planning a long period away from your work, you should think about timing, because as with anything, that can be most important.
A lot of entrepreneurs will take a sabbatical when they’re between projects. For example, maybe one venture isn’t going as well as they’d like it to, and they’re in the conceptual phase of a new project, but it’s not quite up and running yet. That can be a good time for a sabbatical to collect your thoughts, clear your mind from your previous project, and set goals for the future.
If you’re in the middle of a pivotal project, however, you might want to rethink a sabbatical.
Finally, a sabbatical is different in many ways from the concept of just wandering around the world. It’s more about putting your career into the framework of your travels and using it as a way to see how you could innovate or do things differently.
Make it a goal to use your travel experiences and your time away as part of moving forward with your business or your career and if necessary, to help you shift your perspective.