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the art of the psuedo-sabbatical

October 28, 2009

in wellness

a sabbatical. such a coveted item! and one that returns plenty to the individual and the company that offers them. who hasn’t lusted after one? but how many of us can actually take them? you need to forgo the pay, and most companies require employees to wait three to seven years before applying.

R letter E letter N letter E letter W A letter L

now, i’m lucky. being a homepreneur, i don’t need to put in a certain number of years or shut down my business to replenish and invest in myself. i can go to the gym midday, make a run to target midweek, and—most critically—pursue interests tangential to work. i have the power to create pseudo-sabbaticals. and in these past seven years, i’ve never failed to appreciate this luxury, though i have failed to fully optimize it from time to time.

a recent excursion to small town, usa to conduct focus groups with a client’s plant employees got me thinking about pseudo-sabbaticals and wellness. while identifying barriers to wellness, one person who’d come in late and caught my attention due to his pose (leaning back, arms crossed) and his silence, suddenly chimed in: we take people off the line to let them come to this meeting. why not take them off the line—but keep them on the payroll—to take a walk? they might find they enjoy it and keep doing it on their own.

if you know something about manufacturing facilities, you know taking people off the line is a huge deal. so this would have been one more idea for the flip chart but for the fact that this man was the hr business leader. he has the power to make this happen! and not only walks—he can establish a culture where renewal is the norm. he can create workday pseudo-sabbaticals.

if businesses start thinking more broadly about wellness—more about renewal and restoration, along with tobacco cessation, weight reduction, and disease management—the pseudo-sabbatical can be within every employee’s reach. not a luxury for the few, but a benefit for the many.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Vince Blando October 28, 2009 at 10:19 am

You are 100% spot on. There are companies that emphasize wellness and make it a part of the culture. However, as we saw in plants, it takes a change of mindset AND top-down support to get the ball rolling in that direction.

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fran October 29, 2009 at 10:21 pm

vince, you’re right. to really make it part of how “work gets done ’round here,” you need the leaders involved.

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