Breaking the monotony

Although not very popular in India, the concept of sabbaticals is slowly but steadily making its presence felt in India Inc.

Gone are the days when employees had to work fixed hours. Today everyone is expected to work 24/7 thus leaving professionals with very little time to break the monotony. The changing tide has forced companies to adopt a considerate approach towards their employees, thus flexing rules to accommodate their interests as well. Therefore, to keep employees motivated, it is not difficult to find companies offering facilities like working from home and sabbaticals. While working from home is becoming common among many Indian companies and professionals, sabbaticals very popular yet.

What is it?

A sabbatical is an extended break from work. It usually extends to two months; however this is subject to company policies and may differ. The employer may or may not pay during the sabbatical. The upside of a sabbatical is that you take a complete break from work without reflecting it in your service graph. It is a brilliant way to find time for yourself and connect with your near and dear ones.

Today competition is high targets are unrealistic and work hours exasperating. Thus, in an attempt to stay ahead in the rat race, professionals often end getting into a mad run. Thus, it becomes important to stop at some point and make a breath. Companies are also realizing the importance of such breaks.

According to MD, Growth Center (I) Pvt Ltd, Few Indians actually take sabbatical. Even if they do they do it after reaching a particular position in their career. So whatever little popularity it holds in the Indian scenario it’s among the senior management.

Sabbaticals are more popular in western countries, wherein people take time off to rewind and rejuvenate. Lay offs and lack of job opportunities have translated into sabbaticals in the last one year or so. And many professionals have taken up academics to cover up lack of employment.

They are not very popular. In fact among the select few companies who do offer sabbaticals a paid one is extremely rare.

It’s amazing and rejuvenating says a sales professional. He has just stepped into the market after a six month break. He confesses, he also got a pink slip. Initially he was upset, but decided to channel his time and energy to something more productive than running behind companies who had no vacancies. He enrolled for a diploma certification via the distance learning mode. He spent time with family, read books and did all that he always wanted to do, but couldn’t due to unearthly work hours. He started off with Art of living. It helped him remain calm during trying times. Though his sabbatical was a forced one, he ensured that it’s fruitful and enjoyable. A voluntary one would hold you in a much better stage.

As they say: out of sight is out of mind. Although sabbaticals are with the consent of the management, it has much to do with colleagues as well. You might lose out on the terms you are used to working with because there is high probability of getting placed in a different team. Consequently, you lose the position you have made for yourself within the team. Yet another negative aspect of a sabbatical would be being looked down upon for taking such a long break. It could result in envy or be perceived as lack of professionalism.

Sabbaticals come with their own share of pros and cons, and it is up to the individual to shape it to fit the mold. Some companies offer sabbaticals subject to the employee’s commitment to upgrade themselves and add value to the business once they are back. Such breaks cannot be termed as sabbaticals. Nevertheless, considering the competition and stress that employees go through everyday. Soon it will become a part of HR policies or best practices.