HR News: - Is Extended Holiday The Answer To Improved Employee Wellbeing?

An extract from another interesting article from the team at "HR News". Click on the link to find our more or register for their regular updates:

Employee wellbeing is “hot topic” right now, especially since Mental Health Awareness Week took place this month. Everyone is talking about how companies can do more to support staff and help them feel more fulfilled.Much of it comes down to improving employee’s work-life balance. What’s more,companies that have happier employees receive various benefits too:

· Happy employees are 31% more productive

· Happy employees take on average 10 times fewer sick days

It has a knock-on effect.

Is unlimited holiday the answer?

In the mid-late 90s some large organisations, such as IBM, LinkedIn, Netflix and Virgin began to introduce unlimited holidays as an employee benefit. Those who’ve introduced an unlimited holiday policy claim it has made employees much happier as they’re able to have greater control of the time they take off. However, policies such as these can often result in staff taking off less time than they usually would, as such employees can become even more exhausted and less productive.

Is there a happy medium?

In answer to this question, yes there is. As Richard Hanwell, Associate Director at The Sterling Choice, explains,

“We’re committed to providing our staff with a work environment they love and benefits they’d not get anywhere else. We are big advocates of working to live and not living to work. Everyone at The Sterling Choice works very hard and remains focused during work time, therefore everyone needs time off to recharge, refocus, relax and enjoy life.”

Richard goes on to say,

“It’s for this reason that we gave Ben Farrer, one of our top employees, a six-week sabbatical! The sabbatical was a joint decision. Ben had identified that he was mentally fatigued given his long-continued run at recruitment without a lengthy break. We explored what he wanted to achieve from a potential break and concluded that two weeks annual leave wasn’t going to cut it, so we agreed on a far lengthier period of paid leave to do whatever he wanted.”

In this day and age, people don’t just want pay rises to encourage them to work harder, they want to feel valued and to experience more of what life has to offer, whether that’s to volunteer abroad, travel the world, or renovate their home. People value being given the chance to have greater control over their work and their life, to have the opportunity to experience more – To do things they wouldn’t usually get the chance to do.

Offering extended holidays to staff demonstrates their worth to the company, shows trust and encourages other staff members to work to a high standard to receive benefits such as these.

How do sabbaticals work?

Sabbaticals only used to be offered to university professors or researchers, but with employee wellbeing at the forefront of everyone’s mind, more and more companies are beginning to offer them to staff. For example, Deloitte offers two sabbatical programmes, including an unpaid one-month break and a two-to-six-month sabbatical that can be taken to pursue personal or professional growth whereby employees received 40% of their salary.

That said, sabbaticals have no hard and fast rules. They can be as long as you want them to be. You can offer full pay or just a percentage. It really does depend on each company, their current benefits, and working policies.

No matter how you decide to set up your extended holiday policies, understand that by offering this to employees, you’re reducing the burnout that so many employees experience, which will minimise the risk of you losing some of your hardest-working members of staff – A huge benefit to you and your company.

As stated on, “…a survey of 1,000 US workers by the University of Cambridge found that nearly half of all employees were moderately to highly engaged in their work but also exhausted and ready to leave their organisations…” – Surely that’s enough for you to consider offering extra holiday benefits!