3 Ways a Break Can Benefit Your Career
April 23 2019 , 0 Comments
So you’ve decided to take a bit of time off work. Maybe you’re eager to go travelling or want to dedicate your time to slightly more philanthropic pursuits. Or maybe you just need a bit of a breather to focus on the passions you’ve put on hold. There are many reasons why you may need to hit the pause button on your career, but does that mean it will be more difficult to go back after your break has finished?
The short answer? No. The long answer? Taking time off has the potential to improve your employability prospects further down the line. The workforce is changing, and employers are doing more to accommodate socially responsible working habits. That means doing their bit to ensure that workforce is happy and healthy. Some companies are even offering sabbaticals as a tool for employee retention, giving their staff paid leave to travel or volunteer.
At the very heart of it, some time away from the office will not only improve your emotional health, but it will allow you the opportunity to learn new skills and gain a broader perspective. And these are the makings of a desirable candidate.
Still not convinced? Here are three ways a career break may benefit you.
It boosts brain power
Think about all the stressors you encounter every day in the office – difficult stakeholders, tight deadlines, challenging budgets. How do you deal with these stresses? Do you face them head on our shut them away?
The fact is, 4 out of 5 adults in the UK feel stressed at least once during the work week, and almost 1 in 10 are stressed out all the time. Just think about how that bleeds into the rest of your life. When your mind is focused on all the anxiety-ridden things that could potentially happen in the office, you have less brain power to put towards creative pursuits, and that impacts productivity.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, a career break promotes well-being by lowering your chances of burnout and negativity. They found that people who took a sabbatical were actually more productive and refreshed when they went back to work, using their brain in a more positive way because they were less bogged down by anxiety and stress.
It gives you a fresh perspective
Let’s take a look at your daily routine. What does that consist of? Wake up. Go to work. Bing a few TV shows. Repeat? We get it, a long day in the office can take quite a bit out of you. But it’s so easy to get stuck in the rut of ‘I don’t have the energy to do anything different’.
A career break allows you the opportunity to replace your regular routine with uncharted experiences. Swap your morning commute with a sunrise over a foreign horizon. Instead of lunch in the office, spend the afternoon people watching in an unfamiliar piazza. Taking a sabbatical allows you the chance to clear your head and reassess ways to improve your quality of life.
If you’ve spent the last few decades (or however many years) in the same place, you’re living in a bit of a bubble. It’s hard to truly understand the world until you’ve seen it first-hand. Volunteer for a cause, live in a new community, learn a language and discover a new culture. Not only will this benefit you personally, but it will make you a more well-rounded employee. Learning to consider different perspectives teaches you to think critically, and this is a useful tool for any stage of your career.
It fuels your desire to do good
Time off doesn’t always have to be about lazy days (although that should be a part of it). If you spent a whole year doing nothing, you’d probably go crazy. Maybe you want to help suffering children in a third world country. Or maybe you’ve always been passionate about animals and want to spend your free time volunteering at a local shelter. Now’s the perfect time to pursue those passions you’ve been putting on the backburner all these years.
According to a study called Creative Disruptions: Sabbaticals for Capacity Building and Leadership Development in the Non-Profit Sector, career breaks can yield huge benefits for people working in the charity sector. And this rings true of anyone interested in working in the charity sector down the line. The study showed that people who took time off returned inspired, with a fresh vision. It not only allowed them to bring new perceptions to their workplace, but it also increases their confidence and improved their relationships with their community. Once you start giving your time to a good cause, it’s hard to go back.
No matter what industry you want to work in, charitable work is a testament to the type of employee you are.
Ultimately, more and more companies are waking to the importance of providing a much-needed break for their employees. A sabbatical isn’t simply a case of resting, but rather a way of recharging and reinvigorating you in a way that can benefit your career in the long-run. So what sort of adventure is out there waiting for you? There’s never been a better time than now.
This content was provided by CharityJob, the largest and most specialised job board for the charity and not-for-profit sector in the UK.