News Extended Time Off – Offering Brewery Employees a Sabbatical

The human condition is designed for wandering and exploration. To expand the mind, horizons, and to collect experiences as we hurdle through life. We are also the only species that pays to live on the planet and as such need employment to keep us stocked with basic necessities and shelter. At times the desires and needs can be in conflict.

In thinking about employment there should always be a level of happiness that exists, a chance for creative sparks to catch flame, and proper rest achieved. To have those means better productivity and likely meaningful growth of a business. It can be easy to get stuck in a rut and day in and day out at the same job, trying to reach goalposts that are constantly moving can cause burnout or leg creativity stagnate.

Maybe it is time to consider adding a sabbatical offering to your company.

Sabbaticals are common in higher education and is essentially an extended period of time off with full pay. In academia it is given to teachers and others once every seven years, traditionally, to allow them to travel, study, follow new pursuits, or work on books.

The idea is to recharge the batteries from day-to-day responsibilities and come back to work with new ideas and a zest for life.

Can it work in the brewing industry?

Absolutely, says Jeff Rice, Professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky.

“Sabbaticals are a great investment for a brewery or any organization in its employees. Paying for employees to take time away from daily work to develop professionally can only help the business as it will benefit from what the employee learns during the sabbatical, says Rice the author of Craft Obsession: The Social Rhetorics of Beer. “If the brewery, in this case, sees the sabbatical as an investment where an employees uses either fully or partially paid time to learn more about a specific aspect of the business, then the brewery realizes it is not giving people time off but time to further their professional development.”

Some breweries, including Modern Times, offered sabbaticals to long-term employees. Ray Daniels of the Cicerone Certification Program took one several years ago. Brewing does not need to follow the same track as academia, as often an extended employee absence puts a lot of pressure on the remaining workers.

These can be three or even six month leaves and can come after a time period that suits the company, be it three or five years. It all depends on the individual company, its size, and needs. Having a sabbatical as part of an employee perk package can also help recruit and retain top talent.
These can and should be different than beer or brewery enrichment trips, a standard practice among larger and older breweries where trips to historical brewing regions overseas are offered as a long-term employment perk.

A sabbatical does not need to revolve around beer, but rather personal enrichment that can have professional benefits.

“I’m sure breweries see it as expensive. Universities sometimes do too,” says Rice. “But they are worth it overall.”

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