When submitting a PTO request, the hope is to use that time to focus on life outside of work. Whether it’s taking an extended weekend or week-long trip, time away from work is essential to recharging our mind and bodies.
However, the reality is it can be difficult to turn the volume down on that part of our brain which is used to being in “work mode.” It is easy to slip into checking email while on a trip or responding quickly to a team chat. Boundaries can be hard to maintain even if they’re the ones we set with ourselves. As a result, feeling rested and recharged can be hard to achieve.
At Real Chemistry we recognize how hard our employees work, and the importance of a sustained period of time unplugged from the demands of your job. That’s why, in addition to our flex-PTO policy, we also offer a Sabbatical Leave after five (5) years of continuous full-time employment with Real Chemistry. Employees who qualify are eligible for 5 weeks of paid sabbatical—time for them to pursue that hobby they’ve had in the back of their mind, take that once-in-a-lifetime trip, or simply RELAX at home. This is another way we encourage our people to make the world a healthier place – by also allowing them to take the time off and focus on their own rest and recovery.
While five years seemed like a long time when I started, I quickly learned how fast time flies when I was busy learning, growing and contributing to rewarding work. My 5-year anniversary came within sight, and I knew I wanted to take advantage of this time to explore, rest and reflect. For me, this meant traveling solo to Ireland, spending time in nature in Northern Minnesota with family, reading for pleasure, going on extra long walks with my dog and allowing myself to “sleep in” a little later than usual.
What I love most about this amazing perk is that Real Chemistry encourages employees to truly log off and step away from the work. While it took a few days, I found having the room of five whole weeks really did allow me to turn my “work brain” off and focus on other areas of my life that are important to me. As a result, I was able to come back to work with a refreshed perspective and energy to continue great work with my colleagues and clients.
Creating boundaries can be challenging, especially for those that work from home, and some employees need reminders and incentives to take time away for themselves. Here are a few tips to help prepare for an extended PTO or even get the most out of shorter ones:
- Set your team up for success – Before you sign off, factor in plenty of time to compile a comprehensive coverage plan for your team to reference while you’re away. Discuss this live to ensure alignment and give them the opportunity to ask you questions.
- Remove email and chat from your phone – Get rid of the temptation to check in and keep up with what’s happening on your team. Your brain will thank you!
- Flex a new muscle – Is there a skill you’ve been wanting to hone? A book you’ve been wanting to read? A hike you’ve always wanted to climb? Book time to use the mental space you would normally be dedicating to your job to something that fulfills another part of your soul.
- Plan for a gradual return – In today’s work environment, a lot can happen in five weeks. When it’s time to go back to work, block time on your calendar the first week to simply get caught up. Resist the urge to attend every meeting. Trust your team to bring you up to speed on every little detail as needed.
I’m grateful to Real Chemistry for offering employees this fantastic benefit and to my colleagues who stepped in to cover my work while I was away. This time gave me the opportunity to recharge in a unique way and come back with a renewed sense of purpose and drive to continue delivering great work for our clients.
About Real Chemistry
Real Chemistry is a global health innovation company with an alchemic mix of 1,600 people and hundreds of clients and partners working from bench to bedside, making the world a healthier place. Purpose-built by Jim Weiss to address modern healthcare challenges, Real Chemistry is the culmination of 20 years of intentional, fiercely independent, sustained growth. With offices across the United States and Europe, Real Chemistry believes that the way to real, transformative change is through the uncommon combination of talents, disciplines and technologies.
Real Chemistry’s proprietary technology products include Swoop, IPM.ai and the Symplur Suite of social listening, analytics and engagement tools, all housed within Real Chemistry Health Technologies. Tools focused on clinical trial engagement live within Hū, and expert service brands include W2O (integrated communications), 21GRAMS (advertising and medical), Discern (value-based care consulting), and starpower (influencer and entertainment marketing). Integrated intelligence, media and marketing are all within Real Chemistry’s Integrated Marketing and Intelligence Services (IMIS).
Learn more about the Real Chemistry Sabbatical Leave program and other employee benefits on Real Chemistry’s careers page, found here.