Exploring Europe On My Sabbatical Leave: How Aiimi Valued My Years Of Contribution.
With two weeks off work, where would you travel to? Charlotte Richmond, Head of Employee Engagement & Wellbeing at Aiimi, spent her sabbatical leave exploring four European cities. Read about her unforgettable adventure below.
Why did you want to take a sabbatical?
I rarely take more than a week off at a time. In the past, I was always afraid of taking too much time off. But then Aiimi offered me a 2-week sabbatical leave for reaching my 5th work anniversary; it changed everything. I took that opportunity!
After 12 months of rigorous planning, I’ve just come back from my 2.5 weeks of sabbatical leave - flying off to Europe for an adventure of a lifetime with my better half (who works at Aiimi), and an extremely excited seven-year-old daughter!
Where did you travel to?
During our trip, we explored four European cities: Berlin, Warsaw, Vienna, and Paris, where we experienced the magic of Disney.
One plane, two sleeper trains, several metros, underground trains, numerous trams, too many Ubers, and walking 100 km later, and we were back in the UK. It was a dream come true, and I will always cherish the memories.
What were the highlights of your trip?
One of the most magical things was really being able to shut down from work and just take in my surroundings - living in the moment, fully immersing myself in each place we visited, and every adventure we were lucky enough to experience. Additionally, knowing that my work was covered by the wonderful Aiimi team allowed me to take time off I hadn't realised I needed!
“Having this time gifted to me by Aiimi gave me the opportunity to tick off a few items off my bucket list.” – Charlotte Richmond, Head of Employee Engagement & Wellbeing, Aiimi
When I take a week off, I often feel like I am just getting into the holiday spirit. Before I know it, it’s time to head back to work. But, having this time gifted to me by Aiimi gave me the opportunity to tick off a few items off my bucket list – live in the moment, limit social media (except for a daily post of where we were at that given time) and have a much-needed tech detox.
What impact has the experience had on your working life?
I found that taking time off was beneficial in two ways. Firstly, I had an amazing experience with my family. Secondly, I was genuinely excited to delve back into my work projects. Towards the end of my leave, I found myself looking forward to catching up with all the Aiimi’ers, including the new ones who joined while I was away. Overall, this trip was a fantastic experience that left me feeling rested, appreciated, motivated, and ready to crack on with work!
What are the benefits of a sabbatical?
Before writing this blog about my sabbatical experience, I searched on Google to see what others had to say. Overall, I found that sabbaticals benefit both the employee and the employer.
It's reassuring to know that my experience is typical rather than unusual. The business gains an engaged and motivated employee who is reenergised and prepared to hit the ground running after their sabbatical, while the individual gets time off to do something they have always wanted to do, achieve a personal goal, and feel valued.
Our approach to sabbatical leave.
When Aiimi were doing their annual review of perks and benefits in 2022, our CEO Steve Salvin wanted to thank people for their tenure in the business – that’s when the Aiimi Sabbatical was created!
When an Aiimi’er hits their 5-year work anniversary, they’re gifted with a two-week sabbatical leave. With a 10-year work anniversary they are gifted with four weeks off.
The aim is to use the time off to do something that you wouldn’t normally do - something for yourself. We are starting to see people take their sabbatical leave and truly enjoy life. I chose to interrail for two weeks, whilst others have spent four weeks in Japan, or completed the Mount Toubkal climb last summer.
This year, so many more Aiimi’ers will be taking their sabbatical leave, and I am so excited to hear about what they chose to do with their time. To me, time is the most precious gift we can be given, and I am very grateful to Aiimi for recognising this and making it a perk that we all have access to!
Taking my daughter to four countries over 14 days was an incredible experience, one that we will both remember forever, and I hope we can do it again one day… maybe in 2027 when I hit 10 years at Aiimi 😊
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