In July and August of this 12 months, I had the unimaginable expertise of taking seven weeks off of labor — absolutely paid. I benefited from our beneficiant sabbatical coverage (extra on that beneath) to take a break from work.
It had been a very busy 12 months, and I had two new teammates take part February after which a 3rd in April who all reported to me— so the timing was tight right here to get everybody onboarded and operational earlier than I went on sabbatical. I used to be fairly nervous about taking such an prolonged interval off of labor after simply having introduced on three new teammates. However, in the long run, my being away ended up empowering my teammates to stage up their possession and highlighting processes I didn’t must be concerned in.
Taking time away from work may be daunting, however in my expertise, it may also be immensely worthwhile. It supplied a chance for progress for each my crew and me.
Right here’s extra about sabbaticals at Buffer, how I set issues up whereas I used to be out, and why it ended up figuring out so nicely.
Our sabbatical coverage
Since 2019, Buffer has provided sabbaticals to all teammates who’ve been on the crew for 5 or extra years. Teammates are invited to take a totally paid sabbatical and spend it nevertheless they’d like — engaged on a aspect mission, touring, serving to a non-profit, spending time with household, attaining a life purpose, or one thing else solely.
We provide six weeks of sabbatical for each 5 years at Buffer, plus each further 12 months with out taking a sabbatical provides one other week (maxing out at 12 weeks).
February marked six years at Buffer for me, so I used to be eligible for a seven-week sabbatical. I’m considered one of 22 individuals who have taken sabbaticals from their time at Buffer because the follow was first put into place in 2019.
How I arrange the crew for assist whereas I used to be out
I run the communications and content material crew, comprised of two content material writers (you’ve seen Tami and Umber on the weblog) and one social media supervisor (you’ve seen Mitra in every single place however may bear in mind Instagram and TikTok movies specifically). Then we work with a number of companies as nicely.
Everybody’s sabbatical planning was barely totally different, however for me, I targeted on my three teammates first. Right here’s how they have been supported:
1:1s with one other supervisor
I do weekly 1:1s with every individual, and in my absence, they did bi-weekly 1:1s with one other advertising and marketing supervisor to proceed getting that assist.
Connecting with my supervisor
In some firms, “skip level 1:1s” are fashionable as a approach for teammates to attach with their supervisor’s supervisor. My supervisor is our CEO, Joel, and whereas I used to be away, he did a bunch name with the crew to test in and see how they have been doing. This isn’t fairly a skip stage however the same concept.
Our authentic course of for weblog content material was that the whole lot was being run by me for enhancing. We had peer evaluations instituted as an alternative for all weblog posts in my absence. Social posts aren’t all reviewed, however there are a number of choices for peer evaluations on social posts across the firm when wanted.
New mastermind pairings have been kicked off round this time, and every teammate was paired with a mastermind accomplice. These are enjoyable pairings meant to attach two teammates who don’t usually work collectively to talk about challenges and lend a unique perspective. They evolve so much as the connection deepens. Right here’s extra on how we run masterminds at Buffer.
Passing off factors of contact
In every of my company relationships, there was normally one different one that was already conversant in how we collaborated. In order that individual stepped as much as change into the first level of contact, or else I assigned a number of individuals to be factors of contact so our companions on the company would have choices.
Documentation for everybody
Final however not least, we’ve a extremely nice inner handbook and advertising and marketing wiki on our crew. Over the previous 12 months, I’ve been constructing techniques in order that we usually doc processes and greatest practices in Notion and generally embrace a Loom video.
Earlier than leaving on sabbatical, I usually requested teammates questions like:
- What don’t you realize sufficient about?
- What are you fearful would go mistaken?
- Is there any course of you’re uncertain of?
- Are you assured you possibly can entry the entire data you want?
Then I recorded movies or wrote up documentation for something that got here up.
I had already written down all the opposite documentation round utilizing particular instruments, however I checked that over a number of occasions to make sure it included the whole lot I assumed related.
After many months of setting the whole lot up for achievement, I felt full confidence in my crew. So I set my out-of-office reply and logged out of all of my communications instruments for seven weeks to be fully disconnected from work.
The optimistic advantages of being away for 7 weeks
I used to be anticipating issues to go nicely as a result of I felt everybody had ready, and I knew there was a stable assist system in place, however I used to be stunned at simply how nicely issues went with out me there. (Possibly I ought to go on sabbatical yearly? 😆)
I noticed quite a lot of optimistic advantages.
My crew grew a ton throughout this era
There’s nothing like eradicating the short intestine test with somebody to stage up your decision-making abilities. I heard throughout the board that making selections with out my enter helped construct confidence. I consider this was particularly useful as a result of, as a brand new teammate, the follow of working issues by me was initially constructed into the onboarding. As soon as the behavior is created, it may be difficult to interrupt. This led to every individual taking up extra possession over their space and tasks.
We questioned our processes
Once I returned, one of many questions I requested in our first 1:1 with every individual was what processes we would need to rethink. Ultimately, issues I had been proudly owning that I handed to others briefly ended up generally staying with that individual as a result of the brand new course of made extra sense. For instance, in a single case, it was a brand new main contact for an company we collaborate with, and one other occasion was that peer evaluations ended up being each enjoyable and useful, so we stored these.
We additionally realized there hadn’t been quite a lot of collaboration constructed into the content material calendar earlier than I left. I had been planning the whole lot whereas my teammates have been nonetheless onboarding. Now that everybody was onboarded, we began an editorial assessment the place the content material calendar planning is rather more collaborative.
It surfaced unclear areas
Being away additionally surfaced areas that have been unclear and that weren’t documented. All of them ended up being tiny issues (like selecting the best cowl picture for weblog posts), however nonetheless, it meant there was room for enchancment in communication and documentation round these issues.
In the end, selections have been made with out me resulting in teammates being extra empowered inside their roles and areas, and our crew processes have been improved and felt rather more strong. I couldn’t be happier with all of this!
The place may issues have gone higher?
I questioned, “could things have gone better?” and I feel there’s at all times room for enchancment. However the largest factor was guaranteeing my crew had sufficient connections throughout the corporate. They’re linked to one another and others on our Advertising crew, however for brand spanking new teammates at a distant firm, it may be difficult to really feel linked. With no supervisor there to assist make connections, that may be much more tough. So if I may change one factor, it might be guaranteeing that there have been much more factors of connection between my teammates and different leaders at Buffer.
Over to you
Have you ever taken day off work as a brand new supervisor? How did it go? Or do you’ve any questions on our sabbatical coverage at Buffer? Send us a tweet; we’d like to proceed the dialog!