The concept of a sabbatical goes back millennia, to the ancient practice of giving the fields a year-long break every seven years. This break served to keep the soil fertile and productive during the non-sabbatical years. The concept has, of course, evolved since then to taking time off from work during a professional or academic career, but the results of increased productivity can certainly be the same.
Unlike popular belief that sabbatical leave is for young staff members to scratch that travel itch, studies show that leaders would most value time off.
When asked to rate the most attractive workplace benefits, a 2019 study showed that the opportunity to take sabbaticals climbed in importance as employees got older. It also suggests that, rather than a blanket sabbatical policy, organisations could take a more strategic approach by prioritising leaders at a key point of career transition, or prior to an expected promotion.