Pandemic-era sabbatical program could become permanent at Allegiant Private Advisors .
Allegiant Private Advisors President Ben Jones, like company leaders at a variety of companies, began to see employees fraying in early April, in what could only be called the coronavirus grind.
Working from home, with its easy bleed into people’s personal lives, was only one part. Dealing with child-care, elder care, anxious clients and more had cumulatively taken its toll. “This was when our clients needed us the most,” says Jones of the money management firm, based in Sarasota, that oversees more than $700 million in assets. “I knew the team was putting in a lot more time.”
Jones’ solution was simple, what started as a token: to give every employee, including senior-level leaders, one day off a week — a one-day, paid sabbatical. The 15-employee company has three teams of five people, and each teammate took one day a week. Jones, also a firm principal and chief investment officer, gave employees little instruction on how to use the time.
“We had to figure out a way for people to be forced to take a break, get a little breather,” Jones tells Coffee Talk. “My only request was that they do something to help themselves.”
Since there was a little hesitation in the beginning, employees quickly embraced the mini-sabbatical program. Employees have spent time with family and slowed down. Also, in something Jones didn’t ask them to do, some have spent time thinking how to creatively attack problems they could never get to in their daily work. In that way, Jones says the program has allowed employees to work on the business, not in it, and take greater ownership of projects and the process. “We started this out as a temporary project,” Jones says, “and now it’s something I definitely want to continue.”