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Gaining Focus and Perspective: On Sabbatical with Jon Taylor

When is the last time you stepped away from your work for two months? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably never. And you aren’t alone. Nationwide, our workforce manages to take an average of only 17 of their 23 vacation days earned. Thankfully Coloradans are overachievers in this category – averaging nearly 28 days of vacation per year – and KO Partner Jon Taylor understands first-hand why this is good news – for employees and for businesses.

For the past two months, Jon was on paid sabbatical, a perk that the firm instituted about 10 years ago to challenge team members to take time to recharge and refocus. After closing a series of major deals in 2017, Jon and his girlfriend began planning for a two-month European vacation.

For 55 days, the two hopped around Europe to some of their favorite spots, beginning in Paris, they then caught a train to Bordeaux, a bus to San Sebastian, drove through northern Spain and Portugal – staying a few days in each locale to take in the sights, the food and the wine. After a short stay in Lisbon, they hopped on a plane to Italy, where they spent the second half of their trip enjoying the culture and epicurean delights of Rome, Tuscany and Florence before closing things out with a music festival in Barcelona and some time in Athens with Jon’s children followed by picturesque views in Santorini and Crete.

Feeling the travel itch yet? For Jon, that was a bit of the point behind taking his sabbatical.

“We’ve wanted to travel and be able to really dig into some of these amazing parts of Europe,” said Taylor. “It was a great chance to disconnect and change my entire mindset. Waking up in a foreign place each day, where the biggest decisions to be made were where to eat and what to see  was a truly fantastic experience.”

For Jon’s clients and partners at KO, it meant embracing a part of the firm’s culture. When the practice was implemented more than a decade ago, the idea behind KO’s sabbatical program was to allow and encourage team members to be able to take a significant amount of time away from work to reflect and recharge without the need to leave the firm in order to do so.

“I was so grateful for the opportunity to step back during that time because of the commitment of the KO team and a great group of clients,” said Taylor. “I’m happy to be at a firm where I can take these opportunities to refocus and spend some time off the beaten path.”

For Jon, his sabbatical experience truly had the effect that was intended when it was first instituted. While he was gone, he was able to focus on himself, operating under a different mindset on a daily basis, doing things like catching up on a growing reading list, and learning more about the history and culture of the places he visited. Ultimately, it made him more excited to be a part of the KO culture, and recharged to dive back into his work.

“Coming back, I so appreciate the opportunity that this afforded me. I feel like a stronger, more focused attorney after taking this time to grow in different ways.”

For KO, the program is an opportunity to reenergize team members and build strong loyalty and commitment with employees. At the same time, it supports KO’s strong reputation as a progressive employer, and collaborative committed partner to clients – something that supports their ongoing efforts to recruit and retain top-notch legal talent and build long-term client relationships.

“Clients consistently tell us that they appreciate working with our team because we’re passionate and energized about driving great results for their business,” says KO partner Ben Oelsner. “Whether it’s being an active part of Colorado’s outdoor lifestyle or supporting the sabbatical program, our ability to focus on work and also take time to reenergize and recharge is such an important way to help us succeed.”

The sabbatical program at KO is open to all team members, including non-attorney staff, who have worked at the firm for more than 7 years. Learn more about how KO’s culture and approach drives their success here. (

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