With offices around the world closed while we hunt for a coronavirus vaccine, millions are working from home for the first time. Adjusting to conference calls from your bedroom can be disorienting, but making small changes to your environment can energise and improve your concentration.
As argued by Meijman & Mulder (2013), "Employees need a sufficient amount of both motivation and ability to perform at their full potential ", a statement that demonstrates support for the argument of micro-breaks. Regardless of work ethic, individuals need a fulfilling work and health balance: micro-breaks of five-minute intervals can positively reinforce this by aiding employees in looking after their mental well being whilst remaining productive and motivated. This work-life balance is particularly of paramount importance when amidst global concerns, such as the pandemic outbreak of COVID-19.
Studies show that taking micro breaks in between work hours enhances productivity. Sitting for prolonged hours at the same place can cause a range of health conditions like back pain, obesity, eye problems and so on. When working from home we are more susceptible to sitting in the same place for a longer time due to limitation of work space along with its comfort value.
Using the Pomodoro technique, which essentially involves taking five minutes breaks every 25 minutes, helps maintain focus and work flow by regulating internal and external interruptions. In addition to that it also helps alleviates the feeling of being stuck in the same place and increases that of accomplishment, much needed in times like these.
Walking around the house or even stretching the muscles of arms and legs helps blood circulation and keeps us physically and mentally active. Turning away from the screen gives our eyes a much required rest as well as helps the mind decompress. This time can also be used by people to check in on children and the elderly and give belly rubs to furry friends by pet owners.
Taking multiple micro breaks while working from home can waste a lot of time due to interaction with distractions. If self-motivation is an issue for an individual going back to work can prove even more difficult for them. It then lessens the work output which can cause additional stress which is an unneeded burden, especially in an already stressful situation.
While the Pomodoro technique may work for some, its structure might be too rigid for others. The pressure of accomplishing the task in 25 minutes can be more distracting than fruitful.