Productivity in the workplace is important to any business, but employees can often find it daunting to tell their boss they’re overwhelmed by their workload and struggling to complete tasks on time. So how can you support your employees with managing their workload?
One method you could implement, that you may not have heard of, is the Pomodoro Technique. This is a timing method used to help employees get a good balance between work completion and their overall wellbeing. We’ve explored what this technique is, and how your employees could benefit from it.
What is the Pomodoro Technique?
According to its creator Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique teaches you to “work with time, rather than struggling against it” and describes it as a “revolutionary time management system” that is “simple to learn, and life-changing to use”. The idea of the pomodoro comes from the classic
tomato-shaped kitchen timer which displays time in 5 minute intervals, allowing users to easily track timeslots.
The technique is based on working in 25 minute time periods, known as a ‘pomodoro’.
Simply put, an employee will set about their work for 25 minutes, solely focussing on one task. Then, at the end of the 25 minutes, they will take a brief non work-related break. Once that five minute break is up, they will continue to work again for 25 minutes. This cycle is repeated until the fourth cycle, after which the employee takes a longer break, up to around 30 minutes – during this time, the brain will have chance to rest before the next round of pomodoros.
The best method to track how many pomodoros you have completed is by creating a table of all your daily tasks, then once 25 minutes has passed, cross off the task you have worked on. At a simple level, this is a timesheet to log where your 25 minute blocks are going.
What are the benefits of the Pomodoro Technique?
First and foremost, a major benefit of the Pomodoro Technique is that it’s relatively inexpensive for an employer to implement. There are a number of apps available that can be installed onto employees’ phones or laptops to help them track their time, or you could buy them a Pomodoro kitchen timer. It’s then just a case of getting your staff on board and encouraging them to use a timer to keep track of their 25 minute blocks.
In terms of wellbeing and work outputs, the following benefits can be achieved with the use of a Pomodoro system:
Improve the quality and quantity of your work
If you were chained to your desk or machine all day, you wouldn’t produce your best work in the long run – so don’t force your employees to be. Taking time away from your desk gives you a better focus and boosts concentration levels, something which can be achieved with the Pomodoro Technique.
Reduces the risk of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
An RSI is the pain felt in muscles, nerves and tendons in the upper body caused by repetitive movement and overuse.1 Safety specialists Arbill ranks repetitive motion injuries, also known as repetitive strain injuries, as one of the top ten most common workplace ailments.2 According to the NHS, taking regular short breaks from long tasks helps relieve the strain on your joints3 – this is the core element of the Pomodoro Technique.
Win the battle against the to-do list
Any employer wants to see their workforce get through its daily to-do lists with minimal hassle, stress or excuses. However, time is often against them and tasks which need completing may slip by the wayside. The Pomodoro’s strict timings will allow your employees to work out how many pomodoros are required for a specific task, meaning the time for each job can be managed better and the to-do list can be efficiently tackled.
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1 NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/repetitive-strain-injury-rsi/
2 Arbill http://www.arbill.com/arbill-safety-blog/bid/202877/Top-10-Most-Common-Workplace-Injuries
3 NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/repetitive-strain-injury-rsi/