Where Do You Need to Apply 5S?
The 5s of Good Housekeeping is the foundation of implementing Kaizen (the art of good change). It focuses on eliminating waste in the workplace. Most employees show up for work every day intending to be productive without realizing that the current state of their environments create obstacles that make them counter-productive.
Untidy, cluttered work areas create inefficiencies and stress. The physical obstacles of clutter and psychological imprint of “messiness and uncleanliness” compromises our quality and reduces our effectiveness. That’s why our Work Smarter, Not Harder training program starts off with Module 1: Optimize Your Workspace and the homework assignment is 5S. Note that each assignment starts with the letter “S”:
- Seiri (Sort) Put things back in order. Remove/discard what is not needed. Create space for the essential.
- Seiton (Set) Consider the best physical organization of the workplace. Place things in such a way that they can be easily reached when needed. “A place for everything and everything in its place.”
- Seiso (Shine) Make sure things are clean, safe and ready for use. Take time each day to clean, perform proper maintenance, and establish an ongoing schedule.
- Seiketsu (Standardize) Develop a routine to practice the first 3 Ss so it becomes how you do things. Create a checklist and make sure things don’t go back to the “old way.”
- Shitsuke (Sustain) Practice discipline individually and as a team. Communicate, educate, and recognize teammates. Invest time and create structure on what needs to be done on an ongoing basis, by whom, and when.
Participants return for the second module about a week later and talk about the changes they made and how it’s improved their productivity. Practicing the 5S principle is ongoing through the training and becomes a foundation for productivity.
Similar outcomes experienced include:
- Space redesign resulting in better use of their office and more aesthetic environment
- Being able to find what they need to do their work; saving time and reducing stress
- Reorganization of equipment, supplies, and resources make it easier to access what’s needed, streamline every day processes, and improved efficiency
- Happier state of being, less stressed, feeling creative and more confident
Participants are excited about showing off pictures of their “before” and “after” office spaces. They have implemented the 5S assignment by taking a hard look at their work environment, re-evaluated how they use current space and equipment; identified challenges and what would optimize their space for increased productivity.
Then, they re-positioned, reorganized, and cleaned their work space. They implemented the Clear 180 rule of “few distractions, directed focus on one task, and positive focal points.” They are experiencing lower levels of stress, increased concentration, and higher levels of efficiency by investing in optimizing the work environment.
They are now ready to move on to Module 2: Create an Efficient Workflow System.I hope you apply the 5S of Good Housekeeping to your work space and to your home. Kaizen is not just something you practice at work. It’s the way you live to optimize your resources, relationships, and how you operate.
Wishing you “good change” in all you do!