- Do you feel overwhelmed when you walk into your office?
- Are you confident that you know where everything is even though you feel stressed looking for things?
- Are you as productive as you’d like to be?
Kaizen, a popular Japanese management principle, literally means “good change” or “change for the better.” When everyone practices Kaizen at work staff members are organized, less stressed and more productive. Customers benefit from improved response times, quick resolutions to problems and higher quality products and services.
Kaizen is most often associated with manufacturing and used to reduce production cycles while improving the quality of goods (zero-defect rates). The concept is usually bundled with “lean” manufacturing or Lean Six Sigma which focuses on identifying the current process to get things done and then creating a streamlined approach to achieve better results with less costs and in less time.
How can you apply a Kaizen approach when you work in an office environment? Yes, you can!
In our Work Smarter, Not Harder training program, participants apply Kaizen in the first module to optimize their workspace for a productivity boost. Although the third module focuses on time management, participants recognize they must develop a strong productivity foundation by ensuring their workspaces are designed and maintained for optimal performance.
Participants realize that multitasking actually costs time and quality as evidenced by several scientific studies. Check out: http://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask.aspx and http://rockrunner.blogs.com/rock_runner/2010/06/the-multitasking-myth.html to learn more.
To boost productivity and optimize their workspaces, participants apply the popular Kaizen principle 5 S’s of Housekeeping as their first homework assignment:
- Sort (Seiri)—Separate out all the things that are unnecessary and eliminate them.
- Straighten (Seiton)—Arrange the essential things in order so they can be easily accessed while maintaining a Clear 180º at your desk to increase your concentration and to decrease unnecessary distrations.
- Scrub (Seiso)—Keep machines and working environments clean.
- Systematize (Seiketsu)—Make cleaning and checking a routine practice. Employ self-discipline to be organized daily.
- Standardize( Shitsuke)—Standardize the previous four steps to make the process one that never ends and that can be improved upon. Take time to reflect on how you use your workspace and make changes as needed.
See the difference in Paula’s workspace after completing her homework assignment:
When our participants employ Kaizen practices in their workspaces, they feel organized and less stressed throughout the day, and they accomplish tasks in ¼ the time. Sweet!
Are you ready for the 5 S’s plunge?