Workplace Hack: The Japanese 5S Method

Most of us spend the majority of our time at work, so it’s no surprise that our workspace can have a massive effect on us, especially on our mood and productivity.

Personally, I can’t stand a messy workplace. There’s nothing quite like a cluttered desk and a stack of washing up to stifle my productivity.

Ideally, your whole team would pitch together to keep your office clean and tidy but (as you’ve probably experienced), this often becomes more difficult as your company grows.

The 5S method is a workplace organization system that aims to increase productivity by providing a clean, tidy, safe and well organized workspace. While the method has it’s roots in the manufacturing industry, it can easily be applied to office and desk spaces and even in the home.

The 5S method is based around 5 Japanese words.

1. Seiri – Sort

2. Seiton – Set in order

3. Seiso – Shining

4. Seiketsu – Standardise

5. Shitsuke – Sustain

To follow this workplace hack, you will need to organize your office according to the 5S method.

1. Sort – This involves removing any and all unnecessary clutter. Keep only the things you need and throw away anything that is broken or unused. Make sure everything is stored away neatly.

2. Set in order – This step involves making sure every resource is easy to find for anyone who might need it. This aims to save workers the time and energy they’d otherwise lose looking for things. For example, creating a naming process for your files will make it easier for your team to find what they need to in Dropbox.

3. Shine – Make sure that you keep your workspace clean and bright with plenty of natural sunlight.

4. Standardize – Put policies in place to make sure everyone knows how to keep the office in order.

5. Sustain – Make sure all workers are abiding by the system to ensure the office is maintained.

While it might sound extreme, giving the 5S method a shot is sure to change the way you think about your workspace and highlight areas of improvement that you might previously have been unaware of.

How you organize your workspace? Share your experiences in the comments below.

This hack is part of a series of weekly workplace hacks that teaches you about collaboration, productivity and time saving tips. Published every Wednesday.

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