You Want to Work Better from Home? Try 5S

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If you work from home, you’re no doubt familiar with the challenges it can bring. There are so many distractions: the dishes, the laundry, walking the dog, can easily throw you off task and decrease your work effectiveness. Defining a different place from where you spend your leisure time can be tricky, depending on how much space you have. And achieving that ever-elusive work-life balance can sometimes seem like a fairy tale, especially with the around-the-clock temptation of logging back in “for just a second” or checking emails. If only there were a way to increase your productivity working from home and cultivate that work-life balance thing you’ve heard of. Well, there is a way.

5S Explained

5S is a system of organizing your workspace for optimal job performance. It comes from the Toyota Production System, or Lean Production, as we know it in the West. There are, as you may have guessed, five steps to follow. The steps are:

  • Sort
  • Set in order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

You can apply the first three steps to your work from home situation. The last two stages are geared more toward teams. For our purposes, let’s go over the first three steps in more detail.

Sort

The first S in 5S, to sort means to go through all of the tools and other items in your workspace and determine which ones are necessary and which you can remove from the space. Questions to ask during this phase include:

  • What do I use this for?
  • What is its purpose?
  • Do I really need this in my workspace?

Set in Order

This phase consists of arranging items in your workspace to make you as efficient as possible. Questions to ask yourself during this phase may be:

  • How often do I use this item?
  • How might I eliminate unnecessary motion/s?
  • Where would this item make the most sense ergonomically?

You must think about the physicality behind the tasks you perform and your movements through space. 

Shine

Here comes the best part: cleaning! Cleaning your workspace involves dusting, sweeping, mopping, and wiping down surfaces. It’s an important part of 5S because cleanliness makes you take ownership of your workspace. Ideally, you clean your space daily, and it becomes a habit.

Benefits of 5S

Implementing 5S at home, you will see increased productivity, an enhanced sense of wellbeing, a safer work environment, and better quality in your work. 5S also supports work-life balance because it establishes boundaries between home and work.

Need Help?

Organizing can be overwhelming. When in doubt, consult a professional about how to get started. A professional can guide you in implementing 5S in your home and move you toward a healthy work-life balance by helping you set boundaries for work time, family time, and breaks. Reach out to us at Structured Space for a complimentary project introductory assessment today. If you’re curious about 5S this Wikipedia article is a great resource.

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