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As the weather on the west coast transitions from the gloomy days of winter to sunshine and blue skies, this is a signal for many of the the annual spring-cleaning ritual.

While for some, this may promote feelings of energetic joy, for many, the prospect of cleaning brings on undeniable dread. But alas, we can turn to the principles of lean to approach this year’s spring-cleaning activities as an opportunity to re-orientate your work-from-home environment and through it, improve your physical and emotional well-being.

Applying 5S

The Five S’s (5S) is a lean approach used often to ensure workplaces are clean, organized, and safe environments that optimize productivity and promote wellness. The principles are easily applicable to the home office and general household and includes:

  1. Sort – Work through each room in the household and eliminate anything that does not belong. This includes disposing (through donations or recycling) unworn clothes, broken electronics and the dusty piles of old files. Of the remaining items, sort between the necessary (belong in the room) and the unnecessary (belong elsewhere).
  2. Set in Order – There is nothing more frustrating than trying to find something that has not been returned to its proper spot. For the items that remain in the space, organize and make them easy to find by marking a designated home for the item – labels, baskets and drawer dividers are some great ways to create organization within a room.
  3. Shine – It is time for some old fashion elbow grease. While attention to cleanliness has been on everyone’s radar this past year, consider cleaning also as an opportunity to inspect. Dust, grime, and foreign substances can hide needed household maintenance and highlight necessary repairs. Uncover wear and tear that can be addressed now to prevent future breakdown and protect against potential accidents.
  4. Standardize – Now that you have sorted, organized, and cleaned your space, you may think that your spring-cleaning efforts are accomplished for another year. But the key to 5S comes in maintaining the rhythm of organization on a consistent basis. A daily or weekly chore list, or even blocking off time in your calendar, can establish the routine needed to ensure you are proactive in your efforts to maintain a safe, clean, and organized home.
  5. Sustaining – Nothing is stronger than habit. How can you re-train yourself to ensure your space remains clean, clutter-free, and optimal for work and living? A checklist listing cleaning projects and equipment inspections (when was the last time you checked your HVAC filters or removed debris from your gutters?) along with established timelines will ensure that your approach to 5S remains ongoing.

This year, rather than viewing spring cleaning as another chore to add to the list, use the 5S approach to improve your household as a productive place to live, work and play.

Need Some Assistance Getting Your Work Space In Order?

Propel has extensive experience installing lean processes and layouts in organizations looking to optimize their work environments. Through a structured and hands-on implementation including coaching teams through 5S events and developing standardized tools to sustain processes, organizations benefit from improved employee morale, reduced costs, increased production agility and an enhanced customer image. Get in touch today to see Propel can help your company get organized.