Friday, May 8, 2009

How to get started with 5s in your office - practical tips

Let's assume you decide to move forward with 5s -ing your office, now what. Follow this simple guide:

Start your cleanup by getting rid of “junk bunkers” – those mugs, pencil cups, little
bins and cute boxes where people stash stuff and forget about it.
Next, dispose of empty containers, like old glue bottles. Throw away the “useful” boxes things come in, including CD-ROM boxes, film canisters and mailing tubes. Return duplicate office supplies, such as extra scissors, staplers and notepads, to storage. Other items people think they’ll use, but rarely do, include: last year’s magazines; old calendars and appointment books;
out-of-date stationery, business cards or forms; freebies from seminars and conventions
(next time, just don’t take them); old keys and broken pieces of furniture. Toss it all!

People hold on to all kinds of stuff thinking that they might need it some day. Be ruthless in
your quest to “declutter.” If you don’t use a tool, gadget or accessory, don’t give it valuable
space. If something is broken, even a little broken, pitch it. Get rid of swivel chairs that no
longer swivel, and printers, scanners, fax machines, calculators, recorders and projectors
that either don’t work or seldom get used. Lose the clutter of trophies, souvenirs, wilting
plants, photos, paper clip holders, old eyeglasses, empty binders, candy dishes, ancient
mail, outdated brochures, empty tissue boxes, broken lamps and decorative clocks.

Reroute clothes that have taken up residence at the office, such as golf shoes, raincoats,
extra sweaters and forgotten jackets. You want your work area to be warm and welcoming,
but don’t overdo it with photos, crafts and mementos. Add a personal touch or two, and
then stop.

Now what can you do with the piles of paper stacked high on every surface and weighing
heavily on your mind? To quickly sort through mounds of paper accumulation, follow
this practical guide. You’ll need four boxes, scissors, a stapler, a marker, packing tape and
a garbage can. Label the boxes “Out,” “Route,” “Doubt” and “Sprout.”
Sort through each pile of paper, throwing at least half into the “out” box or garbage can. Paper that found a home in your office, but belongs somewhere else goes into the “route” box.

Anything you’re not sure about should go into the “doubt” box, with the understanding that you
will work on it every day until it is empty. The “sprout” box gets everything that you
want to keep and use.

Computers create their own special clutter. This includes old disks, outdated instruction
manuals, unlabeled CDs, out-of-date hardware, original packaging and outdated
programs. VCR tapes, DVDs and CDs can accumulate and take up room. You might
intend to watch or listen to them, but if the pile gets too high and the contents get too old,
throw them away.

People often hide unwanted, broken, old, ugly or obsolete items in a storage area. Ask
yourself if you are going to need or use each item, and if an item flunks that question,
don’t store it – junk it. However, if something has value, store it properly. That means:

• “Get if off the floor.”
• “Repackage it” when necessary to make it more accessible or stackable.
• “Go for first-class containers.”
• “Mark all sides of each container with the contents.”
• “Make dejunking easy” with a big trashcan.

Besides cluttering up their own work areas, people also tend to clutter the company’s
common areas. Cafeterias and lunchrooms are often depositories for cups, mugs, plastic
containers and paper plates. But the ugliest, nastiest place in any office lunchroom is
inside the communal refrigerator.

Within its doors lie half-eaten sandwiches, almost empty soda bottles, dried up pizza, moldy bread, spoiled yogurt, rotting fruit and rock hard bagels. The company refrigerator should not become an old food graveyard. Take responsibility and clean up your mess. Many companies enforce a weekly cleanup policy for the communal fridge.

The next significant mess magnet is the coffee area. Used spoons, stirrers, napkins, sugar
packets and creamer cartons litter the space around the coffee maker. Go through the
office and collect the half-filled or dirty mugs that can drip, spill and stain your clothes,
carpet and desktop. Spilled drinks cause all kinds of work problems from ruining
documents to killing keyboards. Never set anything down that can spill onto your work
surface or computer.

I hope this has given you some ideas about how to start right on your efforts to 5s your office

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