Office 5S Tips

Some of the benefits off applying 5S to your work area: You should find it easier to get things done, you’ll be more productive, have more time and feel more in control (less stress).

The more you do 5S the better you get at it. Set aside one hour a day and get started.

Learn to ask “Why” (5 times if needed) to get to the root reasons for problems. Then think of possible solutions to eliminate these problems. Try implementing solutions to these problems. An old 10 word two letter saying “If it is to be it is up to me”. However don't work on targets alone...get one of your team members to help.

Think about of your routine and the work you do. Think of the things that cause stress, interruptions, telephone calls, anything using your time, anything that feels like waste. There is at least 40% waste in most operations. Seek out and eliminate this waste.

Also remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of problems come from 20% of the causes (sometimes 80% of the problems come from only 2 or 3% of the causes).

Remember usage determines location and storage-things us use often should be close and easily accessible.

Some ideas that may help your work flow:
Get someone else to look at your work area and make suggestions
Rearrange your furniture-make it easy to get to things you use in your work
Remove things in your work area you don’t use
Get more storage (files, etc) if needed.
Purge files periodically
Do a filing system that works good for your area and keep it up
Use a tickler system at your desk
Use folders in IE and Outlook for better organization

5S Other- Everyday Examples and Some Tips
Silverware holder (a separate place for knives, forks, spoons, etc)
Instructions on inside lid of washing machine
Road markings-visual don’t pass, pass, only one lane pass, etc
On computer printers-markings that show correct way to insert a envelope for printing the address
Buzzer and beepers on dryer and oven-let you know when they are through
Towel holder by sink
Store stuff in clear plastic storage boxes
Garage sell or give to charity clothes you haven’t worn in two years
Use the internet to look up information and organize by folders in favorite places
Use a family calendar and grocery list-post on the refrigerator


Look at trying to make improvements to your work area first. Why? We get immediate personal benefits. We have less stress and more time. With more time we can do more 5S activities.

Look for hidden 5S opportunities (opportunities is a nice way to say problems). Such as paper flow (why do we need paper?), procedures, policies (are they out of date and need to be revised\updated?).

Are there policies and procedures that we should be following and are not? Use 5S tools to help Standardize and Sustain them.

May need to use other tools to work on these problems:
Such as the TOC 5 Step problem solving form

A little input from TOC:

Ely Goldratt, author of the book "The Goal", and originator of the Theory of Constraints training often asks this question of his students, "What are you waiting for?"

You know how to identify waste and substandard performance. You've been trained on how to list the cause of constraints. You also know how to list cures and subordinate others to help.   But, most of all, you know how good it feels to implement improvement and elevate a constraint.    So...why do you wait?

But what if we don't do anything about our constraints. Sure we can rationalize doing nothing.
This type of behavior is called constraint mis-management.
1. Ignore-Pretend the problem doesn't exist.
2. Rationalize-Use insulation layers (excuses such as: it's not our fault; Our problems are different; Yes, but bad things will happen; We can't it's against the policy; We won't get the support,etc,etc,etc) to justify inaction.
3. Dominate-Keep the problem to ourselves, don't include anyone in resolving it.
4. Stagnate-Nothing changes, constraint continues.
5. Fail-Unsolved problems breeds failure.