Inspired by the KonMari method of tidying up homes and wished there was a workplace version? Ok! Here’s the 5S framework, a Japanese method for creating an organised, clean and efficient workplace.


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SORT (declutter)

Identify the essential and non-essential, and discard whatever that is completely unnecessary. A tip to apply in this stage is to consider how often an item is used. E.g. By constantly reviewing quantity of consumables stored and used in the wards, you can prevent stocking up items which may have been made redundant due to newly established processes. 


SET IN ORDER (organise)
Designate a space for all items in a way that will enable you to quickly and accurately perform required tasks. You will need to take your workflow into consideration. E.g. By placing high usage items in easily accessible areas like shelves located at eye level or corners which you commonly pass by, it allows you to obtain them easily when required.


SHINE (cleaning and inspection)
Basic housekeeping and regular maintenance help to ensure that processes and equipment are functioning at their optimal level. Potential problems can also be nipped before they have a chance to escalate, saving on time and unnecessary workaround. E.g. Blood pressure machines that are constantly calibrated enable healthcare professionals to obtain accurate vital signs to make informed clinical decisions for their patients. 


STANDARDISE (make it consistent)
Build a standard that is easy for everyone to understand and follow. This helps colleagues quickly learn what needs to be done on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is clear on their role, and held up to the same standard. E.g. When it comes to patient care management with a team of healthcare professionals, it is crucial that handovers are done in a standardised manner to ensure that patients receive consistent quality care.


SUSTAIN (keep up the effort)
Most families do a major spring clean once a year, usually around the festive period, which means the house is super clean for a period before mess gradually accumulates again. For an organisation to run at maximum efficiency, it has to maintain a standard of excellence at all time. This calls for strict adherence to systems, regular audits as well as feedback that can help to improve processes at work.

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Bonus tips on things you should “keep” to spark joy at work!


1. Keep a positive attitude
Sometimes, in our daily work, we may face a variety of tasks that do not spark joy. Instead of focusing on the bad, recognise what you have achieved each day. New challenges help us grow and learn about ourselves.


2. Keep your eyes on the prize
You may discover a problem worth solving, which could improve the lives of you and your colleagues at work. Setting actionable goals make them stick better and ensure you are in control. Think about the:
• Area of improvement
• People involved
• Measurable targets
• Duration to achieve your vision

Coincidentally, these are the four components of a good mission statement for a QI project! Try spotting them in this example: “To decrease the average length of stay for patients in Ward Y from 14 days to 8 days within 6 months”.


3. Keep trying
You have made ripples simply by overcoming the inertia to change. It is alright to start with a small pilot initiative and ramp up later to achieve greater impact. That small change may have helped to make the day better for patients, colleagues and yourself.


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