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Build a Continuous Improvement Mindset for Your Office

2 minutes, 12 seconds read

Lean processes have helped transform manufacturing environments, but that doesn’t make this philosophy exclusive to manufacturing. On the contrary, you can apply Lean’s continuous improvement methodologies to any workplace. In fact, Lean is helping transform healthcare, improving customer experience in service sectors, and even improving decisions around government spending.

Lean encourages employers to map out incremental changes to improve efficiency, reduce waste, and deliver greater value to customers. If you’re ready to let Lean loose in your office, consider the following three processes.

1. Reduce waste

Don’t think your office environment has waste to trim? Waste comes in many forms. A closer look could prove eye-opening. For example:

  • How much time do you spend looking for information? Reduce that wasted time with a new virtual organization system. Or perhaps you just need to get everyone in the office to use the same system.
  • Are employees losing time to dreaded inbox overload? Maybe you can boost internal efficiency by applying a system for clearing out email clutter. Or you might improve internal efficiency with a collaborative communication platform.
  • Do you have enough assignments to keep employees constantly busy? Or are there occasional lulls? Perhaps you’d be better served by sourcing out certain tasks during busy times to reduce ongoing labor costs.  

Who knows how time is being wasted better than your staff? Encourage your office workers to make suggestions for continuous improvement efforts.

2. Empower your people

Empowered workers are another hallmark of Lean strategies. It’s also a cornerstone of employee engagement in the office. As one Gallup poll shows, low engagement can lead to less productive teams and less profitable companies, among other results. But Lean culture can help. Consider encouraging employees to take on more responsibility, provide input during  decision-making, or ask more questions of managers.

In fact, Lean encourages employees to question managers about the purpose of every assignment. This questioning can help workers to better understand how to provide value and work most efficiently on a task.

3. Apply tools that support continuous improvement

Lean is not a one and done project. It’s an ongoing journey toward constant improvement. The moment a company decides it’s improvement process is complete, they pave the way for a competitor to take the lead. That’s why it’s important to put tools in place that encourage workers to constantly strive to improve. Whether that’s a morning huddle, manned suggestion box or scheduled time to talk PDCA, it’s important to keep improvement always front of mind.

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