Recently a dear friend visited me and his first impression about my house was “neat”. I politely thanked him and explained because I don’t have much “stuff” in my house. I was not kidding. Due to my previous project-based job nature, I was always on the move – average once every 2 – 3 years for the last 15 years! Hence I don’t have much chance to keep “stuff” and I am quite okay with that.
I practice the same housekeeping habit at my workplace. Within my authority level, I regularly probe and challenge my team to improve existing processes and procedures. I will ask those that prepared, send, received, and hopefully used these reports – what’s the purpose of these processes or procedures, is it effective in achieving its intended objectives, and is it still relevant at this juncture. Surprisingly or not surprisingly, there are many that can’t provide satisfactory answers for these simple questions. Have you done similar probing exercise before? If not, I suggest you give it a try today.
From my experience, a lot of these “stuff” are still in place because no one initiated housekeeping exercise to clean them up. Our staff were told to follow these practices when they first started their job and continued to do so because “that’s how we do things here”. Does this sound familiar?
One thing I know very well – we shall practice abandonment to free up valuable times and resources. As a responsible leader, it is unfair to expect our staff to take on additional tasks without helping them to “make time” through abandoning obsolete processes and practices.
Regular housekeeping will force us to abandon items that we seldom use and make rooms for more important “stuff”. Office housekeeping will help us to free up our valuable time as well as limited resources for continuous improvements, thus allowing us to do more with less.
This writer hopes we will help our staff to achieve work-life balance by asking regular housekeeping questions i.e what is this for, for who, why is it needed, any positive outcome achieved, how can we make these better?