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Boost Your Business By Running A Lean Office

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Over the last ten years, they has been a workplace crisis in the UK, with some of the worst productivity rates in the western world. In order to address this, companies need to stay competitive by making sure they keep up-to-date with the latest productivity techniques.

Lean manufacturing is a process that has revolutionised the industrial sector, and it has many benefits that could cross-over into the office environment.

By introducing a 'lean' system, staff morale can be improved while wastage could be slashed.

Here are some simple methods that might make a big difference to your business results.

Daily Management

The over-riding ethos behind a lean process is the ability to manage projects and tasks on a daily basis. At first this may feel uncomfortable and too intense, but stick with it for the huge benefits it can bring.

A morning briefing or 'huddle' is held to discuss the challenges of yesterday and the priorities for today, as well as to highlight any overnight issues that may have occurred. All staff are invited to contribute ideas and raise any potential problems they face.

Most companies find that after switching to a daily management system, they have a workforce who are much more engaged, aware, and accountable for their own productivity. Managers are also viewed as more informed and approachable.

Task Board

When a lean office system is implemented, one of the main physical features is the new task board. Situated in a highly visible place, it is the hub around which all office tasks will be decided.

Although the idea is a simple one, it can be a highly effective tool for both management and employees. Here are some advantages of choosing this way of working:

• all the workforce are literally 'on the same page' – no communication errors occur

• it gives the impression of something all staff can contribute to - improving morale

• it's a flexible system, allowing for updates that all employees are aware of

• all problems are discussed and encountered head on, which can help reduce unnecessary work expenditure

By using a task board, everybody on the team knows their role and gives updates on their progress. This gives employees an excellent opportunity to show their value to the company.

Inter-day Updates

Once the task board and daily management factors are in place, it is important to set pre-agreed times throughout the day when work-flow updates can occur. This basically involves all staff discussing how their own tasks are progressing.

Regular updates are possibly the most critical factor for reducing work-related wastage. They highlight where staffing and budget priorities need to be placed, and ensure that all deadlines are adhered to, minimising the risk of client frustration.

This ability to switch resources throughout the day ultimately lowers staffing costs – less money will be spent on 'unforeseen' overtime payments, as management are continually aware of the business needs. It also reduces the risk of employee stress, as workloads are sensible and team members are less likely to use sick leave to recover.

Are you tempted to use a lean system in your office? Be aware that commitment is a major factor in ensuring its success. However, once 'being lean' becomes an integral part of company life, you will see how the process can eliminate time spent on tasks with little value – helping you to truly improve your business productivity levels and growth prospects

A morning briefing or 'huddle' is held to discuss the challenges of yesterday and the priorities fortoday, as well as to highlight any overnight issues that may have occurred. All staff are invited tocontribute ideas and raise any potential problems they face.

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