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On your way to becoming effective

Where to search for waste?

Waste is a great starting point and a fundamental concept in Lean Office, to assist in making immediate cost savings and removing unnecessary tasks for employees in an office environment, virtual or not.

In other terms, lean office or not lean office, what you are looking for is to increase your level of effectiveness, either in a virtual environment or not!

If you understand your current tasks and processes, it provides an amazing opportunity to bring teams large or small together to discuss each step in turn, and to identify one or more of the eight wastes.  

An action plan subsequently identifies how to eliminate the waste and assigns responsibility to one or more people to make it happen.  


It's also an effective team building opportunity, by allowing experienced employees to talk in depth about their working role... an area which is often overlooked by managers.  Thoughts and ideas for improvement often go unheard as a result.

Applying the 5S's to become effective

Here are the 8 wastes (DOWNTIME) and some examples of where you can find them in an Office environment:

  1. D Defects

  2. O Overproduction

  3. W Waiting

  4. N non utilised talent

  5. T Transportation

  6. I Inventory

  7. M Motion

  8. E Extra processing


  • Work that contains errors

  • Work that is lacking information and results in rework and delay

  • Additional unnecessary work performed on a process caused by unclear processes

  • Too much sorting

  • Too much repetition


  • Providing a service or information before the customer actually needs or wants it



  • Waiting for people 

  • Waiting for paper

  • Waiting for machines to output

  • Waiting for information

  • Waiting for responses

  • Waiting for approvals

  • Waiting for signatures

  • Waiting for supplies

  • Waiting for meeting room availability

  • Waiting for the next step in the process

  • Waiting for attendees late for meetings


  • Not using an employee's mental and creative skills

  • Not using employees experience and knowledge.

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  • Moving information from place to place

  • Poor office layout

  • Carrying documents from one office to another

  • Too much movement to a printer or copier machine



  • Having more information that the process needs e.g. extra report fields

  • Too much stationary

  • Too many files 

  • Too many email attachments

  • Unnecessary movement of people or parts between processes

  • Too many copies of documents printed

  • A work unit sitting on someone's desk 



  • Too much searching for information

  • Too many mouse clicks to perform one task 


  • Creating more than the customer wants

  • Over checking

  • Too many reviews

  • Copying too many people on emails

  • Replying to All on emails

  • More work or higher quality than is required by the customer

Becoming effective is not happening overnight. If you are unsure where to start, or how to get started, we can help you! Click on the button to book a 30-free minute conversation!

As a Lean consultancy, we are passionate about simplicity and Lean is a mindset that we apply in all our areas of activity. Our Lean Office and Leadership-oriented communication training programs act as a catalyst to help you accelerating your professional skills and abilities to face the future of work.

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