In 2014, my family relocated from Danville to El Dorado Hills, California, just one year after I decided to shift the focus of Managed Solutions to smart manufacturing endeavors (you can read the entire story starting with “The Adventure Begins”).
During our new home search, much of my work supplies were in storage, which forced me to work more resourcefully. When we did find a house almost a year later, we had so much going on that I didn’t have time to arrange my office space and just began using it “as is.”
Eventually, I got around to my “ultimate office” remake, and it has continued to evolve since. For seating, I’ve tried many different combinations of hammocks, a bean bag chair, and an office chair that reclines far enough to catch a quick nap in. My office now is my best workspace ever. Everything is movable or on wheels. I can work sitting or standing, and I have maker space and a rolling toolbox with a butcher block work surface. I can go from “at my desk” mode, to R&D mode, to maker mode, to solution engineering mode in minutes. I can even roll long-term projects out of the main space.
Recently, I reintroduced the bean bag chair that had been on loan elsewhere. While sitting in that chair, I noticed a completely fresh perspective. Looking around, I could directly see my whiteboard, whereas from my desk, I have to turn to face the whiteboard. With this new view, I mentally reviewed everything on it, which led me to review everything else in a broader sense, mentally.
The perspective from that chair at that moment got me thinking. I spend almost all my time in my office at my desk; luckily, it is a sit/stand desk! The weird thing is, I felt like I was somewhere new. I had a very different perspective on my space. I saw things that really don’t need to be here, and I had shifted into 5S seiri (sort) mode.
I questioned the purpose of everything I looked at. Wow, I didn’t know that was here. This is not really needed here anymore. I never use this. Maybe this should be in the kitchen since it only gets “borrowed.” Man, what a mess. This office needs kaizen badly.
At that moment, I knew I had to share this epiphany with my Five-Minute Gemba readers. I didn’t expect something so basic, just sitting somewhere different, to reinvigorate some lean/5S principles in my workspace.
This week I am encouraging you to introduce a fresh perspective to your workspaces, projects, and practices. Move your chair away from your usual seating position. Look around and see if it inspires improvements to your space. Visualize yourself in a different role in a project you’ve been working on. Does the fresh perspective inspire you to change anything?
Let me know how this exercise goes. I’d also love to hear your feedback if you’ve read books or tried exercises suggested in past Five-Minute Gemba newsletters and found them helpful.
If you found this newsletter useful, please share it with a friend. If someone shared it with you, you can sign up here.
(This newsletter was originally published on October 30, 2020.)
Image courtesy of Bernie Almanzar