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New research shows why a tidy workplace (5S) is likely to be more productive

5S SimulationIn a recent study, people who sat by a messy desk that was cluttered with papers felt more frustrated and weary and took nearly 10% longer to answer questions on a in a color-and-word-matching task, in comparison with those who were seated by a neatly arranged desk.

The researchers placed participants in rooms that were either confined (tight) or a normal office size. The rooms were either cluttered or organised. Participants in all four rooms were asked to answer questions on a computer. The authors found that participants in the organised spaces performed better than those in the cluttered rooms and that room size was less of a factor than environmental disorder.

“Our research has crucial practical implications concerning public health and consumer well-being,” the authors conclude. “Participants in our studies were exposed to disorganised environments set by us. We expect that if an individual creates a messy environment, their surroundings would be more mentally depleting and lead to an even lower sense of personal control.”

I’ve written previously about the value of 5S, the Lean improvement technique, and this research appears to provide further evidence of the importance and benefits of creating a tidy and organised workplace.

Here are more of my 5S links:

Office 5S Checklist

Time for a tidy-up, or time for 5S?

5S Simulation

Applying 5S to your personal computer

Some people won’t change

[Boyoun (Grace) Chae and Rui (Juliet) Zhu. “Environmental Disorder Leads to Self-Regulatory Failure.” Journal of Consumer Research: April 2014.]














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