Orapi Asia

The 5S of Housekeeping in the Workplace

To have an organised and tidy looking abode, you need to know how to dispose of waste and properly store the items you need in your household. 5S was derived from the Japanese words ‘seiri,’ ‘seiton,’ ‘seiso,’ ‘seiketsu,’ and ‘shisuke’. They can be roughly translated as sort, set in order, (shine and) clean, standardise, and sustain in English. The cornerstone of 5S is that productivity is stagnant in a cluttered and untidy workspace. Junk proves to be an obstacle, and dirt compromises the quality of efficiency. Therefore, to strengthen your inclination to work harder, you must strive to follow the 5S of housekeeping. Keep reading to know how you can follow these practices in your office.


Go through everything you own and throw away whatever you haven’t used in the past month. Archive things you might need, but make your decisions rationally. A good approach would be to keep items that you might need on a daily or a weekly basis. Everything else must be removed. As difficult as it might be to give up items with sentimental value, you shouldn’t allow them to clutter your home and become a stressor in your life.

Set in Order

Mark the items you need with labels, colour code them, mark specific locations for their storage, and make it clear to anyone using them where they should be kept and how they should be organised after being used. 

Shine and Clean

As you pick the items to decide where to store them, give them a quick wipe and check if they are in good condition. Set aside any broken things that can be fixed. If your workspace is dirty, dedicate more time thoroughly cleaning the area. Dirty places can harbour hidden moisture from nearby windows and pipes, spilled water, and even food debris. These moisture sources are commonly associated with mould growth, which can certainly make you sick. So, make sure not to skip step 3 of the 5S’s of housekeeping. 

By following the three steps mentioned above, you will have a visually clean and decluttered workspace, and when your workplace looks better, you will feel more motivated to get things done. There will be more space for you to move around, and you will be able to find hard-to-locate, small items without any hassle. 

The Challenge is to Maintain this New Level of Cleanliness

The first part of the 5S is easy to accomplish. Most of us aren’t bad at organising or cleaning when we dedicate sufficient time. However, the challenge most of us face is maintaining and improving this level of organisation and cleanliness as time progresses. If you let things slip back, you have to restart from scratch. So to sustain your efforts, you should learn how the last two ‘S’s of the 5S of housekeeping come into play.


Think of this new level of cleanliness as the new standard for your workspace. Take photos, print them, and display them in an area visually acceptable to your and others using the same space. If you notice anything out of place, rearrange the items back to their normal positioning. Regularly clean and disinfect the area with suitable products. And if you must, then purchase items that will help you keep things in order, such as a desk dustbin or a microfiber cloth to get rid of dirt and stains.


By meticulously following the first 4 S’s, you can ensure that your efforts don’t go in vain. Eventually, maintaining cleanliness becomes more manageable than it might initially seem—you will know where to return things after using them and become an expert in spotting clutter and its effects on your motivation levels.

Use simple audits to track how you will maintain your 5S baseline on a weekly basis and note the areas in dire need of improvement in the weeks ahead. 

Start afresh if you are a little lost or have fallen behind. Take a few steps back and reanalyse the process to estimate how far back you need to go to get back on track. Sorting and Setting in Order are an integral part of the process, so you might have to redo these steps once in a while to maintain sufficient cleanliness levels. This is the foundation to having a fully-functional and organised workspace, and you must believe in yourself to make it work. 

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