How to ‘Marie Kondo’ the Workplace

28th July 2020

When Marie Kondo’s Netflix show first aired, it did not take long to grow in popularity. Today, it’s inspired people of all walks of life to re-examine their living space and their workspace, and find ways to improve it to help create contentment. Find out more about Marie Kondo’s philosophy, and how it can be applied to any workspace with the help of the HR team. 

What is the Marie Kondo Technique? 

Also known as the ‘KonMari’ method, Marie Kondo’s technique involves taking each item you have into consideration and deciding whether it ‘sparks joy.’ Only the best items are saved and anything deemed unimportant gets thrown away. It’s a simple yet useful technique which makes it easier to determine what is clutter and what is not, the more simplistic the better. Using this method, you can easily evaluate what is essential to keep and what is not.  

Benefits of the Marie Kondo Technique at Work 

Using the KonMari method in the workplace will benefit your staff and business because it helps you achieve a clean, organised, and minimalist space. The advantages of this include:  

  • Employee productivity – less clutter means your employees will be more able to concentrate. A study has shown that our surrounding environments effect our emotions and behavior, which include decision-making. Over-cluttered spaces can have negative effects on our anxiety and stress levels leading to less concentration. 
  • Less (financial) loss – an organised space means you’ll lose less office equipment. This could be anything from products to stationery. Staying organised with less clutter means things won’t get lost, and money will therefore be saved in the long run.  
  • Staff satisfaction – the whole point of Marie Kondo’s technique is to help you find happiness by having an uncluttered environment. Minimalism can have a positive effect on mental health because with less distractions you have more clarity, peace, and self-control.  

In the workplace, it is in everyone’s best interest to implement these positive changes. By doing so, the jobs of HR, management and individual employees will become easier. By taking simple steps, Marie Kondo’s technique can easily be applied in any workplace to create an atmosphere of simplicity in which it’s easier to work. 

 

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How HR Can Implement the Marie Kondo Technique 

When you decide to implement the Marie Kondo technique, remember this is something that you should actively encourage all of your employees to get involved with. The best way to start the process is to nominate someone to organise common areas (reception, kitchen, meeting rooms and store cupboards etc.) This person should be someone who is already organized themselves, and keen to encourage their colleagues to follow in their footsteps.  

It would also be useful at this point to share with all your employees the benefits of minimalism, and how the Marie Kondo technique can have a positive impact on mental health. Consider including a study or statistics to show proof of this, and email it to your employees. Or, even better, host a meeting in which you can explain the benefits the KonMari method will have, and offer them an opportunity to ask questions. This may be something that your employees haven’t heard of before, so you need to ensure you’re giving them the motivation to get involved and try it. The HR team should oversee the re-vamp, but inform all staff to organise their own workspaces.   

Some advice on getting started includes: 

  • Take one room at a time 
  • Look at one item at a time 
  • Think about how to store things – shelves, boxes, bags etc. 
  • Use clear labelling – good organisation = easy to find things in the future 
  • Think about what to do with items you want to get rid of (try to donate it)
  • Document your journey with before, during and after photos to see how far you’ve come  

What ‘Sparks Joy’ in the Workplace? 

As the Marie Kondo technique is often only applied to a house, it can be hard to identify which objects to keep and which to get rid of in a workplace. It might not be that every item ‘sparks joy’, but that some items are simply necessary to get a job done. So, instead of asking just ‘does this spark joy’, also ask ‘do we absolutely need this?’ If the answer is yes to either question, the item stays.  

In the workplace, it may also be about finding a home for particular objects to avoid clutter. Minimalism is defined as ‘living with less’ so if you aren’t getting rid of an object, can you find a home for it out of sight to create that clean and tidy looking atmosphere.  

Having a clear workspace also will make it easier to stay on top of cleaning your workspace, and regularly sanitizing your workspace. This will, therefore, help with keeping your desk clean during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is essential if you’re working from home, or back in the workplace.  

The benefits of keeping a clean and organised workspace are endless, not only for productivity and wellbeing but sometimes also for health and safety reasons. Remember that less clutter can mean less objects to cause obstruction and accidents. Learn more about taking wellbeing seriously in the workplace, and about how to guide remote workers when it comes to creating the ideal home working space