Use Standard Work While Working from Home

By Kate Newberg

These are daunting times for millions of people who are out of work. For those of us still employed we are feeling grateful to have a job, stressed about what the future holds, and those feelings are compounded for parents and guardians with children at home. In addition, people working remotely for the first time may feel frustrated and cut off from their normal work routine. Remember to go easy on yourself, and embrace the opportunities to improve!

As Lean practitioners we realize standard work is foundational. As Taiichi Ohno (the father of the Toyota Production System) said, “Where there is no standard, there can be no improvement.” This applies to working from home.

First, establish standard work hours, and try to establish a standard work schedule (e.g. 15-minute breaks every 3 hours and a 30-minute break for lunch). Doing this helps you develop a routine and establish some work-life balance. If you can have a dedicated office space, then make that space your office. Here are a couple of articles on setting up a dedicated workspace:

However, if you live with others and need to share space, set standards for how space will be shared (e.g. Pat gets the kitchen table from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., and Parker gets the kitchen table from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.).This also requires sharing your schedules and being flexible. For more tips on establishing boundaries, check out this article from Fast Company.

Just as you would in the office, focus on clear concise communications, identifying priorities and working on tasks that are tied to those priorities so that you are generating results. Lastly, be kind and flexible to yourself and your co-workers.

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