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Views: How businesses can find joy; KonMari method can bring firms benefits

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Transform your business by removing processes that don't spark joy for your staff

When Japanese organising expert Marie Kondo released The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up in 2011, it became a hit.

The KonMari approach - the notion of removing anything from our homes that does not bring us joy - resonates.

Now that Kondo is taking Netflix by storm with her TV show, encouraging more people to get purging, we have seen many people declutter their spaces and posting on social media with hashtags like #sparkjoy.

It is hard to downplay the strength of the motto: Get rid of anything that does not bring you joy. So what can businesses learn from the KonMari principles?

Thanks to automation, companies are now in a position where they can remove processes that do not bring staff joy.

But how can businesses make sure they are taking the right approach?

The first step to the KonMari method is to commit fully.

For businesses, that means commitment from everyone. Kondo says imagining your ideal lifestyle can drive motivation, which is helpful for businesses.

If workers understand ideal outcomes from automation and what is expected of them, that will support the shift towards a "more joyful" business.

We know the Government is supportive of automation following the recent extension of the Automation Support Package (ASP) by two years - announced in Singapore Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat.

Launched in Budget 2016, ASP is meant to help companies deploy large-scale automation.

The KonMari method relies on tidying by category. For businesses, this means working out what to implement, not where.

All areas of the organisation should get the same level of the tidying approach at the same time, with the same tasks automated. Once this is decided, a clear plan needs to be determined and communicated to everyone, demonstrating how it will be rolled out step-by-step across the whole organisation.

How to decide which tasks to automate? Kondo says we must look at each item and decide whether it brings us joy.

If it does not, we discard it.

In a single organisation, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of business operations that are not bringing staff joy.

However, just because a process does not bring an employee joy, does not mean it is not imperative.

For example, while security updates and patches might be time-consuming and boring, they are integral to businesses.

The easiest way to free staff from having to do business-critical processes while still ensuring they happen is to automate the processes.

Implementing a self-patching and self-updating system could be a way of bringing joy to staff by reducing mundane processes but still aligning with business objectives.

Through automation, staff are free to pursue activities that bring joy and allow innovation.

Kondo argues you should fold and store the items you are keeping in a way so that you can see them all at the same time.

Businesses should think of the cloud as their drawer - you have easy and real-time access to data across the business.

The KonMari method dictates a streamlined approach for a happy home environment, but it is something businesses should achieve as well.

Now is the time for businesses to think how they can automate the processes to reap the benefits of a more joyful and engaged workforce.

The writer is managing director and vice-president of cloud platform at Oracle Singapore