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Are women less productive than men or do workplace systems need improving?

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), Jamaica had the highest number of female managers as a percentage of the population in the world in 2015. 

Yet, in 2019, the Jamaica Productivity Centre (JPC) revealed at a workshop hosted in partnership with the Jamaica Employers Federation (JEF) that Jamaican women have fewer role models to demonstrate how to be more productive. 

“It is said that women are led by their emotions and this hinders work relationships. There is a saying that women are more emotional than logical and that in some cases is true,” said Tamar Nelson, acting chief executive officer of the JPC. 

And there are many factors that affect women’s productivity. For example in the agriculture sector, JPC research shows that women have limited access to resources such as credit, cash on hand and land. Strategies offered by the JPC are for the Government to improve the extension services to women and have more women in representational politics to advocate on behalf of other women.

Numerous factors affect the productivity of women, such as access to credit and cash in the agricultural field.

While it may seem that the rise in management means that women are automatically seen as more productive, the focus of the JPC workshop was on the systems that hinder productivity rather than just the gender.

The JPC team took the workshop participants through activities highlighting the Japanese-based 5S system.

1. Sort

The Sort phase of 5S+2S addresses this first crucial issue. Every item in the work area is considered for its utility and placement. Only keep the items deemed absolutely necessary in the work area and remove all non-critical items to a temporary holding area until you decide what you really need, where you are going to relocate it, and what you can throw away.

Everything in the work area must have a purpose and a place.

2. Straighten

After discarding non-essential clutter from the work area, it is necessary to create efficient, clearly identified storage areas for the items that remain on-hand. Determine the best location for each item, considering the most efficient access point for that particular tool or object. There must be a place for everything, and everything must be in its place.

3. Shine

Thoroughly clean the entire work area. This ensures proper care for all of your tools and equipment, as well as setting the expectation for continued cleanliness. Workers take pride in a clean and clutter-free work area; daily cleanliness and upkeep will assist in creating a sense of ownership of the equipment and the facility.

Daily cleanliness assists in creating a sense of ownership of the equipment and facility.

4. Standardize

Decide what the best practices are for your workplace productivity. Allow everyone to participate in the development of these practices; by asking for collaboration from the people who perform these tasks you can identify what works and what doesn’t in your current workflow. Then create standardized procedures and responsibilities that encapsulate these best practices while eliminating problems.

5. Sustain

5S is all about ongoing improvement. Sustaining in 5S is all about ensuring the new process is being followed and continually reviewed for further development. Regular review of the implementation – are the checklists being used, are the work areas being cleaned, is the work flowing in the way we predicted – is at the heart of sustaining 5S + 2S. This also opens the door to identify and improve areas that still need to be streamlined or altered in some way.

That said, Nelson invited business to come to the JPC for a consultation to determine how they can streamline their operations , improving productivity in their respective organisations.