KonMari: How Businesses Can Find Joy

When Marie Kondo released “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” in 2011, it became a sell-out hit. Clearly, the KonMari approach – the notion of removing anything from our homes that doesn’t bring us joy – resonates. Kondo is now taking Netflix by storm with her TV show, encouraging more people to get purging. Whether you’ve been swept away by Kondo or not, it’s hard to downplay the strength of a motto: get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy.

So what can businesses learn from the KonMari tidying principles? Thanks to automation, companies are now in a position where they can ‘remove’ processes that don’t bring staff joy. But how can businesses make sure they’re taking the right approach? Here are some KonMari-inspired steps to help ‘declutter’ businesses:

Find Joy in Businesses

Commit to the approach

The first step to the KonMari method is to commit fully. It might feel like a lengthy process, but complete dedication will make the situation better in the long run.

For businesses, that means commitment from everyone. Driven by the leadership team, cultures will need to change to ensure minimal barriers to the approach. Kondo says imagining your ideal lifestyle can drive this motivation, which is helpful for businesses. If staff understand ideal outcomes from automation and what’s expected of them, that’ll support the cultural shift towards a “more joyful” business.

Follow the plan

The KonMari method relies on tidying by category, not location. 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, demonstrating how it’ll 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 doesn’t, we discard it.

In a single organisation, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of business operations that aren’t bringing staff joy. However, just because a process doesn’t bring an employee joy, doesn’t mean it’s not imperative. For example, while security updates and patches might be time-consuming and boring for staff, they are integral to businesses who must keep data secure. And while payroll might seem mundane to the finance team, it needs to happen!

The easiest way to free staff from having to do these business-critical processes while still ensuring they happen is to automate the processes. Following the example above, 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 them joy and allow innovation. That might be developing original ideas, better engaging teams, or winning new business.

Folding and Storing

Kondo argues you should fold and store the items you’re keeping in a way so that you can see them at the same time. Businesses should think of the cloud as their easily visible 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’s something businesses should achieve as well. Now’s the time for businesses to think how they can automate the processes that don’t need staff attention to reap the benefits of a more joyful and engaged workforce.