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Visual Management: How To Use It In The Workplace

29 January 2024

Visual Management: How To Use It In The Workplace

Visual management helps make your workplace run efficiently, while ensuring health and safety too.


It uses visuals to share critical info when you need it – with simple, clear cues to get your message across.


Visual management makes everything smoother, from how people move around to how they find what they need. It’s the signs and labels that help everyone navigate the space and find stuff without a fuss.


It’s about making the workday safer and getting things done better. So, let’s look at some examples of visual management that could streamline life at work for your staff.


What is visual management, exactly?


Visual management communicates crucial information visually and in real-time throughout your office, or store, and so on.


Rather than relying on long written instructions, it uses labels, signs, markings, information displays, and visual signals to get the message across. 


Think of those road signs, traffic lights, and lane markers – they’re great visual management examples in action. Clear-cut, easy to understand, and instantly actionable.


Did you know, you’re wired to grasp and process info more efficiently when it’s in picture form. Reportedly, your brain can zip through pictures about 60,000 times faster than it does text – plus, almost 90% of what gets sent to your brain is in visual form. 


So, would you prefer to catch the green traffic light with a quick glance or decode a complicated set of written traffic rules? Exactly.


The same principle relates to your workplace. If you implement visual management, you’ll notice it positively impacts productivity, quality, and on-time delivery.


Visual management in your workplace


How does visual management apply to your specific situation? If you work in a retail store or office, workplace safety is vital – visual management is a big deal in this context, too. 


Safety visuals, like bright signs and markings, are essential to cut down on injuries, incidents, and occupational illnesses. This is because they address unsafe conditions and behaviours.


For instance, if you use signs to direct people through your facility, it makes it a whole lot easier for them to navigate and find what they need. 


Warning signs can notify everyone about certain activities, like ‘no-smoking’ or ‘do not enter’ zones. 


Be sure to mark various elements in your workspace in the right way to avoid errors and boost productivity and safety.


How to apply visual management


Think about how everything’s arranged – is it making life easier for your team? Can everyone easily find what they need?


How about marking out areas on your floors, shelves, or walls? It helps everyone know where things go without having to ask all the time.


Kaizen foams or shadow boards are useful for keeping all your bits and pieces in order. Using digital screens can be an excellent way to monitor how things are ticking over.


Make sure the workforce is okay with using these tools and ideas. It’s part of their role to keep them up and running. 


Also, it’s always a good idea to get everyone’s feedback and make sure they’re following the setup properly.


Be aware – visual management is a constant process, so regular checks and improvements are a must.


Benefits of visual management can include:


  • More fluent processes
  • Reduced waste
  • Safer workflows
  • Up-to-date stock
  • More engaged staff


When you put it into practice, visual management has countless plusses.


Visual management types and benefits


Visual management comes in numerous forms, each with its distinctive benefits:




Signs not only show the way but also give a heads-up about what’s happening around, so you’re in the know. 


These might be directional signs in an office building, like ‘exit’ signs with arrows, or ‘toilet’ signs with universally recognised symbols.




Marking helps stop mistakes and keeps things running effortlessly and securely. 


For example, in an office, marking may entail using coloured dots or labels on documents to specify their status—red for urgent, yellow for pending, and green for complete. 


As for the retail space, use floor decals to guide customers through a preferred shopping path.


Or, label shelves for stock rotation or marking employee-only areas to keep customers safe and preserve operational space.


Posters and banners


These reinforce what your business stands for and keep everyone conscious of health and safety


This might be a banner in a workplace cafe encouraging safety. Or, posters reminding you to keep it down in shared spaces, or providing the Wi-Fi password.


And in shops, you might have a sign saying ‘new arrivals’ to grab customers’ attention. 


Work-related instructions


They ensure everyone’s on the same page, cutting slip-ups and ensuring an effortless workflow. 


You might place an easy-to-read checklist underneath the photocopier which walks workers through the do’s and don’ts, so they avoid jamming it. 


In retail, you might place bullet points by the checkout to remind your team how to handle a return or ring up a sale.


Defect detection


This is your eagle eye for quality and helps spot any problems early so you can sustain high standards. 


So, if you’re at work and have a sharp eye for detail – that’s your defect detection in action.


In the office, you might stick up a guide near the printer to catch a misprint before a report goes out.


And in retail, you might have a chart in the stock sorting area with snapshots of the merchandise as it should be.


Safety visuals


These keep your workplace safe and environmentally friendly. We’re talking about those clear signs and markings that help everyone know what’s what and where to be careful. 


Think of those bright signs in the office kitchen saying ‘hot surface’ with a little picture of a steaming pot. They’re there to catch your eye and keep you from grabbing something scalding. 


Or for retail stores, a sign in the backroom reminding you to recycle. A simple heads-up to keep us all safe and support sustainability in retail.


Cleaning and visual management


Cleaning ensures your workspace is clean and hygienic, supporting your health and safety strategy. If an area needs to be cleaned during the day, this can be made clear through visual management.


A simple ‘cleaning in progress’ sign conveys the information in a straightforward way, for example.


Another example – if there’s a spill to clear up, use a ‘caution: slippery floor’ sign to avoid the risk of anyone missing the danger and losing their balance. This sign is also useful for when cleaners have just mopped a hard floor.


Here is our comprehensive office cleaning checklist.


It’s possible to use visual cues showing where cleaners have worked or what products they used. This helps everyone stay on top of the cleanliness standards in your workplace.


Summary: Visual management


Visual management does more than neaten your workplace. It improves how you communicate, making it a safer, more productive place to be. 


Visual management keeps your office or store more orderly, secure, and productive.


So, don’t undervalue the power of those visual cues and displays – they may be the key to completing your management or health and safety strategy.


Keen to see how our cleaning can support your health and safety strategy? Take a look at our website – we have sections dedicated to retail cleaning and office cleaning in London.


Think FM is an experienced commercial cleaning company in London. For more information on our cleaning services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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