Facilities management encompasses all the tasks involved in the daily operations of your building. These management responsibilities, like updating life safety systems or maintaining vendor relationships, are critical to keeping your operations running smoothly.
Work order requests address facilities management issues that arise. However, it’s not uncommon for staff to hesitate before submitting these requests. Whether they’re unfamiliar with the process, feel the request will be ignored, or have another concern entirely, your staff may not be comfortable with placing work orders.
This post will explain the role work orders play in successful CRE facilities management and offer strategies to encourage your staff members to place them.
What Is a Work Order?
A work order is a formally approved description of needed maintenance. The contents of a work order may vary according to your organization’s specific needs, but they typically include the following:
- Task description.
- Name of individual requesting the work order.
- Name of individuals/team completing the work order.
- Needed supplies for the work order.
- Updates on progress or specific questions directed to the person who entered the work order.
- Completion date.
There are several categories of work orders an employee can submit to resolve a specific maintenance need. Here are a few examples:
- A safety work order protects against harm through cleanup or repair, such as picking up after a broken window or repairing a damaged step.
- An emergency work order is opened to prevent loss of life or important assets. Key examples include repairing a gas leak or a sewer line backup.
- A reactive general maintenance work order fixes broken or damaged assets. These could include electrical/plumbing, or HVAC issues that need to be addressed.
Other types of work orders, including preventative and predictive maintenance requests, are pre-scheduled. They address routine tasks that are conducted to prevent future issues. Though these work orders are unlikely to be opened by an employee, they are equally as important to organizational operations.
The Importance of Work Orders to Facilities Management Success
There are many ways your organization can benefit from a staff that is comfortable with submitting work orders. Here are a few you can expect.
- Improved effectiveness of repairs. Maintenance workers can view previous work order requests to obtain necessary context when completing new or additional repairs.
- Increased efficiency of repairs. High priority work order requests can be labeled and handled first for efficient resource allocation.
- Lowered operational costs. Smaller, more frequent maintenance tasks requested via work orders can reduce the likelihood of more expensive repairs in the future.
- History of work completed. The work order system keeps a detailed record of completed work orders and preventative maintenance tasks for compliance or licensing purposes.
5 Strategies That Encourage Staff To Place Work Order Requests
Mitigating your team’s concerns about work order submissions is key to achieving the benefits described above. Leverage the following strategies to help your staff overcome hesitation.
1. Have a Clearly Defined Work Order Submission Process
An easy-to-follow work order submission process ensures staff knows exactly how to place requests. This process can remove common hurdles or excuses to submitting a request.
2. Promote Transparency During the Work Order Submission Process
Staff members should be able to understand why certain requests were prioritized over others, or why certain requests take more time. With transparency staff will feel confident that their work orders will be addressed.
3. Encourage Positive Attitudes Towards Work Orders
A “say yes” attitude towards maintenance encourages staff to submit any request they have, no matter how insignificant they feel it may be. They are less likely to feel their request is a burden and more likely to understand they’re helping the organization.
4. Share the Outcome of Work Order Repairs
Highlight successful results of work order requests that have been submitted by other staff members. These outcomes can reassure staff members that their requests have been heard and will result in real improvements.
5. Implement Intuitive Work Order Software
A quality work order software system is user-friendly, but at the same time can be customized to the specific needs of the customer. An effective work order system provides an organization easy access to reporting on basic factors, such as the number of work orders completed in a defined time period, or by a specific technician, as well as detailed reporting of work done on a specific piece of equipment.
The work order software centralizes all of the data and provides the facilities management team with the information they need to efficiently organize and prioritize work orders, resulting in better time management and quantifiable cost savings.
While it’s normal to be concerned about facilities management issues, it’s important to know they are common in any organization. What matters is that your staff is equipped to ask for help.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work orders and other responsibilities of day-to-day property operations, know that our facilities management team is here to assist you in reaching your goals.
Take the Facilities Management Assessment
Well-executed facilities management not only reduces operational costs and strategically minimizes large long term capital expenditures, but also improves organizational culture.
How well are your facilities managed today?
Our free facilities management assessment is designed to help you determine the health of your facilities management function, including people, process, technology, and strategy. In 10 minutes, you will receive an email summary of your results, along with resources to help you optimize your facilities management approach.