Four principles for a winning work order

Image courtesy Flickr user Paul Kehrer

Work orders for buildings have to balance information with burdening building occupants. Experts from Gridium discuss the four critical aspects of work orders.

Winning Work Orders

The humble work order is a key moment of truth in the relationship between building professionals and the tenants or occupants. If your team’s job is tenant satisfaction, then how you handle a request for service will define the service relationship with that tenant. People don’t remember being comfortable for years, but they do remember the hot call that one day years ago.

When teams design work orders or implement work order management software, they often focus on building management needs, and tend to ignore the users of the system. We’ve all faced a form on the internet that we hate; forms are often too long, and contain pointless or repetitive questions.

Here are four tips to make sure your implementation doesn’t suffer the same fate.

1. Minimize fields on your work order

Web designers have long known that every extra field in a form reduces the completion rate of that form. Want an amazing example? The online travel site Expedia found that the “Company” field on their checkout page cost them $12 million dollars in lost revenue.

Work Order for a BuildingSome teams want work orders to be hard to file, but making your work order form complex and difficult is just white washing the underlying problems. It just means tenants are seething, which is sure to impact your building in the future and doesn’t give you the ability to get ahead of serious problems. Its much better to collect all the issues and decide whether a response is warranted.

Take a look at the example work order form to the left. About a simple as it gets, this contains just five fields, with only two required for form submissions. Only one field requires text entry. So the harried users can get to you with just a one line description and a request type.

Short work order forms are hard — they require your system to know more about timestamps, issue types, users, and spaces. But a good rule of thumb is to never put anything on work order unless you are going to make a decision or take an action from it.

2. Make your work orders mobile friendly

Work Orders on a mobile device should trigger an option to take or insert photosPew research reports that in 2015, 64% of Americans had a smart phone, with the number rising to 85% of young adults. Most surveys of web traffic show that about 40% of sessions are mobile, with Google announcing earlier this year that mobile search traffic had finally surpassed desktop traffic.

Mobile is an even more clear case in buildings. How many building issues are immediately in front of your desk?  If your building occupants can’t file a work order from a mobile device and have to return to a desktop, you’ll experience a reduction in both the rate of issues filed as well as the quality of the issue.

The good news this is quite easy as long as you are working with modern work order software, you should have no problem presenting work orders on any of the modern mobile devices.

3. Add photos to your work orders

A picture is worth a thousand words. Asking a tenant, or even a staff member to describe an issue, especially if they are on a mobile device is burdensome see post. But everyone can take photos! And often photos can help you and your team identify the exact issue. Consider a simple carpet tear. A text based work order will almost always trigger an in-person visit to scope the issue, which is time consuming. With a photo, you can potentially trigger a vendor visit from the comfort of wherever you are that day.

Attaching photos to work orders helps communicate more details about the issue

4. Use email to keep tenants updated about work orders

Congratulations! You implemented a winning work order form and tenants actually used it to file a request. Now stop making them use the system.

That’s right, we want them off the work order system. As a building professional, you need to continue to work the issue, both internally and externally, but the tenant needs to get back to work. You don’t know much about the tenants work, but you can guarantee it involves email. A recent survey shows American workers spent 6.3 hours per day checking email. A good work order system will deliver updates on the issue directly to their email and keep the conversation going.

Work order updates delivered by email

If you agree with these principles for work orders, you might enjoy Tikkit. Request a free demo on the bar today, or read more about how to trial Gridium Tikkit.

You may also be interested in...

Special programs

Demand response and other incentive programs can be confusingly complex, but done right they can yield handsome returns with minimal risk.

Weather normalization

Weather drives day-to-day variation in energy use that obscures underlying trends. Statistical analysis can help you pull a signal from the noise.

Time-of-use rates

Utilities vary prices by time of day and season to encourage buildings to reduce energy use during peak grid load. If you’re not winning the energy efficiency game, you’re losing.