Breaking Down the Work Order

February 8, 2021 | By: Molly Looman

Work orders are a major component in the operation of a property. Not only do they keep systems running smoothly and generate repairs, but they also are a major factor in tenant satisfaction. The work order is much more than a sheet of paper or notification from a management system. It is one of the components that truly involves three aspects of property management: the building engineer, the property manager, and the tenant. In this article we will review each person’s role and why the work order is a key process for them.

The Property Manager

For a property manager, work orders and the work order system are a record of the building’s operations. It is a way for them to keep track of the workload of building engineers, recognize patterns with certain tenants or units and keep a temperature on the overall health of the building. A property manager will not be on every service call, but looking at the work order management system, it allows them to see a bid’s eye view where they can improve.

Work orders are also a major factor for tenant relations. There are times when a tenant may come to a property manager with issues concerning work orders. It could be a fulfillment issue, a time issue, or a personnel issue. A well-managed work order system allows the property manager to see for themselves the situation the tenant is bringing to them and respond appropriately.

The Tenant

For the tenant, a work order is a ticket to a solution to their problem or issue. It could be a lightbulb that is out or as serious as a leak in the ceiling. It is the tenants’ responsibility to keep track of work orders they have submitted in order to keep an accurate record. That way, if an issue is persistent or, perhaps, slow to be addressed, they can provide proof to a property manager or building engineers.

Tenants should become familiar with their property’s maintenance process and how its operations may affect them. Do they work electronically or computerized? What is the average wait time? Are there different amounts of engineers on weekends vs. weekdays? What qualifies as an emergency for an on-call engineer? Having this knowledge helps tenants manage expectations and create a better relationship between the tenant and the property team.

The Building Engineer

For the building engineer, a work order is often the engine of their work day. The building engineer may be responsible for assigning the work, following-up or performing the job itself. Whether a electronic or a paper-based system, building engineers should be intensely familiar with their work-order system. If one is managing building engineers, they should make sure their team has all the equipment and tools needed to complete standard work orders. This ensures that the staff feels supported and may cut down on un-needed frustration.

Work orders can play a big role in an engineer’s career when it comes to performance reviews or personnel conversations. Work orders allow a building engineer to show proof of hours, proof of work, and proof of tenant satisfaction. This allows a supervisor to see an engineer’s work over a stretch of time. Building engineers should come to those meetings with updated statistics and information concerning work orders they have fulfilled.

For a tenant submitting a work order, it may just seem like one task, but the work order system is what keeps a building operating a at peak performance. All members of the property team should be updated and well-versed in their work order system and communicate constantly to avoid potential issue.


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