What Is a Work Request?

A work request is a formal document submitted to a maintenance team indicating that there are tasks requiring attention and resolution. 

Maintenance and asset management programs depend on documents like work requests. Though work requests and work orders both include crucial information on maintenance tasks, the two types of documents are distinct. 

Work Requests vs. Work Orders

The work request is the initial notification that maintenance is needed, whereas a work order is the formal authorization of the required work. Typically, the submission and acceptance of a work request will initiate the creation of a work order

Both documents serve as steps in the formal process of both identifying and documenting the need for facilities management and maintenance services. Likewise, both documents together provide tools that allow personnel in other parts of the organization to communicate their needs to the maintenance department, prioritize tasks, and track team performance. 

Key elements of an effective work request

An effective work request will typically include these five key elements:

  1. Requestor information: Begin with contact information for the individual or department submitting the request. This opens the channels of communication between the requestor and the maintenance department, providing a pathway for engagement when clarification or further detail is needed.
  2. Description of issue: Provide a clear explanation of the maintenance problem requiring attention. You might report an issue related to malfunctioning or broken equipment, the need for replacement parts, the need for facility clean up, routine landscaping, and more. This gives maintenance an understanding of the scope and scale of the job, as well the information needed to delegate the proper personnel for the task.   
  3. Priority level: Indicate the level of urgency for your request. This gives your maintenance team the ability to prioritize tasks, create a timeline for the completion of work, establish a due date, and ultimately manage both time and distribution of labor with precision. Assigning the appropriate priority level ensures emergency tasks don’t wind up in your maintenance backlog.
  4. Location: Specify the location of the issue identified in your work request. This ensures that your maintenance team wastes no time searching for the issue in question. More easily locating and identifying issues means quicker work completion and minimal downtime.
  5. Budget: Indicate the likely cost of the work including labor, parts, and the required support of any third-party entities. This information is essential for accounting records as well as for receiving approval from management to proceed with requested maintenance activities. 

Together, these elements contribute to a work request that clearly communicates an issue, identifies the maintenance needs created by that issue, and initiates the process of resolving this issue. It sets your maintenance personnel up to complete and assign work orders

4 different types of work requests and work orders

Work requests and work orders differ based on the nature of the work required as well as the broader maintenance strategy employed across the organization. Below are four common varieties: 

  1. Emergency maintenance:  An urgent work order calling for an immediate response to a critical, non-routine issue that may threaten operational stability, safety, and productivity.
  2. Preventive maintenance: A regularly scheduled work order calling for the scheduled maintenance of equipment in order to increase reliability and prevent failure.
  3. Predictive maintenance: A proactive work order that engages in ongoing monitoring in order to collect and analyze data, anticipate equipment failures, and perform maintenance preemptively.
  4. Routine maintenance: A standard work order requesting regular inspections, minor repairs, and non-critical maintenance activities, with the purpose of keeping equipment in optimal condition.

The correct work request and order for your maintenance issue will depend on the nature and urgency of the issue as well as the broader strategy that your organization deploys for maintenance issues. You can use templates to simplify the process of issuing each different type.

Why are work request systems important to maintenance teams?

Work requests perform several important functions that are valuable to your maintenance team’s daily operations and bottom line. An effective work request will:

  • Allow for quick identification and efficient resolution of maintenance issues.
  • Help your maintenance team prioritize tasks and distribute labor based on the relative urgency of an issue and its likely impact on operations.
  • Streamline and formalize communication between the maintenance team and stakeholders across other departments.
  • Ensure that resources and time are correctly allocated to perform and complete the requested maintenance activities as cost effectively as possible.

Work requests are important for creating a maintenance program that is quick, responsive, and efficient, all to the end of reducing equipment failure and downtime.

How to fill out a work request form

A work request may be readily created using a straightforward step-by-step process, one that begins with the emergence or recognition of a maintenance issue. You can typically fill out a work request form by following these five steps. 

Step 1–Identify the issue: Begin by identifying the issue that requires your maintenance team’s attention.

Step 2–Access a request form: Follow the formal channels specific to your organization in order to obtain the appropriate work request form.

Step 3–Fill in the details: Provide the key elements of your work request (i.e. requester information, a clear description of the issue, the priority level of the requested work, the location of the task, and details on the projected budget required for completion of the work).

Step 4–Submit form: Again, using the proper channels specific to your organization, submit work requests to the correct department.

Step 5–Follow up on your order: Monitor the status of your request and be prepared to provide follow-up information or clarification upon request.

Tips for optimizing the work request and work order management workflow

The workflow that governs your submission of work requests and work orders will play a critical role in determining the effectiveness, efficiency, and reliability of your maintenance program. This, in turn, can significantly reduce your risk of prolonged downtime or lost productivity. 

Below are a few helpful tips for optimizing your workflow to ensure the maximum efficiency of your maintenance program:

  • Create a formal, centralized and preferably digitized system for submitting and tracking work requests and orders.
  • Build standardized request form templates that are clear, easy to use, and formatted to provide space for all the necessary information.
  • Establish a system for prioritizing requests based on their urgency and projected impact on operations.
  • Conduct regular and ongoing reviews and updates to your process in order to improve efficiency.

Each of these steps can reduce the risk of error, miscommunication, and unmanaged maintenance needs.

Get help with maintenance transformation

However, this can place a great deal of the burden on your in-house team. An effective Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) can save time and labor for your team while streamlining the management of maintenance activities.

To learn more about CMMS software and how this emergent technology can help optimize maintenance workflow, download our comprehensive guide or schedule a call with a member of our team today!

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