Signs You Might Need a Better Work Management Solution

By: Kathryn Casna

Maintenance management hasn’t changed much in the past few decades. Your team might be maintaining smart locks instead of regular deadbolts, but their basic day-to-day tasks are the same as ever. Maybe your workflow hasn’t changed since the 1990s, and your workers keep chugging along the way they always have.

The problem is, the needs of your residents and workforce have changed.

Today’s renters want better customer service, faster DIY options and more conveniences. Today’s workforce wants less stress, more work-life balance and greater fulfillment.

If you’ve been managing work the same way for years, you might be missing a huge opportunity — and experiencing some of the common problems outlined below. But don’t worry. There’s a solution for them all.

Resident and staff satisfaction are low

Delivering great resident and job experiences can help you hold onto the best people in your community while making it a great place to live and work. Although resident and staff happiness might seem like two separate issues, they’re really two sides of the same coin. No technician likes to deal with frustrated residents or feel like they’re ineffectual at their job, and no resident wants to interact with a stressed-out, flustered technician.

Symptoms of low resident and staff satisfaction

  • High turnover

  • Poor community reviews or survey results

  • Fielding a lot of complaints

Solution: Better communication with maintenance teams

Keeping both sides of a maintenance request happy is much easier when residents and technicians can communicate simply and directly. You can enable that communication with the right technology: a mobile work maintenance app that connects seamlessly with the resident app.

Empower residents to share more information about a maintenance issue up front, right from their resident app. Photos, videos and voice recordings from the resident can help technicians pre-diagnose a problem, allowing them to bring the right tools and supplies to get the job done in just one trip. Those extra details can also help your maintenance manager decide which tech to send to work on that washer/dryer combo — the one with plumbing expertise, or the one with more electrical certifications.

Direct lines of communication between the resident and technician can help the job keep running smoothly. An immediate call allows the technician to talk the resident through damage-mitigation steps, like finding and shutting off a water main to stop a leak. Chat features give technicians a quick way to keep residents in the loop about when they’ll be by to help, how much progress they’re making and whether they’ll need to return with additional parts.

Also consider:

  • Self-help content: Help residents solve minor issues, like unclogging a toilet or changing light bulbs and batteries, on their own.

  • Answer automation : Quickly field questions and calls, day or night, without taxing your staff.

  • Resident app and experience Give residents one place to go for service requests, communication and maintenance announcements.

Resolution times are too long

There are a lot of factors that can extend resolution times, and many can be reduced or eliminated with the right work management technology.

Causes of long resolution times

  • Multiple trips: Technicians spend hours each day returning to the office or supply closets to get information, tools or materials.

  • Multiple project handoffs: Technicians discover they don’t have the skills or experience to complete a job, so they pass it to a teammate.

  • Details fall through the cracks: Technicians forget to share details of solutions they’ve already tried, or residents have to re-describe the problem to additional technicians.

Solution: A mobile maintenance app to boost efficiency

A mobile maintenance app empowers your team to be more efficient. It keeps the details of every work order in one place, so technicians don’t have to return to the office or a centralized board to remember details or pick up the next job.

The app can keep track of each technician’s location, so if an emergency pops up, your maintenance manager can send the nearest tech. You can also group tasks by location. So if several requests come in for Building A, you can send a single tech to spend most of their day there.

Mobile work management apps can also automate assignments based on a technician’s skills, experience and location, so you always send the best person for the job. And if that tech discovers a problem they can’t solve alone, they can tap a co-worker’s expertise via chat, video or voice communications—without pulling anyone off other jobs.

Also consider:

  • Keyless entry : Technicians can access units without checking out or carrying keys.

  • Access control : Keep technicians moving between gates, buildings, offices and maintenance closets.

  • Community Wi-Fi : Technicians can stay connected without relying on a cell signal.

You do more repairs than preventative maintenance

If your team is working at capacity just to keep up with repairs, then you’re probably not doing as much preventative maintenance as you should. And that can cost you big in the long run.

Keeping better track of preventative maintenance needs can keep repairs and emergencies from taking over your team’s time. It can also keep residents happy, because you’ll find issues before they become problems.

Symptoms of preventative/reactive maintenance imbalance

  • Lots of emergency calls: Your team often has to scrap its planned work—or pay a vendor’s emergency prices—due to surprises.

  • Poor asset visibility: Evaluating and tracking preventative tasks takes hours out of your team’s week.

  • Irregular or time-consuming inspections: You can’t remember the last time you did a comprehensive asset or site inspection for maintenance purposes.

Solution: Better asset tracking

Depending on the size of your community, you might have thousands (or even millions) of assets to keep track of, and a spreadsheet isn’t going to cut it. Instead, you need a platform that helps you manage your assets and labor, all in one.

Keep a digital asset library, complete with life expectancies and maintenance schedules, and run regular reports to help you staff for preventative maintenance tasks.

Make sure your solution also gives technicians a way to add tasks on the fly as they move around your community. Did they replace refrigerant for the HVAC in unit 11 during a repair? They can quickly note it in the library using the QR code sticker on the equipment. Did they replace a non-functioning faucet with a new one? They can reset the life expectancy.

Also consider

  • Audit management : Capture a snapshot of your community’s value—including all of its assets.

  • Inspection management : Schedule and automate inspections, conduct due diligence and plan for capital-improvement expenses.

  • Water-leak sensors: Get instant alerts and prevent expensive water damage.

Save time and money with better work management

A better work management solution keeps workers and residents happy. It can free up your front office staff, because they’ll field fewer complaints and battle against fewer negative reviews. Better work management can also improve your NOI by reducing costs incurred by labor inefficiency, neglected assets, and staff and resident turnover.

The best part? A smart work management solution can help take your other proptech investments to the next level. You can get more out of smart access control , smart apartment technology, community Wi-Fi and your resident app.