Maximizing efficiency: How to create a flawless work order

Have you ever wondered how an efficient maintenance team manages to cope with their never-ending list of tasks? The secret lies behind their work order processing.

But how do you create a clearly formulated work order? What is the wording and information a quality work order should contain?

If you learn the answers to these questions, the way your team works will change, which will lead to increased productivity and, ultimately, to the success of your maintenance business.

List of contents
Key findings
  • Work orders play a central role in maintenance, providing comprehensive and detailed instructions while enabling more formal, consistent communication, which leads to a reduction in the amount of failures and rises the overall level of team accountability.
  • Effective work order management includes assigning distinct roles and setting up areas of responsibility, completing task by their respective priority level, determined by urgency, and using software.
  • A work order helps to implement the best practices such as preventive and corrective maintenance in facilities management.
  • CMMS Software improves work order management through centralized task monitoring, real-time info updates, enhanced reporting functionality and automation, resulting in higher productivity and more data for making informed decisions.

What is a work order?

In the world of order management, comprehensible work orders are the hidden heroes.

These essential documents contain detailed instructions as well as general information about maintenance tasks, ensuring their efficient completion and proper documentation.

They create a formal structure around work order management, which ensures that all crucial details are conveyed exactly, which reduces the potential for misinterpretation and errors. For this reason alone, we strongly recommend you use work order templates.

Compliance with best work order practices goes beyond mere formalities. It is a fundamental component that guarantees correct tool application and task  execution, preventing unauthorized or undocumented task completion.

Such diligence within all work order related processes enhances consistency, accuracy and accountability in maintenance work, offering significant benefits for the entire maintenance team.

Modern facility management software offers an effective way of maintenance log management, helping to optimize all processes.

Simply implementing specialized asset management software, allows you to automatically record and store all relevant data about maintenance related activities. In addition to this, through using software you enable better tracking, enable setting reminders of upcoming maintenance and servicing tasks and make the generation of reports easy, which creates a transparent overview for your team and your customers.

This leads to an increase of maintenance log accuracy, which minimizes the possibility of mistakes and omissions, contributing to a high safety level of your smoke detectors as well as other vital equipment.

Managing work orders

The work order creation process is like a well-oiled machine that is started by a facility manager accepting a work order and forwarding the task to a technician to complete it.

Although there are manual methods of work order management, work order management software can be used as an example of an alternative, automated method that streamlines the process and improves efficiency.

Clearly defining roles and delegating responsibilities is a task of utmost importance. It helps to avoid unauthorized or even double work to be done, while at the same time reducing the chances of misunderstandings. This is an important part of the order management process, which leads to smooth workflows and efficient tasks completion.

Effective work order management methods involve implementing adequate models for processing numerous requests. Using checklists to minimize potential for human error, which can reduce maintenance quality and lower data accuracy levels, is also very important.

This should become part of your work order

An extensive work order includes:

  • Task description
  • The person initiating the work
  • Time frame or deadline for completion
  • The person responsible for carrying out the task
  • The criteria of work order completion


It is a roadmap that guides the technician or facility manager through the process and provides a clear overview of the tasks completion.

Job description and details

Each work order begins with a description of the task. It is the core of the work order, ensuring clear understanding of the work that needs to be done. A detailed job description contains elements such as:

  • Name of the task
  • Description of the task
  • Responsible personnel
  • Due date
  • Priority
  • Materials and resources
  • Cost estimate
  • Notes and comments.


The instructions in the order description play an important role because they provide detailed steps on how to carry out a specific activity or task. Determining the task is an essential aspect of this process.

Assign responsibility

Assigning responsibilities is critical to organize tasks, monitor the progress, manage resources and add smoothness to your operations.

Defining clear roles and accountability gives each team member a sense of ownership and involvement in the project, contributing to a more efficient and successful workflow.

Timetable and urgency

To create effective work order schedules, you should:

  • Document every order
  • Use automation software
  • Set a list of priorities
  • Outline the scope of the project 
  • Assign deadlines
  • Specify the amount of work and materials required
  • Adhere to safety instructions and respect operator responsibility


This process provides clarity and makes it easier for facility managers and maintenance teams to complete maintenance tasks on time.

Ever considered a digital work order? Our software can help you define responsibilities, manage work step by step, and create documentation automatically, and there’s more!

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Different types of work orders

Just as there are different types of maintenance and servicing tasks, there are also different types of work orders required for servicing and maintenance.

To show you an example, we will demonstrate the work instructions for predictive maintenance, corrective maintenance and emergency processes.

Preventive maintenance tasks focus on routine tasks with the goal of minimizing equipment failures and extending the service lifecycle of assets.

Corrective maintenance orders, on the other hand, deal with problems detected during maintenance tasks and usually involve planned repairs or part replacements.

Emergency orders are created due to unforeseen malfunctions and require immediate action to avoid expensive downtime.

Work orders for preventive maintenance

Preventive maintenance is usually aimed at carrying out routine work to avoid failures and prolong the service life of equipment. A work order for preventive maintenance should include the following:

  • Required resources
  • Instructions
  • Checklists
  • Information on each task


It is important to take all these details into account to ensure efficient and effective completion in accordance to job instructions.

Work order for corrective maintenance

The purpose of corrective maintenance work orders is to correct the issues identified during routine inspections carried out for predictive maintenance purposes, preventing them from becoming serious problems.

This usually includes planned repairs and spare part replacement. By properly managing corrective maintenance work orders, companies can ensure an overall smooth and efficient workflow.

Work order for emergency measures

Emergency operations refer to immediate measures that are taken to rectify unexpected system malfunctions. They guarantee that urgent safety problems are dealt with promptly and that significant damage is avoided by acting quickly through a quick and effective solution.

Various work order templates for specific work order types

Various work order templates are available, each tailored to the specific requirements of different work order types. These templates are designed to meet the unique requirements of every type of work order, ensuring accurate and efficient documentation.

We have created a list of different work order templates in this article.

A work order life cycle in practice

To better understand how work orders work, it is helpful to examine the life cycle of a work order. This life cycle includes creation and approval, implementation and documentation as well as analysis for continuous improvement.

The creation and approval of a work order includes:

  • The recognition of tasks
  • The submission of work requests
  • Receiving work order authorizations
  • Ensuring access to necessary information
  • Automating certain aspects of the process to increase efficiency


After approval, a work order is assigned for execution, which includes setting priority levels, assigning a responsible technician, completion of the task and documenting and storing the results.

Creation and approval

Creating and approving a work order are the first crucial steps in the work order life cycle. This includes identifying maintenance tasks, submitting requests and obtaining work order approvals.

Ensuring access to the necessary information and automating certain aspects of the process increases efficiency.

Completion and documentation

As soon as a work order has been approved, it enters the execution phase. This includes completing the tasks assigned as part of the work order.

Recording the complete results is essential for later reference and efficiency analysis of the work carried out.

Analysis for continuous improvement

Once the work order has been completed, it is time to analyse it. This phase includes:

  • A thorough review of the work order to assess the efficiency of the performed work
  • Identification of deficiencies and opportunities for improvement
  • Support in the development of improvement strategies for future maintenance procedures.

With our calendar, error registration and personnel deployment planning functions, you can efficiently plan and evaluate your facility management work orders.

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Work order creation: 3 time tested tips

Creating effective work orders goes beyond a simple list of tasks. It comprises a series of best practices that optimize the entire work order process.

1. Clarify goals and procedures

When setting job objectives, it is important to consider key elements such as the ability to assign tasks, clear expectations of results, measurable progress and a list of success criteria. Clear procedures in a work order process impact execution by ensuring efficient and accurate task completion and avoiding duplication, unauthorized work and miscommunication.

They also enforce uniform execution, which leads to consistent and standardized results.

2. Prioritization of the work

Prioritizing orders based on the condition of assets is very important, as it ensures that necessary attention and maintenance is received by the assets which are the most critical to your work. This enables prevention of equipment failures, reduction of downtimes and performance optimization of all systems.

3. Use automation to maximize efficiency

The use of automation increases efficiency and simplifies work order processing by reducing manual effort, leading to a raise in overall productivity levels. Work order processes which are suitable for automation include:

  • Centralized data management
  • Automated work orders generation
  • Streamlining operations
  • Increasing productivity  
  • Customer service improvement

Work order management with CMMS

CMMS software has revolutionized work order management methods. A computerized maintenance management system provides a range of tools that streamline work order management, increase productivity and improve operational efficiency.

CMMS facilitates the centralization of task management by providing tools allowing to manage work order related processes more efficiently, allowing companies to monitor their backlog, pending work and compliance.

Centralization leads to improved productivity, as work orders can be quickly created, assigned and recorded in one unified system.

More on this topic:

Centralized task management

Implementing a centralized work order management system within CMMS offers such benefits as:

  • Efficient work order tracking and management
  • Monitoring work orders through managing teams as they progress through their workflow
  • Improved accessibility through mobile software
  • Real-time updates via push notifications

Real-time updates and access

Real-time access and updates allow maintenance technicians to stay informed and to gain access to work order information on the go. This is possible through the use of mobile and cloud technologies, allowing maintenance personnel to create, monitor, execute and evaluate all tasks instantly from any location.

Improved reports and analyses

Improving reporting and analytics with CMMS is proving to be beneficial as data becomes more accessible through digital work orders and automated reporting functionality. This allows companies to effectively analyse performance of maintenance procedures, providing them with data to make informed decisions about their assets and resource allocation.

Compared to traditional CMMS, Wowflow’s solution is specifically tailored to the needs of facility management teams.

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Wowflow's intuitive software for facilities management work orders

Work order software plays a central role in facilities management, as it enables its users to create work order requests, monitor tasks, control their completion and carry out repairs on-time.

Our facilities management software has work order functionality and is equipped with a wide range of functions that significantly improve the management of maintenance tasks.

This includes:

  • Tools for selection of contractors 
  • Automated planning functionality
  • Task monitoring possibilities
  • Documenting task completion 
  • A user-friendly interface with mobile accessibility

Try out our order management software to simplify your facilities management processes.


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In this article, we have explored the world of work orders and examined their role in maintenance, as well as explained the structure of a work order and the different types of work orders. We also looked at the individual phases within every work order and the tools that streamline work order management.

To sum it up, effective work order management is a combination of structured processes, clear communication while using the right tools.

By following the best practices, setting clear goals and procedures, prioritizing work and leveraging automation possibilities, companies can significantly improve their maintenance operations. This leads to higher productivity, less downtime and ultimately to a more efficient and successful business.

Frequently asked questions

The role of work orders in maintenance is to provide detailed instructions and information for tasks to ensure efficient completion, accompanied by proper documentation.

They are crucial when it comes to creating the task, setting deadlines and providing specific instructions for accurate documentation.

The main difference between a purchase order and a work order is that work orders focus on tasks and labor, while purchase orders list the materials and products needed to complete a work order.

This means that a work order can contain a purchase order to procure the necessary parts and items to complete the tasks.

The four main types of work orders are general work orders, preventive maintenance work orders, inspection work orders and emergency work orders.

These types of orders serve different purposes and are used according to specific needs.

A work order should include the title and description of the task, the name of the client/company, the name of the assigned employee and their contact information, the time frame for completion, the priority, and the tools or resources needed to complete the task.

These components are vital for clarity and efficiency in task management.

The main difference between a work order and an invoice is that a work order assigns a service to be completed, while an invoice contains a detailed list of completed services and their costs.

The work order therefore initiates the service, and the invoice documents the completed work and the associated costs.