Best Practices for Parks and Recreation Job Scheduling Part 1: The Basics

Best Practices for Parks and Recreation Job Scheduling Part 1: The Basics

Well-maintained parks and recreational facilities don’t happen by accident. Developing a system to ensure all necessary maintenance tasks are completed in a timely manner allows your team to know exactly when and where something needs to get done.

This three-part series will highlight some of the best practices for job and task scheduling. In part 1, we’re going to talk about the basic aspects of planning and job scheduling.

Staying Focused on the Big Picture

Developing a maintenance scheduling system ensures your staff remains on top of both routine and unexpected tasks.

Ideally, your scheduling system should match your workforce with the workload. Workload control is a big part of scheduling. Perfect workload control means no pending work orders and no staff waiting for a maintenance problem to occur.

Work backlogs, as you probably know all too well, are sometimes unavoidable. And a little bit of a backlog isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can give “as needed” work to a crew member or team that has extra time available.

Backlogs become a problem when there is not a system to track a crew’s progress (or lack of) on projects. As work orders keep piling up, workflow control starts breaking down. The big picture goes out of focus. It seems like most scheduling involves dealing with problems that constantly seem to be popping up. Low priority tasks start getting skipped.

Eventually, work orders only get written for the most critical problems and all of them receive top priority. This is when a system has failed. You may have to hire more temporary or permanent workers to get the situation under control.

Here’s the problem... Without a system tracking maintenance scheduling, you may not know how many more crew members you actually need. This can cause even more headaches.

Setting Up A System

A scheduling system is the best way to ensure your crew is operating efficiently. Depending on your setting, the workflow can fluctuate dramatically throughout the year. If you are not tracking scheduling for daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal tasks, the workload control starts to lose balance.

Essential Components of Every Job

With each task or project you assign, you want to have a system in place that determines:

  • The type of work: maintenance, installation, repair, etc.
  • The priority: emergency, routine or standing tasks
  • How it’s done: standard methods, procedures, and equipment for performing a job

Other considerations for assigning tasks include:

  • How often does this need to be done?
  • How many staff are needed?
  • How long does this task generally take?
  • Is there a certain time of day this needs to be done?

Once you have all this information available, it’s easier to formulate a schedule that addresses all tasks needing to be completed..

Perfecting Your System

Traditionally, there are probably as many variations in maintenance scheduling as there are parks departments. Paper filing, computer spreadsheets, or the one guy that just seemed to hold the department together (that’s about to retire).

As we become more connected as professionals, we are finding ways to create better standards and ways of tracking our maintenance scheduling.

Computerized maintenance and work scheduling is becoming more of the norm for parks departments. And it makes sense. A computerized job scheduling system allows you to track all projects on an ongoing basis. Crew supervisors provide continual reports and updates. Crew members know what they need to do and when. You collect data to help redistribute your crews in a more efficient way.

Maintaining job tracking data also allows you to monitor the equipment routinely used for each job. You can come up with instant calculations of the cost of each task in both equipment and employee pay. Furthermore, you can monitor or schedule maintenance for your assets to prevent breakdowns and keep them in the best possible condition.

Most parks departments have varied infrastructures--and different maintenance requirements for each. Indoor facilities are cared for much differently than outdoor ones. The best job scheduling software can do complete infrastructure tracking based on the unique needs of your department and facilities.

Simply put: You get the data and information you need to understand the best way to get the job done.

Keep an eye out for part 2 of this series when we talk about improving job scheduling efficiency.