Let’s face it…Those using your parks and facilities have little knowledge or interest about the maintenance required to keep things running smoothly and looking great. Users just want the area available and in good condition so they can enjoy their experience.
The only time a user even considers maintenance work is when an area is in an unacceptable condition or maintenance crews distract from their experience.
Scheduling maintenance work so it doesn’t interfere with the user experience is no small task. The larger your department, the more moving parts you need to manage so users enjoy their time at your facilities without ever thinking about maintenance.
Management’s Role in Minimizing User Conflict
How can you make sure all maintenance work is completed without affecting the user experience?
Planning and Scheduling
Generally, routine maintenance needs to be scheduled at nonpeak use periods. Mowing, preventive maintenance, and refuse collection can be done early in the morning or on less popular days. A facility can get a deep clean or systems inspection after it closes for the evening.
Scheduling maintenance also depends on knowing when people tend to use a facility most. You must know when programs, special events, and other activities cause a spike in usage. If a special event requires additional set up or maintenance, you want to be sure your crew is ready to make it happen.
Also, awareness of how long maintenance tasks take and when your workforce is available allows you to shift around schedules when necessary.
Understanding the Unexpected Will Happen
In the perfect world, we can compartmentalize maintenance work and the user experience. There’s a set time for maintenance AND for those to enjoy our facilities, programs, and special events.
Unfortunately, several variables make compartmentalizing challenging including:
- Weather conditions
- Daily and seasonal operations of programs
- Preparation of specialized facilities
- Hours of operation
- Types of available programs
- Abilities, availability, and training of maintenance personnel
- Funding for maintenance
- Restricting circumstances due to health/safety protocols
After all, a special event gets rescheduled, two crew members call off, and one of the vehicles breaks down--all on the same day--can throw off even the most careful scheduling.
How can you rebound when the unexpected occurs?
Communication Among Departments
Close coordination with those scheduling park and facility usage is essential. You can’t assume those scheduling programs have the maintenance department’s best interest in mind--and vice versa.
Rather than developing an “us against them” mindset, clear communication allows everyone to bridge a gap and focus on serving the most useful asset--the people who pay for the facilities and make maintenance jobs possible and necessary.
All interested parties must know when an event gets rescheduled or an emergency maintenance project needs to be addressed. Adjustments made thanks to timely communication help make a department appear more proactive and professional.
Ideally, your users will never even notice when a scheduling conflict occurs. They simply enjoy their experience in a well-maintained area.
Setting Up an Effective System
One of the best ways to plan and adjust maintenance schedules involves having a central hub where all managers and crew supervisors can communicate their particular needs for a park and facility.
Many parks and recreation departments are turning to software that helps schedule maintenance around programming. When set up with your particular department’s needs in mind, a postponed event or missed maintenance job is easy to track and be rescheduled.
Also, software designed specifically for park and recreation maintenance departments allows a supervisor to know how long a maintenance task generally takes, when additional tasks need to be scheduled, and how it may affect the overall workflow.
If your maintenance software has the capability to access facility scheduling information directly from your registration system, it can facilitate the adjustment process even further.
Instead of scrambling to get things right, you are always aware and on top of any scheduling issues that may affect the users. And you have a quick, easy way to communicate these changes to your crew.