Mechanical Insights

Task Preparation

Dec 3, 2020 8:30:00 AM / by Tate Engineering

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As an entry-level technician or engineer, working in a commercial or industrial setting, you have to juggle a wide range of facility tasks. Things like surveying and repairing mechanical systems, performing regular maintenance on electrical systems, assisting with setup for HVAC and other systems, and many other tasks, may suddenly fall on you.

Superiors will delegate tasks to you, like checking equipment, that they don’t have the time to handle on their own. While these tasks might otherwise be outsourced, you have the opportunity to save the company time and money by completing them. Of course, you probably have a range of other duties to perform as well, and you can’t let them slide when you’re constantly running off to check a drain valve or boiler.

How can you prepare for the many piecemeal facility tasks you’ll be asked to perform without upsetting the regular schedule of surveys, inspections, maintenance, and repairs required to keep the entire mechanical underbelly of an organization operational and largely invisible? With some simple preparation, you can easily integrate unexpected tasks with ongoing job responsibilities. Here are a few tips to prepare for juggling a wide range of ad hoc tasks.

Create a Master Schedule

Managing your time is important in any job, but when you’re part of a team responsible for making sure all of the electrical and mechanical systems in a facility remain operational and perform efficiently, it’s especially critical that you stay on top of ongoing job requirements. The best way to do this is by creating a master schedule that breaks down projects like HVAC maintenance, electrical system surveys, and needed repairs into annual, monthly, weekly, and even daily tasks.

Related: Download our Boiler Maintenance Checklist

Incorporate Windows for Unknown Tasks

Once you have a master schedule in place, you need to plan for some level of flexibility to account for unexpected tasks that may come your way. By setting aside windows of time throughout your workday, you have the opportunity to shift scheduling so that you can manage emergency tasks without totally disrupting your regular schedule. These windows of open time will allow you to pivot as needed to incorporate unexpected tasks or get ahead in preparation for times when additional tasks take longer than expected.

Prioritize Urgency

Understanding the critical nature of assignments, when they need to be completed, and the consequences of failing to complete them by a certain time is the best way to sift through a laundry list of tasks and decide how to prioritize. All things being equal, you can compare your regular duties to unanticipated facility tasks and put them in order by the amount of effort and time they require. Because it’s easy to lose focus over time, it’s best to start with the most difficult or lengthy tasks first and save easier tasks for later in the day, when you may not have the same level of energy and concentration.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

As much as possible, you want to comply with requests from your superiors, but if you’re in the midst of needed maintenance or repairs, don’t be afraid to ask which project takes priority. If you’re overloaded and emergency tasks take on the same level of priority as current projects, the answer may be to bring in outside help to handle the emergency while you continue what you’re working on. Or perhaps the priority of one task can be downgraded for later attention.

Most of the time, you should be able to determine priority on your own, but when the decision is beyond your pay grade, so to speak, you need to feel confident expressing your concerns. The alternative is potentially failing at one or both tasks and having to explain yourself after the fact.

Don’t get caught in a bad situation without a proper response. If you need help with maintenance, repairs, or other tasks at your facility, contact the experts at Tate. We’re always available!

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Tags: Training, Maintenance

Written by Tate Engineering