We are big fans of technology because it frees people to do what people were designed to do...be really, really helpful. This is a list of the best free technology tools we can find on the internet for facilities maintenance managers.
Distribution lists cause problems because you never know who has already responded to an email. HelpScout solves this for you. You can reply, see who has replied to an email, create notes about an email, assign emails to other team members, reply with templates, and much more. HelpScout is even powerful enough to act as a work order management tool for small facility maintenance teams. It's free, too. http://www.helpscout.net
If you need access to documents wherever you are, Dropbox is for you. You install it on your computer and your phone, sync the files you need, and have access wherever you are. Even better, you can share files with a link, instead of sending the actual file which saves you data. Use Dropbox to store spec sheets, procedures, plans, order forms, equipment warranty information and more. http://dropbox.com
Slack keeps you from email. It's a messaging app combined with productivity tools. We use Slack for all in-company communication. Need a file from a co-worker? Let them send it in Slack. Need an update? Slack. Need to remember to follow up on a repair? Slack can remind you. Slack will help you stay connected while keeping your inbox lighter. https://slack.com
How do you get the same questions answered from a large amount of people or companies? Survey Monkey can help. The next time you need to get updated information from all of your vendors, use Survey Monkey. Or, if you are hosting a maintenance contractor sourcing event, use Survey Monkey. It's fast, organized, and free to use. https://www.surveymonkey.com
This tool is a full productivity suite online, but it's best app for maintenance managers is Google Sheets. The best maintenance managers are the great and tracking repairs. Google Sheets is a full featured spreadsheet application. Plus, you can allow collaborators to work on the same document or simply let them only view the information. You can even set up a Google Form to accept service requests and log the information in a Google Sheet automatically. https://www.google.com/docs/about/
This is a to do list/reminders app. Every single day, maintenance managers have dozens of items to follow up on. It's hard to keep them all straight. Wunderlist is great because they have an app on every platform, plus online, so you can keep all of your reminders straight no matter what device or computer you are currently using. https://www.wunderlist.com
This is your digital brain, except it's easily searchable. Everyone allows you to store notes, documents, and photos in one place. Then, when you need the information, you search for the key word. It will scan through all of your text (and even handwriting) in documents and photos to help you find what you are looking for. https://www.evernote.com
Duo is FaceTime for every platform. It's available on iPhone and Android making it the perfect way to have video chats with the people who are onsite. The best use for this app is if you need to see site conditions at a location from wherever you are, whether you are on Android or iPhone. https://duo.google.com
Go give these a try. And, if you have an app you can't live without, let us know in the comments.