What Is a Work Request? Definition, Types & Examples

Different work request documents

1. Definition of “Work Request”

A work request is a formal document issued in digital or paper format that identifies and outlines required maintenance work. It can be issued by a customer, employees, or specific departments to initiate the first step in the maintenance process, which is to notify the maintenance department of a potential issue with company assets or equipment.

Several types of work requests can be used to initiate various processes. These requests can be submitted manually or electronically using a Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS), like LLumin’s CMMS+.

2. Main Types of Work Requests

Work requests will vary across different industries and organizational needs, but they can be broadly classified into several main types. They are listed below for further consideration:

  • Tenant Requests: These requests typically involve maintenance issues within rented spaces, like HVAC problems or drywall repairs.
  • Guest Requests: These requests can be initiated by guests or visitors of an establishment who make requests if service is bad or issues arise. These requests might be made anonymously. 
  • Operator Requests: Focus on operational aspects, such as machine malfunctions or fluid leaks.
  • Employee Requests: These requests cover workplace enhancements or repairs, such as office lighting changes or furniture relocation.
  • By Type: Tailored to specific environments like schools, parks, or industrial facilities, addressing unique maintenance needs.
  • By Priority: Categorized into discretionary (non-mandatory upgrades or changes), non-discretionary (essential for safety or compliance), urgent (time-sensitive), and routine or non-routine maintenance tasks.

Each of the above types of work requests represents a unique aspect of maintenance management, from improving workplace conditions to addressing urgent operational needs.

3. Difference Between Work Requests and Work Orders

It can be easy to confuse work requests with work orders. However, they represent different organizational processes. Work requests are the initial request for needed maintenance. This request is not a directive because it cannot initiate maintenance work. It can only notify the maintenance team of an issue; the request can be prioritized, accepted, or denied. 

In contrast, work orders are directives for the maintenance team to act upon. They specify maintenance tasks for the maintenance department to carry out. They are immediately assumed to be approved processes that require assignment and oversight. The main differences between work requests and work orders are listed below for further consideration. 


Work Request

Work Order


Initiates the maintenance process, seeking approval for work.

Authorizes and outlines the execution of approved maintenance tasks.


By anyone noticing a maintenance issue.

By maintenance managers or planners post-approval.

Detail Level

General description of the needed work.

Detailed instructions, including tasks, materials, and guidelines.


Needs approval to proceed.

Represents an approved and actionable task.


Transforms into a work order upon approval.

Marks the completion of the task.

4. Best Practices/Steps for Creating Work Requests

Using the following best practices can help you ensure that your work requests are approved and completed quickly:

  • Clear and Concise Description: Start with a clear title and provide as detailed a description of the request as possible, including exactly what needs to be done, why it is necessary, and the expected outcome of the completed work.
  • Prioritization: Indicate the level of urgency of the work request to help the maintenance team determine the priority level of your request and manage their workloads more effectively. 
  • Supporting Documentation: If applicable, attach images, documents, or links that provide additional context or detail about the work request.
  • Location and Availability: Include the location of the issue or task and your availability if coordination is needed.
  • Review and Submit: Before submitting, review your work request for accuracy and completeness to avoid delays in processing.
  • Follow-Up: Keep track of the request status and be responsive to any follow-up questions or requirements from the responding team. 

Keep Work Requests Running Smoothly With LLumin’s CMMS+

Without the use of work requests, maintenance teams would be overburdened with work orders. Problems with duplicate requests, mismanagement of work orders, and the sheer number of work orders would lead to severe levels of disorganization. Using LLumin’s CMMS+ can help streamline and automate this entire process. 

Work requests are the initial and foundational process of all maintenance strategies. They help facilitate identifying, approving, denying, and executing necessary work orders. When an organization follows best practices and understands the distinction between work requests and work orders, it is easier to improve organizational processes and ensure a safe, productive, and well-maintained work environment.

Getting Started With LLumin

LLumin develops innovative CMMS software to manage and track assets for industrial plants, municipalities, utilities, fleets, and facilities. If you’d like to learn more about the total effective equipment performance KPI, we encourage you to schedule a free demo or contact the experts at LLumin to see how our CMMS+ software can help you reach maximum productivity and efficiency goals.

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