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Meetings are a universal part of business — a part that's got a bad rap these days, due to poor organization and execution over the years. But they're essential for effective team communication, so it's important to figure out how to make your organization's meetings more efficient and effective. 

Recently, we surveyed nearly 300 IT leaders to find out where they're investing to maximize their workplace technology budget, and what factors are most important when it comes to workplace technology this year. The number one technology being considered? New meeting technology to bridge the gap between virtual and in-person attendees.

Whether your meetings are online, over the phone, in-person, or hybrid, it all starts with having the right processes and conference room technology.

Conference room technology problems affect everyone, from end users to office admins, from department managers to IT staff. You know you've got a problem on your hands if you've heard any of these comments lately:

  • I can't figure out how to book this conference room.
  • What are you guys doing in here? I thought I had this room scheduled?
  • The equipment isn't working — again.
  • The good conference rooms are always unavailable.
If so, you're not alone, especially if you're in an IT role. One survey of IT managers found that 88% of users complain about the equipment in their meeting rooms.

So, what can be improved? Here are a few tips.

3 simple conference room technology solutions

Connect your conference room technology and scheduling displays with company calendars

Not knowing how to book a room or walking into a booked room and finding other employees in there holding their own meeting are two common problems that just shouldn’t happen. And they don’t have to, because they're both completely preventable.

To make it easy for employees to find and book an open conference room, choose conference room technology with a digital meeting scheduling tool that integrates with your company’s shared calendars, like Google and Outlook calendars.

But just making it easier to schedule meetings and reserve rooms in advance isn't enough. Without a way for people to tell at a glance that the room is already reserved, starting just a few minutes from now, for example, you'll keep running into problem number two from the list above. (Around here, we refer to that problem as "conference room squatting.")

Conference room displays that are integrated with your company calendar will help you close that gap between meeting scheduling and visibility, by showing real-time room availability. Not only do the displays automatically update any time someone adds or changes a meeting using Google Calendar, Outlook, or Exchange, they are also sleek and user-friendly, giving your office a tech-forward look and feel.

Easily see the equipment available in conference rooms

Most companies do not invest in installing every type of technology an employee may potentially need in every single conference room. Different rooms usually need different types of equipment. While some conference rooms have built-in videoconferencing tools, other rooms may only be equipped with a phone system.

In order to have the most productive and effective meetings, your employees need a way to know which conference rooms have which resources. With Teem, for example, users are able to search for rooms by their resources (phone, whiteboard, etc) using our browser-based booking display or the Teem mobile app.

That way, when an employee schedules a meeting that requires specific technology — such as videoconferencing capabilities that allow remote attendees to join — they can easily find and book a room they know has the equipment they need.

Promptly find out about any issues with your conference room technology

According to the IT managers survey we mentioned earlier, 69% of presentation teams say they have experienced conference room technology problems and failures when presenting. When that kind of problem does occur, resolving it takes up about 31.5 minutes, on average, of meeting time and it often causes the meeting to overrun its scheduled time. In other words, not only is it inconvenient and frustrating, but it also wastes time and can put everyone's schedule out of wack.

Sitting around waiting for the meeting organizer to get the presentation up and running isn't exactly the most efficient use of meeting attendees' time. On top of that, it puts additional strain on IT departments. According to the survey, an IT manager is asked to fix approximately 450 conference room technology incidents a year.

The worst part is that many of these incidents could have been eliminated if IT had been brought in earlier. Unfortunately, it's all too common for minor conference room technology issues to go unreported until they turn into major problems.

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Conference room technology solutions that allow employees and meeting organizers to report problems with conference room equipment help make the process easier. For instance, with our Work Requests feature, any end-user can use the conference room display to report a problem — whether it's that the Apple TV isn't working, an adaptor is missing, or there's an issue with the audio — so the next person using the conference room doesn’t experience the same problem.

According to one report, 90% of employees experience elevated stress levels and an increased heart rate when they have to deal with troublesome conference room technology. Yet, only 42% of individuals do a "tech rehearsal", or check their meeting room equipment before they hold their meeting.

So do everyone in your office (and their heart rates) a huge favor by making it easy for them to report problems as issues happen, so there's less likelihood that something will be broken when the next meeting rolls around.

New technology for conference rooms after COVID-19

A lot has changed in conference rooms following the pandemic. Room capacity had to be reduced, seats had to be safely distanced, and the opportunity to attend meetings in person has never been more exciting for employees.

New safety measures mean companies are reducing touchpoints and minimizing shared surfaces — which is why having the ability to access conference room technology from the comfort of their own personal device is the ultimate win for those employees who come into the office in the COVID-19 era.

When we conducted our State of Workplace Technology survey this year, we found that 75% of our respondents reported that their workplace had already reopened to some capacity. However, experts agree that most organizations will move forward with a hybrid work model — offering their employees more flexibility in terms of location and schedule.

That's a great perk for employees, but it presents some challenges for workplace leaders — particularly IT teams who have been charged with investing and managing the technology that makes it all possible. That's a big responsibility, but with the right conference room technology, it can be easy for everyone.

When you invest in an intuitive conference room technology that connects with the tools your employees already use, it actually makes life easier for your workforce. Because finding the perfect room for their meeting is simple, there's one less hurdle standing in the way of collaboration.

Plus, when any issues pop up, a ticket can be created in an instant. That's less time wasted and more time spent on the work that matters. And since we're living and working during a time defined by high levels of uncertainty, it's nice to take even a little bit of the anxiety away. 

See the rest of our survey findings, download your free copy of our State of Workplace Technology report.

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