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Room Scheduling
April 8th, 2020

RELATED GUIDE

How Room Scheduling Software Benefits Your Bottom Line

Even when you know you’ve found the right room booking software, you still need to justify the investment to your leadership team.

And that’s not always easy—especially at a time when many companies are pulling back the pursestrings on future purchases.

If you can demonstrate real savings, however, then the answer becomes obvious.

If the cost of room booking software is a few thousand dollars but it keeps you from signing a $100,000 lease for office space you don’t actually need, the decision is a no-brainer.

Need help estimating how much you can save? Follow these guidelines.

How To Estimate Your Savings With Room Booking Software

1. Count Your Conference Rooms

The more conference rooms you have, the more you will potentially save with room scheduling software. That’s because there’s a greater chance you’re experiencing poor utilization in at least some of those rooms. That could be due to several factors, including:

  • Conference rooms that are too small or too large for employees’ needs
  • Conference rooms that aren’t equipped with the right technology
  • Perceived lack of availability, due to inefficient room booking systems (or a lack of any system)
  • Zombie meetings where rooms are reserved but no one shows up
  • Meetings that end early while rooms remain reserved

Even if you only have a dozen conference rooms, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing these issues from time to time. And if you have 50 or more rooms, these problems are multiplied.

2. Estimate Your Conference Room Utilization

According to a recent HOK benchmarking report, the average conference room is only occupied 29% of the time. That means it’s sitting empty for almost three-fourths of the day! Hotels with vacancy rates that low would be out of business. Yet somehow, employees still complain about a lack of available rooms.

Ideally, these numbers should be reversed. Average conference room utilization should be closer to 75-80%. If your numbers are higher than that, you may have a true lack of available space. Most of the time, however, the problem isn’t a lack of space, but poor space utilization.

How do you measure average conference room utilization? Without some type of room reservation system in place, it’s admittedly difficult. You do have a few options, including:

  • Reviewing all calendar reservations made in a typical week (just note that this won’t account for any cancelled reservations or recurring “zombie” reservations)
  • Surveying employees about which rooms they use in a typical week and how often (this self-reported data likely won’t be entirely accurate, but it will at least give you an estimate)
  • Assuming each employee attends three meetings each workday, based on average figures from Verizon’s research on meeting trends (just note that this won’t account for average meeting size, employees who work remotely or employees whose jobs don’t require as many team meetings)

Estimating your average conference room utilization will give you a better idea of how much opportunity exists for improvement. Although the average utilization is less than 30%, you should certainly be striving for better than that.

3. Estimate The Cost Of One Empty Conference Room

Your potential savings with room scheduling software depends on the cost of your real estate. This can really vary depending on your location.

While the average cost of renting office space in Louisville was just $19 per square foot at the beginning of 2020, according to JLL’s Q1 report, it was nearly $85 per square foot in New York City.

Assuming an average of $52 per square foot, we crunched some numbers to give you an example of how to calculate the cost of one empty conference room in your area.

  • Average annual lease rate per square foot: $52
  • Average annual cost of utilities per square foot: $5.20
  • Average size of a large conference room: 420 sq. ft.

13,860 $4,019

$9,841

Total annual cost of renting and maintaining one conference room: $24,024

  • Total cost multiplied by average conference room utilization of 29% = $6,967
  • Total annual waste (total cost minus average utilization) = $17,057

That’s just one conference room. If your organization has 100 rooms, that’s $1.7 million in wasted space each year!

(Sources: JLL 2020 Office Insight, JLL’s 3 30 300 Rule, HOK Benchmarking Report)

The Benefits of Room Scheduling Software In A Post-Pandemic Workplace

If your leadership team was considering investing in new office space prior to the coronavirus pandemic, they might be reconsidering.

Commercial real estate leases in the US dropped by nearly 21% in the first quarter, largely due to the pandemic, according to JLL’s most recent office outlook.

And a recent Gartner survey of 229 HR leaders shows 41% of employees are planning to work remotely at least part of the time when workplaces reopen.

If your workplace leaders aren’t investing in new office space, they’ll need to be laser-focused on making the most of the space they have. Your conference rooms account for a significant portion of your workplace, so improving conference room utilization is one of the best ways to achieve that.

Teem’s room scheduling software helps your organization recapture wasted space in several ways:

  • Making it easier for employees to find available rooms and desks
  • Freeing up rooms that are reserved, but empty
  • Providing valuable insights into how employees are using your space, along with actionable recommendations for improvement

One of the most valuable insights Teem’s software provides is your room recapture rate.

Room recapture rate is the number of minutes employees spent in meeting rooms that were reserved but not occupied. It’s time the room would have otherwise been empty, but is made available again in one of two ways:

  • Requiring employees to check in for meetings (and cancelling the reservation if no one checks in within a certain time frame)
  • Using beacons or sensors to detect occupancy (and cancelling reservations if no activity is detected in the room within a certain time frame)

Along with displaying your room recapture rate (a great indication of your return on investment), Teem’s workplace analytics give you additional insight into:

  • Your average meeting size
  • Your average meeting duration
  • How often meetings are scheduled in advance
  • How often meetings are cancelled

You can use these insights to reconfigure your workplace in a way that maximizes space utilization. For instance, if you notice your average meeting size is only 2-4 people, but the majority of your conference rooms are set up for 12-20, you might want to consider reconfiguring your space.

These insights can also help improve employee productivity.

Considering a typical employee at a large company spends up to an hour each week searching for available desks, conference rooms and colleagues, according to a 2017 Office Worker Survey, that’s a lot of wasted time.

And it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse with more employees choosing to work remotely on a regular basis. In the near future, you might have days where everyone seems to be in the office at once, followed by other days when it seems like almost no one is. You might even decide to close the office entirely one day each week to save utility costs, or move to a four-day workweek, as some companies like Microsoft have already done.

For Microsoft, moving to a four-day workweek actually improved productivity by 40%!

As they spend less time in the office, employees will need to make the most of every moment—and your organization will need to make the most of every conference room.

While your organization might be reluctant to invest in any new solutions right now, it’s time to take a serious look at what your post-pandemic workplace needs to stay profitable and productive

If you’ve decided to hold off on leasing more space, you’ll need a way to make the most of the space you have. Room scheduling software saves you money by improving space utilization and productivity. It also gives you the data you need to plan ahead and make adjustments. The future of work is constantly evolving. The organizations that will thrive in the midst of this uncertainty are those with the most flexibility to adapt.

To learn more about how your organization can recapture space and productivity with room scheduling software, request a demo today.

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