Be honest: How many steps are involved in conference room scheduling at your organization?
If it takes more than a minute, you’re doing it wrong.
Unfortunately, it’s taking too long for too many organizations. And the larger the organization, the more difficult conference room scheduling can be.
Four in 10 employees at companies with 500 or more people reported spending an hour each week searching for available desks, conference rooms and colleagues, according to a study by global indoor positioning leader Senion.
That’s about 12 minutes each day, which adds up to one full day per employee each year.
Meanwhile, your employees are becoming accustomed to scheduling virtual meetings simply by sharing a link. When they come into the office, they expect conference room scheduling to be a lot easier than it is now.
Now is the time to remove any obstacles that are making it more difficult than it needs to be. Here are five steps that will simplify conference room booking for everyone, once and for all.
When it comes to conference room scheduling software, you have plenty of options. Calendar apps and free room scheduling solutions may work just fine for a small office with just a few rooms and no plans to grow, but for a growing organization, they leave a lot to be desired.
Some of these solutions have loopholes that allow rooms to be double-booked. They also make it difficult for your workforce to see which rooms are actually available, especially if they’re moving from one meeting to the next.
If the only way for employees to find available rooms is to go back to their desk and log in to their email, you’re causing them unnecessary frustration. You’re also taking away valuable time they can’t afford to lose.
The best conference room scheduling software empowers employees, making it easy for them to find available rooms and reserve them anywhere. It also makes it easy for IT professionals and workplace leaders to see which rooms are actually being used. They can use this real-time data to optimize the workplace in many ways.
For instance, they can:
To choose the best one, start by looking for a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that uses a subscription-based model. This eliminates the need for additional hardware, maintenance fees and expensive updates. It also allows you to add more users as you need them, ensuring your workplace will never outgrow your room scheduling system.
Rather than replacing the calendar apps your workplace already uses, look for room scheduling software that integrates seamlessly with them. This will make it easier for you to implement and increase user adoption rates.
Make sure you choose a solution that not only works with the technology you use now, but also any technology you may be adding in the near future. That includes space management software and IoT sensors.
Room scheduling displays make it even easier for employees to find available rooms. Once you have your software in place, you can place any tablet or device outside your conference rooms to display it.
These displays allow employees to immediately see whether a room is available as they’re walking by. If it’s free, they can reserve it with a single tap. They can also see the room’s capacity and what equipment it includes. This can help them decide if the room will meet their needs, whether they are hosting an “all-hands-on-deck” meeting that includes remote participants or just having a quick discussion with a few people in the office.
If the room is booked, they can see when it will be available again.
Using room scheduling displays helps your organization make the most of every room. You can set them up to require employees to check in as they enter their meeting. If no one checks in within a certain period of time, the room becomes available again. This encourages employees to arrive on time and eliminates “ghost” meetings where a room is reserved but not actually in use.
Employees can also use conference room scheduling displays to:
Meanwhile, you can use the displays in other ways, too. For instance, you can
make announcements that will appear on all panels, such as traffic or weather alerts. Rather than bombarding your workforce with yet another email they might not see, you can meet them where they are with the essential information they need to get through their day.
Like room panels, mobile apps take scheduling off your shoulders and put it at your employees’ fingertips. With a room scheduling app, employees can search for rooms by availability, capacity, amenities or location. They can reserve rooms, receive automated reminders and check-in when it’s time for their meeting.
In addition to booking meeting rooms, employees can use the app to reserve desks or huddle spaces. They can also notify meeting attendees when they’re running late.
At an organization with multiple floors or buildings, it’s easy for employees to get conference rooms confused. It can also be difficult to find people, especially if your workplace doesn’t have assigned seats.
With wayfinding signage, anyone can find rooms, people and other important places right from your lobby. This is particularly helpful if you have employees who aren’t usually in the office or visitors who are unfamiliar with it.
If one of your colleagues is visiting from another office and the person they are coming to see is running late, they can find an available workstation and get right to work, rather than waiting in the lobby for half an hour. Your colleague can also find other people they have been working with remotely and finally introduce themselves in person.
With any change, people tend to overestimate what they’re giving up and underestimate what they’ll gain. When you’re changing the way something has always been done, your workforce will have some questions—and probably some concerns, too.
If you previously had an administrator who controlled the room reservation process, that person might be worried about giving up some level of oversight. They’ll want to be assured that they’ll still have visibility into the process.
If your workplace previously had a “first-come, first-served” approach to room reservations, employees might question whether a formal process is necessary. They may see conference room scheduling software as a barrier, rather than an asset.
Although the best room booking system will be just as intuitive as a smartphone app, take the time to introduce them to its features.
Make sure you are also communicating the value to them and setting expectations for its use. That includes:
To maximize the value of your new system, everyone needs to use it consistently. Your executive team should lead by example and reinforce best practices. Once you have the right system in place, the benefits will be obvious. Employees will become accustomed to booking rooms at a moment’s notice and using any device to book them. They won’t waste time wandering around the office searching for a place to meet. They might even see relationships with their colleagues improve. When no one is fighting over rooms, they can focus on what really matters — working together to create a new, brighter future.
Learn more about how to find the best conference room scheduling solution.