Return To Work
November 11th, 2020

RELATED GUIDE

5 Workplace Technology Trends For the Post-Pandemic Era

The pandemic has forced us all to rethink in-person meetings scheduled through room management software, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less important. In fact, spending time face to face is “super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the TIME100 Honorees event, in a quote later shared by Forbes.

Pichai believes a hybrid workplace is the best way to enable flexible work without sacrificing in-person collaboration. So what does this mean for the future of meeting room management?

Here are five predictions.

5 ways meeting room management will change

‘Zoom fatigue’ will bring employees back together

Employees are feeling the drag of multiple, daily video meetings.

Video calls require more focus because you’re not face to face and unable to react to body language and subtle facial cues. That’s draining over multiple meetings. Add an unreliable internet connection, and it’s easy to understand why many employees want to return to the office.

“In a face-to-face meeting we are able to read the room and then adjust our own behaviors accordingly,” Forbes senior contributor Yola Roberts wrote in a recent article. “So you can imagine our brains are operating on overload trying to figure out how to read 50-plus ‘virtual rooms’ at the same time while figuring out whether to stare into the person’s eyes or their baby succulent in the top left corner of the screen.”

Over the past year, “Zoom fatigue”, along with trying to balance other responsibilities while working remotely, has caused many employees to experience isolation and burnout. An office space offers much-needed opportunities to reconnect and recharge with team members through in-person meetings or more casual interactions.

The need to meet safely will influence meeting room design

Studies show most people are ready to return to the workplace. A Gensler Research Institute survey says just 12% of employees want to work from home full-time.

But employees still need to feel safe in the workplace. They want their employers to encourage physical distancing, and provide temperature screenings and personal protective equipment, according to survey results.

By now we know from the CDC that the coronavirus is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks in close proximity to someone else.

That makes face-to-face meetings in the workplace a potential hazard if employers don’t take proper precautions. In addition to reconfiguring meeting rooms to move seats farther apart, they’ll need to limit room capacity. Room management software and Conference room scheduling displays make it easy to tighten capacity restrictions when there is a greater risk of COVID-19 or another contagious illness and ease them when the threat subsides.

Employees will schedule more meetings on demand

Employees are using the workplace like a hotel now, and they need to be able to reserve rooms at a moment’s notice. Teem’s room booking software, along with the Teem mobile app, makes this easy.

Employees can glance at their smartphone or a room display to see which rooms are available in real time and instantly reserve the one that best meets their needs. They can see a room’s location, capacity, and what equipment it has.

Once they’ve reserved a room, it will appear on their existing calendar.

And if they’re running late or need to cancel their meeting, they can update their reservation in seconds.

It’s similar to how patrons reserve seats at a movie theatre. Why risk getting stuck in the front row when you can check-in ahead of time to reserve your ideal seat?

Technology will bridge the gap between virtual and in-person meetings

Teachers and students had to learn fast about how to maintain education during the pandemic. And as winter approaches, some students aren’t comfortable returning to in-person classes.

Hybrid classes, which are essentially meetings, allow participants to join in-person or virtually to avoid a workflow breakdown.

The University of San Diego uses collaborative technology to achieve the hybrid model. The university has classrooms with two cameras — one pointed at the in-person student audience and one at the instructor — to provide an active window into the class.

The instructor leads the class with meeting room management software to stream the events to remote participants. This way, everyone, regardless of their location, can see on-screen graphs, tables, and anything presented in-person.

The business world is adopting the hybrid model, too, in addition to other new technology.

This includes virtual reality, which is growing in popularity as technology improves. It’s now possible to meet and shake hands with someone despite being miles apart.

Virtual reality hardware consists of a camera, a headset, a microphone, and gloves plugged into a computer. The technology is far from mainstream, but the pandemic has accelerated its popularity.

The virtual reality startup Spatial has taken the concept of the virtual couch and gone pro. A virtual couch is an online space where video game players meet, compete, and share information. It’s supposed to mimic how it feels to be in a room with other players.

Virtual reality meetings create a digital space that can mimic an office. But this goes beyond seeing and hearing other people on a computer. The technology can make participants feel like they’re in a different space. To your eyes and ears, you’re not in the living room staring at a screen; you’re immersed in a virtual world.

Leaders will focus on improving efficiency and meeting room utilization

Nothing drains a workforce like waiting to meet because of scheduling conflicts. Time is money, and waiting to sort through a mismanaged schedule will make the workforce less productive.

Every workspace faces common scheduling conflicts. The most common ones include:

  • Overlapping meetings, which happen when someone schedules an event that runs into another meeting already on the calendar, creating a domino effect that can impact everyone
  • Double booking, when two parties reserve a meeting room at the same time, creating confusion and wasting everyone’s time
  • Unattended reservations, which occur when someone either forgets a one-time reservation or creates a recurring reservation, making the room appear unavailable while the room sits empty

At a time when many business leaders are re-evaluating their real estate, it’s even more important to make the most of every space.

That means monitoring conference room utilization software and taking steps to improve it will be vital to the future of meeting room management.  

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Prepare for the future of meetings with room scheduling software

Room scheduling software that integrates with a universal calendar app (like Google Calendar or Outlook) eliminates conflicts with double bookings or meeting overlap.

Teem’s conference room scheduling software also eliminates unattended reservations by requiring employees to check in and making the room available again if they don’t check in after a period of time.

It even integrates with occupancy sensors or beacons for touchless check-in.

This allows your workplace to “recapture” those rooms that would have sat empty, improving conference room utilization.

Teem’s meeting room booking system also includes valuable analytics to help you improve space management.

For instance, you can see:

  • Average meeting size
  • Average meeting duration
  • Number of meetings in a typical week
  • Number of unattended meetings

You also receive recommendations for how to manage your meeting spaces and improve utilization.

This past year has been challenging for all of us, but it has also allowed us to hit the “reset” button and make changes that will better prepare us for the future.

In your reimagined workplace, employees expect in-person meetings to be just as easy as meeting online. Now, you can get room scheduling software, desk booking, visitor management, and the Teem mobile app for one low price.

See how our return-to-work technology simplifies meeting room management. Get started with a free trial today.

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