You don’t have enough conference room space. Your employees keep saying so, and your workplace analytics back it up. Maybe you’ve already leased more space, but it won’t be ready for a few months. Or maybe, like many organizations at the moment, you're waiting for the pandemic to end before making any major decisions about how much space you need.
After a year of feeling isolated, people are really looking forward to having the chance to hold face-to-face meetings. That means it's only a matter of time before a lack of meeting rooms resurfaces as a major issue.
So what do you do in the short term?
The good news is that you might not need new meeting rooms, just an easier way to manage meeting room booking and a better understanding of how to optimize your space to meet the needs of your employees.
At most companies, workers spend way more time in meetings today compared to just a decade ago. According to the Wall Street Journal, a company time-management study found the time spent in meetings has risen between 8-10% annually since 2000, a trend that seems likely to continue.
The researchers also found that senior executives spend an average of 28 hours each week in meetings. Middle managers spend 21. But before you start looking for a larger office to accommodate all of these meetings, leverage the insights from your workplace analytics.
You can't improve meeting room booking unless you identify the source of the problem. To fix the lack of meeting rooms available, workplace leaders need to be able to find what's causing it. You need to ask yourself some questions.
Are there too many meetings being scheduled at the same time? Does your meeting room booking system show real-time availability — and is your schedule accurate? How often do meetings end early or run late? Do you have the right types of rooms? Are they the right size?
This is where using workplace analytics comes in handy. Your meeting room booking system captures a lot of data that can help you make smarter decisions when it comes to optimizing your meeting room booking process.
Here's a few examples of what you can discover with workplace analytics:
(Did you know that you can find out how many hours your own company spends in meetings, and the cost of that time, by using Teem's meeting room booking software and Workplace Analytics?)
The vast majority of people (92%) agree that meetings are valuable for providing opportunities to contribute, according to research conducted by Verizon. But if your meeting room booking system is difficult or error-prone, it can result in frustrating scheduling conflicts that stand in the way of collaboration.
Some of the most common types of scheduling conflicts are overlapping meetings, double booking rooms, and unattended reservations. Using Teem's meeting room booking system can help you overcome those conflicts, and keeps your room schedule current so employees can make the most out of your workplace.
Often, an outdated conference room schedule is to blame for the false perception that all your rooms are booked because of old meeting reservations that make it seem like your meeting rooms are in use when in reality, they're not — the reservations was just never removed.
Zombie Meetings® are recurring meetings that aren't needed anymore. Problems arise when they aren't deleted because the meeting room schedule incorrectly shows the space where the meeting was held as occupied, so other employees aren't able to book the room.
With sensor integrations, Teem's meeting room booking software helps put an end to ghost, no-show, and Zombie meetings — so you can avoid wasting space and time. When employees fail to check in to the meeting room within a specific amount of time, and after a specified number of consecutive occurrences, Teem will free up that meeting room for the rest of the organization to use.
If more meetings mean that your company’s conference rooms are full most of the time, you might need to create temporary meeting areas by rearranging your current office space.
Move desks closer together to free up spaces where chairs and tables can be grouped to create informal meeting areas. For additional privacy, enclose these zones with frosted glass partitions. Because light can still pass through, people using the area shouldn’t feel too restricted or claustrophobic, even if it’s a smaller space.
If noise control is important for the temporary conference rooms, choose portable walls with sound-proofing options. Also, consider why space is needed. Certain meeting types — like creative brainstorming sessions or daily progress check-ins — may function just as smoothly in a space that uses a corner partition to separate the meeting from the work that’s happening around it but that doesn’t entirely block sound.
Even a kitchen area can be partitioned off for small, informal discussions — what meeting isn’t better with food handy?
According to an 11-firm survey by the architecture and design firm HOK, more than half (53%) of conference-room space is built for meetings of seven or more attendees, while 73% of meetings involve only 2-4 people. That means that, in general, conference rooms are too big.
If analytics point to the same problem at your workplace, divide larger rooms with accordion dividers. Opt for rolling furniture that can be easily pushed back together when the entire room is needed.
Temporary relocations are another solution. If closed offices are part of your floor plan and the employees in those offices telecommute regularly, maybe it’s time to try out desk hoteling. By having two people share the same office or desk, using it during alternating time windows, it’ll free up the other office for small meetings.
Did you know that the average meeting only takes 39.4 minutes? So why does your meeting room booking system schedule rooms for hour-long meetings?
We suggest setting your default meeting times that make sense based on how they're typically used. That might be 25-minute blocks for small spaces that are typically used for huddle space and 45-minute blocks for larger spaces that are used to accommodate bigger meetings.
Finally, find out who’s using the existing conference rooms. If three teams are using your meeting room booking system to occupy 90% of the meeting spaces and times, the best temporary solutions may come from talking to those teams about the reasons they’re using the meeting space.
You could learn that they collaborate in meeting rooms to access whiteboards or video equipment. If so, bringing in portable whiteboards or adding a large display or TV screen near their desks may help them do the same thing without the need for a separate, private space.
Workplace leaders are gearing up to reopen the workplace as more people receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. For employees, the return to work symbolizes the turning of a new leaf for their work-life. A joyous reunion with coworkers is just around the corner — and people are excited.
Before the pandemic, having enough rooms to accommodate all your meetings may have been a daily struggle. If so, leaders can expect the problem to rear its ugly head again — and this time, it could come at an even higher cost. With a workforce that's more empowered than ever before to work remotely, a lack of alignment with their needs will be demotivating for employees.
As more and more workers start taking advantage of the ability to meet in person, failing to offer a user-friendly meeting room booking experience is not an option.
Ready to recapture wasted meeting space and improve productivity? Start your free trial.