Workplaces are changing. Hybrid work has introduced a balanced office model where some employees work from home, and others from the office.
Since the onset of the pandemic, organizations worldwide have witnessed a 12.9% rise in the number of meetings per person. Hence, in this era of hybrid workplaces, meetings are vital for brainstorming, decision-making, and collaboration.
According to a Gensler survey, more than 50% of respondents acknowledged that meetings are the primary reason for returning to offices. Today, with hybrid workplaces, meeting rooms will become a shared space for collaboration, engagement, and inclusion. Facility managers must optimize the meeting room management processes to build a valuable and safe collaborative space for all employees.
However, conducting outcome-oriented meetings while managing split teams can be a perplexing problem in a hybrid setup. Let’s look at some major road bumps that come with organizing meetings in hybrid workplaces. Let’s analyze whether innovative collaboration tools like meeting room booking software can help overcome them.
Challenges Of Managing Meeting Rooms
#Scenario 1 Meeting Space Is Overcrowded
In the pre-Covid-19 era, managers seldom needed to observe meeting room size and occupancy. Earlier, overcrowding translated into no seats for latecomers. Today, overfilled meeting rooms can further the transmission of the virus within the space.
However, in the new reality of work marked by social distancing protocols, booking a small meeting room is crucial. Subsequently, enforcing occupancy limits and maintaining social distancing guidelines in meeting rooms is vital to the core.
With robust a meeting room booking system, employees can book meeting spaces in advance. Here, facility managers can monitor pre-scheduled meetings and occupancy levels in conference rooms.
Similarly, if the number of meetings increases on any given day, a meeting room booking software can help prioritize. It can lock key conference rooms for high-priority meetings adhering to office occupancy limits.
#Scenario 2 Meeting Attendees Didn’t Show Up
“Ghost bookings” are a common occurrence. This happens when employees book a slot for a meeting room. However, the meetings get rescheduled or canceled, resulting in no-shows.
Here, the booking stays as-is. Other teams who could have utilized the space end up using a room either too small or big for their requirements.
In such a case, deploying a meeting room booking software can automatically push abandoned spaces back to the available pool. This way, organizations can fully utilize the rooms that appear reserved but are unoccupied.
Additionally, intuitive meeting room booking software can also tackle another room scheduling challenge of “double-booking.” This is when two teams simultaneously arrive at the same room for a pre-scheduled meeting. Since meeting room booking software displays bookings and scheduling changes in real-time, it eliminates the scope of ambiguity and confusion.
#Scenario 3 Meeting Spaces Go Empty
A meeting room remains unoccupied for more than 5 hours in a standard 8-hour on-site workday. On average, meeting rooms sit empty for more than 70% of the day. As companies adopt hybrid work models, office premises will remain emptier on specific days, which means unutilized space will multiply manifold.
Companies can keep a tab on which room is occupied and when with modern-day meeting room booking software. This, in turn, helps IT managers equip facility managers with actionable data on managing meeting spaces.
For instance, in a hybrid workplace with four 20-seater conference rooms, most will remain underutilized on an average day. On the other hand, smaller 6-seater rooms will be of greater use given the limited number of staff in offices. With real-time data from meeting room booking software, companies can adequately use their meeting rooms.
For instance, unused larger meeting rooms can be divided into hot desks for freelancers and newcomers. They can create smaller collaboration spaces for teams to regroup routinely.
Since meeting room booking software will display live bookings, facility managers can monitor no-shows and double bookings. This will ensure that employees occupy the spaces and utilize them to their capacity.
Bonus Read: Conference Room Reservation Guide
#Scenario 4 Meeting Spaces: Sanitized or Not?
In the post-pandemic work scenario, 84% of employees are concerned about returning to the office. Besides, 85% of employees admitted that health and safety in workspaces is a more significant concern today than before the pandemic. That’s why as employees return to office, cleaning operations must be synced with meeting room activities.
When workers share spaces and equipment like headsets, and keyboards, keeping them clean and hygienic can be quite a task. However, companies can use meeting room booking software to synchronize the post-meeting cleaning schedule with automated processes.
For instance, when a team leaves their conference room, the system notifies the on-facilities custodial staff. This way, they’ll know which room needs cleaning. The meeting room booking system can display the designated room as deactivated or offline during the cleaning period. Prompt and thorough cleaning etiquette significantly minimizes the risk of spreading infection in closed office premises.
Facility managers can also ensure that the real-time cleaning schedule of space is accessible to employees.
Recommended Reading: 5 Effective Tips for Meeting Room Management
What Is Meeting Room Booking Software?
Meeting room booking software lets employees find and book conference rooms, lock amenities, and automate post-meeting cleanups. A modern-day, automated meeting room booking software eliminates the guesswork in scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling meeting rooms. It simplifies the booking process.
Besides, a meeting room booking software empowers facility managers with in-depth insights on room occupancy and utilization. This way, organizations develop a comprehensive space management usage, making informed decisions in allocating space, creating hot-desking spaces, etc.
What can a Meeting Room Booking Software do?
- Managers can sign in to their space management desktop or mobile app to confirm the availability of a suitable meeting room.
- Depending on whether the room is available, they can make a contact-free online reservation through the meeting room booking software.
- Now, users can send out invites specifying meeting purposes and seating capacity. If users pre-register the guests, they can grant them access to the room in a locked period.
- Here, e-invites can include details about safety prerequisites like face mask compliance, etc.
- During show time, employees with invites can check in to the booked meeting room. If they don’t check-in, the software will automatically cancel the meeting and push it back to the available pool.
- If workers reschedule the meeting, they can choose a time and date depending on the room’s future availability. Meeting room booking software also helps reserve amenities like notepads, projectors, sanitizers, etc.
- Once the session concludes, the sanitization process can be initiated to clean the room.
How Can Companies Implement a Meeting Room Booking Software?
A successful hybrid work model is marked by three elements- collaboration, productivity, and space utilization. An advanced meeting room booking software rules out scheduling issues like false scarcity, ghost bookings, double-booked rooms, and phantom reservations. This, in turn, ensures top-notch collaboration, boosts productivity and provides an inside scoop into office space utilization.
So, let’s look at two ways organizations can deploy meeting room booking software.
#1 List the Features Required
a. Ability to tap into real-time, actionable datasheets with meeting room booking software
While meetings are monumental for collaboration, excess meetings can be a buzzkill. They can waste employee time and office resources. Facility managers should get the complete picture of space utilization management in office premises with meeting room booking software.
The right software will offer real-time data. This way, team leaders will know the attendees, availability, and sanitization workflow. An interactive, scalable meeting room booking software will provide in-depth insights into the booking patterns, cancellation frequency, and room. This will help facility managers better understand and plan their office space.
b. Ability to track employee movement and meeting room capacity with meeting room booking software
Another crucial factor is understanding how many employees use which conference rooms and how often. With this feature, meeting room booking software can help facility managers conveniently decide on the seating capacity of each room.
For instance, if employees reserve entire meeting rooms to work alone, organizations can create more hot desks to free these spaces. Companies can use meeting room booking software insights to understand how their conference rooms are operated.
c. Ability to minimize booking steps and costs with hassle-free meeting room booking software
On average, most employees participate in 62 meetings monthly. 40% of employees dissipate up to 30 minutes daily scouting for a meeting room. Unproductive meetings cost $1,800 in excess email communication.
While meetings are valuable, misallocating office resources and employees’ time can chalk up massive expenses. This means HR managers must cut down costs by eliminating unnecessary booking steps.
With meeting room booking software, reserving rooms and scheduling meetings should be a piece of cake. The software must automatically notify attendees about the location, health safety prerequisites, and time. Employees will no longer jump through hoops to book a meeting room and focus on work instead by reducing steps.
This way, the right meeting room booking software will save companies vast amounts of time and resources, especially in hybrid setups. Another must-have in hybrid workplaces is contactless meeting room booking software. The aim is to help employees select a meeting room from multiple locations using laptops or mobile devices.
#2 Plan Timely Training Sessions and Schedule the Rollout
Getting employees up and running with a new meeting room booking software can be done in several ways. Facility managers can either opt for face-to-face/Zoom training sessions or video tutorials and email.
a. Face-to-face or video call sessions
Before installing a conference room scheduling software, it’s best if facility managers can acquaint the workers with the new system. Managers can answer crucial questions associated with rollout plans, software features, etc.
b. Video tutorials
Employees might be working in different time zones. They might have busy schedules with no common time slot available. Facility managers can pre-record onboarding training materials and share video tutorials along with training documents with employees.
This way, workers can have a visual look at how to use the cloud-based meeting room booking software. Since they’ll watch the tutorial at their convenience, there will be no disruption to the team’s schedule.
After employees are familiarized with the conference room scheduling software, HR managers can share emails outlining the rollout plan with a timeline.
Meeting room booking software can transform how organizations collaborate, use office space, and ensure employee safety and productivity for the better.
Streamline meetings and pave the way for a safe, flexible, and seamless workplace experience with WorkInSync’s meeting room booking software. Comfortably integrate with Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar, save time and resources.
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