Can you envisage an organization without meetings?
Almost all organizations set up and attend meetings to discuss strategies for growth. According to available data, 15% of an organization’s time is spent on meetings.
Post-pandemic, with the number of employees coming to the office increasing, there is a lot more demand for meeting rooms.
Hybrid work is trending. Many employees are coming to the office to collaborate with colleagues and take meetings in person instead of virtual meetings. This means that the meeting rooms that sat empty during the pandemic are again becoming the workplace’s hottest resource.
With the number of meetings increasing, the management of meeting rooms in the office often becomes complicated and confusing. According to a report, 40% of people spend some 30 minutes searching for a good meeting room.
A lot of frustration creeps in when your employees can’t get the meeting room when they need it. Which is why you need a room booking system.
So, it is important to understand and address the meeting room booking problems before they affect the company culture. Here are some common problems that we have encountered from working with clients:
1. Reserving Multiple Rooms For the Same Meeting
We see this happening quite a lot, especially in large organizations. Say, for example, a senior management meeting is supposed to take place in six months.
So, the receptionist fires up her calendar and reserves 3 or 4 rooms with the necessary seating capacity for that meeting. When the date arrives and they finally settle on a meeting room, nobody remembers about the other reserved rooms. These remain booked, preventing other employees from being able to use them.
Our meeting room booking system, ecobook, sends reminders to the people who have booked the rooms in advance. These are not ordinary reminders. These reminders require the users to confirm the rooms by triggering an action from the email.
If no action is taken, then the room is automatically released. This helps organizers to remember that they have booked multiple rooms and can free up those that are no longer required.
2. Forgetting To Cancel Meetings That Do Not Happen
This happens frequently in all types of organizations. An employee may book a meeting room and then cancel it at the last minute. However, he/she forgets to go to the calendar and cancel the booking.
Ecobook allows administrators to set times for auto cancellations if a meeting does not start within that time. Say, for example, one of your employees books a meeting room from 10 AM to 11 AM. The auto cancellation time is set at 15 minutes.
This means that if the meeting doesn’t start within 10.15 AM, the booking will automatically get cancelled and the meeting room will be free for others to book.
The question is how will the system know that the meeting has not started? Well, there are two options. One, an employee who is a participant will need to start the meeting through the web platform or through the display panel. Two, sensors in the meeting room, like infrared and cameras, will tell the system whether the room has been occupied or not.
3. Hogging Meeting Rooms By Extended Bookings
Certain meeting rooms are popular with employees and someone or the other always books them. It may be the case that a meeting room on a particular floor is only used by employees on that floor and they do not welcome employees from other floors to book it.
Using applications which do not have policies and permissions in place, employees may book that meeting room for an entire year and use it only when they need it. This stops other employees from booking the same meeting room.
Ecobook provides ways to limit such actions through windows for advanced booking and maximum booking duration allowed.
Cross-departmental charging can also be put in place where funds are allocated by credits and usage is limited to those credits. Say, for example, facilities, which own the meeting rooms in an organization will charge the various departments that use their meeting rooms. Workflow approvals also provide a layer of oversight on the usage.
A combination of quota systems, funds/credits and approval workflows provide a consistent level of usage across the organization, preventing people or departments from exclusively booking the rooms all the time on their respective floors.
4. Occupying rooms without booking
This happens more often than you would think. An empty room is occupied for a meeting without any reservation. When the senior management occupies the meeting room, nobody can ask them to leave. In such a case, there is not much that you can do.
Ecobook provides a digital wallboard that shows the meeting room status while also providing a room display panel that can help to simplify the booking of the room. Your employees can quickly look up and reserve any available room on the spot. You can also integrate ecobook with air conditioning or lighting systems so that when the meeting ends, these automatically switch off.
5. Favoritism To Specific Groups Of People
Often office politics results in favouritism when it comes to allowing certain teams to book meeting rooms over others. You may favour some people and accept their requests putting others on hold. These happen primarily because there is a lack of clear rules and policies on usage and the top management turns a blind eye to the problem.
Implementing the agile room booking system, ecobook, puts in place rules that can govern the usage of the rooms and thereby eliminate any favouritism. You can have policies for usage, approval request procedures, turnaround times and more. This will not only optimize room usage but also increase the productivity and confidence of the people who use the system.
6. Putting Receptionist In Charge Of Room Reservation
In many small and medium-sized organizations, the receptionist is put in charge of scheduling the meetings and assigning rooms using a common calendar. Since the whole process is dependent on a single person, it can create problems if the receptionist is absent for some reason or is on leave.
With ecobook, scheduling, and reservation are delegated to the requestor. The system will automatically show available rooms based on the required schedule while implementing all the business rules. The receptionist is thus taken out of the equation.
Of course, the receptionist may still be in charge of critical rooms such as the board room or auditorium, but at least his/her workload is reduced.
7. Lack of Coordination with with Other Resources while Scheduling Meetings
An extra layer of coordination is required when meeting room reservations need to be aligned with other services like say, catering.
In most cases, meeting room reservation is disconnected from catering services. As a result, changes in the meeting room schedules are not always communicated to pantry services.
With ecobook, you can book a meeting room while reserving the resources at the same time. Any change to the room schedule will automatically trigger a notification to the catering team to adjust their schedule accordingly. The problems of coordination through email, chat, and telephone are eliminated.
Wrapping it up
While these problems seem trivial compared to the greater focus on business goals, culture takes a huge hit when working relationships suffer and there is underlying conflict and animosity between teams.
Helping employees have a good working relationship, greater teamwork and consequently, better productivity is necessary for your business goals to be successful. Implementing an organization-wide agile room booking system can greatly enhance company culture by eliminating such problems and frustrations.