One of the biggest gripes we hear from those working in corporate offices or within companies who rely on meetings, is the lack of accountability for cancelled meeting rooms and subsequent wasted meeting times and empty rooms. With traditional methods of securing meeting rooms, often there lacks a true tool for ensuring that rooms are used as they are intended, and that they aren’t blocked from being used by those who truly need the space. There are a few ways to ensure these instances don’t get the best of your organization, and you’re using rooms to their full potential.
Have a system in place for check-ins
Sometimes we forget when we’ve booked a room for a meeting – it happens. But others shouldn’t suffer for our oversight or lack of planning. If a meeting gets cancelled, then a process should be in place that ensures the room is released from the schedule when said meeting is cancelled.
In the case of meetings or conference room bookings being forgotten, then a system for checking into the meeting room may be necessary. If you ensure that participants, or at least the host of the meeting is checking in to say, “I am here, I am using this room,” then the room is serving its purpose. If the leader doesn’t check in, then after a certain amount of the time, the room can be released and colleagues can be notified of its new availability. By using a check-in system, you can ensure that staff is accountable for their time with conference rooms, and that wasted meeting times are avoided through systematic protections.
Check-in system that's integrated with the room scheduling system.
Implement rewards for good behavior
While forgetfulness is human, it’s insanely frustrating to have a colleague who habitually cancels meetings or forgets to release rooms that they’ve booked unnecessarily. In this case, it should be in place that management or the Office Manager is aware of these issues. Instead of punishing those who abuse the booking system, you should encourage those who shows a responsible booking behavior. For this, a reward system could be a good idea. For those who responsibly use the booking systems, avoid cancellations of meetings that are within their control, and who release unused rooms with ample time, perhaps an extra incentive may be a positive compensation. Something small, like a free lunch, may be enough to get employees to feel appreciated for being considerate to others in the office.
Use a system for confirmations and notifications
One way to avoid meeting room cancellations is through using a system that sends reminders and confirmation notifications to hosts and participants. By integrating with your work calendar, you can ensure that the meeting is scheduled directly into your week’s to-dos. Day-before, and hour-before reminders can ensure that you have plenty of time to cancel a room if the meeting will not occur, and confirmation systems can ensure that you know your requested participants will be there.
When you have systems and policies in place that ensure that each staff member is being held accountable for their meeting room usage, you can foster an environment of respect. By having the technology to assist in check-ins, scheduling, confirmations and reminders, you can reduce the number of meeting cancellations, and prevent wasted time for your conference rooms.