Meetings are an inescapable part of our daily work lives. Executives and managers spend over 20 hours a week in meetings on average, even as more and more companies move to open floor plans that are designed to improve communication. And as technology offers more ways to schedule and attend our meetings, it’s always a good idea to have a set of rules. Here is Roomzilla’s cheat sheet to seamless meeting room reservations.
- Schedule the appropriate amount of time for your needs. Think of this as the Goldilocks rule: you don’t want too much time, leaving the conference room unused, but you also shouldn’t have to rush your meeting or be pushed out by the team that booked the meeting space after you. Consider your needs carefully to find the amount of time that’s just right!
- Always make a reservation. Even at the last minute (like you can do with Roomzilla). If you see the conference room is unoccupied, check with your office manager or shared office schedule and make it official before you bring in the rest of your team.
- Reserve and Cancel as far in advance as possible. This may seem obvious, but it’s easy to put off this important step until it’s too late. We’ve observed in our office that popular meeting times tend to be between 10am and 2pm. It can be very difficult to make a 10am reservation for the room you want if you're coming in at 9am to make it. If you book a day or two ahead of time, you've got a much better shot at getting the room that's the best fit for your team. Similarly, if the meeting has to be cancelled or rescheduled, cancel the reservation immediately to free the space up for others. However, don’t make a reservation to hold space “just in case.” Others may have a real need for the room, only to find it blocked off.
- Don’t double-book. Double-booking could mean two teams book the same room at the same time, or it could mean two conference rooms are booked by the same team. No one intends for this to happen, but it can mean a lot of lost productivity. Conference booking software, like that offered by Roomzilla, can make this easier for everyone in the office.
- Use the meeting rooms for meetings only. In a shared office space, it’s tempting to try to find a place where you can shut the door behind you, but that’s not a responsible use of the room or of your colleague’s time. Talk to your office manager to find a quiet desk if you need it.
- Scale your conference space to the size of your team. Are you booking a small brainstorming session with only four people? Find a small conference room or all-purpose room (don’t forget to reserve that too!). Too many participants and not enough office chairs? Plan ahead and look for conference room rentals in other conference venues. Your efficiency and productivity will vastly improve if nobody feels cramped.
- Be considerate of the audio visual needs of the office. If your meeting requires advanced technology or participants will be calling in or video conferencing, make sure you consider those needs when you make your reservation. But if you don't need any special AV systems, choose a space that reflects your needs, leaving the technology available to others. With a system like Roomzilla, you can see what equipment and features are in each room.
- Let your office managers handle any disagreements. Double bookings or meetings running over time can be stressful, especially in time-sensitive cases. If conflicts arise, bring in a neutral employee like an office manager to help resolve the issue.
- Clean up after yourself. Cleaning staff usually only come through the office once a day. Make sure you keep the conference table and office chairs clean and that the wastebaskets aren’t overflowing. Don’t forget a final check for to-go coffee cups! Note though that if you bring food into the conference room, your coworkers will greatly appreciate if you bring the containers and wrappers to a trash bin outside of the conference room. This is especially true if you eat food that has a strong odor. Otherwise the smells will fester in the room and could potentially be offensive to whoever uses it next.
- Post these rules outside the conference room. Putting company policies in easy-to-spot locations helps keep every employee honest. It’s harder to say you didn’t know a reservation was necessary if the rules are in plain view.
Sometimes it seems like our workplaces have too many rules, but keeping to these guidelines will keep everyone in your office, from the janitorial staff to the executives, happy and more productive.