The conference room dance is one that we all waltz to at some point in our professional careers. The needs for various conference can vary too, sometimes we have important clients on site that we need to cater to, and sometimes we have a much more simpler task such as finding a quiet room to conduct a phone call in. Unfortunately, there's some culprits out there that can make the the simple task of finding a room much more difficult for everyone involved. Here we break down the five most common perpetrators that you can find in every office.
1. The Conference Room Cat Burglar
This is the biggest crime committer of all. We've all seen this guy walking around the office before, laptop in hand, eyes wandering blankly at every room they pass up, their responses are clearly distracted when asked any question because their mind is so preoccupied with trying to find a room that they can pop into and commandeer without prior authorization. Once they find a room they can acquire, they head in without mercy or regards towards any other office personnel, and begin to use the room for whatever they desire.
Why the Conference Room Cat Burglar is such a pain to deal with:
There is really two crucial reasons with this stereotype that make it such an annoyance for everyone involved.
- Humiliation - We have all had an experience where we have had clients or other significant dignitaries present in the office, and typically we'll need a room to handle whatever endeavors we are conducting on that day. Now picture this, you meet your client at the front desk of the office, establish your rapport, and make your way over to the conference room that you've confidently reserved a week prior. You show up to the conference room, and there is the cat burglar, feet propped up on the table, blasting Led Zepplin, working on some projects that for whatever reason requires pictures of sports illustrated models to be on his monitor at that exact point in time. Shame. Humiliation. Embarrassment. Then enter the awkward dance that begins when you have to explain, in front of your clients, to the cat burglar that you have this room booked, and that he needs to vacate the space
- Money - You know the old saying, time = money, so if you're wasting time resolving issues with the cat burglar, you're wasting precious money as well. If your company used room booking management software, you'd easily keep the cat burglar at bay.
2. The Inadequate room booker
The inadequate room booker (IRB) is also quite a bit of a mess to deal with. This is the person that books a room which is completely under equipped or over equipped for the type of meeting they're conducting. Think of it this way, some offices have conference that have huge glass panes as walls so people from the outside can see into them. These are typically fairly grandiose rooms, meant for seating a fair amount of people to gather around a huge table to discuss matters of the company. Now, how many times have you walked by that room only to see the IRB in there, with only one other person? Such a complete waste of space and technology, plus, doesn't seem that the IRB always seems to book this room when a last minute large meeting actually needs to happen? Tis' always quite the perfect storm
Now on the flip side of all of this, how many times have you been placed in a meeting where the IRB books a room that is completely inadequate for the meetings needs? Not enough chairs, people standing holding their laptops in one hand and typing with the other, no phone in the room when a phone was clearly necessary to make the meeting successful. I'm not sure what is the greater of these two evils, all I know is that the IRB's exploits could easily be avoided if systems were in place to actually describe what capabilities each room has prior to booking it. The IRB must be properly mitigated with proper conference room booking systems.
These are just some of the oddities that people can run into when it comes to room management in the office. At the end of the day, it is up to office managers and the team members of the company to make sure that this process is carried out smoothly, but it can be a daunting task to get under control The moral of the story is, DO SOMETHING to help stay organized. Some options you can consider:
- Setting up a centralized calendar via Google Calendar/Outlook/Exchange/etc.
- Setting up a centralized spreadsheet somewhere to manage times with all team members
- We've even seen some companies have success with placing post it notes on the rooms themselves
- Come up with creative room themes to simplify what room is what, see our World Cup example.
Whatever your method is, just make sure that every is on the same page and also knows that a system exists. If that can't be established, then the system cannot sustain itself.
Let us hear your processes on how you stay organized, post your comments below!