5 ways conference room scheduling software has changed

  • Author Jamie Addis, VP Product & Engineering

From organizing workflows on Monday.com to hosting a virtual conference on Hopin, the pandemic has sparked a digital revolution in the way we work. Tools that enable people to seamlessly do their jobs from wherever they’re located have quickly become a mainstay of the modern workplace. As organizations develop hybrid working models, offices are becoming more about meeting and collaborating spaces than rows of desks. The spotlight is now on streamlining the room booking function through intuitive conference room scheduling software.

Conference room scheduling and the hybrid workplace

In a hybrid workplace culture, people blend remote and in-person work. Employees enjoy the freedom to work remotely if they want to, but don’t miss out on the connection, collaboration and socialization opportunities that being in the office provides.

Many organizations are reconfiguring offices to focus more on collaboration and meeting space. In a hybrid world, there’s no need for one desk per person. Typically, people come in when they need to collaborate, and work remotely when they need to get their head down and focus. Companies are able to repurpose desk space.

Conference room scheduling software stands to play a key role in this new culture. Teammates come into the office for one-off meetings, or on a regular cadence. They may be traveling some distance, or it might be their one day in the office that week. It’s important they’re able to book the right space easily through a conference room reservation system and feel confident that the room they’ve booked has what they need to make their meeting a success.

An evolution in conference room scheduling

Not long ago, walking along a typical office corridor you’d have seen Post-its or sheets of paper stuck to meeting room doors with a chart of the day’s bookings scribbled on them. Granted, it was a simple system. But it was low-tech, outdated, prone to errors, insecure and looked downright unprofessional.

The spreadsheet is a step up. Although digital, it remains an inelegant solution. It’s not exactly user friendly, people might delete an entry by accident – or perhaps on purpose, if it’s a particularly popular room – and there’s no easy way to analyze usage or availability data over time.

It’s time to put these outdated tools to bed. Modern conference room scheduling software provides employees with an intuitive, friction-free booking process, usually using an intuitive app or website.

Here are five ways it’s evolved since the pandemic.

1. Workplace analytics to help you optimize spaces

Modern room booking software gives you a wealth of usage data at your fingertips. You can see how frequently employees book each room, and forecast future usage based on actual bookings. You’ll be able to recognize peak times when most people are in and wanting meeting space, which will help you manage occupation density. Check-in data also shows you how employees use rooms and how often they’re at capacity.

The data lets you make smart decisions about how you configure your office space. Do you need several large conference rooms, or will smaller breakout-style rooms work best? Are certain rooms more popular than others? Would turning over desk space to more meeting rooms meet your employees’ needs better?

2. Touchless room check-in

Touchless check-in is a hygienic way for employees to activate a room booking. From a security point of view, you can ensure that only the people who have booked can check in or access the room during the hours they’ve reserved it for. It gives people confidence that they’re in the right room, and that the room is ready for them. You could keep a room that hasn’t been cleaned after the previous users locked until it’s ready to use, for example.

It also means you get actual room usage data. You can base your analytics on how employees use rooms, rather than bookings. You can handle ghost bookings better too, and release rooms back into the availability pool if they’re not taken up. Regular no-shows can be easily identified, and training given to repeat offenders.

3. Meet the needs of a distributed workforce

In a hybrid workplace, your team won’t spend the working week in the same place. Some might be in the office, but the majority will be remote – at their kitchen table or in their garden office.

People will be coming into the office less often and when they do, they’ll need the tools and amenities they rely on to be readily available. A system that enables them to easily see room availability, the type of equipment in each room, and the capacity of each room is a crucial component of the process.

And the benefits don’t stop once the right room is booked. When your employees arrive at the office, an intuitive conference room scheduling app can show them how to get to their reserved room. Handy if people are going to different offices, buildings or regional hubs and aren’t familiar with the layout.

4. Employees expect an integrated workplace experience

With so many aspects of workplace culture digitized, from task planning on Monday.com to coffee breaks on Slack, employees expect all workplace systems to keep pace.

An integrated digital infrastructure, with systems such as room booking and desk booking syncing with personal calendars will become the standard. Have you ever forgotten which room a meeting is in, and had to scroll through emails to find the details? Conference room scheduling software syncs with calendar tools employees already use and gives them all the meeting details they need, quickly and easily, to boost user adoption.

Companies that don’t keep up could start to feel antiquated and struggle to attract the best talent.

5. Enable dynamic meeting room management

The meeting room itself is changing. Hybrid meetings, where some participants are remote and some are in-person, are becoming the norm and placing new demands on meeting room technology.

With collaboration as the main purpose of the office, you might need to reconfigure some rooms for brainstorming sessions, others for a presentation to 50 people, half of whom are remote and half of whom are in-person.

Conference room scheduling software allows you to easily update the booking system after reconfiguring rooms, so employees have an up-to-date view of what’s available. The usage data the system gives you will help you predict what’s needed and meet demand.

The time is now for conference room scheduling software

While the world was in shutdown, the way we booked meeting rooms was off the agenda. The wave of digital innovation focused on bringing people together virtually rather than facilitating in-person meetings. But now we’re tentatively returning to normality, it’s time for room booking to adapt. Embracing modern conference room scheduling software will give your employees the seamless, integrated digital experience they expect, and give you invaluable insights into the type of meeting space you need to provide.

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