If your business has a conference room, it presents a scheduling issue. It’s just the nature of conference rooms. Everyone has a claim on it for very legitimate — if conflicting — reasons. Conference rooms seem to invite conflict often creating an unhappy work environment.
At HuffPost, Frank Chalupa notes today’s shift from private offices to open floor plans has created “a perfect storm that, on occasion, has pitted employees against one another when vying for time in the conference room.” If you want to schedule meetings so everyone has a chance to be there right on time, there are ways to avoid the mistakes.
7 ways to avoid meeting scheduling mistakes:
- Reconsider the meeting necessity.
You should reassess the need for a meeting in the first place. Thousands of meetings are unnecessary. They have no real agenda, not do they add value. If the meeting issues can be handled by email, phone, or video chat, you should do it.
- Set aside a “no reservation needed” room.
If you have space, you can designate a room for meetings, a room where people can meet at will or as needed if it is empty. It’s just available on a “first-come/first-served” basis without scheduling.
- Monitor meetings.
A well-run business does not succeed with repeated purposeless meetings. You should check in on meetings occasionally to see if they are conducting value-added business or meeting socially.
- Use technology to schedule meeting rooms.
A meeting room booking system software tool lets you manage and schedule your rooms. The application manages several rooms and schedules simultaneously. And, sharing the schedule with users, it simplifies booking and prevents conflict.
- Fix the problem from the start.
You should set standards and expectations with employees from their hire. Training never starts too early, so you should begin with understandings during orientation. They should understand that meeting space and time are resources the business expects to use productively and that each employee has a role in optimizing the time and space.
- Design the workspace with meetings in mind.
If you are free to design or redesign your floor plan, you should include meeting space with a plan in mind. You can encourage smaller meetings, casual groupings, and stand-up meetings with furniture arrangements, mini-conference rooms, and gathering places set off in the cafeteria.
- Let the light shine in.
A well-planned floor plan would also prefer rooms with transparent walls. Glass-walled conference rooms allow people to meet in “privacy” free from intrusion or interruption. But the glass also requires meeting members to confer accountably. While the room is clearly in use, there is no temptation to move in — unless they have overstayed their scheduled time.
One final tip!
Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Sue Shellenbarger says, “A mundane fixture of office life—the conference room—has become a flashpoint for tension and conflict.” Too many people want the same space at the same time. So many want the space for all the wrong reasons. It just makes sense to do what you can to reduce the problem.