Meetings are essential to effective collaboration in the workplace — and there are 25 million of them happening every day in the U.S. alone. According to a study by Bain & Company, organizations spend about 15% of their time in meetings. For upper management, that number can be as high as 50%.
It makes sense. In today’s fast-paced workplace, people need to come together often and have productive discussions that help inform and speed up decision-making.
Unfortunately, much of the time spent in meetings is wasted, and executives view more than 67% of meetings as failures. Technical issues with meeting room equipment and software can impact productivity by causing delays and throwing discussions off-course. Double-booked meeting rooms, lack of adequate space, subpar video conferencing equipment and shabby internet connections are disruptive and annoying, and have a huge impact on the conference room experience. Worse yet, it’s costly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that $37 billion is lost annually to poorly structured meeting environments.
The good news is there are ways to make meetings more productive, and workplace technology is a huge factor. The right workplace technology can help eliminate operational challenges of running meetings, making them more efficient, collaborative and productive. Here are four good ways to improve the conference room experience and overcome some of the most cumbersome challenges with booking and using meeting rooms.
1. Streamline the conference room scheduling system
OWL Labs reports that 27% of the time, the primary challenge with meetings is finding and booking meeting space. And a third of all businesses still rely on a receptionist to book meetings for them.
Robust and easy-to-use conference room scheduling software helps to streamline and simplify the process of reserving meeting space, saving time spent looking for available rooms and reducing double-bookings and other scheduling errors. Such a system can update attendees if there are any changes to the meeting time, location or agenda, helping to eliminate confusion and keep people on schedule so that they do their best work and can go about their day with minimal interruption.
2. Make video conferencing easier with better workplace technology
Today, 78% of respondents to a 2019 Impact of Video Conferencing survey say they rely on video for team meetings and stand ups, and adding video to meetings improves productivity by up to 50%.
Video conferencing can instantly connect people face to face, no matter where they’re located. This reduces costly travel, enabling more flexible work styles and promoting camaraderie among teammates.
But video conferencing is only as effective as the equipment that powers it. Look for workplace technology solutions that are easy to install, set up and use, especially if your IT staff is limited. Using integrated software and conferencing equipment makes it easy for everyone to adhere to best practices, saving time and frustration. Also, make sure every meeting room is set up for video conferencing, so employees have more options when they’re reserving meeting rooms.
3. Facilitate a more collaborative workplace experience
Today’s workplace is collaborative and relationship-based. Make sure your conference rooms are spaces in which on-site and off-site meeting attendees can work together with little interference.
Advanced meeting room technology can improve the workplace experience for all, especially for people who are off-site. For example, robust video conferencing software and equipment, and a reliable network connection help remote attendees feel like they’re physically present, even if they’re halfway across the globe. For on-site attendees, make sure the room you choose has plenty of comfortable seating, and consider stocking it with beverages and snacks, especially for meetings that extend past 60 minutes.
Finally, ensure your meeting rooms have good lighting and temperature controls as well as access to markers and an eraser for white-boarding.
4. Train employees on conference room best practices and etiquette
Poor workplace etiquette can derail a meeting. For example, starting and ending on time shows respect for everyone’s schedules and ensures there’s enough time to cover the agenda. And keeping the door closed promotes goodwill toward co-workers whose desks are near meeting rooms. Make sure employees understand your company’s policies related to booking and using conference rooms. Here are six more ways to preserve proper conference room etiquette and avoid frustrating meeting interruptions.
Create a better workplace experience
Remember, your goal should be to create a conference room experience that makes meeting with coworkers easy, productive, and enjoyable — and best supports an opportunity to exchange ideas and work together to achieve shared objectives. Having the right software and equipment in place and communicating clear expectations will not only improve how you conduct meetings every day, it will elevate the workplace experience.
Get the ebook, The workplace of the future: Human happiness and high-tech spaces, to learn more.