In an agile work environment, no two days—heck, no two hours—look the same. Employees should have access to the workplace resources they need to be productive. Sometimes, that means cranking out focused work in a quiet space. Or it could be a group brainstorm over lunch in the kitchen, and then gathering for a team meeting in the afternoon.
One of the most important workplace resources are meeting rooms. A seamless meeting room booking system allows employees to reserve a room for their meetings ahead of time. This adds structure to a flexible workplace. You can make the most out of your workplace—and your employees’ time—with a meeting room booking system. Keep reading to learn more about how to select and implement one in your workplace.
What is a meeting room booking system?
A meeting room booking system is a centralized tool for booking meeting rooms and conference rooms. It streamlines the room booking process and helps employees avoid the frustration that comes when more than one group needs a room at the same time. The result? An efficient workplace and more productive employees.
In practice, your room scheduling software should sync with other workplace technologies seamlessly. Each meeting room should have a display screen outside the room that’s connected to the software, showing a calendar of who reserved it and when. A good conference room booking system will not only allow employees to reserve a room from the scheduling screen, but also from their computers and mobile devices.
Benefits of a meeting room booking system
Meeting room booking systems simplify the reservation process. In a survey conducted by CBRE, 85% of respondents said they use a reservation system for booking meeting rooms.
Having a meeting room booking system provides several benefits. For example, it can help you:
Track room usage and availability in real-time
People can view rooms that are open to use and plan accordingly. Room booking systems can help employers avoid double-booked office space and improve workplace productivity. Employees spend less time scrambling to find a room when they’re confident that they’ve reserved the space they need in a room booking system.
People can use a meeting room booking system to schedule and invite others to brainstorming sessions, sales calls, weekly employee training sessions, and other essential meetings. Reserving a room takes the guesswork out of where your team’s meetings will be held.
Make the most out of your office space
Even when people reserve a room for a meeting, plans can change. Maybe some attendees decided to work from another location that day, or the meeting got rescheduled. A room booking system that reminds people to check in helps make sure that employees are actually using the space they’ve reserved. And if they forget, or no longer need the space, then others in the office should be able to use it instead. A meeting room booking system can help free up unused rooms by releasing the reservation if no one checks in after the meeting has started.
Plan for current and future needs
Keep track of when and how employees are using office space with workplace analytics from your meeting room booking system. This is far better than trying to track data manually in spreadsheets–or having no data at all. When you know what rooms are being used and when, you can plan for your real estate needs.
Features to look out for in the best meeting room booking system
Your conference room reservation process should be as flexible as your workplace. When you’re shopping around for the right system, you should consider features that make it easy to book, reschedule, and cancel meetings.
Also, make sure your system is simple for employees to use. The last thing you want to do is add extra tasks to your employees’ already-full plates! Keep employee needs top-of-mind as you assess these six features:
- Space usage analytics – Are your employees typically booking meetings in advance, or calling ad hoc gatherings? How many people are in a typical meeting? How often are meetings kept or canceled? This data can inform your working policies and office decisions. For instance, if your rooms are underutilized, you may want to convert some meeting rooms into open spaces. If your rooms are overbooked, you may want to convert other spaces to meeting rooms or encourage more hybrid working.
- Easy-to-use functionality – You want your system to be as simple to use as possible. It should enhance employee experience, not add stress to it. Create a seamless experience with features that allow employees to check into the room to start the meeting, end it early to free up booking slots, and book or change meetings from their devices on the go.
- Schedule displays – Look into your system’s display capabilities. Meeting room screens should be easy to read and intuitive to understand. For instance, the conference room screen could have colored indicators to indicate status: red for in use, green for available. It should also display a schedule of upcoming meetings so bookers can find an open space for a future meeting.
- Privacy controls – Of course, some meetings are confidential, and you might not want all of your details displayed on-screen for all to see. Look for a system that has customizable privacy settings so that employees can book meetings privately if needed.
- Convenient notifications – Your conference room booking system should also sync up with your workplace communications platforms so that all notifications are in one place and updated in real-time. Look for integrations with Slack, Microsoft, Skype—whatever your team uses to organize and align—to receive check-in, cancellation, and booking notifications.
- Admin alerts – If a room ever goes offline, you’ll want to know. Look for admin alert features so that users can stay in the know about their meeting room and avoid confusion down the line.
Keep an eye out for features that work with your workplace. At the end of the day, the best meeting room booking system is one that you don’t even notice because it flows so smoothly with daily operations.
Implementing a meeting room booking system
Setting up your meeting room booking system should be straightforward. Once you’ve picked a room booking software tool, connect it with your workplace calendar. Every meeting room should already have its own cloud-based calendar, like Google Calendar or Microsoft Office 365, which employees use to book rooms. But with a room booking system like Envoy Rooms, employees will have more ways to reserve rooms: on their phones, through work calendars, messaging apps like Slack or MS Teams, or via displays by the doors.
Speaking of displays, you’ll want each room to have its own to make it clear to see when a room is reserved or available, and what other meetings are scheduled. Be sure to choose a meeting room booking system that uses easy-to-find hardware like iPads or Android tablets as your room displays. Once you’ve connected your room calendars to your meeting room booking system, pair each tablet to every room to set up your displays.
When you’re ready for employees to start using your new room booking system, make sure you announce it in several channels (email, channel announcement, at a company-wide meeting, etc.). You can also remind employees best practices when booking meeting rooms.
Upgrade your workplace
As hybrid, agile, and flexible workspaces become more common, it might feel difficult to create a space that accommodates schedules and working styles. But with the right workplace technology, you can manage your space, optimize employees’ time, and create a strong culture of collaboration. A robust meeting room booking system will make it easier for your employees to find the space they need, when they need it–contributing to a more productive and engaged workforce.
Get started with the meeting room booking system that makes the workplace work better. Try Envoy Rooms today!