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    4 Reasons Outlook Doesn't Work for Room Reservation

    Rebecca Symmank

    You know that feeling when you walk into the most popular restaurant in town on the busiest night of the week, stride past the other patrons who have unhappily accepted their two-hour wait and confidently proclaim to the hostess, “Why yes, I do have a reservation."


    iOFFICE Hummingbird gives you that feeling every day. But using Outlook to reserve rooms places you in that other category of people, among the desperate customers who didn’t plan ahead.

    That being said, Microsoft Outlook is an excellent email tool. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t have stuck around for nearly 20 years. As a scheduling tool, however, it falls short.

    Outlook Room Reservation Does Not Work for the Following Reasons:

    • Outlook allows meeting rooms to be double-booked
    • You can't view which assets are in the space you're reserving (like chair count or outlets)
    • You can only reserve meeting rooms
    • You have no insight into space utilization or applicable data

    1. Outlook allows meeting rooms to be double-booked. 

    How frustrating is it to arrive at a conference room, ready to have a productive meeting, only to find it’s already occupied? While this may occur if you have a discourteous coworker who didn’t properly reserve the room, but often it’s because Outlook room reservation allows for multiple users to book the same room for the same time.

    One of Outlook’s shortcomings is that a space can be booked for an all-day event, yet the room will still appear as “free.” This means one team could be under the impression they have the space to themselves for the day while other employees think it’s available, resulting in multiple annoying interruptions.

    This isn’t a problem with iOFFICE Hummingbird’s room reservation software. Once a room is reserved, it is shown as unavailable to anyone who has access to the portal. However, the one exception to avoiding double-bookings is the inconsiderate coworker—sorry to say even room reservation software can’t protect you there.

    2. You don’t know which assets are in the space.

    While attendees are arguably the most important part of a meeting, the second most important part of a meeting is the space itself and the assets contained within it.

    Unlike room reservation software, Outlook doesn’t allow employees to see the size of a conference room, the number of chairs or any available equipment in the space. Say your meeting will include 10 coworkers and will require a projector. You use Outlook to book a room which met these needs last week only to discover the number of chairs has been reduced to five and the projector has been moved to a completely different floor. With software like Hummingbird, this wouldn’t be an issue, because with your confirmation you would have access to a room detail page that would let you know what comes with the space.

    3. You can only reserve meeting rooms.

    Maybe your organization has managed to perfect the use of Outlook room reservation for meeting rooms. While we applaud your achievement, what about the other kinds of spaces in your office? You probably have desks, designated collaboration areas and quiet spaces that your workforce wants to use. Outlook only allows employees to book conference rooms, which make up a relatively small percentage of the modern workplace, especially workplaces that embody activity-based working.

    If an employee wants to get away from their desk for a few hours and work elsewhere in the building, they can use software like Hummingbird to find and reserve an available space. This prevents them from wandering around a huge corporate campus in a desperate attempt to find an unoccupied area to get a much-needed change of scenery.

    4. You have no insight into space utilization.

    Your workforce may feel as though anytime they need to book a conference room, there isn’t one available. There are two likely explanations for this:

    • There legitimately are not enough meeting spaces to accommodate the workforce
    • Everyone is trying to reserve the same spaces during them same times and refusing to utilize other open areas

    One of the primary advantages room reservation software like Hummingbird has over Outlook is the ability to access data and view actual space utilization. With this data, organizations can determine which of the above issues is responsible for the apparent space shortage. With this data you can also determine which type of spaces you need — for example, do you need additional conference rooms with 10 seats and projectors, or are the rooms with just 4 seats booked more often?

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    If the problem is a lack of space, maybe your business has simply outgrown its location, and it’s time to start looking for a place to move. Or perhaps the fix is as simple as converting a rarely used area into another conference room.

    If the issue is no one seems to be booking a particular space, you can investigate why and make necessary changes so the space is more attractive to the workforce. Whatever the reason may be, your company would need room reservation software to gain access to this insight.

    Just because your organization has found using Outlook for room reservation adequate, it doesn’t mean you should continue to settle. Don’t resign your workforce to being on the wait list, hoping someone leaves so they can be seated sooner. Take the initiative, invest in room reservation software and empower your employees to get want they want faster.

    Learn how to create the best employee experience possible for your team. Download the free eBook, Using Technology in the Workplace To Elevate The Employee Experience.

    Rebecca Symmank

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Rebecca Symmank

    As a member of the Business Development team for iOFFICE, Rebecca is spirited and is quick to take initiative. Previously a customer and daily user of the IWMS provider, she has extensive experience on both the front and back end structure of the product. Rebecca's enthusiasm for facilities management and her tangible experience in the field give her an unprecedented understanding and perception of iOFFICE customers. Rebecca is able to relate to organizations implementing on IWMS, and has a unique perspective on what makes the experience a success.

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