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SMART WORKPLACE

Does Your Room Scheduling Software Have These Hidden Flaws?

by James McDonald on August 25, 2020
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Right now, it’s likely very few (if any) meetings at your company are taking place in person. That makes this the perfect time to reevaluate your room scheduling software.

Your room scheduling system has a big impact on the workplace experience, especially in companies with a flexible work environment — an office space model that has been gaining momentum, especially in recent months.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, CBRE reported 45% of business leaders planned on making “moderate” or “substantial” use of flexible space over the next three years. Now more mid-sized companies and SMEs are considering it as part of their return-to-work strategy.

The caveat is that this workplace model can only be effective when employers provide the right workplace technology — particularly room scheduling software. Here are four clear-cut signs your room scheduling system is inadequate.

4 signs you need to upgrade your room scheduling software

1. It inhibits the mobility of your workforce

Room scheduling software must provide a seamless user experience (UX) that supports an employee’s preferred work style. It shouldn’t interrupt their workflow due to limited functionality or minimal integrations.

This means your room scheduling system must be accessible from any location and on any device, including desktops, laptops, digital signage, room displays, and your mobile app, allowing employees to schedule meetings from anywhere.

It should also let employees book other types of spaces, including huddle areas and individual workstations, in addition to assets, such as a projector or webcam for virtual meetings.

Your room booking system should offer interactive maps to help employees and visitors find any space on your property.

It should integrate with calendar apps like Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and iCal to give employees the option to easily compare their colleagues' schedules to room availability and invite guests from their contact list.

Once they make a reservation in one platform, the others should immediately update with the booking information instead of requiring employees to open multiple apps and create an appointment in each.

Finally, your room reservation software should integrate with communication tools like Slack so employees can receive notifications directly in their Slack channels.

2. It can’t integrate with space management software

Your room scheduling system shouldn’t only simplify and streamline the room reservation process; it should also provide visibility into how employees engage with the office environment, including workspaces, assets, and their colleagues.

Ultimately, you should be able to collect accurate data about both your workplace and the workforce that can be leveraged to determine how to maximize space utilization, improve asset management, and optimize your cleaning schedule. To accomplish this, you need the ability to integrate your room reservation solution with space management software.

The combination of a room scheduling system with space management software allows you to see which spaces employees consistently reserve and which tend to stay unoccupied.

With this insight, you can make adjustments to the workplace that give you confidence that all available spaces and assets are being used in the most cost-effective way while still meeting the needs of employees. You can also identify opportunities to consolidate spaces to reduce your real estate footprint and improve your bottom line.

Integrating room reservation tools with space management solutions also enables you to create cleaning, disinfection, and sanitation schedules based on actual utilization. You can focus more time and energy on high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces instead of applying the same level of effort to all spaces and assets, regardless of usage — which is less efficient.

3. It doesn’t display actual room occupancy

When using room scheduling software, employees need to quickly see whether a conference room or workspace is available.

Every room reservation system will show if a space has already been booked. But just because someone has reserved the room, it does not mean the space will actually be occupied at the designated time.

Similarly, if you use Microsoft Outlook for room reservations and an employee selects “All day” for the event duration, Outlook will not show the room as booked and it will still appear available to employees. In other words, with certain room scheduling solutions, there is no way to know the true status of a reservable space at a specific time unless you are looking at it.

However, if your room reservation software can be integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, access to real-time occupancy data becomes possible. IoT sensors monitor room occupancy and communicate this information to your room scheduling software.

To reduce the frequency of unattended reservations, you can program your room booking software to automatically update a space’s status to “available” if sensors do not detect any activity within 10-15 minutes of a meeting’s scheduled start time.

Integrating a room reservation solution with IoT sensors ensures employees have a more accurate picture of space availability.

4. It doesn’t provide essential details about a space

While the location of a workspace or meeting room plays a role in whether employees choose to reserve it, it isn’t the only factor they consider. They also need to know the dimensions, seating capacity, layout, and available assets and technology in the space to make sure they are choosing the room that’s best suited for the meeting.

If your room scheduling system doesn’t display this information, it’s a problem. The solution is to integrate your room reservation system with an asset management solution. This technology allows you to keep track of the location and condition of every asset in your facilities, including furniture, TVs, projectors, and webcams.

In addition to the ability to see which assets a room or space has, it is especially important that your room scheduling software displays the recommended capacity so employees can avoid overcrowding the room and making it difficult to maintain appropriate physical distance.

Along with showing employees the current setup of the room or space, your room reservation system should make it easy for the workforce to request ad-hoc maintenance or service. For example, if an employee reserved a conference room because it had two TV screens and one of them isn’t working on the day of the meeting, the employee should be able to submit a service request using your room scheduling software.

How to find the best room scheduling software

The very least you can expect from your room scheduling tool is to provide employees the ability to book a meeting room. And with some room reservation solutions, the functionality ends there. Free room scheduling solutions may save you money initially, but they often create more confusion by allowing for double bookings.

The best meeting room booking software should allow your employees to:

  • See real-time occupancy of any room
  • Book rooms anytime, anywhere, from any device
  • Book desks as well as rooms, enabling office hoteling
  • See detailed information about a conference room, including its assets
  • Request equipment repairs or cleaning, simply by tapping a panel

As employees return to work, they’re going to expect a simple, frictionless experience. That means being able to reserve rooms or book desks at a moment’s notice.

Make sure your room scheduling software supports their productivity, rather than hindering it.

See how our room scheduling software empowers employees. Watch this short demo.

Capterra Ratings: ★★★★★ 4.5/5