Once you’ve set an agenda, reserving a conference room should be the easiest part of planning a meeting. It should be effortless—something that takes 30 seconds.
So why do you and your employees keep having the same fight over the one room everyone wants?
Here are three conference room scheduling problems we’ve all experienced and how to avoid them.
3 Conference Room Scheduling Nightmares
1. False Scarcity
You need to reserve a conference room ASAP. It could be that a project has gone off the rails and you need to rally the troops. Or maybe there was some time zone confusion and the webinar you were asked to host starts at 1 p.m. EST, not CST.
Whatever the case, you’ve realized every conference room is occupied for the next hour. What you don’t know is there are several open rooms you can use just on the other side of the IT department. Because you work at a large company, you haven’t set foot in that part of the office since you got a tour on your first day.
So instead of booking one of those rooms, you’re left to settle for a less-than-adequate solution—like calling in from a stairwell.
2. Phantom Reservations
Most of us are guilty of scheduling at least one meeting that recurs every week or every month until the end of time. When someone books that meeting, they also reserve the conference room. But after a project winds down and the need to meet becomes less frequent, that conference room is still reserved because no one actually canceled it. The team just chatted each other and agreed not to meet that week.
Meanwhile, you’ve already retreated to the stairwell for your conference call—where every word you speak echoes loudly—because you didn’t see any available meeting rooms.
3. Double-Booked Rooms
It took two weeks, but you did it. You finally managed to find the one 30-minute block of time where every meeting attendee was not only available, but scheduled to be in the office that day.
You’ve put together a stellar PowerPoint outlining the new initiative you’ve been talking about for months. And you’ve reserved the one conference room that has ample seating and the equipment you need for your presentation. You’re ready to knock everyone’s socks off.
There’s just one problem: when you get to the conference room, you discover another team has booked it—for the entire day.
How can this be? The room was listed as available in Outlook! Unfortunately, that’s one of the shortcomings of using Outlook for conference room scheduling. When you create an event in Outlook, you have the option to designate it as “All day” or select specific hours. If you choose “All day”, the space selected for the meeting will still appear as free to other Outlook users.
The Solution: Room Reservation Software and Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors
Thankfully, there’s a way to ensure you never have to deal with these conference room scheduling nightmares again. Because room reservation software and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors take care of all these headaches.
Room scheduling software also allows you to see the location and real-time availability of every meeting space in your workplace. So if every conference room in your part of the office is booked, you can find a space elsewhere and reserve it.
With room reservation software, there is no risk of double-booking. As soon as an employee reserves a space, it’s off limits to all other users.
Using IoT sensors along with room reservation software reduces the problem of “phantom” bookings. IoT sensors monitor room occupancy, and if they don’t detect anyone 15 minutes after the scheduled start time, the software automatically updates the room status to make it available to other employees.
Room reservation software and IoT sensors may not be able to solve all of your conference room scheduling challenges (like the one coworker who always seems to use the room past their allotted time). But it can definitely help with the most common ones, making meetings just a bit more bearable.