Conference rooms have long been and will continue to be an important part of the modern workplace. When people need a place to meet privately or discuss important topics as a group, conference rooms provide a place where they can close the door behind them and get down to business.
As with most things in the office, there are unwritten rules around how to behave when booking and using conference rooms and other shared workspaces. While it goes without saying that you should clean up after yourself after you’re done using a conference room by picking up coffee cups and papers before you leave, there are a host of other faux pas you should avoid committing to mind your conference room manners and stay in the good graces of your colleagues.
Even the most well-intentioned of employees can upset their coworkers with bad conference room behavior. Left unchecked, bad conference room behavior can hurt morale and lower productivity. Below are some examples of bad conference room etiquette and how to avoid it.
Meeting hosts often forget to cancel their meeting room bookings when their meetings are canceled or rescheduled. This means that the meetings get ghosted and the rooms appear occupied to others who are looking for a room to book for their next meeting.
While you can try resolving this issue by repeatedly telling employees to cancel their room bookings when they cancel or reschedule their meetings, you can easily alleviate this problem by automatically canceling a booking when someone hasn’t checked in within a set amount of time from the scheduled meeting start time.
When a meeting room reservation is canceled, other services that have been ordered, such as catering, A/V equipment, and table arrangements are automatically canceled and providers are notified, without any manual intervention needed. This prevents resources from getting wasted and also ensures that rooms and resources are freed up for others to use.
Anytime a meeting runs late, it not only affects the morale of attendees in the meeting—it also causes stress to the hosts of the next meeting happening in the same meeting room. Meeting hosts should be respectful of attendees’ time and also be aware of colleagues who have booked the room next.
It’s always good to book an extra 5-15 minutes of time at the beginning and end of your meetings to give yourself time to get set up and close a meeting. You should also set aside a little time at the end of your meetings to discuss scheduling a follow-up meeting in case you run out of time to discuss everything on your agenda that day.
If you have touchscreen meeting room signs outside of meeting rooms and your meeting runs over, you can simply tap the sign to extend the meeting. This ensures that no one else will be able to book the meeting room, so you can finish your meeting.
Similarly, if the meeting is over sooner than expected, you can tap the sign to end the meeting early. This will free up the meeting room so that others can book it.
When booking a meeting room, pay attention to the room’s capacity, so you don’t have to waste time at the beginning of the meeting bringing chairs in from other rooms. You should also make sure that the room is equipped with the required technology, so you don’t have to delay the meeting to find the necessary equipment.
Employees who need a quiet place to work or take a phone call sometimes pop into unused meeting rooms without paying attention to whether someone else has already booked the room. This can be a nuisance to those who have booked those rooms in advance.
It’s important for organizations to provide their employees with different types of workspaces based on activity. Examples of workspaces that could be provided include phone booths, huddle rooms, and lounges. This gives employees the ability to achieve their daily goals without hogging conference rooms that are much larger than necessary for their needs.
Successfully managing conference rooms doesn’t have to be difficult. Armed with the right tools, your team will be empowered to be on their best conference room behavior. When employees have the right tools to succeed, productivity increases, manual tasks are eliminated, office space is better utilized, and morale improves.