How a Meeting Room Booking System Can Help Your Team Return to Work Safely
One of the easiest wins businesses can notch during these uncertain times will be the selection and implementation of a robust meeting room booking system. Here’s how meeting room booking systems can be used to empower your team to return to work safely in the future:
1. Easily checking meeting room availability
In the pre-pandemic working world, if a meeting room was required, the group participating in the meeting would often trail from room to room until they found an empty one (which may have involved them entering numerous occupied meeting rooms to ask when each session would be finished). Once they found an available room, their own meeting may have been interrupted a number of times by other employees looking for a space.
Was this a productive way of going about meetings? Not exactly. But was it dangerous? Not before the pandemic.
As we have quickly learnt, a major part of staying safe from the Covid-19 virus is limiting our contacts and exposure to others. The ability to instantly check meeting room availability will help with this, as a meeting with two other people poses significantly fewer risks than unnecessary contact with 20 colleagues, as they meander around the office trying to find an empty room.
2. Updating attendees on meeting changes in real-time
Sophisticated meeting room booking software allows you to quickly and easily communicate any meeting changes to any and all participants in real time. Simply change the time, date, or location of the meeting on the calendar, and an automatic alert will be sent out to the devices of all attendees. Occupancy sensors can also be integrated to identify whether there is anyone in the room and to free up space from unattended meetings.
This has myriad benefits when it comes to limiting real-life contact with others. Miscommunication or misunderstandings around when and where a meeting is to take place could leave people heading into the office when they don’t actually need to be there. This confusion could also result in attendees wandering around the office trying to find the right meeting room, significantly increasing in-person interaction.
3. Promoting hybrid online-offline meetings
Meeting room booking systems are also extremely useful for meetings where some participants are in the office and others are working from home. This is an extremely common set-up that we can expect to see during the tail-end of the pandemic and beyond.
Typically, meeting room booking software accounts for both online and offline eventualities. A commercial-grade digital screen is set up in each meeting room to facilitate video calls, and a link to join the meeting is sent out with each invitation.
The smooth operation of hybrid meetings, with online participants easily able to join those offline, is instrumental in empowering people to work from home when they need to, or if they don’t feel safe returning to the office. Facilitating a high level of flexibility to cover a variety of employee needs will be important for employee engagement – the last thing managers want is for employees to feel they’re being put at risk or that their safety isn’t valued.
4. Better utilising meeting room space for social distancing
One of the major challenges managers are going to face with regard to employees returning to the office is how to ensure a level of social distancing. When you have a finite amount of floorspace, the only option is to increase that floorspace – increasing costs significantly – or ask employees to work from home more than they did in the pre-pandemic era. Neither of these options are ideal, but a meeting room booking system could help you make your existing office space work harder for you.
Look at where and when meetings are typically booked. Do you need to have as many permanent meeting rooms as you currently do, or are the spaces being underutilised? Meeting room booking system analytics on room utilisation can also be helpful in understanding how to optimise the size, quantity and configuration of meeting rooms needed.
In most cases, it’s common for organisations to find at least some spaces that are underutilised. Confirming this may allow you to take a couple of meeting rooms out of rotation, and turn them into socially-distanced offices, which will allow more employees to be in the office at the same time.
Alternatively, staff who feel nervous about working in an office full of people, but nevertheless need to be in the office on certain days, could use the meeting room booking system to book their own safe space.
5. Minimising external risk
One of the biggest risk factors when reopening an office will be inviting external people into the building for meetings. The risk increases in these situations due to the fact that, upon entering the building, clients, suppliers, or business partners do not know the layout, or how to get to their assigned meeting room. This means they could get lost, enter into busy parts of the office that they do not need to be in, or interact with more employees than is really necessary.
A meeting room booking system integrates with your wider visitor management system, which is designed to ensure that visitors only go where you want or need them to within your office building. Typically, a meeting room booking system will include a screen outside each room that displays all the information visitors need – such as meeting title, topic, agenda, attendees, time, and host – and reassures them that they are in the right place.
Not only can this help to keep your own team safe, but it makes for a much more pleasant and seamless experience for any guest – while also limiting unnecessary interactions.
If your organisation is planning a return to the office in the near future, solutions from Engagis can help. Reach out for assistance implementing the meeting room booking systems and digital screens needed to keep your team safe, healthy, and productive.