The Wall Street Journal published an article last week titled “New Office Flashpoint: Who Gets the Conference Room?” The focus of the article, as you can guess from the title, is the conflict in the workplace over meeting rooms. Disputes, awkward situations, and wasted employee time are all issues companies face.

We decided to take a look at a few reasons why these issues exist.

Can’t Tell if a Room Is Available

One of the main problems is a lack of schedule awareness. Is Room A booked all day? What about Room D right after lunch?

Currently, companies resort to one of two methods for schedule awareness: They either print out paper schedules to tape to every room door each morning (mentioned in the article) or they have no visible room schedule and rely on desktop versions of Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook.

When a group of coworkers realizes they need to grab a room for a quick regroup, sitting down at the computer and scanning 10 conference rooms for availability is not exactly an efficient solution. Employees will simply grab a room that appears to be available, which later causes issues for the employee who actually had the room booked. If this employee then grabs another “empty” room, it creates a domino effect.

Conference Room Problems Get in the Way of Real Work

The typical employee has two main objectives in the workplace that he/she is trying to accomplish simultaneously: maintain positive relationships with coworkers and “do their job.” Unfortunately, the process of booking conference rooms forces many employees to sacrifice one in order to accomplish the other.

When a room isn’t vacated on time, the group of employees with the next reservation are forced to either interrupt the existing meeting (jeopardize coworker relationships) or waste time waiting awkwardly in the hall (jeopardize doing their job effectively).

The WSJ article points out that time spent in meetings is increasing, which has turned the conference room into a sought-after commodity.

The Cost of Room Reservation Issues

As demand increases, some employees are resorting to the hoarding tactic of booking rooms in advance, “just in case” a need arises. This creates wasted bookings and makes a company’s conference rooms appear even more constrained than they really are.

More than a few companies have unnecessarily invested in pricey office renovations or expansions in order to obtain meeting space they already had, but weren’t utilizing efficiently.

The thing is, these issues don’t have to continue day after day, year after year. In fact, the repercussions of not solving them can be quite detrimental to a company. You may think that sounds a bit dramatic, but left unchecked, awkward situations, wasted time, and inefficient meetings will negatively affect company culture.

For anyone who has ever worked in an office, you’ll understand how valuable an asset company culture is. A weak company culture typically decreases employee satisfaction which in turn decreases productivity and results in a higher turnover rate. This of course leads to increased costs.

Benefits of a Room Scheduling Solution

EventBoard is a simple solution to these problems. The WSJ article spotlights Skullcandy, a laid back place with guys wearing backward hats, flannel shirts, and skateboarding in the hallways. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work hard.

As we’ve seen with Skullcandy and so many of our other clients, EventBoard removes unnecessary disputes, making the socially uncomfortable “conference room turf wars” a thing of the past.

  • It helps keep employees respectful of the schedule, knowing the room schedule near the door is visible to everyone in the company.
  • It lets them know that the room is booked for the time slots following their meeting, meaning they don’t have the luxury of letting the meeting run long.
  • Ultimately, it allows for improved productivity across-the-board.

As we’ve all found out from experience, meetings in the hallway or kitchen are just not quite as conducive to productivity. Nor is a “standing huddle” outside a conference room while waiting for the room to open up.

We’re excited to see the subject being insightfully discussed. So many companies have ignored these issues, and at great expense.

The more awareness there is of the issue, the easier it will be for companies to see how a solution like EventBoard can be one of the most powerful tools they can implement in the workplace.

Want to learn more about the benefits of implementing a room scheduling solution? Download our whitepaper: Simplify Meeting Scheduling: 5 Tips to Whipping Your Office Scheduling Into Shape.