time vampiresTime is the one resource that is universally available. No matter who you are or where you live, you get 1,440 minutes a day. Time also happens to be your most valuable asset.

We all know time slips by quickly – but it goes by even faster if “time vampires” lurk in your workplace.

Time vampires are much more subtle than the Halloween variety with slicked-back hair, pale skin and fangs. They can take on various forms. One of the most common is inefficient meetings.

A well-run meeting takes advantage of the face-to-face collaboration that makes a workspace effective. So why are meetings consistently voted a bigger time waster than online distractions? (With how noisy and distracting Twitter and Facebook can be, that is pretty shocking.)

Let’s look at a few ways meetings can turn into time vampires:

Locating and Scheduling a Meeting Room

Have you ever needed to grab a room with a couple colleagues, even for just a few minutes to go over something, but been unable to quickly find a place to meet? Or maybe you already sat down and started a discussion but then were interrupted by someone else who had planned on using the room. These situations waste time for everyone involved.

Knowing which rooms are available can be far more complicated than it should be. EventBoard shows the status of all rooms at a glance and gives employees the capability to reserve an available room.

Start Late and End Late

What’s the big deal if a meeting starts five or seven minutes late? Well, it’s a pretty big deal actually. When you take the number of attendees and multiply that number by the minutes wasted on a meeting starting late or running long, the results can add up to hours, not minutes. Multiply that by the number of meetings starting late every day, and the number gets even scarier.

This type of time wasting often infects a workplace gradually until it becomes part of the company culture. It’s not that employees want to willfully waste company time, it’s just standard procedure. But regardless of intentions, a late-starting meeting is a time vampire that robs employees of precious productivity and companies of output and money.

Even worse are “zombie meetings,” when scheduling systems show that a room is in use when it really isn’t.

EventBoard allows organizations to require an on time check-in to keep the meeting reservation and the room. If check-in does not happen within the allotted time, the room will revert to being available for other meetings. This function alone may not be able to change employee behavior, but little by little it can start to fend off pesky time vampires.

Herding Cats

Whether it’s only a few select individuals or entire teams, meetings are amazingly difficult to organize. Sending an email to figure out a time that works for all attendees is clunky, to say the least. Using a calendar invite is much more efficient.

But what happens when attendees pick a time that works best for most of them, only to find out all meeting spaces are already full during that time? EventBoard integrates with Exchange, Google Apps and Outlook/Office 365 to help employees coordinate fellow co-workers and available workspaces.

Here are three recommendations to make sure your company’s meeting management culture doesn’t tolerate time vampires:

  1. Make it painless for employees to find and reserve available meeting spaces

  2. Encourage staff to start and end meetings on schedule

  3. Provide a way to coordinate employee calendars with open conference rooms