Understanding the Relationship Between Meeting Rooms and Morale

January 24, 2017

At a time when companies are increasingly focused on providing the best employee experience to attract and retain talent, the importance of meeting room scheduling is often underestimated. The availability of conference rooms and other collaborative spaces can directly affect employees’ morale at work, and even their ability to do their jobs.

Scheduling issues such as unavailable or double-booked meeting rooms lead to employees gaming the system, which erodes trust and strains relationships. However, organizations often struggle to understand how effectively their current scheduling system meets the needs of their workforce due to a lack of objective data about workspace utilization.

Employees Need Access, Choice and Trust
Meeting room scheduling can become incredibly complex in a large organization—but it still needs to be simple for employees to reserve workspaces. Your people should be able to manage their workspace reservations the same way they manage everything else in their lives—quickly and easily, using an application on any device.

An effective scheduling system also requires clearly defined rules and procedures that are consistently followed. If groups are frequently unable to book the rooms they want—or getting bumped from reserved spaces by more senior staff—the disruption can affect both morale and performance.

If the schedule stops being useful, employees will stop using it. In a worst-case scenario, you could have a client or prospect coming in for a meeting, only to realize at the last minute that your reservation has been pre-empted and there are no appropriate rooms available.

You Need Objective Data About How Employees Work
If your goal is to empower employees to make their own choices about when and where to do their work, you need detailed information about how existing workspaces are utilized. Insight into how spaces are really used enables organizations to better align their real estate assets with the needs of their workforce. Consider asking:

  • How are you tracking key performance indicators for workspace utilization?
  • Are there peak hours when workspaces tend to be fully booked?
  • Are there “dead zones” that never seem to be used by employees?
  • Most importantly: does your meeting room schedule reflect employees’ actual use of space?

Without the right tools for managing workspaces, it’s easy for employees’ actions to undermine the official scheduling system. For example, the schedule might become clogged with meetings that have been moved or canceled because no one in the group updated the system. If reservations become scarce, employees might start to book rooms they don’t need “just in case”—or they might start ignoring the schedule altogether if it becomes too unreliable.

The more employees rely on workarounds, the more it will obscure the real relationship between people and space in your organization. The antidote for this cycle of distortion and distrust is for management to capture accurate, objective data about workspace utilization.

Managers’ personal observations and anecdotal feedback from employees never provide a complete picture. You need comprehensive reporting of when and how meeting rooms are used so you can continually right-size and optimize your office space as your workforce evolves.