The modern office is changing. Employees are being given the freedom to move—to work remotely, take their laptops to an outdoor area for a change of scenery or even book a different desk every day.
With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that employees need a better way to book meeting rooms and other communal workspaces. This new fluidity in office arrangements means it can be difficult for employees to know exactly which rooms are free when the need arises for collaborative work.
Old workarounds and cobbled-together solutions struggle to keep up with the pace of the modern office and do not provide the at-a-glance overview that employees need. Most offices are in need of a simple solution that lets employees book a room in the same way they would book a desk or submit a work order.
Room booking software has emerged to address this challenge, and can be described as an extension of desk booking software that allows employees to book an entire room in exactly the same way—it’s as simple as finding a room that’s available and selecting it.
Ideally, room booking software should be integrated with a company’s existing IWMS or other workplace software to provide a familiar user interface and make the booking process as simple as possible. As with a desk booking solution or visual directory, room booking software should also be accessible via desktop browsers and mobile devices to allow employees to reserve a room on the fly. Another popular option is to install screens outside meeting room doors where employees can check availability and make bookings.
Regardless of the specific approach or devices involved, the important thing is to create a single point where employees can manage bookings. That way, instead of relying on an old custom solution like a shared doc or calendar, everyone has instant access to the same information, reducing the downtime caused by teams shuffling between meeting rooms.
The benefits offered by room booking software are most obvious in large organizations, but just about any company that has multiple teams sharing the same boardrooms and workspaces can benefit. And the positive impact extends further than you might expect.
As mentioned, one of the biggest benefits of room booking software is that it makes it much easier for employees to identify and book available rooms. It takes only seconds to see if a room is available, and unlike with a custom solution or workaround, there’s no chance of a double booking—employees can only select and book rooms that are actually free.
With greater ease and visibility comes more efficient use of resources. When all room options are clearly laid out, employees will spend less time hunting for an open space and more time being productive. In larger organizations, room booking software can also remind employees of options that aren’t always top-of-mind—neighboring departments who always jostle for the same nearby meeting room might be reminded of meeting rooms on other floors.
For facilities management, room booking software provides yet another dataset that can be used to improve space utilization. By looking at how often rooms are being used, FM teams can decide if the number of available rooms is in line with the needs of the company, or if a change to the floor plan is needed. For many companies looking to get better insight into space utilization, room booking software can also be a cost-effective alternative to workplace sensors—or it can be used in conjunction with sensors for even greater insight. Room booking software can indicate how often rooms are used, while sensors can help you see if the average number of users align with the size of the room.
As the old adage goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Modern offices are dynamic environments where the size and needs of teams are always shifting. Because of this constant flux, it’s important for your organization to have software that allows employees to quickly identify and book a space that will meet their needs. Just as it’s difficult to roll out a successful hot desking strategy without great desk booking software, it’s hard to manage a large number of shared workspaces without a dedicated software solution. Room booking software provides teams and departments with what they need to make the most of valuable office space.
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Photo Credits: Shutterstock / ImageFlow, Shutterstock / Matej Kastelic, Shutterstock / Goran Bogicevic