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Situations you wished you had a Meeting Room Schedule Display from us.

Digital door signs for meeting rooms are often perceived as luxury room amenities. The benefits and associated savings are intangible to many companies. Hence this blog post – we want to illustrate the added value of digital displays in front of meeting rooms with everyday examples.

Situation 1: Colleagues are looking for a room together

A 6-person project team is awakened from their slumber with a customer call. After the new update the software does not run anymore! The customer is furious. An emergency meeting has to be held quickly. The project manager approaches the members; together they now look for a meeting room. According to Outlook, all rooms all booked – the nearby, popular rooms are taken at this time of the day anyway.  Maybe in the neighboring building? Again a look into Outlook…also booked! But are there really people inside everywhere? The adrenaline level is high – so they walk over together. In fact they find a room with a lonely colleague on the conference phone. He lets himself be persuaded to hang up with grumbling and growling, apologizes to the – probably international – audience on the line and leaves the room protesting. Who was that? Hopefully nobody important? Was he booked in legitimately or did he also cheat his way in? It doesn’t matter, the main thing is that the room is conquered. After an odyssey of 15 minutes – the happy end.

If you think entrepreneurially here, you can quickly conclude: 80$ internal hourly rate x 6 employees x 0.25 hours. This search action costs 120$ and some account is charged with it. These are: “costs that incur anyway”! So many may think. But wouldn’t it have been better if the colleagues had found a room right away?

What do the displays have to do with it now? Rooms are booked in Outlook and only displayed there. Isn’t that the case? The truth is, the displays increase the available room capacity by about 20%. Excuse me? How is that supposed to work? It can be done with the check-in or release button on the display. Statistically, 15%-20% of room bookings are so-called “zombie meetings”. They do not take place, but the room is not released. This is, for example, because the organizer of the meeting is sick. Or they hope that the most important participant, who is stuck in another meeting, will still come. It’s keeping all options open. The colleagues are informed verbally and they do not come. After 20 minutes, slowly hope dies, but the cancellation won’t be sent. The room is still reserved. And empty. Unavailable for those, who are desperately looking in Outlook. This is where the Meeting Room Schedule solution comes in. If no one shows up, the room is automatically released after a grace period of for example 10 minutes. If a button is pressed on site at the display to check in, everything is fine.

Another example of lost room capacity: if the customer comes from a distance, a long booking slot is created. Experience shows that if a traffic jam comes up, the meeting starts an hour later. A joint lunch may also be on the agenda although this has not been clarified in advance. This is how bookings such as 9:00-13:00 arise and it often happens that you are finished at 11:00. The customer would rather leave. The hosts are relieved, but the room is usually not released in the Outlook calendar and stays empty 11:00-13:00. If the host presses the release button on the Meeting Room Schedule display when they leave, the room will be set as “free” immediately.

When the complaints about meager room capacity become really loud, companies have to deal with “real costs.” New rooms have to be rented, converted and furnished. This time, we’re not talking about “costs that incur anyways“.

Situation 2: The frequent callers circle the open-plan office

Once again, you have several colleagues with mobile phones walking up and down in the open-plan office. They try to spread the noise pollution on “equally” by changing locations. Frequent callers know that they are straining the nerves of their colleagues and try to avoid the angry looks. Another motivation for this up-and-down walking is the need to avoid others to listen in. If other colleagues were following the conversation from start to finish, their problems or weaknesses would become transparent.

These people are sometimes on the phone for hours, while they are on the hunt for empty meeting rooms. If the doors are have no glass window, they have to stick their heads in and disturb the ongoing meeting. If they are lucky, the room is empty. Finally free to talk without listeners around. How long does this comfortable situation last? It depends on when the “rightful owners” come in with a regular Outlook booking….or until a multi-member group shows up, claiming the room emphatically….(see “Zombie meetings” – explained above “Colleagues are looking for a room together”)

It’s hard for some people to accept, but meeting rooms are not just used for meetings in the traditional sense these days. There are more and more telephone conferences and the frequent callers in open-plan offices use them to mitigate the noise level for their colleagues. Many companies use phone booths or “smartphone cubes” in the office for this purpose. Many times, the conference room is used as a phone booth. Often 1-2 employees sit there at the conference phone. The solution “Meeting Room Display” helps here to create the free room capacities and to avoid booking conflicts. The check-in/auto-release function creates up to 20% more room capacity. The Book Room function allows colleagues on the phone to make a short so-called “walk-in” booking at the digital door sign or tablet in the entrance area of the rooms. This type of booking is offered with 15, 30, 45 minutes or a maximum duration of one hour on the touch display – provided the desired period is available. If the phone call is over sooner than expected, the booking can be deleted from the tablet.

To summarize: noise pollution in the open-plan office is reduced and conflicts between booked and unbooked room users do not arise in the first place. The room occupancy is clearly visible on the display. The available period until the next regular room booking is visible. Short-term room reservations for urgent topics or telephone conferences can be made directly at the room entrance.

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