What Is Room Scheduling Software, and When Should You Use It?
One of the tools that you may not have considered yet—but is critical to successfully setting up your hybrid office—is room scheduling software. This post will explore exactly what this is and how it can help your employees get the most out of their time in the office.
What is room scheduling software?
Room scheduling software refers to a tool that helps you streamline, manage, and monitor how your shared spaces are utilized.
While every room scheduling tool is different, most of them offer a wide variety of functions that:
- Allow you to book rooms
- Provide visibility into the current and future booking status of rooms
- Show who is occupying the rooms, and for how long
- Let you review analytics about room usage
When should you use a room scheduling tool?
There are many benefits that come with using a room scheduling tool, rather than relying on a manual process.
A room scheduling tool:
- Maximizes space efficiency
- Minimizes conflicts with booking rooms
- Gives employees more autonomy over their schedules
- Provides visibility around meeting spaces to authorized users
- Reduces the burden on the office assistant or administrator
But, you might be wondering whether or not you actually need a room scheduling tool. When will you use one? How do you know if you’re getting the most out of your investment?
While you can make do without dedicated room scheduling tool (after all, it is possible to manage your rooms manually), it can lighten the load immensely for your HR and People Operations teams, as well as give your entire company more autonomy and an easier process when it comes to working collaboratively in your office, holding meetings with external stakeholders, and more.
We've outlined a few use cases below to help you visualize when a room scheduling tool can support your day-to-day work.
1. Client visits
When you have an important client or guest visit the office, the last thing you want is to discover that all the conference rooms are occupied. Room scheduling software allows you to plan ahead and book the space that you need, minimizing potential conflicts and letting you focus fully on your visitor.
With this tool, you’ll also be able to keep track of who was in your office and when. Visitor management is critical for contact tracing. So if anyone in the office—whether that’s an employee or a visitor—tests positive for COVID-19, you can reach out and notify the appropriate people.
2. Team meetings
Your employees will likely need to host team meetings and brainstorms. A room scheduling tool makes it possible for these groups to secure spaces in advance. If your office is hybrid, this can be especially helpful—since your entire team won't be in the office every day, you can book meeting rooms in advance and plan for dedicated in-person work time.
Room scheduling software also allows you to see capacity limits, so people can choose a space that makes sense for their group size. This is especially important during the pandemic, when people may prefer to maintain some distance from one another.
3. Urgent calls
Whether it’s a salesperson who needs to hop on a call to close an important deal or a communications leader dealing with a public relations crisis, there are times when your employees will need a private space to do their work—and fast. Room scheduling software will help them quickly book a place to this critical work in real-time.
You may have also transitioned to an open-floor plan or hot desking setup to follow social distancing protocols during COVID-19. While this is optimal for safety reasons, your employees could occasionally want a more quiet environment. A room scheduling tool can help them find a private space when they need it.
What should you look for in a room scheduling tool?
Now that you understand the reasons for investing in room scheduling software, it’s time to choose the best tool for your organization. While every company’s criteria will look slightly different, we generally encourage companies to look for the following qualities:
Choose software that allows approved users to book conference rooms independently—rather than requiring approval from someone on your team. This increases autonomy for employees and reduces the workload for other team members in the office.
It’s not uncommon for people to book a room and forget about their reservations. To avoid this, choose a tool that integrates with platforms like Slack, Google Calendar, or email and sends out reminders about bookings. This reduces the chances of underutilizing desirable spaces or having conflicts.
Ease of use
Like any other software, make sure your room scheduling tool is easy for your teams to use. Does it let your employees book and check meeting room availability remotely or while they’re on the go? Can it clearly display the current and future availability of a room? These are the types of questions to ask when vetting a solution.
Finally, you may want to consider room scheduling software that offers analytics. This feature can help you understand how employees use your space so you can make data-informed decisions on space allocation.
For instance, you may discover that your smaller rooms are more frequently used than your large conference rooms. Knowing this, the next time you expand your office, you can add more intimate meeting spaces to meet your employees’ needs.
Room scheduling software can help your hybrid office run more smoothly
If you are adopting the hybrid workplace model, room scheduling software is a valuable addition to help your office run smoothly. And the reasons extend far beyond just logistics. With the right tool, you can help your employees be more productive, organized, and safe during the time they spend in your office.
If you’d like to learn more about room scheduling and determine if a room scheduling tool is a good fit for your office, book a demo with us today.