Employees in Australia spend 5.6% of their time every week in meetings, according to the Bytesized Guide to Resource Management.
So should we be worried that a famous economist once said: “Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything”?
Well, maybe…even if you add up just the salaries, you can see meetings are an expensive commodity.
Maybe they’re worth every penny, though. With collaboration a serious driver of innovation, meetings are where we make magic happens, where colleagues spark ideas and create the buzz that fuels the business.
No wonder organisations put plenty of resource into designing workspaces that encourage productive meetings.
Take Amazon. Its massive doughnut-shaped HQ in America is set up in pods dedicated to teamwork, focused work or socialisation, radically rethinking a traditional office layout.
Like other parts of the world, Australia is thinking hard about how people work. Organisations are working hard to create the right kind of space for them to hold effective meetings.
Companies are also spending heaps of money on renting office space – after payroll, it’s the second biggest cost to a business.
However, many employees say meetings are still a drain on their productivity, for a number of reasons:
Not being able to find a suitable meeting room
Finding rooms that have been booked out, but are empty
Wrong-sized meeting rooms of the wrong size. 73% of meetings are for two to four people, but 53% of rooms are set up for at least seven.
People using rooms they haven’t booked
These are all findings from the Bytesized Guide – sponsored by NFS. (You can download it here.)
In fact, a CBRE workplace report found:
Only 30% of the space in a meeting room is actually used.
So who can afford to leave 70% of their workspace unused?
Savill’s July report on rents in Australia shows top offices in Sydney are costing more than $1,500 sq m, and rents in some areas continue to go up.
CBRE says the way we work is changing into something less formal, and that’s causing a problem with unoccupied space in our offices.
“Meetings are becoming more intimate,” says the CBRE report. “A greater number of smaller meeting areas and collaborative spaces are required.”
So many office managers and owners need a major rethink about how they organise their space. And thankfully, a workspace scheduling revolution is taking place that provides all the answers.
Good meeting room booking software means a company gets good value for its money per square metre; staff feel good and work well, and the end result is that customers benefit because streamlined operations mean lower costs.
Modern workspace management systems provide cost-saving solutions for businesses of all sizes.
So here are 7 signs that it’s time to invest in meeting room booking software for your workplace.
Your remote employees can’t find a suitable desk.
Flexible working has been demonstrated to help employees feel in control of their working day – but if they can’t arrive, sit down and start work they will find their productivity and job satisfaction take a hit.
With meeting room and desk booking software they can easily locate and reserve their desk or meeting space online or via an app.
Desk and room occupancy sensors link up with the meeting room booking software to provide graphical real-time views of the office so it’s easy to identify the right place.
Many state-of-the-art systems also integrate closely with MS Outlook for further convenience.
Meeting rooms are booked – but no-one has turned up to use them.
This often happens when the details of a meeting have changed, but no-one has remembered to tell the attendees.
Meeting room scheduling technology notifies everyone automatically if there are changes in the time or venue of the meeting. If the software detects that a room is not being used as booked, it releases it into availability for someone else to use.
Meeting organisers can also book catering for the meeting in the same single transaction, and the caterers are included in any updates.
People are booking expensive external meeting rooms.
When staff find it difficult to locate an internal meeting space, they often take the easy way and book a room externally.
This can be costly. One global utility with almost 500 rooms over 40 locations saved $100,000 in three months once it reduced external bookings by implementing easy-to-use space utilisation technology.
No-one’s using your video conferencing.
VC saves time, money and reduces staff stress – but not if it’s tricky to set up, or attendees don’t show up.
Meeting scheduling technology can help, providing a simple way to book a video conference even in multiple locations that can improve the uptake of VC in an organisation.
It’s worth making the investment in the technology. Companies can save up to 30% of their travel costs by using VC – and it helps staff wellbeing, too.
Your team works in many different locations.
Arranging a conference across locations and even time zones can be an admin nightmare. If it takes too much time, people often decide it’s not worth it.
Meeting room scheduling software takes time zones into consideration automatically for locating and booking space with the right resources, and also automatically adjusts for any changes.
People are missing meetings
No-shows are a modern-day office curse. Ever waited in a room for colleagues to turn up, or missed a video conference yourself?
Scheduling technology helps get people to their meetings on time – even visitors – by sending clear instructions to everyone including the attendees, support staff and caterers.
The technology integrates with digital signage and room panels, too, which guide attendees to the right room and make sure security keeps track of visitors to the building.
You’re not sure if your space is being well-used.
You’d think companies would only rent the amount of space they actually need – but that’s not always the case.
It can be difficult to check that space is being used in a cost-effective and productive way.
For instance, if it’s a dedicated desk, how much time is it unoccupied? Every time it is, it’s a drain on company coffers. Maybe it would work better as desk booking desk available to more than one person.
Desk scheduling technology provides detailed reports that show how every square metre is being used. This helps office managers make informed planning decisions, highlighting under-used spaces and making sure the office is the right size.
Work and wellbeing
Millions of people globally are ill every day because of stress, and others are so frustrated with their working conditions that they move on to a different company.
Companies need to not only recruit but also retain a talented workforce, so this can be a problem. .
And it makes great sense to have an office that makes sure your highly-skilled employees can get on with their jobs in an efficient and enjoyable way.
Removing everyday obstacles such as locating a desk or meeting space, and ensuring that collaborative tools are readily available can make the difference between being a welcoming workplace – or an office they’ll avoid.
So watch out for the 7 signs that tell you it’s time to take advantage of the workspace scheduling revolution. They show your workplace is already evolving – and failing to keep up could be a big mistake.