Today, many organizations opt for an open office environment — eliminating walls and cubicles in order to break down office hierarchies and encourage collaboration. The problem is that people still need privacy from time to time. While you might have been able to take a private phone call in a cubicle, you now have to find a phone booth, small meeting space or conference room. And many organizations don’t have enough meeting rooms allocated to meet this increased demand.

When privacy is at a premium, scheduling becomes critical. However, many organizations aren’t managing their meeting room calendars effectively. No one can find a conference room, yet there’s one sitting empty that has been reserved for the next hour. If the meeting has been canceled, does it get canceled on the calendar and make the room available?

Technologically, there are several things we can do to address this issue. We can link the conferencing platform to the calendar, and automatically cancel a meeting that doesn’t start within, say, 10 minutes of the scheduled time. We can also add motion sensors to see if people entered the room to have the meeting, and make sure it doesn’t get canceled if someone is present.

There are cameras that can determine the number of participants in the meeting. This not only helps with scheduling and maintenance, but can provide beneficial metadata about room usage. The Rahi Systems team can also audit the system logs to determine if meetings are starting on time, lasting for the full time allocated, etc.

We can then go back to the calendar and identify problem areas. We’ve seen cases where there’s a weekly meeting set up forever and the employee who “owned” that meeting doesn’t even work for the company anymore. We can add logic to the calendar so that these kinds of things don’t happen.

Now, there are certain meetings that you wouldn’t want to cancel. If the CEO is running 10 minutes late, you wouldn’t want to remove the conference room reservation because the meeting hasn’t started on time. By the same token, some companies use executive offices as auxiliary conference rooms. If the CEO is out of town, the calendar can show that office as available for a meeting. The CEO’s admin can be set up as the room’s “owner” and override the automatic settings as needed.

If somebody who has an office has a high volume of meetings, you might consider setting up audio & video capabilities in their space. They can conduct small meetings in their office and reduce some of the demand for conference rooms.

These are just some of the technique’s Rahi Systems’ Audio & Video team uses to address these issues. If your available meeting rooms aren’t keeping up with demand, contact us or join us for this month’s webinar as we discuss ways to maximize the functionality of the space you have. And if you’re planning to move to a new facility, we encourage you to engage us early in the process and listen in on August 28th!

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