How Technology Can Make Your Meetings More Effective

Author: Kristina Proffitt

31st October 2017

Booking a meeting room sounds like such a simple thing to do, doesn’t it? In smaller companies, it can be as straightforward as stepping into one and closing the door.

But offices only have a limited number of meeting rooms. The bigger the company, the more employees. The more employees, the more meetings, and the more difficult it gets. Especially at busy times of the year, such as during yearly appraisals.

A booking system helps alleviate some of the pain by allowing employees to book their meeting rooms in advance. But that still means employees need to log on to another application every time they book a meeting.

This doesn’t need to be the case. Here are some of the ways that technology can help make booking meeting rooms – and the meetings themselves – easier.

Simpler process, less stress, more time

Getting a group of busy people together for a meeting isn’t always straightforward. Schedules need to be aligned to find a time that works for everyone. But you also need to find a meeting room that’s free at the right time and big enough for everyone to fit!

If someone needs to reschedule, a new time needs to be found. This could mean the meeting room previously booked becomes unavailable. This can go on and on until everyone finally gets a chance to meet.

By connecting the attendees’ calendars to a booking software, the organizer can access everyone’s real-time availability. That way, they don’t need to make dozens of phone calls or send countless emails to find the best day and time to meet.

To make things even easier, businesses can create calendars for meeting rooms and use them to help the organizer get everyone together at a time when a suitable meeting room is free, and clearly show when a room is booked. The whole process takes a few minutes instead of a few hours, giving the organizer more time to spend on preparing for the meeting itself.

It’s also possible to build meeting room preferences into the booking system so that the right room is booked based on the number of attendees and required resources.

It can also be automated so that when the meeting needs to be rescheduled a new meeting room can be found straight away.

For recurring meetings, calendar connected booking software can organize everything just as quickly. During appraisal season, these meetings could even be automatically scheduled and added to everyone’s calendars, meaning that line managers don’t need to coordinate their schedules with every employee to find a time to meet.

Smart meeting rooms are more eco-friendly

Having lights on in a room 24/7 can get expensive. And it’s not a great use of energy.

Smart meeting rooms, on the other hand, not only benefit the users of the meeting room but can dramatically decrease overheads. And help a company do their bit for the environment.

If a room is only used for a couple of hours a day, motion sensors can switch off the lights, thermostat, screens, and other equipment when nobody is around. This also saves someone needing to go around and switch off all the lights at the end of the day, something which can be time-consuming and prone to error in a large building.

Giving each room a thermostat that adjusts based on if people are in the room is another way to save electricity. A minimum temperature can be set to prevent the room from getting too cold. When people want to use the room, they can set the thermostat to a temperature they’d like, or leave it as the default. When there’s no longer anyone in the room, the thermostat switches itself off.

Adding calendar sync means that an empty meeting room can be shown as available on the booking system too. And when everything updates in real-time, it’s easy to jump in last minute as you can be sure that the meeting room’s schedule is an accurate representation of its availability.

Smart meeting rooms can go beyond just motion detectors, though. If you sync a calendar to the meeting room management software, lights can be turned on automatically when a meeting is scheduled.

Make meetings more immersive

Smart meeting rooms can also take advantage of AI or even VR to create a better experience for its users. It especially benefits communications and helps increase attendee engagement.

For team members who work remotely or can’t make it into the office, virtual reality offers them the chance to feel like they’re in the room. Staff can also attend meetings with clients off-site and get the same sense of immersion that they would if they were in the same room. This helps employees to keep focused and not get distracted like they could in a traditional meeting.

Smart meeting rooms can also be equipped with recording technology to create high-quality videos, which can be useful for anyone who can’t attend at the time.

AI, meanwhile, can be used to take the minutes of a meeting or search for online resources, tasks which often take time out of a meeting or mean that not everyone is paying attention.

Directions are another key feature that can sometimes be overlooked. If you have external attendees it can be useful to create directions to the room or make them easy to identify. Some systems can integrate with digital signs or tablets by the door, and details can be attached to calendar invites.

Smart meeting rooms create a better user experience

Technology can help with everything from making the booking process easier to making meetings more engaging.

Whether a room is used for a large corporate meeting or a one-to-one, with calendar sync users can access the real-time availability of meeting rooms and book the room they need.

Meeting rooms themselves can be set up to detect movement and automatically switch resources on or off based on if anyone is in the room. This not only benefits the users, but also saves the company money on its overheads and is an eco-friendlier way of working.

Virtual reality, meanwhile, will become an increasingly popular part of everyday life and there’s no reason it can’t benefit meetings, too.

There are many, many more ways in which technology could be used to benefit the workplace. The question is, how will you use it?

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Kristina Proffitt

Date: 31st October 2017 | Category: HR Tech