Meeting rooms have always played a crucial role in business centers and will continue to do so. They provide a private space for group discussions, allowing individuals to close the door and focus on their work without interruptions from the rest of the coworking space. The effectiveness of these spaces lies in the universally recognized principles of conference room etiquette that people adhere to and respect.
Meeting rooms have stood the test of time amidst various changes in the office environment. They coexist with new concepts like agile workspaces and activity-based work areas. However, these new spaces operate under different rules compared to traditional conference rooms. While there is still a high demand for enclosed meeting rooms, their value will only persist if employees continue to uphold meeting room etiquette.
To ensure smooth and productive meetings, it is essential for all employees to have a clear understanding of and adhere to the following six guidelines of meeting room governance. These guidelines should be universally recognized and followed throughout the organization.
Unlike flexible spaces, meeting rooms require prior booking. It's important for employees to understand that an empty meeting room doesn't imply it's available for use. Meeting rooms have a more formal reservation process that should be followed.
Educate employees about the etiquette of booking conference rooms as early as possible. Ideally, encourage booking a day or more in advance. For last-minute reservations, suggest reserving a few hours ahead. Prior planning ensures everyone is aware of the room's availability, especially for those who may be considering meeting time but haven't finalized the logistics of their meeting yet.
Meeting room etiquette relies on punctuality. If you have a reservation for 2 p.m., aim to arrive within a five to ten-minute window around that time. Arriving early may require waiting outside if the previous group hasn't finished, so it's wise to include a buffer period to accommodate attendees coming from different locations on campus or other scheduled events.
As crucial as it is to arrive on time, it's equally important to vacate the room promptly when your allotted time is over. Even if there isn't an immediate reservation following yours, someone else might still require the space. Wrap up your meeting efficiently or consider moving to a breakout space to conclude discussions.
If you're unsure about the specific conference room or the optimal timing for your group, it may be tempting to double book spaces or time slots. However, this practice contradicts good meeting room etiquette. Each reservation should be respected, ensuring that other groups do not overlap with your reservation. However, this respect should be reciprocal. Avoid taking up unnecessary time or space that others may need. Wait until the details are finalized before booking a room or choose a space that works for most participants while encouraging others to coordinate their schedules accordingly.
If you have booked a meeting room in Dubai but your meeting plans change, it is considerate to cancel your reservation. By doing so, you free up the space and time for other groups who may need it. While cancellations are not ideal, as the room remains unavailable during the booked period, it is better than keeping the reservation and letting the space go unused. Cancel your reservation as early as possible to provide others with a better opportunity to book the space.
Meetings involve various activities, such as presentations, handouts, whiteboarding, and project preparations, which can lead to materials being scattered across the room. Lunch-and-learn sessions can be particularly messy, with food, paper products, and utensils involved. Following meeting room etiquette, it is important to clean up after yourself before leaving the room. Ensure that you remove any garbage and restore the room to its original cleanliness or even better, for the next group to use the space.
In addition to making reservations and adhering to schedules, it is crucial to ensure that employees do not monopolize meeting rooms. While it is acceptable to have regular weekly meetings or use these rooms for group planning, it is not appropriate to book the same room continuously for an entire afternoon, except in exceptional cases. Furthermore, employees should avoid using meeting rooms for individual projects or tasks that could be accomplished in other spaces.
Meeting rooms may have less flexibility compared to modern workspaces, but they remain essential for private and closed-door meetings. They continue to play a significant role in today's fast-paced offices, albeit with a different set of rules from what younger employees may be accustomed to. By following these six guidelines for meeting rooms, they will continue to be valuable assets in your workplace, regardless of their structure.