Conference rooms are shared spaces that are meant to be used as collaboration hubs between co-workers and as private spaces for employees and employers. As with any shared space, there are certain unwritten rules that employees need to abide by if the space is to be properly maintained and utilized by all.
Don’t use a conference room without booking it first
You may think it’s okay to just pop into an unoccupied meeting room for a few minutes without booking it. After all, ideas happen on the fly and you shouldn’t need to wait to share your thoughts with team members. But what are you going to do when someone else actually takes the time to book that room only to be rudely turned away by you when you haven’t even reserved the space? Keep co-workers in the loop by taking a moment to reserve the room before taking over the space. We also recommend adding an open collaborative space near your workstations that does not need to be booked. This can consist of basic office furniture or even a standing height storage island and can be used based on the understanding that it does not need to be reserved and is specifically put there for those on-the-fly interactions.
Don’t double book conference rooms
This one is usually an accident, but double check to make sure it isn’t a mistake you’re making. Sometimes when we book conference rooms we select every conference room in the office in order to see which one is available at the required time. Then we forget to unselect the ones we aren’t actually using and—whoops. Suddenly nobody is able to book a conference room because you accidentally reserved rooms you aren’t even using. Be considerate and do a quick double take after you reserve a space.
Book your conference room early and cancel your conference room early
As soon as you know you’re going to need a meeting room—book it! The longer you wait the more difficult it will be for you to get the room you want, and you don’t want to be put in a situation where you need to ask co-workers to move their meetings just because you weren’t proactive in planning yours. In addition, if a meeting gets cancelled make sure you cancel your room reservation immediately. This will ensure that others will have time to reserve it for themselves.
Leave the conference room as clean as or cleaner than the way it was
It’s simple—don’t make a mess. If you came in with a coffee cup, take it with you. If you ripped up shreds of your notebook paper as a habit, throw it in the garbage. If your large meeting was catered, clean up all of the mess. You can even go the extra mile by wiping down finger prints from the conference table or dusting off the computer monitor before you leave the room.
Leave promptly when your meeting time slot has ended
When booking your conference room, take care that you’re allotting enough time for the meeting. Whether you successfully hit all the talking points needed or not, evacuate the space when your time slot has ended. You’re only taking up your co-workers’ time by running your meeting into theirs, and we guarantee they won’t appreciate it.
Accommodate the needs of others
You don’t need a conference room built to seat 10 if you only have two people in the meeting. If you book a large conference room for a small number of people and a co-worker asks you to switch rooms, be accommodating. Issues arise all the time, and your co-workers may ask to use your conference room in an emergency situation. Just be understanding and help out your peers when you can.
Keep the door closed
The people working around you don’t need to hear your entire conversation. Do them all a favor and close the door when your meetings are in session. On a similar note, those interrupting a meeting for any reason should knock before entering. A closed door means “give us some privacy” and should be taken as a sign that you need to ask permission before entering.
Whether you’re having a private meeting with your manager or a 20 person training session, following these guidelines will keep your co-workers happy and ensure everyone is able to use your office’s meeting rooms equally. Have your own tips for meeting room etiquette? Share them in the comments below!