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No Room for New Meeting Rooms? Consider These Short-Term Fixes

No Room for New Meeting Rooms? Consider These Short-Term FixesYou don’t have enough conference room space. Your employees say so, and your analytics back it up. Maybe you’ve already leased more space, but it won’t be ready for a few months. So what do you do in the short term?  

At most companies, workers spend way more time in meetings today compared to just a decade ago. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that time spent in meetings was up to 10 percent annually – an increase of 8 percent since 2000. Senior execs spend an average 28 hours each week in meetings. Middle managers spend 21.

(Did you know that you can find out how many hours your own company spends in meetings, and the cost of that time, by using EventBoard’s Enterprise Analytics?)

Meeting in the Open

If more meetings mean that your company’s conference rooms are full most of the time, you might need to create temporary meeting areas by rearranging your current office space.

Move desks closer together to free up spaces where chairs and tables can be grouped to create informal meeting areas. For additional privacy, enclose these zones with frosted glass partitions. Because light can still pass through, people using the area shouldn’t feel too restricted or claustrophobic, even if it’s a smaller space.

If noise control is important for the temporary conference rooms, choose portable walls with sound-proofing options. Also consider why the space is needed. Certain meeting types – like creative brainstorming sessions or daily progress check-ins – may function just as smoothly in a space that uses a corner partition to separate the meeting from the work that’s happening around it but that doesn’t entirely block sound.

Even a kitchen area can be partitioned off for small, informal discussions – what meeting isn’t better with food handy?

Optimize Existing Rooms

The Wall Street Journal noted that “some 73 percent of meetings involve only two to four people, but 53 percent of conference-room space is built for meetings of seven or more.” If analytics point to the same problem at your workplace, divide larger rooms with accordion dividers. Opt for rolling furniture that can be easily pushed back together when the entire room is needed.

Temporary relocations are another solution. If closed offices are part of your floor plan and the employees in those offices telecommute regularly, maybe it’s time to try out desk hoteling. By having two people share the same office or desk, using it during alternating time windows, it’ll free up the other office for small meetings.

Finally, find out who’s using the existing conference rooms. If three teams occupy 90 percent of the meeting spaces and times, the best temporary solutions may come from talking to those teams about the reasons they’re using the meeting space.

You could learn that they collaborate in meeting rooms to access white boards or video equipment. If so, bringing in portable white boards or adding a large display or TV screen near their desks may help them do the same thing without the need for a separate, private space.

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