Benefits of Technology-enabled Meeting Rooms
In a previous post, we talked about the questions and considerations to help effectively plan meeting rooms that enable collaboration. Goals and expectations for room and technology utilization should be considered before planning begins.
Knowing what success will look like is imperative. Establishing how you will monitor and measure that success is equally as important, especially as investment may be required to configure new rooms for back to work and hybrid scenarios. Progress reporting on metrics allows for any necessary alterations or improvements after implementation.
Establish Metrics When Planning
Metrics should be established based on what is meaningful to the organization, along with knowing how the organization assesses return on investment. A few examples include:
- Correlating the number and frequency of meetings to the results generated
- Availability and up-time of technology, as meeting delays can be costly
- Utilization rate of meeting rooms, because space is valuable once metrics are decided, the next step is to set benchmarks for each. You might have to look at past projects to set some starting figures. Then, begin monitoring. It’s best to be proactive in gathering results rather than waiting for anecdotal feedback. This being said, anecdotal feedback can be very helpful because it often provides insight into intangible value that can’t be measured.
Some tangible measures that can be tracked to determine whether or not collaboration spaces are adding value include:
The number and frequency of meetings
- What is the room utilization rate?
- How many meetings take place in each meeting room?
- Are users favoring particular rooms that have specific technology?
- If you implement new meeting room technology, does the utilization of these spaces increase?
- If you have some meeting rooms without technology, has their use declined dramatically?
For real-time statistics, room scheduling systems can track activity and frequency based on user IDs. If you don’t have scheduling technology, setting up an online booking system or a simple survey may reveal new meeting patterns. Space utilization is an important metric because empty rooms don’t add value.
- How long did it take to complete a project or get a new product to market in the past?
- If employees start using collaborative spaces and technology, are projects being completed more rapidly?
- Have some development costs or rework costs been avoided because more cross-department collaboration is catching possible issues sooner?
Reduction in development time can be measured in part by the salaries of those involved and the time spent on the project.
Reduction in the number of iterations and tests
- How many prototypes are required to get to a final result?
- How much money is being spent on testing, trials, or external evaluations?
This metric focuses on the hard costs of these activities. If better collaboration can speed development through less iteration, there are real savings to be realized on prototypes or other testing. This is hopefully a straightforward calculation of savings.
Many consider satisfaction to be an intangible measure. However, there are many ways to administer regular surveys that can include satisfaction scales and comment boxes.
- What are users saying about the functionality of the meeting rooms?
- Are user voicing complaints or sharing accolades, and is one or the other increasing?
- Similar to the usage questions, why are rooms being booked or avoided?
Technology and spaces that are easy to use, designed to the task, and are comfortable will generate positive results. Consider surveys that ask about and grade user acceptance ease of use and overall satisfaction. Ask for recommendations for improvement and accomplishments resulting from collaborative discussions.
Measure Then Improve
Monitor results regularly, especially user feedback, so improvements can be made. It’s also good to map data trends over time to demonstrate the impact meeting spaces have. Even if you started with uncertain benchmarks, looking at the results on a rolling basis will establish firmer ground over time.
Consider space utilization as an example. If your rooms were in use 50% of their available time, you might want to set 75% as a goal. If after three months the average utilization only grows to 60%, questions can be asked.
You may discover there wasn’t enough training to make users confident, or there are missing features/capabilities that caused users not to return as frequently, or at all.
At the end, when meeting rooms facilitate collaboration sessions that become part of an organization’s culture, there should be noticeable and measurable productivity gains. The important thing is the up-front work to consider what metrics will be measured and gathered.
If you are planning new meeting spaces, establishing success factors should be done first to inform how those spaces should be designed to help achieve desired goals. To some, this may sound a bit circular, or “chicken-and-egg.” If skepticism exists, try the approach on some pilot rooms before making a major investment.
Realizing positive results fuels future improvements.