The purpose of a meeting room booking system is to enable the sharing of meeting rooms so that everyone in the organisation has access to the space they need for all the group discussions that are vital for the business to function and thrive. In the past, room booking systems were comprised of tools that were not purpose-built for room booking, so they didn’t operate as efficiently as they could have and they were error-prone due to the humans that controlled them. Modern meeting room management software has made room booking systems far more efficient and reliable. It comes with a range of features that make the process of finding, booking and cancelling rooms quick, easy and convenient. It allows you to specify additional resources you might need, such as catering or AV equipment, as well as room layout changes that are necessary. It can also provide an up to the second view of resources used in the past, scheduled for use in the future and in use right now.

Meeting room booking software, like Matrix Booking, also provides a range of entry points to suit the needs of its users. For example, a person looking for a room immediately can use a shortcut to quickly view rooms that are currently free. Someone else, who is fairly flexible on the time and location of their meeting, as long as everyone in the team can attend, can use the system more like appointment booking software. Meanwhile, someone who has to plan their meeting around a specific room or a specific time can search using those criteria before proceeding to invite attendees. As well as making the process of booking rooms and other resources much smoother and more enjoyable for everyone in the organisation, improving motivation and productivity, the features included in leading workplace management software like Matrix Booking can transform your facilities management, delivering a significant return on investment, as we will show.

What is Facilities Management?

According to the International Facilities Management Association, facilities management is an interdisciplinary practice that “considers the coordination of people, place, process and technology.” Broken down, this means that a Facility Manager is responsible for the success of all the facets of the facility, including organisation, safety, security and maintenance, along with the key, everyday operational procedures.

The responsibility of Facilities Management

The purpose of facilities management procedures, much like any other procedure, is to help Facilities Managers maintain an agreed quality of service. Procedures help to reduce the inconsistencies that otherwise occur when the same task is performed by different people or even repeatedly by the same person. It is a kind of automation. However, actual automation achieves the same thing, only it is even more effective because, even when following the same procedure, two different people can interpret a step in a procedure in two slightly different ways. By using resource management software, automating facilities management procedures is easy.

Matrix Booking allows Facilities Managers to set up their organisation’s resources on the Matrix Booking system so that all resources and services can be made available to staff, with whatever restrictions need to be applied to their use (such as who is allowed to access certain equipment or the length of time a room can be booked).

Helping to maintain a consistently great quality of service is not the only advantage of having automated room booking procedures. Historically, facilities management has been the human oil in the physical engine of an organisation, but it has also been the designer, the engineer and the mechanic. The problem with that is like all resources in an organisation, facilities management’s resources are limited. So the more time facilities managers spend playing the role of oil and mechanic, the less time they have to play the role of designer and engineer. This means Facilities Managers have often been stuck dealing with symptoms of systemic problems, instead of having time to tackle their root causes but now, meeting room management solutions like Matrix Booking are helping to change all that. By taking care of repeatable and time-consuming tasks that no longer require a human interface, Facilities Managers have more time to spend designing and engineering facilities to service staff per their needs. No longer do facilities management need to play gatekeeper to rooms, desks or shared equipment – staff can see for themselves which resources are available and when, then book, cancel and rebook without wasting anyone else’s time.

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Resource Booking Software supports Facilities Management

Meanwhile, Matrix Booking provides resource usage data that can turn Facilities Managers into magicians of resource management. Access to visualisations of historic resource usage means that facilities management can more easily predict organisational needs in the future.

Furthermore, predictions can be made more accurate using the latest in sensor technology, which records the actual occupancy of rooms and desks, which is typically somewhat different from planned occupancy. This information empowers Facilities Managers to ensure that increasing demand is met, and spending on resources is reduced if demand for space or equipment drops off.

The data detailing future resource usage bookings, provided by workplace management software, means that Facilities Managers can also tackle foreseeable problems before they arise. For example, a company has ten tablets, but they aren’t all the same release, so at any one time, critical apps are usually glitchy on at least two of them. Normally this can be managed easily enough because there are rarely more than six people who want or need a tablet at the same time, but what if, in two weeks, due to multiple bookings, all ten tablets have been booked at the same time?

Investing in new tablets or requesting rescheduling so that all ten tablets are not booked at once are two of the options open to facilities management, provided that they know about the problem far enough in advance. Without the ability to see this problem in advance, there are fewer options for solving it, and there’s a high risk of disappointing and demotivating staff. At the same time, live resource usage data, enhanced with occupancy sensors, enables Facilities Managers to identify completely unforeseeable problems created by unpredictable human behaviour, as soon as they arise, then devise and implement solutions before anyone has picked up the phone to ask for help.

For example, a highly sensitive meeting has been booked in one of two adjacent meeting rooms, and to minimise the stress on the people in the meeting, the next door meeting room has also been booked to keep it empty. However, it’s Gareth’s birthday, his colleagues are looking for somewhere to present him with a cake, they don’t know about the sensitive meeting, they only know there’s an empty room, so they dive in and start setting up. Fortunately, because facilities management is remotely keeping an eye on the environment around the room, they can swiftly move in and quietly pull Gareth’s colleagues out of the room before they break into a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’.

Free Room Booking Software Trial

It’s easy for organisations to set up a 14-day free trial run of Matrix Booking in just a few minutes. We recommend setting it up for a busy department – ideally one with a pioneering culture, to see how much easier the software makes it for staff to schedule their rooms and desks, as well as how much time it releases for other facilities management work, making everyone happier and more motivated.

The software can be set up with no training at all, but you may contact Matrix Booking for any support during this trial period. You can also request a software demo to find out about the individual meeting room scheduling, resource booking and facilities management features in more detail. If you like the software as much as we think you will – roll it out to the entire organisation, department by department, and in due course you’ll be able to see resource usage data that can help you with the long term design and planning of company resources, increasing productivity and reducing facilities costs.