Conference Room Rules and Etiquette

Author: Gina Cunsolo

The COVID-19 pandemic appears to be on the decline, and workers are finally returning to the office after more than two years of doing their jobs from home. Social cues get rusty after so much time in quarantine, and it can take time to adjust back to working around others in an office setting. 

One adjustment many workers will have to make is remembering how to act in a face-to-face conference room setting, and understanding the rules and etiquette around booking the conference rooms themselves.

When everyone wants to book the best conference room

Most offices include at least one conference room or meeting room, and larger offices will likely include several huddle rooms as well. Chances are one of those rooms has the best audio and video setup, featuring top-of-the-line equipment such as the ADECIA family of audio products from Yamaha Unified Communications. It’s a good bet that such a conference room is always in high demand!

So if the workplace hasn’t already deployed some form of conference room booking software, now would be a good time to do so. And while they’re at it, now would be a good time to educate staff on new conference room rules.

Be courteous to your colleagues when booking meeting rooms

There are a variety of booking software applications on the market, and the task of booking conference rooms can even be accomplished with the calendar features included in Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar, and others.

But with the use of conference rooms during the workday likely to increase, it’s a good idea to remember some basic conference room booking etiquette that will prevent arguments over the use of scarce space. 

Here are a few basic courtesies to follow when booking a conference room:

Be mindful of the time – If you book a conference room for an hour, wrap your meeting up within that hour. It’s not a bad idea to wrap things up a few minutes early to give yourself time to pack things up. Keeping the next group waiting while you clear out is just unfair to your co-workers.

Make use of the schedule – Don’t assume that just because the room is empty that it hasn’t been booked. Check the schedule. Another tidbit when it comes to “booking meeting rooms etiquette”: Book your room well in advance. Try not to wait until 5 minutes before a meeting is scheduled to begin to book the conference room. On the flip side, if you reserve a room and your meeting is subsequently canceled, remove the reservation from the booking schedule.

Don’t double book – It may be tempting to book multiple rooms or time slots if you’re unsure of what time you’ll meet and/or how many people will attend. You should really try to avoid this, as someone who needs the room at a certain time may not be able to access it. If your workday is so chaotic that you can’t schedule a meeting for a certain time, consider deferring it to a day where you have fewer things happening.

Be mindful of your conference room neighbors – Although getting the team pumped up and excited is always a good thing, yelling and cheering in the conference room can be a distraction to the workers on the other side of the conference room wall. Be aware of who you might be disturbing. And if you’re going to be on the phone, consider using a speech privacy system that will prevent others from listening in.

Make your conference room meeting remote-friendly – Even though many of us are returning to the office, there are still going to be many who will continue working remotely. Don’t forget to include those people in your meetings. If there’s one main conference room where meetings will be held, outfitting it with audio products such as Yamaha UC’s Ceiling Mount Dante Microphone will help ensure that everyone is heard clearly. For smaller conference rooms or huddle rooms, Yamaha UC offers a variety of conference phones that deliver crystal-clear communication. If you frequently change rooms, Yamaha UC’s YVC-330 Portable USB & Bluetooth Conference Phone is the perfect solution.

Install a speech privacy system to protect sensitive conversations - We all know that the room in the front of the office is usually the nicest room, outfitted with the best technology. This is the room where important client meetings will be held, and therefore, most sensitive conversations. However, this room is typically directly adjacent to a waiting room - therefore, these conversations must be protected. Installing Yamaha’s VSP-2 Speech Privacy System will act similarly to a noise machine for the office, without adding distracting background noise.

Leave the meeting room as you found it - One of the most important rules to follow when it comes to conference room etiquette is to clean up after yourself. That begins with adhering to rules regarding food and drink. If the sign on the door says, “no food or drinks allowed,” don’t try to cheat by sneaking in a bottle of water or a cup of coffee. If those things are allowed, take them with you as you leave. If provided, use coasters for drinks, but at the very least don’t leave rings of water on the conference room table.

Succeeding in the new normal

Chances are the post-pandemic workplace will be a mixture of those working in the office and those doing their jobs from home. As always, though, the foundation of business success will be communication.

There are a host of communication tools on the market, and finding the right ones can be a challenge for any organization. Take a look at what Yamaha UC has to offer, or reach out to one of our experts.