Remote collaboration and meeting platforms have seen significant gains as companies adapt swiftly to having the entire staff working at home for extended periods of time. Among the biggest single benefactors of the crisis has been meeting application Zoom, which has seen its stock spike and shows no sign of decline.
It’s fair to assume that the way we work will be changed forever by this huge enforced, global experiment with remote working. More companies will see that staff can be as productive off site as on (some studies even suggest that remote workers do up to 40% more than those in the office) and businesses will start to look at how they can cut capex costs and retain maximum flexibility in case there is a recurrence of the current situation in future.
For meeting culture, the COVID-19 crisis is the tipping point. Remote work has introduced people to a whole new way of approaching meetings.
- Rather than writing endless mails to explain details that may be lost as people read between the lines. People more often jump on one-to-one calls or call mini-meetings to update on statuses or explain ideas.
- People become more mindful of one another’s time. We understand that working from home often comes with other responsibilities, such as childcare, and take extra care to check on the availability of others.
- Lengthy meetings become less and less common as people are able to ‘zone out’ more easily and simply switch off the camera. More meetings stay on point and finish on time.
- The idea that technology can constantly be improved to facilitate meetings has challenged that traditional idea of what a meeting actually is and how it has to be run.
In summary, we’ve realized that we love meetings but not the type we’ve always had to endure. People value face-to-face interaction and can be more sure after a meeting that everyone is up to date, as emails with the same information can be misunderstood or go unread. The type of meetings people now turn to are short, dynamic, and on point. Less time is wasted and more is done.
Once restrictions are lifted and staff get back into the office, there is a chance that we will all collectively forget that we experienced something better. More likely, one positive legacy of the current situation will be that workers who have experienced how technology can enhance meetings will be reluctant to return to the previous way of doing things.
Bookado is one of those niche solutions that captures that exact moment in time. It addresses both the hardware problem and cultural shift that is set to take place.
The key issue with other meeting room booking systems is that the solutions are also part of the problem. Tablet and phone screens on meeting room door frames may look cool. However, in the long term, they require a significant cost investment, are ecologically unfriendly when they reach end of life, and are a hassle to fit in the first place and then move if you rearrange the office.
By using stickers with an AR code, Bookado means that any place where you put a sticker becomes a meeting room. You can print as many as you like. The only limit is your imagination. And this suits workers who have spent months getting used to booking one another’s time for quick check-ins and conducting the meeting wherever feels most comfortable to them. The modern meeting has become much more about reserving one another’s valuable time than it has about standardized ideas about booking company resources.
Stickers work from a business perspective as well. Business will have to make hard decisions about where to invest and how to cut costs over the coming months. All non-essential items are likely to be stripped from the budget—and that means fancy screens on meeting room doors. But AR-code stickers that come at a fraction of the purchase cost—and offer the same or better user experience when scanned into a mobile app that allows users to see a full list of rooms and availability in real time—are an easy win for the business. They give employees more while spending less.
The other element where Bookado fits the zeitgeist is the shift in meeting culture. Other solutions looked at hardware and software to make solutions that function well and look good. However, they all fail to take into account that better use of resources isn’t a result of changing the technology, it is a result of changing human behavior.
Now, meeting rooms are booked but left unused because people don’t often take the time to think about their fellow employees. Similarly, when meetings overrun, most workers think of their own needs and not those of the people who have next booked the room.
Bookado was built with a three-tier approach to the problem:
- Build software that has every functionality that staff may need
- Use hardware that cuts cost for businesses while working in the way that people want to engage with technology, through their phones
- Build a notification and reminder system that gently steers people towards a better meeting culture—one in which they think more about the needs of others
The current crisis is forcing us all to think about others before we book their time. There is something more personal about asking someone who is working in their home to meet with us. They are in their personal space (even if it is where they are working at that moment) and that makes us more respectful of their time. Once we all go back to our offices, we should carry that experience with us. The coronavirus is a tipping point. We have finally come to realize that the most important resource we are booking when we call a meeting is another person’s valuable time.