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Avoid ‘Zombie Meetings’ in Your Workspaces with Zoom Rooms


It may sound like something out of a horror movie, but one problem affecting your conference room usage might be zombies. We aren’t referring to the undead monsters that hunger for brains — we’re talking about “zombie meetings.” 

A zombie meeting, sometimes called a ghost meeting, is when a conference room is reserved in advance for a meeting, but nobody shows up to use it. This displays the conference room as unavailable (or dead) for others while it’s actually available (or alive), hence the term zombie meeting.  

Zombie meetings have existed as long as meeting rooms have been around, but as businesses increasingly occupy more expensive workspaces, these zombie meetings reduce the cost-effectiveness of these spaces. The root of the problem comes down to three combined causes: humans, technology, and the modern workplace.

The human element 

Today, more employees than ever have flexible work schedules and plans change at a moment’s notice. As many organizations move toward a hybrid work model, employees will be even more unpredictable than ever in where and how they meet. This means that organizations need to take a proactive role in ensuring their meeting spaces are used effectively.

Organizations can help mitigate the issue of zombie meetings by confirming that their conference room technology is intuitive and straightforward. For example, when cancelling a meeting in a Zoom Room, a user can simply go into their calendar application and cancel it, which will automatically delete the meeting from the Zoom Room scheduler and frees it up for others to use. 

The technology element

While the technology you used in the past may have worked well when you left the office, that same technology can also exacerbate the issue in the new hybrid office if zombie meetings aren’t properly curbed. For example, if you use a conference room scheduler like a Neat Pad or the Logitech Tap Scheduler to display the status of the meeting room and that status is incorrect, employees trying to use that room will see it is in use and go find another. 

This can cause employees to use conference spaces that are unsuitable for their needs or in a way that doesn’t align with safety policies, such as cramming multiple people into a small conference space or using a space designated for all-hands sessions for a personal meeting.  

This is where features like Zoom Rooms’ People Counting are invaluable. The People Counting feature monitors the use of conference spaces, whether the rooms are booked or not. However, this feature also measures how many people are in a room during the allotted time, giving system admins a better idea of how employees are using these spaces and whether they are using them correctly.

Select Zoom Rooms hardware can also leverage onboard environmental sensors to respond in real time to decreasing air quality or other health-related metrics, alerting people in the room to unsafe conditions.

Modern workplace design 

The design of the modern workplace also contributes to the issue of zombie meetings and unsuitable use of conference room spaces. These issues will only be accentuated as employees begin returning to offices or following a hybrid work model, as more flexible work schedules create situations in which booked rooms may go unused. 

By providing employees with intuitive access to detailed information about room availability, organizations can help mitigate the zombie meeting issue and ensure room resources are being used properly. Leveraging Zoom’s Digital Signage, you will be able to display a floor plan presented right inside the lobby that shows which spaces are in use and which are open. These floor plans will tie natively to Zoom’s upcoming space management tool update to make sure everyone stays safe, informed, and up to date.

Booking from a Scheduling Display? You can see a similar floor plan showing available rooms nearby, providing a seamless room reservation experience while improving employee safety.

Where do we go from here?

Modern conference room systems offer numerous opportunities to reduce friction in the room experience. By leveraging this technology, organizations can better maintain their meeting spaces and protect the health of their employees. See how scheduling displays can enhance your meeting room hallways in our Workspace Designer. 

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