Meeting rooms. We all use them and we all love to hate them. It’s not their fault, it’s the system. The never-know-who’s-in-there which leads us to awkward neck cranes, hesitant knocking and worse - interrupting - just to find out if the room you booked two weeks ago is actually still free.
It’s a problem we’re trying to help solve and we’ve discovered that much like in a Snicker’s ad, people aren’t themselves when they’re guarding that little box like their lives depend on it.
Here, we give you to the seven types of people you find hanging around meeting rooms at the office.
1. The Beach Towel Lady
This person may seem vaguely familiar if you’ve ever gone on vacation to somewhere with a pool. Just like the vacationers who get up six hours early to lay down a towel, The Beach Towel user leaves a similarly well-placed personal item to claim the meeting room. A lingering laptop, perhaps a phone if they’re really bold. The message is clear: I’m not using this meeting room but I don’t intend to give it up. You can try and take it but we all know that the Law of the Beach Towel must be abided by and I will cause a scene.
2. The Glass Tapper
These are the office characters who have rightfully booked a meeting room, only to find a meeting already in full swing. One which they are not part of. So they lightly tag their fingers against the glass of the meeting room window. On the surface, this move looks designed to subtly get attention of the meeting room inhabitants but it has a hidden subtext. It means: we booked this room and you need to get the hell out. (The Glass Tapper is usually British).
3. The Just-One-More-Minute Guy
The Just-One-More-Minute Guy appears to be an incredibly well-mannered meeting room user on the surface. But actually, this just hides his cunning intent. This is the colleague who begs for forgiveness, who tells you he’ll be out of the meeting room in just five more minutes. While you are reassured, and distracted, by this, your time in the meeting room whittles away incredibly fast. Sometimes, you’ll be so under the spell of the Just-One-More-Minute Guy that your entire meeting room slot can trickle away in a flurry of “just five more minutes’”. Beware the Just-One-More-Minute Guy.
4. The Resident
The Resident simply holes up in the meeting room, with a confidence that almost makes you question if this is their office. Really, they’re just working like everyone else on the floor, using the meeting room as a de facto private office, but because their conviction is so resolute, they’re rarely challenged. Meaning yet again, you need to find somewhere else to hold your meeting.
5. The Crab
Ever left a meeting room for a comfort break and returned to find it full of those guys you vaguely recognize from Floor 2? Then you, my friend, have met The Crab. These meeting room users are opportunists. The people that never book a meeting room, but shuffle into it, crab like, as soon as no one is looking. Like their namesake, taken from The Sand Crab, these scuttlers are incredibly hard to spot and even harder to remove once they sink their claws in.
6. The Lost Soul
This meeting room user is anyone who’s ever worked in an office. Dedicated to all those who have spent hours wandering about, looking for a spare meeting room. The Lost Soul can be spotted by their forlorn face and worn out shoes - so long have they spent shuffling up and down the corridors hoping to discover a space that’s free. Sometimes The Lost Soul is part of a Lost Souls Group. Because what’s more fun than leading a bunch of your most important clients around the office, while you look for a spare meeting room?
7. The Ghost User
This meeting room user is as ephemeral as the name suggests. Recognized by weekly, if not daily, meeting room bookings for a person who you’ve never in fact seen. You might question your colleagues, “Hey has anyone heard of Miranda Smith?”. No one has. You almost forget to resent the continual wasted-booking of the meeting room, so keen are you to find out who the mysterious booker is. They never turn up. The meeting room sits eerily empty every time. Still, you daren’t go in there for your meeting, just in case they really do exist.
Avoid this awkward social dance of the meeting room. Don’t be that meeting room user that everyone hates. Introduce your office to better meeting room booking software. It could be life changing.