Conference or meeting rooms are shared spaces in the workplace. As with every shared space, there are rules for using meeting rooms properly. Be a considerate team member. Follow meeting room etiquette.
What meeting room etiquette is
Meeting room etiquette is the set of rules to appropriately use conference rooms in the workplace. Such rules include:
- When to use a meeting room.
- How to book and prepare it for the meeting.
- How to leave the room.
- The bad habits to avoid.
As an employee, you should respect meeting room etiquette to politely deal with your coworkers and avoid any embarrassments.
As a manager or employer, promote meeting room etiquette in your team to ensure the efficient use of conference rooms and avoid conflicts between team members.
Meeting room etiquette rules
1) Meeting rooms are for meetings or calls
Employees can occupy a meeting room only to hold a meeting, discuss with coworkers, or take a call. Otherwise, employees should leave the meeting room free.
Do not move into a meeting room to work from there. Even if no one is using the room at the moment. Occupying a room for your personal use is one of the worst offenses in meeting room etiquette.
Leave the room free, so it is available if someone needs to meet or to make a call.
2) Book the conference room before using it
Many companies have an internal booking system. Use it to block the room. If a booking system is not available, leave a note on the door. State the time and the reason you need the room.
It is good etiquette to book the room for not over 1 hour. For longer meetings, consider meeting somewhere else. Especially if your company has just a few meeting rooms available.
If someone booked a room but does not show up after 10 minutes, it is perfect meeting room etiquette to occupy the room in their place. However, the same can happen to you. So, if you book a room, be on time.
When you are in a meeting room, if someone asks you to free the room because they booked it, you should leave the room immediately. Do not make the person wait. Even if you are on a call, you should end the call immediately and vacate the room.
If you cancel your meeting or no longer need the room, you should cancel the booking and make the room available to your colleagues.
3) Prepare the room before the meeting
Before booking a conference room, make sure that it can accommodate all the people coming to the meeting. If you book a small room and later add participants to the meeting, consider booking a larger room. Similarly, if you book a large meeting room and some coworkers cannot make it, consider switching to a smaller room.
Before the meeting, check that there are enough chairs in the room for everyone. Check that all the equipment you are going to need works properly. Such as the phone, video screen, or projector.
If someone else was occupying the room before your meeting, you may want to open the window to let some fresh air in. Find more tips and rules on how to prepare and run an effective meeting on the meeting etiquette page.
4) Ensure privacy during meetings
When you are in the meeting room, close the door during the meeting. Close the windows if necessary. Avoid talking at a loud volume.
If you are projecting slides with sensitive information, make sure that they can be seen only by people in the meeting.
Apply extra caution when the meeting is about sensitive or confidential matters. In general, any meeting that involves privileged information, or is about human resources or people management.
5) Leave the meeting room on time
Meeting room etiquette requires leaving the room a few minutes before your time is over. Ideally, leave 5 minutes in advance, 1 or 2 minutes at minimum. This time will allow your coworkers to prepare the room for the eventual next meeting and to start it in time.
If you leave the room late, coworkers waiting for the room will start their meeting late too. Or they might be late for a call with a client or a partner.
6) Leave the meeting room as you found it
Leave the conference room in pristine conditions. Make sure to respect the general workplace personal hygiene etiquette. Before leaving the conference room, clean after yourself. Remove cups and glasses. Throw away any garbage. Place the chairs back in their original place. Turn any equipment off. Clear the whiteboard.
Do not eat in a meeting room. You risk spilling food, making a mess, and leaving the room smelly and soiled. Clean up or notify the janitors if you notice a food or beverage spill.
Leave the door open as you leave. Open the window if the room has one. It will allow some fresh air in.
Meeting room etiquette: the worst mistakes
The Rude Index identifies and ranks negative behaviors.
A high score (8-10) means that the behavior has the potential to trigger a conflict with others. A medium score (4-7) means that the behavior risks making you look inelegant and unsophisticated. More about the Rude Index and its methodology here.
Avoid the worst meeting room etiquette mistakes.
- 9/10. Occupying a meeting room for personal use.
- 9/10. Making your coworkers wait for you to vacate the room.
- 8/10. Leaving the room in a mess.
- 7/10. Not preparing the room for your meeting.
- Building a smart meeting room: From infrastructure to the video gap: researchgate.net