Meeting room hassle? Fix it with Google Calendar!
So we all know this issue, you don’t want to claim a meeting room for every small thing. On the other hand you don’t want to stand in the middle of the office looking for an available room or kicking somebody out because you have an import client meeting or call.
At Label A, we love that we are a flat structured company which makes us very flexible. But sometimes, being flexible isn’t always the way to go. Label A is growing hard and this year only (2018) we grew our team from 50 to 90 by the end of the year. In Amsterdam only we grew from 25 to 40 colleagues which means that our office are getting bussier than ever. One of the problems that comes with this expansion is managing our meeting rooms. In Amsterdam we have 2 dedicated meeting rooms for Label A only and 5 shared rooms for Label A and Bynder (our bigger sister company, look them up at bynder.com). Specially for the shared meeting rooms planning is a big thing. To solve this issue we found a work around that we want to share with you.
What’s our actual challenge?
So we have multiple specifications which made our issue a bit harder to solve
- we have shared meeting rooms.
Bynder has it’s own company Google domain/account which means that we can’t share “rooms” within the company Google configuration between Label A and Bynder. Meaning we can’t see the availability of a room within Google Calendar and book it when it’s configured in the account of Bynder or the other way around.
- Apple and Google aren’t friends
A lot of our colleagues use Apple Calendar to maintain their planning. Within Apple Calendar rooms of the company Google configuration are not supported. So to make sure that a meeting room is booked, you have need to go to the web interface of Google Calendar.
99 problems but booking meeting rooms ain’t one
We have found a solution that could help others as well.
We created a calendar for each meeting rooms and shared that with all the colleagues at Bynder and Label A, doing so we also gave them read and write permissions.
Because Google allows you to see the availability of your colleagues you can search for the calendar of each meeting room and see the availability in your calendar (Google and Apple). Getting a calendar in your Apple Calendar does require you to search for the calendar in the web interface of Google and then you need to check them in the settings of Apple within the delegates settings tab.
To solve the availability everybody should book the room. In this case you need to invite the calendar of the meeting room. Within Google Calendar this works perfectly because Google knows the unique address of your meeting room so you can search them by name.
Within Apple Calendar the app doesn’t know the unique email address of the calendar and so you can’t find a meeting room by name if you search for a room within your invitees. But we found an easy solution. When going into the settings of the calendar of the meeting room, you will find the unique email address which you can add to your Apple Contacts. After you added them to your contacts you will be able to invite the meeting room by name, if you name them the right way in your contacts
Now we can create meetings within Apple Calendar, reserve the room and even see the availability via the availability pop-up.
And yes, we could buy expensive and fancy meeting room management software but why would you if your current supplier already does just that. Hopefully it can solve an issue for you, it certainly did for us.