One of the many perks of a shared office space is the abundant conference room access. However, if you fail to adhere to proper conference room etiquette, you will find yourself off the shortlist for client referrals and co-counsel opportunities.
When practicing law, the meeting room is definitely an essential tool. For this reason, the availability of quality conference room facilities is often one of the bonuses of sharing office space with other attorneys.
Obviously, when it comes to conference rooms usage, rude behavior has an extremely negative effect on all the members of your shared office space community. Consistent rudeness and bad manners will surely erode the main benefit of sharing an office space: client referrals.
When it comes to conference rooms, it should be obvious that one should be a good-suite mate. Unfortunately, over the years, we have found that that’s not always the case.
Here at Law Firm Suites, we have developed a code of etiquette for conference room usage that helps to maintain respect between other office colleagues:
1. Leave the conference room cleaner than the way you found it.
Cleaning up someone else’s mess is never okay and cleaning up after yourself and your guests promotes a sense of respect when it comes to conference room usage. Even if one cannot clean up the mess, letting the facility’s staff know is a viable option to keep respect for the next guest. Under any circumstance, leaving a mess for the next guest to find is wildly inappropriate.
2. Reserve enough time for your meetings.
Meetings can be unpredictable in terms of time. A client may show up later than expected or the subject matter of the meeting may be very intense calling for an extended meeting time. It is the job of the person using the conference room to schedule adequate time for his or her meeting to negate from stepping over other users’ time. Doing so also helps to avoid that uncomfortable feeling when someone has to be asked to wait or vacate the conference room.
3. Don’t jump in an empty conference room without a reservation. Ever.
Users of conference room time not only need to respect the other users, but the system of bookings as well. An empty conference does not always mean it is free or that it is okay to just waltz in and occupy it. You never know what can be happening in the next five minutes and respect for the system can do away with any awkward situation among users and facility staff.
4. Do not use the conference room as your second office.
Sometimes it’s nice to spread your work out over a luxuriously large conference room table. And if you have the benefit of being the only lawyer in your office, go right ahead. However, if you share your office space with other attorneys, conference rooms are a finite resource. They should be used only for client and staff meetings, not for individual work that could be accomplished at your desk. If you need someplace to work other than your office, arrangements can often be made to rent an empty office, even temporarily.
5. Take care not to double book conference rooms.
Being mindful of your conference room usage is important and ensuring you are not double booking ensures respect to other firms. If it so happens that you have double-booked, immediately cancel the extra reservation so someone else can use the time.
6. Book your conference room early, cancel early too.
Do not wait a lengthy amount of time to book your conference room time. Once you know you have a meeting, check the bookings schedule early to ensure you are not scrambling to find a room. Waiting lessens your chance of booking a room as conference rooms are typically first come, first serve. Cancelling ahead of time is also an important extension of this rule.
7. If there is an issue with someone else conflicting with your reservation, ask the receptionist or the operations staff to handle the situation.
Never outright handle conflicting reservation yourself. Doing this can create feelings of disdain toward the other lawyer, create a tense office environment, and even damage potential business relationships. Office staff are there to be the “bad guy” for you and enforce rules so any problem that arises does not have to affect you more than it should.
8. Be accommodating.
Being mindful of the parameters of your meeting will be most beneficial for ensuring respect to other users. For example, if you book the largest conference for only one guest and yourself, offering to move to a smaller locale can ensure good karma on your end. Accommodating other helps to maintain good relationships and makes office life much easier in the long run.