Room Booking Etiquette
Strategy for Misuse of Space
Behavior Modifications – Doing the Dishes
Paying the Rent On Time
Your Shared Values & Cleaning Expectations
Collaboration and Getting Along
Room Booking Etiquette
From an Ask-NCN Discussion 4/22/15
Mariah Shell, Alliance Center
We run a shared space with about 150 individuals and 18 conference rooms of varying sizes. Right now, we’re using a Google Calendar system to schedule the conference rooms but as our building has gotten more full, we’re running into some issues. All of our tenants have unlimited access to the conference rooms when they’re available, but lately we’ve been having issues with rooms being booked and not used, or being used when they’re not booked, etc. A lot of our tenants aren’t comfortable asking others to move, even if they have rights to the conference room.
How do you manage conference room usage in your building? Does anyone have any good tips or ideas on how to balance all of this?
James Thomson, New Life Foundation
Thankfully here at The Common Roof we have a full time reception staff at both of our shared space locations who manage room booking requests. These staff use Outlook to block off rooms as they are booked and to email the individual requesting the space with the details. While this is quite an easy process in terms of requests and our ability to respond, our biggest issue that we face is room booking conflicts – where 2 or more tenants wish to book the same room and the same time. While I like the idea of an online system where folks can access and book, my concern would be control over the confirmation of requests (especially if there are conflicts).
Faisal Abid, Nonprofit Center of Boston
We use a system at the NonProfit Center of Boston called Resource Scheduler through Peoplecube. This system allows us to place some restrictions on how often a group can rent space, recurring reservations, how far in advance, what rooms they have access to, etc.
We used to have a lot of issues with groups reserving a space then not using it; we’ve gotten around this for the most part by putting a cancellation fee in place. For example, if you do not cancel your reservation in our larger conference rooms at least two business days in advance, we charge a $50 cancellation fee. We’ve hardly ever had to charge this, but it seems to have done the trick.
For groups using the space without a reservation, our tenants ask someone from the building staff to speak to whoever is in the room. We’ve found that after a couple of times, most groups no longer use space that they haven’t booked ahead of time. In addition to this, all of our larger spaces are kept locked, and only unlocked for the group that has a reservation in the system.
Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We just use the google calendar and only one person per tenant organization is given access to be able to book meetings on the calendar. You can have edit or view only capabilities on it. We have them email or call me to book the big banquet room but other meeting rooms they do on their own. We use a color code system for the rooms so at easy glance everyone can see what is booked. Tenants all have unlimited access to rooms but we charge non tenants. If tenants are caught booking a room for a non-tenant then they get charged but really I don’t have many problems. We don’t have a lot of tenant turnover so I am not constantly having to train new people on how it works. I over see it in general but they can book on their own. It allows it to be public on our website. It isn’t public to edit but it is public to view which helps people coming here for a meetings and events. It is free and working pretty good. You can book recurring meetings etc.
Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Center
One thing I would add to this conversation (in my capacity as a tenant in The Alliance Center) is that I’m not sure that it’s a technology problem, but a people problem. Groups are booking rooms for the entire day, and then not using them, or using them for an hour and not cancelling them. Other people see an empty conference room and take it, even though it might be reserved (I think this practice is a response to those groups who are booking space but not using it).
How did you establish your norms around meeting room usage? What are your policies about canceling room bookings? When is it okay for one tenant to take over a booked but not used space? What about when there’s someone in the room that has been booked? When is it okay to kick them out?
We have developed a Room Booking Principle that all Tenants/Partners agree to as well as a Room Booking Protocol which outlines our process. If anyone would like to have a copy, just email me directly.
Maureen Moloughney, Heartwood House
In Heartwood House reservations may be cancelled one day prior to the meeting or same day if weather conditions make it necessary to cancel a meeting. If no cancellation notice is received the group is charged for the reservation.
Only one meeting space is not locked. All the other rooms must be unlocked by the reception staff prior to the meeting. This really helps to avoid communication challenges and it ensures that we all contribute to the cost of these meeting spaces that benefit everyone.
Heartwooders do step into the unlocked meeting room without reserving it but everyone understands that non-reserved usage can and does result in a need to exit the space as the reservation schedule changes on a daily basis. For this reason members rarely go into a meeting space without reserving it.
Heartwood makes it clear to all members that reservations take priority at all times and Heartwooders have no trouble reminding each other to exit the room if the space is reserved.
We also send out meeting room reservation updates on a regular basis and that’s a good way to keep the people focused. Reservations are booked through our reception staff.
Karen Maciorowski, CT Nonprofit Center
We have 4 conference rooms for our current 17 tenants (plans to grow to 30 tenants and we will add 1-2 conference rooms). We have a staff member in charge of managing the request for space. People interested are responsible to fill out a survey monkey questions about their needs and receive a confirmation email outlining the confirmation of their room reserved. They may see the availability on our public calendar, but only tenants and those that ask to reserve a room are given the survey link. The survey allows us to track supply and demand and report to our partners and funders how many visitors come to the CT Nonprofit Center as well as parking demands. All tenants are allocated room usage allotments per month; after hours (after 4:30 and on weekends) do not count toward their allotment; if they don’t cancel within 72 hours of using the room, they forfeit the associated hours; if they go over the hours they are charged $25/hour with a cap of $150 per day. Our Office Administrator manages the process and deals with conflicts for rooms, including asking groups to switch rooms if appropriate.
We use google calendars for external view of availability and Outlook calendars with color coding to reserve the rooms. The process is time consuming and we are looking for a software that can help us better manage the process and developing a policy for tenants to manage their own set-up and clean-up. We have a few offenders that go over their time allotment, but we remind them before their meeting if someone has reserved the space before they go into it and have been successful in getting them to reserve longer periods of time to accommodate an overage. People cannot just jump into an empty room; we need to gather information on usage so we can determine demand and when the need to add another conference room comes. We’ve been speaking with CT Center for Advanced Technology that wrote a program for the Hartford Library for room reservations – they are considering customizing one for nonprofit centers (they are the technology consultants for our Center as well as one in Florida). This would be a cloud based system with licensing options. If they do, I’ll keep you updated because what works for one center will probably work for another.
Our goal is to make the process of room reservations more efficient without taking the control out of our
hands. Any ideas are welcomed.
Jennifer Pedroni, Community Partners Center for Health & Human Services
We run a 24,0000 square foot nonprofit with four conference rooms, two of which are available only to tenants and two are available to tenants and nonprofits in the community. We do not charge a fee to use the rooms, but we plan to evaluate this policy in the next quarter. We use an online systems that was developed by the New Center that allows a public view of the calendar. Once a user has signed up and been approved they can book the rooms automatically and we are notified through the system. We do have some “people” issues with folks not cancelling their reservations and not cleaning up after themselves. The large meeting room has a flexible space with a variety of set ups available and we work with a local nonprofit that provides services to people with intellectual disabilities and they provide the room set-sups for the meetings. Their staff can view the calendar online to see what set ups are needed and when and they coordinate with our Operations Managers.
You can view the calendar online here and if you scroll to the bottom there are links to our meeting room policies and procedures, our checkout procedures and an AV users guide. All first time users are required to have a meeting room orientation prior to using the room.
I prepare a summary on an annual basis on the use of the meeting rooms for our Board of Managers using the information collected from the system.
If anyone is interested in seeing a copy of the Meeting Room Usage Report or has questions about our process or software, please let me know.
Jodie Semkiw, Saskatoon Community Service Village
Here at the Village we have 6 member agencies and 5 meeting spaces. Use of meeting space is a value added for member agencies. We use a web based system called Room Booking System. Admin staff in our agencies have a username and password to login into the Room Booking System to book rooms. That being said, we have room booking periods (Jan-March, April-August, Sept –Dec) where Village agencies submit to the admin their regular room booking needs in priority. For instance, Board Meetings, group counselling meetings, regular programming. So at the end of March, agencies submitted their regular room booking needs for Sept-Dec by priority. Village Admin then does a lottery to see which agency’s room bookings are entered first, 2nd and so forth. Then she enters all agency’s 1st and 2nd priorities, then 3rd and 4th priorities etc. Once Village Admin has entered the bookings for a room booking period access is then opened to all agencies to book on an first come first serve basis. Each day Village admin prints a room schedule that is posted at the main office and door schedules are printed for each of our meeting room doors.
We also rent to other non-profit and community groups for a small fee of $15/hour. These bookings are done through Village Admin.
Strategy for Misuse of Space
From an Ask-NCN Discussion 6.13.16
Allison Hanold, Chicago Literacy Alliance
We’re one year old (actually, as of today! Yay!) and have seen a wonderful increase in the use of our space and demand for our conference rooms and offices. That said, we’ve had a few members who repeatedly reserve space for outside groups without being present (against our policies) and have exhibited a few other behaviors that we’d like to see curbed.
Does anyone have procedures for creating effective repercussions for misuse of space while still maintaining a welcoming environment? Our culture is critically important to us and we build welcoming and friendly language into all of our communications, but we need to draw a line somewhere. Advice? We’re thinking of incident reports, or, on the more extreme side, a strike system. Would love to know what’s worked for you all!
Pat Smith, Serve Denton
One the ideas we discussed at Streamlining for Social Good was that a center’s culture is built on values and norms. At Serve Denton we have five values that we strive to live every day but no stated norms. We have a tenant manual modeled on other centers, but some centers I have talked to have explained how norms are important to how they operate. Everyone has norms–its a question of are they the norms you want. We are holding a staff retreat on Friday to talk through what our norms are and what we want them to be and how we best communicate those to our tenants.
I realize this might not be much help…but we feel your pain to some degree.
Kim Sarnecki, Tides
We feel your pain as well. We use a Checklist in our conference rooms to ensure folks know the expectations. They are asked to use the checklist before leaving the room (especially for off hours or longer retreat meetings) and sign off on the sheet that everything has been completed.
Misha Palin, Citizens Engagement Lab
The way I’d handle this situation, if it wasn’t expressly stated in my handbook, is to send out a memo with an addendum to the handbook. Have everyone sign-off after reading it and make sure everyone knows the rules of engagement and consequences.
That way you’re not having to call out one of your clients, it’s just a blanket rule for everyone.
Behavior Modifications – Doing the Dishes
From an Ask-NCN Discussion – 5/9/16
Jimmy Martin, Chicago Literacy Alliance
I wanted to see if there were any breakthroughs in the world of behavioral modification techniques regarding human beings and their use/misuse of dishes in shared spaces.
We’ve exhausted most methods regarding signage and word of mouth communications, but we have yet to solve the riddle of “what gets people to clean the dishes they use?” Any ideas or best practices that have worked for you and your space?
Daniel Meyers, Al Sigl Community of Agencies
Good luck solving the unsolvable.
Dominic Lucchesi, David Brower Center
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Adil Dhalla, Centre for Social Innovation
We’ve tried almost everything over the years but the most successful technique has been putting fist-sized rocks (yup, rocks) in each sink to line the bottom.
We think this has been successful for three reasons:
1) The unevenness of the rocks makes it hard to place some dishes or all cups on
2) Unlike signs, it is impossible for them to “miss the messaging” give the location of the reminder
3) The rocks provide a reminder of the natural environment, which triggers people’s behaviour around how they would treat something like the ocean floor.
Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
One thing I saw at a center I visited recently was that they assigned each one of their tenant partners a week to clean the kitchen. They would post the organization’s name on a white board on the fridge, and it would change each week.
They were small through, and each of the partners were about the same size.
Shelby Fox, Knight Nonprofit Center
We put signs up that the dishes will be thrown away if left more than 1 day and I have been throwing them away (or in some cases giving away) and actually it has worked. After a few rounds of throwing peoples stuff away they got the message and quit doing it.
Tom Olivas, Girl Scouts Orange County
Good luck, we have tried it all (except rocks) , and finally arranged to have the contract janitorial service clean the kitchen every other night, along with using several of the other techniques mentioned below, it seems to work most of the time.
How about a motion-sensitive camera on the sink, then sharing the video on Facebook!
Tonia Surman, Centre for Social Innovation
the rocks really work… and the humourous signs… that keep changing… oh yeah, that’s the other thing… there should be a new poster every month… people don’t see the signs after a while….
try the rocks : )
James Thomson, New Path Foundation
We have exhausted all options over our 10 year history of shared space…what we ended up doing was building this into the cleaning routine for our nightly cleaners. As every tenant pays into this service, it made the most sense.
Paying the Rent On Time
From an Ask-NCN Discussion, 5/11/16
Katie Edwards, The Nonprofit Centers Network
We’ve gotten a request for more information about how centers collect fees on late rent payments.
1. Can you share your clause from your lease or license about late fees?
2. How much do you charge? Is it a flat fee or a percentage of rent?
Please share any insight you have into this process!
Alan Ziter, The NTC Foundation
See the clause below from our Lease Agreement that outlines Late Fees for late rent payment. We encourage any Resident Group that may need to pay late to notify us in advance regarding the circumstances as we want to work with them to stay current. This is more for those that casually or habitually pay late without notification.
“Late Charge: With the exception of Real Property Taxes paid as Additional Rent which carries a higher late charge pursuant to Section 13, if any payment due hereunder is not received by the 5th day after the date the payment is due, a late charge in the amount of 5% of the payment amount shall be charged to, and payable by, Resident Group.”
Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
Our rent is due from tenant members on the first of the month but we always offer a one week grace period of them to get payments in. After that time a late fee takes effect, which is always 10% of the total amount due.
This is the stock language in our licensing agreements:
“Licensee shall pay all fees to Licensor on April 1, 2016, and by the first of each month thereafter. Licensor will offer a one-week grace period each month to collect license fees. If Licensee fails to make any payment of the License Fee by the seventh day of each month (after the one week grace period ends), then Licensee shall pay Licensor a late charge of ten percent (10%) of the amount of such payment.”
Pam Mauk, Together Center
Our clause says the following, and I don’t think in 26 years we have used it, although we have mentioned it a time or two.
4.3 Late Charge. If any installment of rent is not paid within ten (10) days of the due date, a late charge of five percent (5%) of the rents owed with a minimum of fifty dollars ($50) shall be added as additional rent. In the event that any installment of rent or any late charge is not paid in full on or before the thirtieth (30th) day of the month, interest on the unpaid amounts shall begin to accrue at the rate of eight percent (8%) per annum until paid in full.
Cleaning Expectations and Shared Values
From an Ask-NCN Conversation 5/2/2017
Lucinda Kerschensteiner, Center for Social Change
I’d love to hear examples of your Center’s Community Values and what your expectations are of your members for cleaning of common space and their offices. We are regrouping regarding cleaning and understand it’s tied to the values of the community. Thanks so much!
Allison Reser, The Alliance Center
At The Alliance Center in Denver, we have a janitorial service that cleans all floors, bathrooms, common surfaces and kitchens every night. However, the janitorial service does not wash/put away dishes or clean out the refrigerators. We provide dishes for our tenant community and expect all tenants to clean up after themselves in the kitchens (which doesn’t always work out super well, so our staff supplements dish duty). We also expect tenants to clean up everything in common meeting rooms including whiteboards, and we do not touch/clean anything on tenants’ desks.
Nada Zohdy, OpenGov Hub
At the Open Gov Hub, we also have basic janitorial service nightly, but in addition we organize a Monthly (‘volun-mandatory’) Cleaning Brigade on the last Thursday of every month. Each time we randomly pick 5-7 community members and ask them to contribute an hour sometime between 4-6pm to tackle big cleaning activities like cleaning out the fridges and wiping down all our whiteboards (in our 23 meeting rooms!). The community is big enough that people are only called on to contribute a few times a year.
It look a bit of time to get the rhythm going but now people expect it and its a great way to get community members more aware about the cleanliness of common spaces and how all of us should play a small role in keeping them up (ex: once you have to wipe down a ton of whiteboards you’re much more likely to think twice about leaving a meeting room before wiping it down).
Misha Palin, The Lab
This is part of The Lab, Oakland Handbook that everyone receives. We have nightly janitors that come and empty the trash and vacuum. But it is everyone’s responsiblity to keep the kitchen somewhat tidy.
[[#LabVandV]Vision & Values
The Lab is a coworking space filled with social change makers, non-profits, and visionaries coming together to create synergistic relationships, be inspired by each other, and network for greater social change.
We hope you feel inspired to collaborate, network, share, and uplift our growing community through office sharing, open space coworking, social meet & greets, and skill share events. We welcome your ideas and are happy to talk about anything you think might enhance The Lab experience.
We are dedicated to fostering clear, open, honest communication both creating understanding for the other while expressing honesty in a way that owns our experience and minimizes blame or judgment. We have the courage and strength to speak up when we see contradictions or inconsistencies between our behavior and our stated values and goals and are able to take feedback when given.
Through tolerance, generosity, sharing, and compassion, we work cooperatively with one another. When appropriate, we place the interests of the entire office ahead of our own self interests. We also value and trust that office members will speak their needs if there are special requests over building up silent resentment and anger. We anticipate that there will be unmet needs by some and we hope that there can be understanding around decisions being made.
Knowing that our office is fueled by the energy we give it, we actively participate in office life. We agree to share in office well being and keeping its contents looking and feeling good and safe. We quickly communicate when something is broken to its owner and take responsibility (financially or otherwise) to fix the item.
We recognize our interdependence with the building, other office members, event producers and ourselves. Our office supports an extended collaborative environment, thereby creating a sense of belonging. We support the growth of each organization individually and the relationships amongst us.
We respect personal privacy. We respect diversity in ideology, spirituality, interests, sexuality, talents, beliefs, opinions, race, age, income and we welcome respectful and appropriate expressions of that diversity within a professional environment.
Creating co-working space is an ongoing process. We remain flexible to change.
Our office is a safe place — physically and interpersonally. Everyone contributes to the safety of the space by staying emotionally clear with each member of the community, staying conscious of the space and the people we bring to the office, and upholding the values of the office as our core principles.
The Way We Work
Some aspects of our office are so strongly tied to our core values that they are considered fundamental agreements. Anyone joining the office accepts that these agreements are unlikely to ever be changed.
These agreements include:
Respect for all fellow office members:
- Value peace and avoid violence.
- Attend meetings and gatherings when possible.
- Maintain good communication with office-mates.
- Only taking what is offered; not taking what is not offered to you.
- No excessive use of alcohol during office events.
- Conserve electricity, gas, and water.
- Recycle as much as possible.
- Meet financial commitments to The Lab.
- No subletting.
- No smoking on the property.
- No activities that may endanger our relationship with the building neighbors or management.
Departing licensees agree:
- To pay for any repairs or cleaning they may leave undone.
- To diligently file a change of address with post office and notify all correspondents of their change of address.
- To leave their offices clean and undamaged.
>Also See Kitchen Section
It is everyone’s responsibility to keep our office space clean and orderly. Please keep this in mind when leaving any space you or your team uses.
You are welcome to eat and drink in the meeting rooms, or move the table to suit your meeting setup. However, once your event has ended, you are responsible for returning the room to its original state.
- Moving the table back to its original position.
- Returning any furniture that may have been removed.
- Bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen, and loading them into the dishwasher.
- Returning any additional supplies to the appropriate closet.
- If you had a large meal with leftover food, you are welcome to put the extra in the main kitchen. The Office Manager is happy to email staff on your behalf to offer food. If you would like to save the food for a subsequent meeting, please package, label (including date), and refrigerate it.
- Dated food gets thrown out 1 week after the date it was put in the refrigerator. Undated food gets thrown out during the weekly clean-out.
The office has two kitchens. One large kitchen with dining area and one small kitchen.
|Large kitchen contains:
- coffee maker
- coffee and tea
- soda stream
- water purifier
- toaster oven
- panini press
- electric kettle
|Small kitchen contains:
- coffee maker
- Britta pitcher
- electric kettle
- coffee & tea
Leave it Better than you Found it:
We appreciate you for leaving the space better than when you found it. That means doing that little extra thing to clean up, telling someone when you see something out of place, or looking in storage to find the paper towels. It could also mean picking up all the accumulated cups in your office and bringing them to the dishwasher. Or checking to see if the dishwasher is still full after the cycle and unloading it into the cabinets. All of those things will get you super gold stars!
Please take responsibility for the impact you have on the space. Try to be mindful of spills, crumbs, leftovers in the refrigerator, or how your office looks. We appreciate your responsibility.
The kitchens are supplied with reusable serving trays, plates, utensils and cups. Please use them as much as possible. If you want disposable plates and cups for your event you will need to supply them yourself.
Our office employs a cleaning service provided by the building, they provide only the most basic cleaning services (vacuuming, trash & recycling removal). Therefore we expect all Lab users to to keep things tidy. Below are a couple of quick and easy tips to keep our kitchen running smoothly.
- Ensure all dirty dishes make their way into the sink and get cleaned or put in the dishwasher before you leave the kitchen.
- If you spill something, please wipe it up and tell the Office Manager if we need to do a spot cleaning on the carpet.
- Food in the refrigerator must be labeled with your office number, initials and date. All food will be removed every Friday by end of the day. Unclaimed containers will be left at the Lost & Found at the end of the counter in the main kitchen.
We endeavor to keep a clean office, and your help is necessary if we are to do so.