What are zombie meetings?

Zombie meetings are meetings that have booked physical rooms, but have no attendees. In most offices it is common to book recurring meetings. These can be anything from a daily standup with your team, to a monthly board meeting. It’s also typical for these meetings to have a physical meeting room assigned to them.

The three most common causes of Zombie Meetings are as follows:

  1. When the meeting organizer goes on leave and forgets to cancel their recurring meetings.
  2. When a meeting organizer moves on from an organization and the remaining attendees can’t cancel the meeting.
  3. When the meeting moves from a physical meeting to an online meeting, but the employees forget to remove the room they have booked.

The upshot is that the space isn’t being used but appears as unavailable for other members of staff.

Zombie meetings can be eliminated cheaply and easily via several means:

  1. Using presence sensing technology to automatically determine when a booked room is in use. If the room isn't being used, your office management system can automatically mark the room as "free" and add it back into the booking pool.
  2. Using check-in systems for meeting rooms. By getting an attendee to check-in when entering the room, workplaces can confirm that the room is actually in use. This is more or less the manual, low-cost version of using presence sensing technology.
  3. By implementing comprehensive off-boarding processes, which cancel meetings organised by former employees.

Why should you try to eliminate Zombie meetings?

Zombie meetings make it difficult for employees to access meeting rooms, as the rooms will falsely appear as "booked" on the workplaces shared calendars. Additionally, this makes it harder for Facilities Managers, and HR Managers to determine the actual volume of spaces required by the business, and leads to poorer and more costly spatial planning.