The coronavirus outbreak has forced many businesses to redefine the way they hold meetings. Homeowners associations are not exempt from this. Because board members make decisions during board meetings, most HOAs are concerned about halting operations amid the outbreak. But through HOA remote meetings, your HOA can continue to run without hindrance.
In this article:
- The Importance of HOA Remote Meetings During COVID-19
- Options for HOA Virtual Meetings
- If You Insist on Meeting In-Person
- Remote Management Keeps Your Community Running
The Importance of HOA Remote Meetings During COVID-19
The coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, has injected fear into the hearts of many Americans. Despite this, businesses continue to operate the best way they can, increasing the number of work from home employees by a mile.
Other organizations are having trouble coping with the outbreak, as well. Community associations, for one, must find ways to continue operations without exposing the residents to harm.
Many HOA boards are facing difficulty making unanimous decisions due to recent restrictions. In the United States, people are advised not to hold gatherings of 10 people or more. Americans must also practice social distancing to contain the infectious virus.
With such provisions in place, holding in-person meetings seems an unlikely choice. Thankfully, technology has evolved enough to allow people to work and meet remotely.
HOAs should take a cue from other businesses and hold virtual meetings instead. By doing so, the board can still make decisions and take votes without needing to meet in-person. Additionally, the HOA community can contain the spread of the virus, thus protecting its members.
Options for HOA Virtual Meetings
It is not wise to hold in-person meetings amid coronavirus. Being such a contagious disease, just about anyone can catch COVID-19 when exposed to an infected person. Luckily, nowadays, people communicate in a number of ways. HOA board members do not need to be in the same room to have discussions or votes. Here are some options for remote meetings for HOA board members:
Email is a perfectly acceptable mode of communication. In fact, people prefer email over in-person meetings sometimes. Meetings take time, so if something can be said over email, it is better to take that option. If your topic of discussion does not require a lengthy explanation, email can easily replace meetings.
Granted, it is much easier to understand someone when you hear their tone of voice, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you want to play your part in controlling the spread of the coronavirus, limit in-person meetings and opt for email instead.
You can take board actions via email as long as everyone is on board and participates. Should you arrive at a majority vote, you can ratify the decision at the next meeting whether or not you achieve a unanimous vote. The same also applies if a board member is absent.
2. Over the Phone
You can just as easily hold meetings over the phone. In fact, in North Carolina, HOA boards are permitted to conduct meetings and make decisions via telephone. One of the downsides of this option, however, is the possibility of people talking over each other. Additionally, unless you recognize everyone’s voice, it might be hard to identify which board member is speaking at a given time.
If you can get over these disadvantages, though, holding meetings telephonically is a good option. Still, some may find this method too outdated. If you are one of those people, it is best to go for the third method for your HOA remote meetings.
3. Video Conferencing
In this day and age, remote work is more prominent than ever. It is much simpler to communicate with your co-workers even if they are located on the other side of the planet. Thanks to the Internet and a wide array of video conferencing apps, anyone can hold virtual meetings.
The beauty of video conferencing is it ticks all the boxes of an in-person meeting. You can identify the person speaking and take their tone of voice and facial expressions into account. It is also more convenient because you can clearly see everyone present.
Moreover, video conferencing discourages participants from multitasking. Because everyone can see what you are doing, you are less likely to get distracted by your phone. This results in more accountability.
If You Insist on Meeting In-Person
Before you send out that notice of the board meeting, ask yourself first: Is this meeting absolutely necessary? If it can wait a week or more, then consider postponing or holding the meeting remotely instead. If it cannot wait and you insist on meeting personally, keep the following in mind:
1. Keep It Short
If you absolutely need to meet in-person, make sure to keep it brief and concise. Focus on the agenda at hand and do not let yourself get distracted. Follow the meeting structure to accomplish your objectives. The less time you spend in the same room together, the better.
2. Take Advantage of Technology
Homeowners are free to attend open board meetings. With the rise of coronavirus patients, the board should take precautions. Since the government is advising Americans from holding gatherings of 10 or more people, you must discourage resident attendance. Instead, consider streaming your board meeting for all homeowners to watch live. This ensures residents are still kept in the loop without needing to meet in-person.
3. Practice Social Distancing
Take the advice of medical experts and practice social distancing. Board members typically sit in close proximity to one another at meetings. To avoid spreading the virus, maintain at least 6 feet between board members. Admittedly, this will make it hard for you to communicate effectively, but it is a precaution you must take. You can always choose one of the options for HOA remote meetings as an alternative.
Whether you are attending a board meeting or simply heading out to buy supplies, it is imperative to sanitize. Wash your hands regularly, making sure to practice the proper technique when you do it. Carry a small bottle of alcohol or sanitizer with you as well. Refrain from touching your face, too. Avoid shaking hands or touching other people.
Remote Management Keeps Your Community Running
Your board has a duty to protect the residents of your community. Meeting in-person promotes the spread of the virus, endangering community members in the process. In times of health crises such as the current coronavirus outbreak, HOA remote meetings are the better option than in-person meetings. Consider postponing your board meeting to avoid spreading the disease. Instead, opt for other methods like email and video conferencing.
Clark Simson Miller can help your community at a time like this. Our remote management services allow us to serve HOAs across the country without risking your safety. We can also assist your HOA board in planning for emergencies similar to the coronavirus outbreak. Since we work remotely, your HOA community can function as normal. If you require our help, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
- 4 Benefits Of Remote HOA Management Services To Your Community
- HOA Record Keeping: How To Properly Store HOA Records
- What To Look For When Hiring An Association Management Company