After years of being more at home than we’re used to, the tide is turning within HOA and Community Boards. Since many members have served their entire two-year tenure (depending on your HOA board’s specific by-laws), the next board turnover may look different from past transitions and involve some adjustments. Newly elected HOA board members and officers may wonder what they should be aware of that past boards haven’t had to focus on.
The first major trend among HOA and other community association boards is an epidemic of burnout. In this post, we’ll unpack 5 ways to combat burnout in your HOA or community organization board, as well as a few HOA trends to keep your eyes on in 2023.
Many HOA and community board members have served their entire term under COVID and are, frankly, exhausted. The incoming board members will do well to understand and make space for the stress their colleagues have endured. Meanwhile, many boards will benefit from new members with fresh ideas and energy.
Here are 5 ways new HOA board members can step up and alleviate the stress and burnout their tenured members are facing.
The first and most obvious task is to make sure one board member isn’t carrying the rest of the board. Make sure that tasks are delegated to all board members and that everyone pulls their weight. Equal distribution of responsibilities will help everyone enjoy their time serving as neighborhood leaders.
Incoming members can and should find new ways to express gratitude not only for their fellow board members but for residents of the neighborhood, as well. Now that many restrictions against large gatherings have been lifted, perhaps it’s time to reinstate the neighborhood cookout or potluck? (Check your local council’s recommendations first of course!) Or maybe new board members can find money in the budget to give gifts to those cycling out of the board. Big or small, tokens of appreciation can go a long way.
Almost every organization faces similar challenges when it comes to setting and completing goals. A fresh set of eyes on any situation can help the board find new solutions to old problems. Specifically, HOA boards should clarify their priorities and make detailed lists of tasks to be accomplished. Then, delegate those tasks appropriately so they don’t fall on any one member’s plate.
These days, few HOA boards are collecting dues in person or communicating via paper correspondence. Use this transition time to see what apps, software, or websites can simplify and streamline board tasks. Technology can help make communication easier with all residents, not just those sitting on the board.
Of course, the simplest way to ensure the board never suffers from burnout, stress, or exhaustion, is to partner with a property management company. A good property management company will help the board organize tasks and priorities, hire quality contractors, manage dues collection, and more, usually for a surprisingly reasonable rate. In fact, property management companies usually end up saving boards money.
As HOA boards transition leadership, here are a few things members, both new and established, should keep on their radars.
Since communication for board meetings and community meetings has moved to virtual settings, many boards are seeing increased levels of communication not only between each other but between the board and the neighborhood residents. Perhaps not surprisingly, homeowners are more engaged than ever and eager to hear from their HOA boards. One positive that’s emerged from the pandemic is that boards report overall better relationships with the homeowners in their neighborhoods.
Keep in mind that the adoption of neighborhood digital communication is growing. To know what’s happening in your area, you’ll need to make sure your HOA board members are using the same apps and communication channels as residents.
As the workforce migrated from the office to home, many local jurisdictions adjusted their statutes to address that shift. It’s a good idea to check in with your HOA lawyer or property management company, to be aware of any changes.
One change popping up across the country is the stricter enforcement of signage laws. Many neighborhoods have amended their signage laws to minimize disputes and keep neighborhood peace. It’s no secret that political division is more apparent than ever, and people’s increased time at home, online, and at the mercy of social media algorithms hasn’t done much to help. The HOA board can minimize negative neighborhood interactions by ensuring that people’s political and religious opinions remain private.
With the increased time at home, homeowners interact with each other more regularly than ever, which often leads to more disputes. HOA boards often act as mediators between disputes and should be prepared to handle conflict calmly and quickly, avoiding escalation if at all possible.
Of course, handling disputes between neighbors, some of whom are likely friends or family, isn’t every HOA board member’s cup of tea. If your board is looking for the best way to minimize conflict, work efficiently, and handle neighborhood business without burning out, the best solution is to hire a local property management company.
An HOA Property Management Company will do much more than collect dues and keep up common areas. They can advise boards on investments and next steps, hire quality contractors, and even plan neighborhood events. Make sure you know what to look for when hiring a property management company that can meet your HOA board’s specific needs.