A lot has changed in our world over the past few weeks and the situation is evolving by the day if not by the hour. With multiple cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) being reported throughout the US, your HOA management team is almost certainly being asked many questions. How is your association handling the pandemic? Is your team prepared to communicate effectively to answer all of the questions?
And among all of these questions, there’s an underlying technical hold up: is your HOA prepared to react quickly and communicate efficiently with your community during this time?
Here are a few easy guidelines to help your management team and board navigate these uncharted waters:
Have a Plan In Place
A good starting point for any team is to make sure that you have a plan in place. This will help your association communicate with your community, and provide some guidance – and comfort – to your homeowners and HOA members.
The CDC highly recommends limiting person-to-person contact. This means that postponing in-person HOA Board meetings and HOA membership meetings is critical. But there are other questions to look at for your community: Is your association limiting access to common areas like the pool, meeting areas, sports courts, playgrounds and the like? How do you plan on enforcing these new guidelines? Will your HOA relax rules for violations and payments?
Address questions like these to create your plan so that your team can move forward to implement new guidelines throughout your community. Ward and Smith offers some excellent insights for how HOA Boards can prepare during this pandemic. You can read more here to help your association and board make smart, informed decisions and to set your plan in place.
Communication Is Key
Great! Now that you have your playbook set, it’s critical to disperse updated information quickly, and to the right audience. You should be clear about the new guidelines, and keep the community updated about what your HOA team is doing.
So how do you do that efficiently? Letters take days to deliver, and sending individual texts, voicemails, and emails is incredibly time consuming (not to mention a big disruption of your team’s workflow). Having a system in place to select your audience and send your messaging out rapidly will ensure your community has all of the tools and information they need, when they need it. Plus, your team will be happy to have an easy way to communicate with the community as well.
When assessing your communications tools, you want to make sure they have a way to target the correct audience, have multiple forms of communication at your fingertips, and are easy to use. Texts, emails, voicemails, and association documents for mailing should all be readily available for your team to send when needed. And, as times are changing rapidly, the ability to communicate at a moment’s notice, no matter where your team is working, is invaluable.
Tools to Communicate
Cloud-based software is a game-changer for management teams that are working remotely. As all association managers and employees know, being able to move around and work from outside of the office is critical to the role. And having software that allows you to do your job without being tethered to an office makes your role easier and allows you to manage your properties more effectively.
Communications software, like Smartwebs’ SmartCommunications, allows you to oversee your community at a glance from an online portal, gives you the ability to select members to contact, and has the ability to send messaging out on ALL platforms with only a few clicks.
So now your plan is set, your communication is ready…what next?
Through all of this, it’s important to remember to stay calm throughout these trying times. Stay in touch with your homeowners, board members, and association management team. Open and frequent communication is the best way to quell any concerns and keep your community up-to-date.
Now, more than ever, we are relying on people adapting and looking out for each other. Be prepared, take measures to help protect your community, and stay safe!