How COVID-19 Affected Communicating in Condos
What in the past was okay, like "I'll be right there" became a process of determining: is it an emergency, do I have all the required PPE, can I bring the contractor with me or schedule separately? Email and pictures became our best friends in communicating issues with condominium residents. Many companies started to lose workers, often to the 14 day self isolation. Soon many of us started to experience frustration with new lockdowns and work often rescheduled. Most residents are patient and understanding but I'm sure all managers have heard from their residents: "don't give me the Covid 19 excuse" when a repair was rescheduled yet again.
Board and owner meetings were impacted immediately with the first stay at home government order in March 2020. Quickly we learned and adapted to virtual meetings, the term "zoom meeting" has been added to our vocabulary. Virtual meetings are easy and convenient but they take away the personal touch, the gestures, the small talk, the "have you seen a picture of my new family addition"...... It is also apparent that different demographics are affected differently, the younger working population embraced it quickly and can't imagine going back to attending in person, virtual meetings are less time consuming, do not require a babysitter, you can even attend during your lunch hour. Older, retired population of directors have not embraced the virtual meetings as much, they miss the traditional in person meetings, especially the social aspect of them.
Owners meetings have been impacted by the pandemic lockdowns even more than board meetings. Virtual owners' meetings are now the standard. New companies providing virtual meeting platforms have developed and perfected their services over the past 12 months. Although virtual owners' meetings take the social part of the meeting away they do provide a very efficient solution to conduct condominium corporation's business. Unfortunately virtual owners' meetings are more expensive, corporations have to budget additional funds to hold them. Corporations should also review their bylaws as current laws allowing owners' virtual meetings without the bylaw provisions are to expire on September 30, 2022.
As we tiptoe out of the pandemic restrictions and look back on the past twelve months I am amazed how much we have accomplished so that life and business could safely go back to "normal", hopefully very soon. Looking beyond Covid 19 I believe virtual communication is here to stay whether it's virtual meetings or virtual inspections.
Property Manager - Bayshore Property Management