Like many other fields, HOA management has been impacted by the pandemic. Homeowners associations find that they must find more creative ways to keep homeowners and workers safe. Going virtual is one of the many ways HOAs have had to adjust. While this does not solve all the problems tackled by property managers and community leaders, it does provide a good pivoting point.
The Challenges HOAs Face
HOAs face increasing pressure to play a role in managing the coronavirus. The local laws can also make a big difference in how they proceed.
The CDC and other scientific and medical organizations around the world recommend moving away from in-person interactions, whenever possible. In response to this, several companies have transitioned to remote work. In fact, some of the biggest employers intend to make this a permanent change.
Community associations may need to determine how they plan to tackle meetings, hear grievances or collect dues, while still protecting employees and homeowners. This becomes more challenging if HOA workers feel greater concern about the threat of the virus than the homeowners do. You also need to answer some of these difficult questions:
- How will you accommodate workers who refuse to expose themselves to others by coming to work?
- Will you compensate workers if they become ill and need to stay home?
- What protective gear will you provide free of cost to workers to address health concerns and offer peace of mind?
- How far should workers extend themselves to accommodate homeowners who refuse to follow the community guidelines?
How HOA Software Can Help
Going virtual provides an excellent solution that addresses most of the challenges HOAs may face during a pandemic. By using virtual solutions, homeowners can access services remotely and workers or volunteers can work from home.
HOAs can use software to share information with homeowners. These are some of the many things residents and HOAs may need to discuss virtually:
- Coordinating repairs and clean-ups
- Reporting violations or grievances
- Sending reminders for HOA dues
- Sending announcements for increased dues or one-time assessments
- Informing homeowners who are in violation of HOA rules
- Sharing community announcements
Transitioning HOA operations to a virtual space protects both workers and homeowners. With prices as low as $40 per month, HOAs can also change to virtual workspaces for lower costs than it might take to pandemic-proof workspaces. For instance, one company received a $200,000 quote for changing out its doors to a touchless system.
These are some additional costly items HOAs can avoid by allowing people to work from home:
- Daily deep-cleaning of the office space
- Installation of plastic or glass shields
- Masks and other protective gear
- Interior design services to re-arrange workspaces to prioritize social distancing
When any company allows remote work opportunities, they increase the pool of talent they can dip into. Remote work is also an attractive perk preferred by some of the most creative and ambitious people in the labor force.
For these and other reasons, HOAs may have a much easier time finding qualified workers, even in volatile areas. However, HOAs may need to ensure they hire tech-savvy professionals who have the basic skills necessary to do the occasional trouble-shooting from home.
Companies that have not transitioned into remote work possibilities are facing backlash from workers, government agencies and the general public. These companies may later need to address lawsuits from workers who blame the company for becoming infected and potentially infecting others.
Even if laws emerge to protect companies, the public may still hold them liable. This can severely damage branding and image. HOAs that make the transmission to virtual workspaces have a much better chance of avoiding these risks.
The Bottom Line
America and many other countries have become increasingly divided by how to address the pandemic. So far, no one prescription seems to solve problems across the board and no solution has unanimous support. Maintaining physical distance and relying on HOA software may present the most acceptable compromise.
However, HOAs serving senior residents may also need to prepare to train homeowners on how to use the system. Otherwise, they may also need to ensure older, remote methods of payment communication and payment are still in place. These may include accepting cash payments and conducting business via phone calls.
During these times of uncertainty, HOAs need to be mindful of how they respond to every challenge that arises to protect homeowners and workers while reducing liability risks. If remote HOA management is part of your response plan, sign up with PayHOA today to get started.
2. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/08/20/no-there-isnt-constitutional-right-not-wear-masks/3. https://review.chicagobooth.edu/economics/2020/article/there-are-two-americas-and-age-divider