The pandemic dramatically changed lives around the world. Some of those changes are here to stay and will continue to impact HOA management.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released work guidelines during the crisis that also could apply to HOAs:
- Reduce transmission of Coronavirus
- Protect people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications
- Maintain operations
- Minimize adverse effects
Lockdowns of schools, restaurants, parks, and more opened up the digital world for millions of people. If friends couldn’t meet in public, they could meet online using a variety of digital tools.
People who normally wouldn’t have approached a computer without a grandchild on standby became experts on Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, and other technologies.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine that anyone in the U.S. hasn’t said something wise and important, only to be told by others in the meeting that the mute button was still on.
Despite little hiccups, people are now used to socializing and doing business online. History will judge our pandemic years for a multitude of reasons, and one of those will surely be that it ushered in a new digital era for millions of people.
Businesses have noticed. A new McKinsey Global Survey of executives found that the pandemic encouraged businesses to accelerate their digitization efforts by three to four years. One reason cited by business leaders was the change in customer behavior. Consumers felt safer doing transactions online than in person.
According to the survey, 41 percent of customer interactions in North America were conducted online in Dec. 2019. By July 2020, the number reached 65 percent.
In effect, barriers to the digital world have been lowered for a significant number of people, and experts expect the trend to continue.
That will have far-reaching effects. For homeowners associations, it means that when they adopt the right HOA management software, volunteers and residents should have little to no trouble adapting to it.
The digitization of the world was in progress well before COVID-19 pushed its way into our lives. The pandemic sped up the process as safety fears moved people indoors and onto their computers, smartphones, and tablets.
People will continue to work, socialize, and organize on their devices, and HOA officers and board members can make their volunteer jobs much easier by going with the digital flow.
Lessons from the pandemic
The pandemic taught us that face-to-face contact isn’t necessary to do business.
This isn’t an argument to cut out social time, which most of us need and appreciate. It’s about HOA volunteers getting more work done in a shorter amount of time, so they have more free time to spend with family and friends.
Online communication tools are an essential part of HOA management software. Potential game changers include:
- sending text messages to a selection of homeowners
- sending mass emails with attachments
- scheduling broadcast phone calls or specific days and times
- tracking all communication to provide a reliable record
Digital tools provide leaders with easy-to-use ways to alert members to meetings, recruit volunteers for special events, and inform members about potential violations.
If an emergency situation arises, digital communication tools guarantee that applicable rules and procedures could be communicated quickly and clearly.
The upkeep and maintenance of shared spaces can’t be handled from the safety of a computer or smartphone. However, HOA management software can push reminders about rules and regulations, and copies of the applicable bylaws can be attached.
When it comes to collecting dues, online tools make it unnecessary for the HOA to deal with paper checks. Effective HOA management software includes direct deposit and accepts all major credit cards. Payments are 100 percent secure and go straight into the HOA’s bank account.
In addition, residents can enroll in autopay, so they don’t have to worry about late payments. This can limit the need for uncomfortable face-to-face meetings between board members and chronically forgetful residents.
If the pandemic flares up again, it’s good to have a way to hold meetings in a digital space without the risks of an in-person meeting.
Even without the threat of infection, the chance to attend a meeting from home could increase participation, especially among residents who are elderly, disabled, or injured. Digital tools can also come in handy when a meeting has to be canceled for any reason.
In the interest of safety and efficiency, HOA management software makes it possible to hold votes online. It eliminates the need for paper ballots while also making it easier for residents with special needs to participate in the process.
The point is not to cut off contact with your neighbors. When the risk of infection is low, it’s important to hang out together poolside or enjoy sitting on a neighbor’s porch.
By applying digital tools to HOA management, the organization can run more smoothly, so its volunteers can enjoy more pool time and conversations on the porch.
Picking the right HOA management software
Even without the pandemic, many aspects of life would be changing because of the digital revolution. According to information compiled by the Pew Research Center, these changes are creating a lot of positives for people:
- With texts and social media, parents and grandparents are able to stay in touch with their children, grandchildren, and other family members.
- Educational opportunities are available to more and more people.
- People have the freedom to earn their living by working from home or from remote destinations of their choice.
- Ordinary people become unofficial ambassadors and make friends in countries around the world.
- People go online to find and order products that can improve their lives.
- Artists have ready sources of inspiration and collaboration.
- Hobbyists can connect with like-minded people.
HOA management software also provides positive experiences for board members and officers by making their jobs easier.
PayHOA is proud to be part of the digital revolution. When an HOA management team signs up with PayHOA, they get a suite of tools that allow board members and officers to communicate with residents and create convenient “digital paper trails.”
PayHOA allows for digital payments and direct deposit, and it’s simple to upload a custom PDF and send it to every homeowner with the click of a button.
With PayHOA, you’re able to keep all your documents organized in files and folders. Those files and folders can be private, shared with everyone, or shared with a selection of people. As with other improvements made in the digital era, document management takes far less time than a traditional, paper-heavy approach.
But PayHOA is adaptable to your needs and procedures. Our software makes it easy to send professional invoices with return envelopes and perforated payment slips through the mail. The delivery status is available for each item mailed.
In addition to tracking and documenting violations, our HOA management software helps your board keep maintenance, architectural, and general requests all in one place by
- automatically directing them to the appropriate people
- creating a ticket with threaded communication so that nothing is lost
- closing tickets as they are completed
- allowing tickets to include images, text, and attached documents
Because of the pandemic, people of all ages and walks of life have become accustomed to communicating and doing business in a digital world. That will continue as more people come online in the coming years.
Now that so many are comfortable with their computers, smartphones, and tablets, it’s prime time to reduce the workload on your HOA’s board of directors and officers.
PayHOA offers an HOA management software solution for HOAs of any size or managerial priorities. To find out if PayHOA fits all your HOA management needs, try our software free for 30 days.