HOA board fatigue is a real phenomenon that many community associations experience. But, what exactly are the symptoms of board fatigue? And how has the pandemic contributed to its rise?
What Is HOA Board Fatigue?
The definition is in the name — HOA board fatigue is when members of a condo or homeowners association board become too tired, so much so that it starts to affect their work. Aside from exhaustion, it can also stem from a lack of enthusiasm or general interest. Board fatigue is dangerous in that it can have a significantly negative impact on the community and its members. When volunteer leaders experience HOA board fatigue, it can reduce their quality of work and the amount of time or effort they put into it.
A Rise in HOA Board Fatigue Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic
The year 2020 seemed to start out just like any other. For associations, it meant another year of projects and events. But, as the days went by, a virus that had originated overseas quickly found its way to American soil. Fast forward a couple of months later and the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic.
While some HOA boards flourished in the face of a health crisis that forced some communities to go on lockdown, others suffered from intense pressure. There were many changes that had to take place such as postponing countless activities, moving to a virtual platform for meetings, and practicing frequent handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing even within the confines of residents’ own neighborhoods.
Stifled by ongoing feelings of anxiety and an overall sense of dread, many found it difficult to continue with their daily lives as normal. Even what would have been considered a luxury pre-pandemic — working from home — now seemed to be more of a burden. Before long, a huge chunk of the population had a case of pandemic fatigue. And, for some people, it continues to this day.
Members of HOA boards are, of course, no exception. Board members had to adapt to ever-changing government regulations and still continue to do so in some areas. Because elections could not reasonably take place without jeopardizing the health and safety of homeowners, some boards have had to extend their service beyond what they initially signed up for. COVID-19 has affected HOAs and condos in more ways than one, and that includes the widespread occurrence of HOA board pandemic fatigue.
What HOA Boards Must Do
Because the pandemic saw many HOA boards experience fatigue, it also gave rise to many resignation attempts.
Current board members cite the stress and pressure stemming from uncertainty of the future, coupled with insurmountable tasks that are harder to accomplish remotely, as reasons to step down from their positions. But, it is during these trying times when board members must remain steadfast.
It is normal to feel drained, even without the burden of a pandemic weighing on your shoulders. But, part of being a board member is putting the community’s best interests first. Your condo or HOA needs stability now more than ever. As such, you must keep holding on for the sake of your community.
If you have fellow board members who are experiencing HOA board fatigue, convince them not to resign. Ask them to hold out until your next election. Of course, sometimes, there is just no talking to someone who already has their mind made up. And, in some cases, they may want to resign due to a personal issue brought on by COVID-19. For such instances, you should refer to your governing documents for guidance.
For some associations, their governing documents permit board members to appoint other members as replacements to serve during an interim period. This is not the same for all associations, though, so make sure to check your documents first and seek legal counsel if necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of HOA Board Member Fatigue
Board fatigue is relatively easy to diagnose if you know how to spot the signs. Here’s how you can tell if your board is going through HOA board fatigue.
1. Poor Communication
One of the first signs of HOA board fatigue is poor communication. If you have noticed that your board is sending out notices late, posting fewer announcements, updating your website less frequently, or is taking longer to respond to concerns than usual, then you might have a problem with fatigue.
Keep in mind that communication plays a vital role in any community. It also takes a lot of effort to maintain, so communication is usually the first to suffer when your board feels exhausted.
2. Tasks Left by the Wayside
Your HOA board has to perform a wide range of tasks. While a lot of these tend to be mundane, there are also larger tasks that must be completed such as project management and maintenance. If your board is taking more time to check these off or has entirely chosen to ignore them, then it could be a symptom of fatigue.
3. Enforcement Neglect
Board members have a responsibility to enforce the community’s rules in a consistent manner. That means applying the rules of the association to each member uniformly, no matter who they are and how they are related to you.
But, when a board is too tired to do its job, consistent enforcement usually takes a hit. Board members will punish one resident for breaking a rule and let another one off the hook without so much as a warning for the same violation. Sometimes, they drop their enforcement obligations completely. Although this can happen due to many other reasons, fatigue is definitely one of them.
Board members should have a passion to serve the community. They must put the community’s needs above everyone else’s and do so with commitment.
But, when fatigue kicks in, a board’s motivation will generally be badly affected. Members will pay less attention to community matters and not participate as much as before. Pretty soon, what started out as an eagerness to serve will devolve into pure apathy — and that’s something that can destroy an association.
The Answer to HOA Board Fatigue
Everyone can experience fatigue in their work, including members of an HOA board. But, HOA board fatigue tends to affect self-managed communities more than others. To take some of the burden off, your board should consider hiring an HOA management company to help you out.
An HOA management company like Elite Management Services aims to make your job as an HOA board easier, pandemic or not. Call us today at (855) 238-8488 or contact us online to learn more about our services.
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