Technology has made its way into HOA Board meetings. These tools can increase meeting efficiencies, but they bring more challenges. It’s tough to balance the risks and rewards of online meetings while following open-meeting laws. However, recent technology advances have made it easier to achieve transparency standards in virtual meetings. Should your Board use this technology?
State laws and governing documents vary on virtual meetings and internet technology. Check with your HOA attorney to find out what is permissible before incorporating technology. If your association can use it, you may find that added convenience is worth extra setup time and cost.
Numerous web conferencing sites allow members and homeowners to view documents, and participate in an open forum via a computer. Some more common virtual meeting sites are GoToMeeting, WebEx, Skype, and JoinMe. These services require a monthly fee. If participants choose a telephone for audio instead of internet, there’s an additional cost for the phone call that needs to be budgeted. Google+ Hangout is a newcomer in this area, offering instant video feed and is free.
In associations where many Board members and homeowners live offsite (vacation areas), virtual Board meetings can be an excellent resource. In our East Tennessee area, most Board members and homeowners live onsite. Web conferencing can add convenience in some onsite meetings, especially for homeowners who travel frequently. It’s more of a novelty than a need in our area.
Virtual meetings offer some advantages for the technology savvy. It may increase attendance, allow you to record meetings, etc. If you plan to incorporate web conferencing into your HOA Board meetings, test and retest. Technology goes awry; internet goes down or moves slowly, login information is misplaced, etc. Just because it worked yesterday doesn’t mean that it will work today. There are always difficulties. In addition, it takes time for members to become familiar with virtual meeting best practices. Integrating technology gradually helps people accept and become more comfortable with the change.
Technology has made it easier than ever to keep homeowners and Board members well informed. But, it doesn’t replace face-to-face meetings for building relationships and networking with your neighbors. If your attorney gives you the OK, you have another communication tool to help you reach homeowners. If it doesn’t work well for your association, you can always go back to traditional meetings.
Wise Property Solutions is a property management company serving East Tennessee with offices in Knoxville, TN and the Tri-Cities, TN-VA. Specializing in Condominium Association Management, Home Owners Association Management, HOA Management and Gated Community Association Management.
Tri-Cities, TN-VA: 423-926-7373
Knoxville, TN: 865-643-8989