Representing a condo community can be a challenge under regular circumstances, but doing so during the COVID-19 pandemic is undeniably more difficult than usual.
Condo boards are doing their best to respond to resident concerns, adjust budgets where necessary, increase sanitization efforts, and plan for an uncertain future.
The current heightened state of anxiety can lead to overwhelm not just for condo board members, but for condo owners, families, employees, and people in general— which is why it is so important to have a communication plan in place that prioritizes effective, healthy, and expedient correspondence.
Condo boards in Alberta can reduce the likelihood of conflicts or confusion by following a few recommended procedures.
If you are in the process of developing a COVID-19 response from condo board members, we highly encourage you to make note of the tips below.
How to Effectively Communicate With Condo Residents During COVID-19
Start With Structure
The more clearly defined your communication processes are, the more likely it is that condo owners will adhere to them. Too often, condo boards become inundated by calls, emails, and complaints because they haven’t shared specific steps for residents to follow regarding communication.
To streamline correspondence, condo boards in Alberta should ask themselves the following:
- How can complaints and concerns be sorted into categories? (Maintenance, Payments and Fines, Noise Complaints, etc.) And who will be responsible for responding to each complaint type?
- What does our communication tree look like? Who is the first point of contact? How should information be passed upward to management?
- How should frontline staff gather information about complaints? What steps or instructions should they follow? How can these processes be systemized?
- How can the condo board communicate these processes to condo owners and residents in a way that is transparent and easy to understand?
Of all the COVID-19 tips for condo boards in Alberta we advise, this is among the most critical.
Much of the frustration condo owners and residents experience during emergency situations comes from poorly-explained action plans or outlooks.
When communicating with their condo communities, boards and management companies should set clear expectations regarding follow-up times, available solutions, and next steps.
Below are a few tips for communicating expectations effectively:
- Provide timelines in writing (via email, printed notices, online community discussion forums, etc.)
- Explain the reasoning behind the expected time frame (Needing to clarify with management, obtain additional resources, etc.)
- Obtain confirmation, when possible (Ask the unit owner or resident to confirm they understand the course of action you will be taking and the required time to complete it.)
It’s important to update your condo community on a regular basis and take a proactive (rather than reactive) approach to sharing information.
Condo boards in Alberta can achieve this by establishing a communications calendar.
Below are a few suggestions to consider:
- Sending a brief weekly (or bi-monthly) newsletter to residents informing them of COVID-19 actions being taken by their condo association
- Posting PSAs in common areas (lobbies, main doors, etc) informing tenants of any urgent matters
- Encouraging residents to use an online discussion forum (like GeniePad, for example) to communicate with the board regarding non-urgent matters
- Create a private Facebook group where community members can seek support, advice, or info from their fellow residents in a non-formal setting
- Consider using an online chat tool or a temporary phone number for text messages, so can residents to ask quick COVID-19 questions and receive more immediate feedback
There is also a helpful acronym that condo board members can reference when communicating with their communities during the COVID-19 crisis.
It’s called “BRIEF”, and it refers to the following:
B – Background (Gain as much information about the situation as possible)
R – Reason (What is causing the issue?)
I – Information (What are the pertinent facts and details?)
E – End (How can this problem be resolved? What solution will satisfy the needs and concerns of all parties involved?)
F – Follow-Up (When would be an appropriate time to check in with the resident to ensure the solution has been satisfactorily completed? What additional support can be provided?)
Interested in Learning More About How to Communicate Effectively With Your Condo Community?
There are many reputable resources where condo boards can gain further insight.
We recommend reviewing the following sites (or contacting these organizations directly) for more info:
The Association of Condominium Owners of Alberta