With the rise of COVID-19, the Strata Communities Association has recommended holding meetings via teleconference. But what does this mean in practice?
The Owners Corporations Act 2006 (Vic) specifically states that owners may teleconference into a meeting, whether it be an AGM, SGM, or committee meeting. This has particularly suited investor-owners who may live interstate or overseas, yet still want to have an active presence in the owners corporation.
Recently, we have seen meetings move to a completely remote platform.
Remote meetings don't equal less engagement - to the contrary, they can lead to more involvement from everyone.
Many members of owners corporations are investors who live far from the precinct and may prefer to dial-in; this has been happening as standard practice for years. However, moving to a completely remote setup for all meeting participants can be more effective overall, even for owner occupiers. Reasons include:
Members save on travel time to meetings
No travel time paid to owners corporation manager for the meeting
Members often more inclined to work to agenda rather than being distracted by 'chit-chat'
Reduced overall meeting time, allowing for more meetings overall across the year
Less angst among committee members
There are all kinds of members on committees; young people, old people, busy people, retired people. It is unlikely that everyone will agree on all items at all times. But one item that everyone can agree on is that having meetings that drag on for hours at a time, with discussions that lead to no positive outcomes, isn't time well spent by anyone. Such situations lead to a high turnover of committee members, less people showing up at meetings, and lower overall engagement.
Our experience tells us that if members know that they are only committing to a one-hour teleconference or online meeting every six weeks or so, they are more likely to participate in the meeting and take a more active interest in their community.
Organisation is imperative
Here are some tips to making your remote meeting a seamless process:
Ensure everyone understands the meeting platform prior to the meeting - if you are using an online platform like 'Zoom', confirm that everyone can use it easily and has a fast internet connection.
If you are using a teleconference platform via phone, there are services available that can hold both larger and clearer meetings than simply adding additional callers on a mobile phone. Some services have 'Room IDs' which help keep the meeting secure. If you are using one of these services, write that the phone number and ID on the notice of meeting.
Make the meeting agenda as clear as possible - mark appendices clearly for any reports or quotes that are to be discussed, and put page numbers on everything.
The chairperson and/or manager needs to be completely familiar with the agenda to facilitate discussion remotely.
Does your owners corporation hold meetings remotely? Talk to Melb OC about how to manage your meetings more efficiently.