As Covid-19 arrived in the United States in early 2020, people were forced to make adjustments to their usual activities seemingly overnight. For community associations, new meeting formats, safety concerns, and revamping community activities took center stage. We at CAMS are immeasurably impressed with the resilience our communities have shown and their willingness to embrace change.
Adapting to Virtual Meetings
As states began to limit in-person gatherings in hopes of slowing the spread of Covid-19, traditional board and annual meeting setups essentially went out the window. In their place came virtual meetings on platforms like Zoom and Skype - and, for many, these technologies came with a learning curve. However, so many of our board members expressed such willingness to learn new communication technologies so they could continue conducting the business of their communities. To aid in this effort, CAMS created a "Zoom Academy" - a training program that teaches staff the ins and outs of Zoom so they may then be able to train board members on the platform. For many, virtual meetings have been a huge success - they've been able to increase meeting efficiency, participants are able to pay more attention to the matters at hand, and easily share documents with the group.
Implementing New Safety Precautions
The contagious nature of Covid-19 created a need for community associations to implement safety procedures both for the sake of complying with state-mandated restrictions as well as keeping members as healthy as possible. In some high-rise condo buildings, signs were put up requiring masks and hand sanitizing stations were put throughout the common areas. Many associations began to require masks in all common areas as well as conducting extra cleaning procedures in those areas.
Some associations employed "Signup Genius", an online scheduling program which allowed members to reserve time at amenities like fitness centers. This made it easy for residents to find a time to safely use facilities without coming into contact with others and created efficiency by allowing people to select their own time slot. Many say overall communication has improved in their communities as it became more necessary than ever to keep residents informed of numerous changes being made in the community.
People were stuck at home for most of 2020. Though it certainly had some upsides, it also led to boredom and feelings of isolation for many, especially for those who were unable to utilize the amenities they once had regular access to in their communities.
Many of CAMS' communities came up with creative ways to keep members engaged while still following social distancing guidelines.
Some of those included:
- Setting up outdoor movie theaters on their clubhouse lawns
- Conducting virtual and outdoor exercise classes
- Coordinating food trucks, parking lot events, and trunk-or-treats at Halloween
- Determined to spread a little holiday cheer, one community set up different drive by stations around the neighborhood to allow residents to experience some much-needed cheer - there was a caroling station, a coloring station for children, an educational station where participants could learn about different seasonal holidays, and even a visit with Santa where children could drop off a letter
As we all continue to endure the radical changes that have been made to everyday life, it's apparent that safety and social distancing, while important, are only part of the equation to keep residents safe, happy, and engaged. The creativity shown by CAMS' community managers and board members has been staggering and undoubtedly helped association members make it through a rough year.
Though the landscape of communication and in-person events will continue to change, CAMS is confident that our team and the wonderful communities we serve will continue to adapt and keep striving to make their communities the best they can be.
If you'd like to learn more about virtual meetings, safety precautions, or some creative amenity solutions for your community, reach out to the CAMS team today for trusted guidance.