With disagreeing residents, unending topics to discuss, and chatty board members, the idea of a short HOA board meeting seems almost impossible. However, it is entirely possible to have a 1 hour HOA board meeting by following a few simple steps. Here’s what you need to know.
Let’s face it, nobody likes meetings — especially those that last for hours on end. Nevertheless, meetings are considered an important productivity tool in business. Meetings facilitate communication between members and enable organizations to conduct important business matters.
In the same way, homeowners association board meetings are valuable too. It’s a place where board members can come together and make important decisions regarding the community. However, one major difference between businesses and associations is that HOA board members are merely volunteers. They cannot devote their entire day to HOA matters; they also have work, family, and personal obligations. Your community’s board of directors cannot spend three to four hours stuck in an HOA meeting.
In an effort to shorten meetings and also increase productivity, both businesses and associations alike have adopted 1-hour meetings. But what is the science behind this decision? According to studies, people are most productive and focused when they work for 52 minutes then take a break for 17 minutes.
Moreover, scientists have also found that people’s attention span is about 91% in the first 15 minutes, but this dwindles down to about 64% at the 45-minute mark. Based on these findings, there could be greater productivity benefits when you hold 1-hour HOA board meetings.
Some homeowners might question whether it is still possible to get things done when HOA boards are keeping meetings under one hour. Parkinson’s Law assures that this is possible. It states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” So, if you have a meeting scheduled for an hour, it will turn out that this hour was all you needed to get things done. The same would apply if HOAs decided to hold 45-minute board meetings.
After understanding the productivity benefits of a 1-hour HOA board meeting, it’s important for HOA board members to ensure that they are able to meet this specific time limit. Here are important tips that will help you achieve 1-hour HOA board meetings.
Some HOAs are required to post notices prior to board meetings. The number of days will depend on the board meeting notice requirements outlined in your governing documents. Make sure to check your local laws some states like Utah and California have board meeting notice requirements as well.
The purpose of HOA board meetings is not to discuss community matters. Rather, this is the time to decide on community matters. So, when your board members arrive for the meeting, you want them to be fully informed on the specific topics or issues. HOAs can do this by preparing and sending the board meeting agenda and information packets ahead of time
. It can be sent as early as a week before but should be sent no later than 48 hours before the board meeting. This way, everyone is prepared to make decisions during your 1-hour HOA board meeting.
After sending the board meeting agenda and information packets, the HOA may also want to collect questions and requests from board members and homeowners. During the board meeting, all these will already be incorporated into the agenda. If you don’t do this, unexpected questions and requests will just steer your board meeting off track and make it last longer than just one hour.
If you want to keep HOA board meetings under an hour, you must start on time. Since everyone received the agenda ahead of time, they know what time the board meeting should start. If a board member is running late, don’t wait for them — unless of course, a decision requires a quorum.
Board members should know their responsibilities during these meetings. For instance, the secretary is responsible for taking down the HOA board meeting minutes. Meanwhile, the president must preside over the board meeting. The HOA board president should come prepared such as having a gavel and timer, which help keep the meetings organized.
In order to have a 1 hour HOA board meeting, the president must stick to the agenda. Board meeting agendas will have allotted times for each item or topic. If time is running out and the board has yet to come to a decision, the president should shelve the matter and move on to the next topic. Prolonging discussions will just eat up the board’s limited time.
Before the end of a board meeting, make sure to summarize everything that has been discussed. Since the board meeting had a more efficient flow, you can take this time to ensure that everyone is clear on the decisions and that there are no misunderstandings.
Follow up on the board meeting minutes, assignments, and pending issues soon after the board meeting. Do this within a week after the board meeting. By following up on the action items in a timely manner, you are ensuring that the next board meeting will also flow smoothly and efficiently.
HOAs should also schedule board meetings as early as possible. Coordinating board members’ schedules can be extremely time-intensive. However, if you want to keep having 1 hour HOA board meetings, HOAs must be able to schedule board meetings frequently and consistently (as needed).
If three- to four-hour board meetings have been the norm for your community, the concept of a 1 hour HOA board meeting may seem a bit daunting. However, it is possible. Just keep in mind these helpful tips when planning for your next board meeting. As you transition to this new meeting format, you will quickly see the productivity benefits of having 1 hour HOA board meetings.