Night HOA board meeting sessions are often the last resort for board members that have work during the day. Most HOA volunteers keep regular business hours, this the night HOA meetings. At this point, most associations are resigned to having evening HOA board meetings. But, what if there’s another way to hold HOA meetings earlier during the day? Let’s look at the reasons why night HOA board meetings are not a good practice and the alternative options you have.
That, in a nutshell, is why night HOA board meetings probably shouldn’t be the default for your association. Evening HOA board meetings will eventually sap out the energy out of HOA managers. What more for the HOA members that are there on a volunteer basis?
That said, there’s a lot of reasons why many HOAs choose to hold night HOA board meetings. Part of being an HOA board member means attending routine board meetings to go over association plans and operations. Many HOAs will opt for meetings that happen after business hours and at night. Nighttime is the time when most if not all of the HOA board members are off from work. Thus, they can now devote their full attention — what’s left of it for the day, at least, to HOA concerns.
When you stop to think about it, that’s a perfectly easy solution to the scheduling conflicts that HOA boards have to deal with. While this would seem like the best option since evening might give homeowners the best opportunities for attendance, there are several reasons why it’s not a good idea.
You also have to think about the long-term impact of having a night HOA board meeting regularly.
Many HOA managers report problems trying to find homeowners to serve on the HOA board. HOA residents, as a group, usually aren’t that keen to showing up regularly to board meetings either. Having an HOA board meeting at night only exacerbates the problem. Most homeowners are not going to want to take time away from their family and personal time in the evening for a meeting.
Plus, this causes managers to miss out on important family time too. If they’re a single parent, they’ll have to arrange for child care. The long hours and stress of keeping up can turn many potential HOA board members away.
Most individuals who attend a night meeting will have worked all day, so they’ll be coming in tired. If the meeting is around 8 or 9 at night, they will have already eaten dinner and be ready to sleep in the next few hours. Not the best situation for having serious discussions and planning important details and examining reports about your association, right?
Sometimes, people can come in for a night HOA board meeting and perform just fine. You can’t count on that to happen every meeting, though. It’s better to get consistent decisions from your HOA management team. And one way to ensure that is to move meetings to regular hours.
It’s better to speak on such topics during working hours when people are more alert. Plus, having people come in after a long day is a good way to lead to burnout.
Also, night meetings can often take on the air of social gatherings and lead to off-topic subjects not related to HOA business. The meeting time should be treated as a business meeting and used exclusively for making important association decisions.
Holding your HOA meeting during working hours can get you more out of your HOA management team. They come in more alert, engaged, and are able to be more detail-oriented. Exactly the things you want when you need to deal with complex association issues. It can be worth the inconvenience if you can have a more productive meeting during the daytime. Here are a few meeting options you can consider.
If you’re worried that board members won’t be able to take off time from work to attend meetings, try reducing the number of meetings instead. Review your meeting agendas and try to see if they really need to be visited monthly. It depends on one HOA to another, too, so make sure to assess your requirements before shifting your schedule.
State regulations also have a prescription when it comes to HOA board meetings. Some states require them only for agendas with 15 items and up. So, if your monthly meetings regularly deal with less than that, consider saving them for a quarterly meeting instead. Check with your association governing documents if you can conduct fewer meetings. Then, finding a daytime schedule for meeting four times a year can be a simple matter.
Consider holding your board meetings around breakfast or lunchtime. This will drive more incentive to attend, plus they are earlier in the day when people are more focused. This can lead to more productive, shorter meeting times. Also, there is no conflict with family or personal time when you do meetings this way. Plus, everyone knows how to get to the neighborhood restaurant, so that’s one less worry to think about.
Meeting by teleconference is a great way to sneak in short but productive meetings during the day. It’s also a great way to have a quick online planning session just right after work hours. Then, everyone is free to do whatever they want for the rest of the evening. Plus, it’s also a good solution for when board members don’t want to get stuck in traffic while commuting to a meeting venue.
If your HOA is having recruitment issues, or if your nighttime meetings are falling below your expectations, then perhaps it’s time for a change. Try saying to toa night HOA board meeting next time, and instead work together to come up with alternatives. It’s important to consider what is best for your community, as no two associations are alike. But, having a board meeting during the daytime might be a better option for your HOA for these reasons. Speak with other board members and your HOA management company to determine what works best.