Condo Media - November 2020 - 24

Handling Bumps in the Road

Some New Challenges
Have Roots in the Pandemic

We divided this discussion into
pandemic and non-pandemic challenges, and we've identified several
unrelated to the pandemic. But there
are two challenges that straddle this
line: Working from home and embracing
technology. Both trends are byproducts
of the pandemic experience, but both
are also likely to remain on lists of
industry challenges after the pandemic
has ended.
EMBRACING TECHNOLOGY
Many condominium associations had
been inching toward conducting more
business electronically, but the pandemic catapulted them in that direction.
Unable to gather in person during mandatory lockdowns, many boards began
using Zoom and other technologies to
conduct association business, holding
board meetings, conducting annual
meetings, and even voting for board
members online. Remote meetings
allowed associations to continue operating smoothly, but not necessarily legally,
during the pandemic.
The problem, Thomas Moriarty,
a principal in Moriarty Troyer & Malloy
LLC, explains, is that most governing
documents don't allow boards to meet
or vote electronically. They typically
require in-person meetings, which
would preclude both Zoom calls
and electronic voting.
If their documents allow proxies,
boards have gotten around the "in
person" requirement for annual meetings by having one individual attend
the meeting with enough directed proxies to establish the quorum. Where a
quorum by proxy isn't an option, boards
have been meeting remotely and

24

CONDOMEDIA November 2020

holding electronic votes anyway,
Moriarty says, "planning to make the
best argument they can that those
procedures [were necessary] and permissible," and hoping the courts will agree if
board decisions or association elections
are challenged. Amending the governing
documents is the obvious solution and
Moriarty says his office has been dealing
with "a landslide of amendments" to
make the necessary changes.
Sheila Spellman, director of condominiums at First Realty Management,
says half of the associations her company manages have used the directed
proxy approach to elect board members
and most have amended their documents or are taking steps to do that.
"We knew that had to happen quickly,"
she says. So, they created teams of
managers to review the documents for
all of the company's association clients.
"We used directed proxies for some
communities and delayed annual meetings at others until the amendments had
passed. It kept us very busy," she notes.
WORKING FROM HOME
Like many employers, management
companies discovered during the pandemic that working from home worked
very well for their employees and their
association clients.
"This has been a wonderful wake-up
call," Julie Adamen says. "We've discovered how easily [and productively] managers can work from home." Managers
don't have to operate from an office
to serve their clients, and supervisors
don't have to see managers every day
to supervise them, she points out.
Eliminating daily commutes - from
home to office to client sites and

back - will add time to managers' days,
easing, if not eliminating, a major source
of stress and possibly increasing the
appeal of a job that has not traditionally
been universally appealing.
"It is...a game changer in how we'll
attract new, talented people to the industry," Adamen wrote recently in her
newsletter. The flexibility of working
from home will particularly appeal to
the millennial workforce that management companies need but have been
hard-pressed to attract.
Remote working arrangements also
create challenges for management
companies, however. For example,
while technology has made remote
supervision easier, it can still be difficult for managers who think they must
see employees every day to know
what they are doing and manage them
effectively. And though many employees welcome the option to work from
home, for employees with children and
spouses who have also been at home
during the pandemic, the arrangement
has been less than ideal.
Pandemic-related challenges aside,
even those who embrace the independence and flexibility working from home
provides may miss the personal interaction, camaraderie, and support an office
environment fosters. Management companies will have to find a way to recreate
those ingredients, Adamen agrees.
Companies can provide this essential
support network, she suggests, by creating management teams. In addition to
replacing some of the personal interaction that occurs informally in an office,
this structure ensures that several managers are familiar with client accounts
and can provide seamless coverage for



Condo Media - November 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - November 2020

Contents
Condo Media - November 2020 - Cover1
Condo Media - November 2020 - Cover2
Condo Media - November 2020 - Contents
Condo Media - November 2020 - 2
Condo Media - November 2020 - 3
Condo Media - November 2020 - 4
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Condo Media - November 2020 - Cover3
Condo Media - November 2020 - Cover4
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