Unfortunately, HOA board member burnout is becoming increasingly common. Board members have to handle complex situations and sometimes difficult residents. Recent events such as the pandemic, the Surfside condo collapse, and inflation have added even more to their already full plate. Board members can experience burnout due to the stress of their position. They sometimes don’t recognize the symptoms and take a long time to figure out what is happening.
To prevent burnout among HOA board members, it is important to recognize the first signs, understand the causes and take action. In this article, we will walk you through these three essential steps to preserve your mental health, and of your fellow board members.
Identifying the Warning Signs of HOA Board Member Burnout
Identifying the warning signs of burnout is essential for ensuring your HOA board remains healthy and effective. To be able to do so, you first need to clearly understand what burnout is.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a syndrome that can be defined as a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion.
According to the World Health Organization , burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context. It should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.
What are the signs?
Burnout can manifest itself in a variety of ways, such as increased stress, fatigue, and apathy. It can cause feelings of anxiety, and physical symptoms such as headaches and difficulty sleeping. Board members may also become more irritable or withdrawn.
By recognizing the warning signs, you can take action to help yourself and other board members remain engaged and productive.
Understanding what causes burnout in your HOA Board
HOA board members’ burnout can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Cons tant conflicts and complaints: Dealing with constant complaints from homeowners can be mentally and emotionally draining for HOA board members. It’s difficult to receive continuous negativity and criticism.
Lack of communication: Poor communication within the HOA can lead to confusion and mistrust. This increases residents’ frustration, which they normally take out on board members.
Heavy workload : HOA board members often have a lot of responsibilities, and a heavy workload which can lead to burnout if not managed well. This is especially difficult if you also have a full-time job.
Lack of training or education: Without proper knowledge about the responsibilities of this role, mistakes or malpractices can happen. This can leave residents annoyed about what they perceive to be mismanagement, and board members feeling stressed.
General apathy in the community: When HOA board members feel like they are not receiving the support and engagement they need from the community, it can lead to feelings of hopelessness.
Another important point is a lack of recognition . It is fundamental to remember that board members are volunteers. They do not receive any monetary compensation for the work they do. So when their efforts and contributions are not valued, it can put a toll on them.
On top of all of these aspects, external factors can also impact their well-being. Here are some examples:
Pandemic and social distancing which affected the sense of community
Tragedies and legislations changes such as the Surfside condo collapse
Natural disasters which led to fear, loss of homes or possessions, as well as high maintenance and repairs fees
Economic instability, and inflation which are making HOA fees increase
Each HOA is different. It is essential to understand what is causing burnout in your specific community so you can tackle the issue from its root.
Strategies for Managing & Preventing HOA Board Member Burnout
Your mental health should always be your number one priority. If you are feeling any of the symptoms mentioned above make sure to talk to someone. You can start by talking to a close friend or loved one and then seek professional help.
On the other hand, If you notice that a colleague is feeling down, show concern and be empathetic. Ask if you can help and possibly talk about how a counselor could assist them. Not everyone knows the benefits of counseling. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their personal issues with strangers. It is important to remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, and no one should ever be embarrassed to do therapy. It can be a valuable resource in overcoming feelings of burnout. A therapist can provide coping strategies for dealing with stress and overwhelm. Above all, they offer a safe space for individuals to discuss their experiences without any judgment.
Find work-life balance
You can improve your work-life balance by setting clear boundaries between work and personal time. This can be hard when you live in the community you are volunteering for. Setting specific working hours will help you manage your time efficiently and separate the two. Engaging in self-care activities such as exercise and leisure will help you manage stress and overwhelm.
Create HOA Committees
Creating HOA committees can decrease the board’s workload by dividing responsibilities among a larger group of people. Each committee can focus on a specific area, such as landscaping, technology, community events, or maintenance. Creating committees can also help increase residents’ engagement and foster a more active community.
Use HOA management software
HOA management software can help prevent burnout by automating all the manual routine tasks associated with managing a community association. Using an online portal can free up your time and energy so you can focus on more important tasks. Here are a few things you can do with HOA software:
-Send communications to residents via different channels in one platform
-Schedule events on a virtual calendar and send notifications to residents
-Set up and maintain an HOA website
-Handle amenities booking and establish rules of usage
-Store your documents online and easily share them
-Issue financial statements, track spendings, and make payments
-Centralize all these things in one place, saving you time
-Hire a community association manager
Hiring a community association manager (CAM) can help prevent overwhelm. They can help you to handle day-to-day operations such as enforcing community rules or coordinating maintenance and repairs. Additionally, a CAM can also provide expertise and guidance on best practices for managing an HOA. This can help alleviate the stress and uncertainty that comes with managing your community association.
To prevent HOA board member burnout, you need to understand what causes it. It can be difficult to recognize the signs, but it is a crucial step to ensure everyone can work well and in a healthy way. Burnout can be prevented in many different ways, such as by delegating tasks to more people, improving your work-life balance and being recognized . Everyone must act to keep board members engaged and motivated, so the community thrives.
If nothing improves after taking these actions, as a board member, you should not be afraid to quit. It is ok to renounce, your mental health and happiness should always be your priority.
Written by Yasmine Yohannes | Shared from Vinteum