With only so many hours in the day, balancing the demands of work, family and outside obligations can become a struggle for anyone, and community association board members are no different. They volunteer countless hours guiding their associations, working together to juggle complex issues that affect our lives, our homes and our pocketbooks — all for no money and not much thanks. It’s a tough job and it can, from time to time, lead to burnout, stress and anxiety.
On average, most board members spend anywhere from a couple of hours to five or six hours a week on association business. This commitment increases if the condo complex is self-managed or if the board is overseeing a significant capital project or other activity that requires extra attention and discussion. In general, though, “if a trustee is putting in more than two to four hours a week” it might be too much, says Scott Wolf, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, president of Greater Boston Properties in Boston, Massachusetts. “From a manager’s perspective, I like to see them putting in six to eight hours a month.”
Signs of Trouble
Board members spending more than a few hours a week on the job can be a sign of trouble, as can other changes in habit. These changes can signal that the board member is having difficulty managing either individual problems or larger issues that might be affecting leadership as a whole. Knowing what can cause these troubles and knowing how to stop them before they start are keys to maintaining the well-being of the men and women who lead the community as a whole.
What are some signs of trouble? A change in communication patterns can signal the onset of burnout. Has a previously open and responsive board member suddenly become reclusive? Board members facing burnout “tend to not respond to requests for info or votes or they become hard to schedule meetings with,” says Paul Carruccio, CMCA, AMS, of TOW Management in Manchester Center, Vermont.
“Their frustration levels rise,” says John Watanabe, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, of Winterplace COA in Manchester Center, Vermont. “They may become less responsive and stop answering the phone or their e-mail.”