The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. We are spending more time online to work, to shop and to connect with family and friends.
A 2021 report by the Australian Communications and Media Authority showed the number of Australians who spent time online last year grew by 9 per cent to 99 per cent with the biggest increase amongst the over-50s. The report also found 82 per cent of Australians started, or increased, video conferencing and calling.
From a building management perspective, the pandemic has had a significant effect on body corporate meetings. We’re seeing more people attend virtual body corporate meetings compared to face to face.
With continuing uncertainty regarding COVID-19, we’re encouraging our clients to keep holding their body corporate meetings virtually.
Before we explain the benefits of meeting online, let’s begin with the basics:
All owners within a building (e.g. block of units) can attend a body corporate meeting. If you can’t go to a meeting, you can appoint a proxy to represent you. A proxy may be another owner attending the meeting, a Whittles representative or a responsible adult 18 years or over. To be able to vote on any resolutions that require a decision at the meeting, you must also be financial which means any contributions you owe the corporation, as an owner, are paid and up to date.
Topics discussed at meetings including maintenance requirements, the appointment of the Body Corporate Manager, insurances, budgets (both short and long term) as well as items that may need a majority, special or unanimous resolution such as approval for keeping a pet. If you’re not at the meeting, and haven’t appointed a proxy, you could potentially miss the opportunity to have your say on key corporation matters.
Now we’ve covered the basics, here are 6 key benefits for running body corporate meetings virtually.
Attendance at virtual meetings since March 2020 has been higher than what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic when they were held in real life (IRL). From our perspective, it has been fantastic to see this greater level of attendance and interest from owners. A higher participation rate also means there’s a greater likelihood of reaching a quorum which is key for legal reasons. Quorum percentages do vary based on different state legislations, therefore a certain percentage of owners must attend a body corporate meeting for it to proceed. Without a quorum, resolutions cannot be made, and the meeting needs to be reconvened to a later date. In situations where a meeting is reconvened, a quorum isn’t needed for it to go ahead which means you’ll be bound by any decisions made. Your vote is your voice so it’s in your best interests to attend, or be represented at, your body corporate meetings.
Meeting virtually means IRL contact isn’t required. Given the need to maintain social distancing as much as possible, virtual meetings reduce any possible spread of COVID-19 because they limit social contact. This makes virtual meetings a safer option for owners and for members of the Whittles team.
COVID-19 has taught us that anyone can work from anywhere in the world and still do their job well. The same applies to body corporate meetings. Virtual meetings are a more accessible option for owners who live interstate or overseas. If you’re arranging a meeting, and there are owners who don’t live locally, remember to check the time zones and plan accordingly to get the best attendance.
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in traffic, watching the minutes pass, and knowing you have a meeting to attend. Online meetings remove this unnecessary stress because there’s no travel time involved. By clicking your mouse, instead of your seat belt, you can save yourself a lot of time.
Computer software makes screen sharing possible during virtual meetings. Screen sharing allows body corporate committee members to display agendas, income details, expenditure items, budgets and quotes to all meeting participants at the same time so everyone is on the same page.
Our experience since March last year tells us owners are more likely to choose a virtual meeting over an in person one. Owners’ preference for virtual meetings can save corporations money because there are no additional charges to hold a re-convened meeting. Reconvening a body corporate meeting takes extra work: new meeting notices need to be prepared and distributed, the Body Corporate Manager must find another date in the calendar and there may be additional room hire fees. These costs are paid from the corporation’s administration fund which means they are paid by you. How would you prefer your money is spent: on reprinting documents or repairs to the property?
Contact your closest Whittles branch and speak with a member of our team. We can help with providing boardroom facilities during business hours at no additional costs.
Updated: 9 May 2023