How HOA Managers Going Green can Save Money
What exactly does “going green” mean? It can be as simple as considering a few paperless options in our day-to-day operations.
The environment is a hot topic in community associations and their management companies. One of our biggest hurdles is the seemingly endless amount of paper that our industry produces. Managers and management companies are doing their part to reduce the amount of paper they produce. Managers going green should be the standard.
Managers going green should be the standard
Many management companies have already converted their “paper office” to a “paperless office” through document management systems. These companies store all of their documents electronically, eliminating the need for the rows upon rows of filing cabinets – which take up space and cost the company thousands of dollars annually in square footage expense. And, that can add up to higher management fees to pay for the overhead. Electronic storage is extremely affordable in our current technology-driven economy, but it’s important to have a solid, proven backup system in place in order to safeguard those electronic files. Some management companies backup their systems both locally and out-of-state. The out-of-state backup plan is crucial to any company’s disaster and recovery plan.
Technology On The Go
Given the amount of technology available to us, managers are now wired, or wireless, electronically at all times. Instant communication and response has become the norm in our industry, rather than the exception. Blackberrys, Droids, iPhones and wireless laptops are strapped to the waist, stuffed into a pocket or purse, or slung over the arm of every manager. Some smart phones allow you to read Word, Excel and Power Point documents, edit them, save the file and send it on to the next recipient. Phones are not just phones anymore, but multi-tasking tools in and out of the office!
Managers spend an increasing amount of time attached to their smart phone or computer screen. Gone are the days of mailing documents to board members and homeowners; just attach the documents to an email and press send. But, what if all you have is a paper document and you need to get it to your board president quickly? In addition to free smart phone applications like Genius Scan and CamScanner, most copy machines are now multi-function machines that copy, scan, fax and double as a network printer. Today’s copy machines scan documents and then convert them to PDF files, and off they go to the recipient of your choice. Of course, you could fax the document, but that creates another piece of paper for the recipient.
With all the paperless options available to community association managers, we still have a few paper mailings that must be sent to our owners each year as required by the association’s governing documents or state statutes. However, state legislators are beginning to come around each year by adding more and more “electronic-enabled” opportunities to our laws.
Email is now the preferred mode of communication. Most of the time it’s easier to draft a quick email, run off to a meeting, and check the response through a smart phone prior to the start of the meeting. But does that mean people will stop talking to each other over the phone or through face-to-face conversations? As easy as email is, there is a certain etiquette that goes along with it. Inflection is not translated through email, and the tone of an email could be taken the wrong way. Also, with the ease of pressing the send button, an email can accidentally be sent to unintended recipients, which can have disastrous ramifications. Email is a wonderful thing, but be careful when using it. Be professional, polite and conscientious in all communication methods, and your message will be received as intended. Never post something in an email message that you don’t want to see on the 6 o’clock news!
Now that we have touched on several “paperless” options in our industry, it’s time to think about just how green YOU are. What can you do to help conserve energy, reduce paper, save a forest and GO GREEN for the environment and community associations?
Written by: Kelly A. Moran, CMCA®, AMS®, PCAM®Share