It is National Volunteers Week, and I wonder how many of our owners corporations and bodies corporate committees are at full capacity with a waiting list of people to join in to share the load?
I suspect few. The general feeling seems to be it is getting harder and harder to attract and engage good people. This is the week to ask why this is so and what can be done to improve things? I have some ideas.
Perhaps we should start by viewing body corporate and owners corporation committee work as community service. As an industry, I don’t think we do see committee work this way. I think people in strata services see committee work as the owners obligation or a statutory obligation which of course it is, but that’s not how owners see it. Owners see committee work as a chore and resent that other owners don’t do their bit.
The resentment towards owners who don’t do their bit is greater in strata than in other types of community work. That’s because a strata is a compulsory not for profit organization rather than the voluntary type of not for profit that we join because we are passionate about the cause. As a mentor once said to me
‘Michael, no one buys an apartment to become a member of a body corporate’.
So what is to be done about the struggle to get willing workers who view strata management work positively rather than begrudgingly? I think we have to start with a charter about how we treat one another within the committee and more broadly, how we agree to relate to one another within our strata community. I have been doing some work recently on discrimination within strata communities and that has taken me to related areas of harassment and intimidation. I had a case last week where a resident manager caused police to visit a committee member because he had a different view to the manager on a point and was reported for inciting violence within a townhouse complex. When community living comes to this it is no wonder we are having trouble finding willing stewards.
For National Volunteers Week, I have written a policy for treating each other fairly within strata communities, which you can download via this week’s StrataSpace or please feel free to email Vivien Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to forward you a copy. I hope you will use this to start a discussion within your group and National Volunteers Week will not be wasted on the strata sector.