COVID-19 has rapidly transformed the way that we work and live. Social distancing has become the new normal, meaning we have to find alternative ways to communicate with each other.
During this turbulent time, residents are looking to condo and HOA leaders and managers for guidance. If you are in a leadership position, you have probably been using our Announcements feature to share updates and important information with your residents about what your association is doing to keep everyone safe.
This is excellent. It’s crucial to keep residents informed as the coronavirus continues to evolve. However, you should be mindful of what you’re telling them.
With all of the new information about the virus, search engines like Google are doing their part to protect people from conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation related to COVID-19. If they believe a site is being used to capitalize on the pandemic, they may block it. Google recently temporarily flagged Condo Control Central’s Announcement feature as deceptive/harmful due to the volume of announcements that our clients have been posting regarding COVID-19.
We do not want to discourage anyone from sharing announcements, but we do want to help you send out messages that are helpful and valuable. Below are some best practices to follow when writing COVID-19 announcements for your residents.
Messages must have substance
Avoid sending out an email to residents simply because everyone else is doing it. This can quickly lead to information fatigue, and your residents will be less likely to pay attention to the emails that really matter.
Do send out messages that provide information about:
- Meeting cancellations or adjustments
- Payment processes
- Service request processes
- Emergency contact information
- Amenity closures
- Revised office hours
Do not send out emails that reiterate that the situation is being monitored. Those sorts of messages don’t offer direction or useful advice.
Messages should be actionable
Residents what to know what the can or cannot do right now to help maintain their health and safety. Do you best to provide helpful or actionable information in each announcement. For example, if you’re updating residents about payment options for the upcoming month, clearly explain how they can make a payment using our online payment feature, as well as alternative payment options that don’t require them to interact with the manager or landlord in person. Provide a contact number or email address for them as well in case they have more questions.
Messages should be properly labelled
Include a specific title for all announcements. Do not just label the subject line “COVID-19”. That could be misinterpreted as spam. Clarity is important right now, and the more detailed you can be, the better.
Keep messages short and objective
Enough fear and uncertainty are circulating. Do you best not to create more anxiety. Avoid using alarmist language or personal opinions in your announcement.
Keep each announcement focused on one or two key points, and keep the message short. Only say what you need to say, and use bullet points where possible.
Don’t use unverified sources
You may decide to include links or attach documents to your announcement. That’s completely fine, but make sure the information you’re sharing is credible. When possible, use trusted government resources.
Strong communication is so important right now. We will continue to be here for you so that you can continue to manage your community and keep everyone safe.