When I started my career in the strata industry ten or so years ago, I was told in no uncertain terms that part of the job would require me to conduct strata meetings outside of business hours on site at peoples units or townhouses. Since that day, it has been abundantly clear to me that this is a steadfast rule that owners within strata developments are unwilling to let go of. Trying to change this status quo has become somewhat of a “third rail” among strata businesses and professionals – deep down I believe we would all like a shake up in this regard, however ultimately the fear of upsetting the apple cart seems to have won out each time it has come up for discussion.
I recently read an article about a strata manager who refused to hold meetings on site at a complex because it was common knowledge that the place was haunted! This young lady was terrified of walking through the building alone in the evening, and simply refused to do so. Superstition aside, this story did raise the spectre (no pun intended) of employee safety within the strata industry. Is it really safe to be sending our managers out to other peoples homes, often well into the evening, to face a sometimes-hostile audience? I would contend that there are some genuine issues with the situation as it currently stands, and at the risk of going it alone, it is well worth closer consideration.
When it comes to strata meetings, the other major problem faced by the strata industry is lack of attendance. As a manager, it is very difficult to fulfil the needs of the broader group of owners, if they are apathetic and do not participate. As an owner, it is next to impossible to ensure the protection of your investment or home if one does not take an active role, not just at the AGM, but also during the year.
The manager who solves these two difficulties will be well ahead of the pack in terms of service delivery for their clients, and providing rewarding and safe careers, capable of attracting skilled professionals in a competitive employment market.
It would be arrogant to suggest that our business has solved these issues in one fell swoop, however we have taken some steps that we think will improve matters to a significant extent. Among other initiatives, we have undertaken to hold multiple meetings on a Saturday, wherever possible and under certain conditions. Our meetings will also involve more than just the
strata manager on most occasions, providing a higher level of service to our clients, while ensuring OH & S is maintained at all times.
While we hope to see some immediate benefits from these policies, we are continuing to consider other improved ways of doing business, particularly as it relates to meetings. At this point, nothing is off the agenda – so to speak.
For further information, please contact Chris Miller, General Manager
M 0400 376 208
F 02 6239 5711
The Griffin, Corner Giles & Jardine Streets, Kingston
PO Box 5044, Kingston ACT 2604