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Operating the co-ownership while complying with the social distancing guidelines

COVID-19 : Gérez votre copropriété sans sortir de chez vous

MONTREAL - MARCH 26th 2020 - The exceptional measures surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic are forcing us all to review our operating methods. Even though most professional and social activities will be slowing down in the coming weeks, life has not come to a stop in your co-ownership.

As an administrator, you have to deal with a wide range of situations but you can no longer move around or physically see the people you have to interact with. Many technological tools exist to help you in this type of situation.

The simplest: the telephone!

If you only need to talk to one person, the phone is the easiest way to do so. Most mobile phone providers also allow you to make a three-way conference call with your smartphone. Each supplier details its procedure for conference calls on their website (Bell, Telus, Videotron)

As usual, your phone will also be your best tool for contacting service providers in case of emergency.

Videoconferencing tools

When you need to organize a meeting with more than three people or when you need to see your contacts or their screen, you can use videoconferencing services. There are several that are free and easy to use. Here are a few:

  • Skype: The best known. All participants must install it on their computer, tablet or smartphone and create a user account. You can connect up to 25 users simultaneously. Article explaining the installation and use of Skype.

  • Zoom: The RGCQ uses Zoom for its webinars and other meetings. In its free version, the duration of meetings is limited to 40 minutes and the number of participants is capped at 30 people. Video explaining the installation and use of Zoom.

  • Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Facetime, Google Hangouts: There are also several solutions developed exclusively for users of a specific device or service. Between Apple product users, you can use Facetime. Gmail users can use Google Hangouts amongst each other. Facebook members can use Messenger to communicate. WhatsApp is also a good option. All of these tools are free.

Tips for a smooth running videoconference

Here are some practical tips for a successful videoconference.

Remember that everyone can see you during the meeting. Avoid eating or doing other tasks. Don't forget to look at the camera from time to time to help keep the meeting going. If you have to walk away or take a call, it's best to mute your microphone.

Isolate yourself from other occupants in your unit so as not to interrupt your meeting and to guarantee the confidentiality of the information you exchange.

Be punctual. When a person does not log in on time, other participants often have no other way to contact them. If you think you will be late, contact at least one of the attendees to let them know. Otherwise, the other participants could proceed in your absence.

Use earphones or a headset. The microphones and headphones built into smartphones, tablets and laptops are often of average quality. You will hear each other better by using headphones and headsets. You can use the hands-free kit that came with the purchase of your cell phone.

Designate a moderator. During a remote meeting, there are sometimes transmission delays and you may also miss non-verbal cues from other participants. These two factors can quickly create a cacophony when everyone wants to speak at the same time. To avoid this situation, you can appoint a meeting moderator or set up speaking rules.