RealManage Insight

Is Board Burnout Leading to Depression?

by Jennifer Harvey on Sep 10, 2020 8:42:00 AM

Serving on the board of a community association to help shape the community you live in can be very rewarding and satisfying. Many board members enjoy being part of the board and being on the front lines of decision making and planning. Nonetheless, being a board member has its fair share of work and stress. For one thing, it's a lot of work, which can, from time to time, lead to burnout, depression, and stress.

We've previously discussed about burnout, but today being National Suicide Prevention Day, we want to highlight important aspects about burnout, including what it is, its link to depression and suicide, and how HOA board members can avoid it.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by chronic and prolonged workplace stress. It usually occurs when one feels tired, overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

Can Burnout Lead to Depression?

Research has established that burnout syndrome is a problem that could eventually lead to depression, and ultimately, suicide. Burnout creates a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, which are two key symptoms of depression. Studies have also established that wherever rates of depression are high, the suicide rates are high as well.

How Serious Can Burnout be for HOA Board Members?

Just like with other professionals, severe burnout can have a negative impact on board members. It can cause them to disengage from co-workers, tenants, vendors, and even family members. As burnout intensifies, the symptoms of depression become apparent. It's only a matter of time before board members find themselves in a downward spiral toward a total, uncontrolled self-destruction.

5 Ways to Avoid Burnout for HOA Board Members

Burnout is a very real and potentially dangerous workplace malady. Fortunately, burnout can be prevented, mitigated, and eliminated. The following are the five strategies to implement to ease the burden of burnout on community association board members:

1. Divide board roles

Rather than having one board member focus on one major facet of HOA, the chore should be divided between several members. By taking apart big roles and giving smaller pieces to different board members, the board will get a lot more people involved. This will make the whole process less daunting and prevent burnout.

2. Focus on member strengths

One board member may want to work on policies, while another may want to be responsible for policy meetings. Another one may be willing to do anything else, except for taking minutes. As such, each board member should be allowed to do what they excel in and what they are passionate about.

3. Create execution committees

Community association board members shouldn't feel like they have to take on everything by themselves. They can entice more members to get involved. Creating execution committees can help take some of the responsibilities off the board members' shoulders. Some tasks can also be delegated to committee members so that board members can focus on more critical issues that cannot be delegated.

4. Hire an HOA management company

Self-managing a community association adds a great deal of responsibility to board members' plates. It may be worthwhile to hire an HOA management firm to oversee many of the HOA's day-to-day operations. Everything from administrative work to management to finances can be outsourced to an HOA management company. This can take the workload off the board and give worn-out board members a chance to recoup.

5. Honor dedicated board members

One of the ways to recharge burned-out board members' batteries is honoring them. You can organize a party in honor of the board members' great contribution. Showing them that others acknowledge and appreciate their dedication and hard work can go a long way in boosting their morale.

At RealManage, we understand the consequences of unaddressed burnout and are dedicated to protecting community association board members. Our goal is to ensure that you are best prepared for the challenges lined ahead. If you or someone you know appears to be suffering from burnout or depression, we encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and discuss the situation with them. You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline via a toll-free hot-line with the number 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).

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