Many people and businesses who thought they preferred synchronous work have discovered that they can function perfectly well in a remote work environment during the pandemic and the most obvious reason for this is that you can work whenever it is most convenient for you.
Another obvious reason for this is that you can schedule your work around your life, which means you won’t miss important events, spend quality time with your loved ones, or be forced to live a lifestyle you don’t want. You are not required to be available during the time zone of another person.
With fewer interruptions, you have more opportunities for deep, uninterrupted work. This improves productivity, performance, and job engagement. It also relieves you of the pressure to respond quickly, allowing you to think about your responses and deliver well-thought-out responses. Finally, having control over your workday relieves a lot of stress.
In an asynchronous environment, since all communications happen via a chat, email or online video calls, allowing the documentation of these conversations, so that you can refer to previous conversations with perfect accuracy at any time.
Finally, working across time zones allows you to tap into global talent. If you need to hire a subcontractor, for example, you can pick the best one from anywhere, not just one who works in your time zone.
What is asynchronous work?
Asynchronous work is done when it is convenient for you and is not necessarily dependent on collaborative or real-time communication. In other words, asynchronous work is the practice of working on a team without requiring all members to be online at the same time. Individuals can maximise their productivity by working asynchronously instead of waiting for others to complete tasks.
- Async work should be utilised more frequently than sync work since it improves resource management, lowers waste, and so increases productivity.
- By multiplexing jobs and minimising scope, you may produce quicker, test hypotheses sooner, and achieve success with more certainty.
- Communication should be async most of the time, with just a few exceptions where it is absolutely necessary to sync. Using this as a guideline helps employees to focus on their duties for longer periods of time and concentrate on best practices such as documentation and creating suitable procedures.
- Always taking action (within reason) helps the entire team move quicker, reduces waste, and increases ownership.
Benefits of Becoming More Asynchronous
More flexibility is offered.
Flexibility is the most touted virtue of remote or mixed employment. However, professionals who spend their days in back-to-back meetings or are hooked on Slack responding to colleagues’ demands don’t profit from much freedom. Because the capacity to finish work is not contingent on the availability of other employees, async organisations may provide employees with additional flexibility.
It enables all sorts of personalities to thrive in the workplace.
Async encourages a variety of thought, which improves business outcomes for organisations. Not everyone has quick thinking. Some people find it difficult to participate in large gatherings. Async makes it easier to include the work of people who are more reserved or who want to think things through before contributing to a project. So, reactionary “quick thinking” is given less weight, which frees up space for useful deliberative “slow thinking.
It promotes prolonged intervals of concentration and focus while working.
Continuous interruptions caused by synchronous communication make it challenging to focus deeply and use critical thinking when performing jobs like writing, coding, planning, and problem-solving. Employees at async firms have larger blocks of time to focus more intently on the topic at hand and consequently develop better solutions and more inventive work because you’re not required to reply to messages right away.
How to make asynchronous teams work?
Of course, technology is essential. Using digital solutions is necessary since virtually all communication and administration takes place online.
The majority of contemporary businesses currently use a variety of platforms to facilitate teamwork, project management, and communication; they are likely enough for asynchronous teams as well.
Employee management should receive special attention, and this is where time-tracking systems become quite crucial. Employers and workers can both view the hours spent thanks to solutions like DeskTime, which promotes responsibility while allowing teams to work at their own speed.
Here are few tips to improve asynchronous work:
- Create and convey clear processes.
Begin by developing clear and simple communication methods. Depending on the size of your remote workforce, you may want to document these processes at a single hub or location so that everyone has access to them as required. The purpose here is to lessen the tension that employees may experience when interacting so that there is no danger of misunderstanding or miscommunication.
- Define what is urgent.
Set clear expectations to reduce the number of interruptions. Employees must understand the distinction between urgent and critical messages. When utilising an instant messaging application, it’s tempting to believe that every communication is important, even if it isn’t. That is both the beauty and the pain of instant messaging tools: they can make every message appear important, heightening employee concern over communication.
Set some ground rules for what constitutes an urgent message and how it should be marked as such in your communication platform. Then, direct workers to your tool’s settings to assist them in controlling notifications. Show them, for example, how to disable notifications for all messages except those sent directly to them or how to silence them for a certain period of time.
- Take note of what you say.
Because instant messaging platforms allow for shorter phrases and concepts than emails, communication can become more sophisticated. Even though it’s more of a back-and-forth dialogue, they increase your risks of being misunderstood or misread, as well as increase the amount of messages you send and receive.
Contemplate your response before responding to your distant coworkers. Take time to think about your words and how you convey yourself before sending the message. This will help you to minimise uncertainty and you will be able to communicate more thoughtfully, allowing you to send fewer messages, and keep people updated more effectively.
- Schedule Meetings Only When Necessary
Even though We prefer asynchronous collaboration, there are times when real-time communication is required. Asynchronous cooperation does not function effectively with two types of coworkers.
First, no matter what you do, there will always be people who will not react to emails and, especially, comments. Second, some people struggle to explain themselves succinctly and clearly in writing. In such instances, comments or email threads can soon become cluttered and confusing. At such times it becomes necessary to prioritize meetings instead of asynchronous ways of collaborating.
- Consult your colleagues for their opinions.
Don’t hold off on sharing what you’re working on until you’re finished. Select the tool you’ll use to publish your work, and keep your project or document up to date at all times. Send a link to your project to your team, along with comments that address certain team members by name.
Additionally, if your tool lets it, shut off comments as they are handled. When a project has dozens or even hundreds of open comments, it becomes incredibly difficult to navigate.
- Communicate Efficiently and Specifically
Learning how to communicate is becoming increasingly important as more of us work from home. When communicating, it is critical to ensure that no one is excluded from key discussions and decisions regardless of where they reside or when they work. Here’s how your company can utilize asynchronous communication to keep conversations and decisions available to all workers who work from home.
Guide to asynchronous communication
Asynchronous communication promotes autonomy. It is concerned with ensuring that a task and its consequences are independent of whoever planned or executed it.
Some of the long-desired quality standards are brought to or enforced through asynchronous communication, including:
- Good documentation
- Formulaic procedures
- Sending messages rather than calling
- Respect for uninterrupted work periods
Given below are some of the tools available for async communication :
- EmailMessaging platforms like Slack or Google Chat
- Project management platforms like Basecamp or Asana
- Scheduling tools like Smartsheet or Trello
Tips to Improve Async Communication
Any of your workers shouldn’t feel like an afterthought as a result of asynchronous communication. Here are few strategies for making sure your communication is effective include:
- Consider each time zone equally.
Show your staff that you aren’t favouring any one group by rotating the timings of your synchronised meetings so that they are convenient for all time zones.
- Simplify your procedures.
If the project they’re working on is fragmented among communication channels, employees may experience difficulties. Establish precise standards for project communication and where to submit work.
- Be careful how you use pings.
Understand the difference between communication that is urgent and that is not. Your team’s uneasiness may increase if you message them frequently with requests or inquiries. Instead, approach your messaging carefully and deliberately.