More organizations are switching to remote working as it provides more flexibility and a better work-life balance. However, attending meetings on a webcam can sometimes be challenging compared to the office, where you simply walk into the meeting room and interact face-to-face with your co-workers.
It is where asynchronous communication helps remote employees make the most of their work hours. It is instrumental in staying connected with your colleagues and keeping a tab on the latest happenings at work, too, at your convenience.
Before delving into the benefits of this mode of communication, let’s first understand what it is and how it’s different from synchronous communication.
Asynchronous communication implies interaction without real-time involvement. People indulge in asynchronous communication from time to time. For instance, if you leave a voicemail to your colleague, send a Whatsapp message to a friend, or shoot out an email to someone, all these are examples of asynchronous communication when the other person may not respond immediately, but when it is feasible for them.
So, this communication helps you set your schedules and reply to people at your convenience.
In contrast to asynchronous communication, synchronous conversation involves connecting with someone in real-time via phone, video, or face-to-face interaction. For instance, if you want to brainstorm ideas with your team, then it is a good idea to schedule a meeting, which is a form of synchronous communication.
As it requires everyone to be present simultaneously, synchronous communication needs planning. On the other hand, asynchronous communication does not require scheduling and happens according to your own time.
Project management software such as Trello, Asana, and Monday
Forums and message threads within organizations
Instant messaging tools including Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter
Video recording software such as Loom
Asynchronous exchanges are the buzzword for remote teams as it helps them save time and plan their work effectively. Here are some key advantages of ‘async’ communication:
As an increasing number of employees are part of remote teams, asynchronous communication helps them complete tasks at their own time and pace. It enables people to create flexible schedules so that they can work productively.
Moreover, employees can go through the asynchronous messages as often as possible to process the information and respond at their convenience. As the sender does not need immediate acknowledgment, people can concentrate on their work without unnecessary interruptions.
As this type of communication does not require everyone to be present simultaneously, it eliminates the need to find a date or time when people are available. Finding a free spot in everyone’s calendar can be a big hassle, so asynchronous messages help people working remotely or in a hybrid environment to provide timely updates.
Although teams record meeting minutes, the majority of synchronous communication may happen via phone or even face-to-face, and there are chances that some relevant information is lost. However, with asynchronous transmission, be it emails, video, or audio messages, all the exchanges are documented by default and are not an additional task.
Clear documentation ensures everyone is on the same page regarding a task’s progress and enables people to refer to it indefinitely.
Did you know that 83% of Americans suffer from work-related stress? Constantly attending meetings and expecting to reply quickly to messages and emails can contribute to significant stress in synchronous communication.
On the other hand, asynchronous conversations give you the liberty to attend to messages at your convenience, and you do not need to walk around with your phone all day unless you want to.
As your teammates might not necessarily work during the same hours, your work is not interrupted frequently and allow you to work with ease and comfort without having to worry about immediately attending to your team’s communication.
Although asynchronous conversations feel like a win-win for co-workers and managers, it has some cons. Lack of collaboration and brainstorming sessions can affect the team’s morale. Moreover, people cannot tackle urgent situations with asynchronous communication. If a client wants an update on the progress of a task, it needs to be attended immediately, or else they may be left hanging without a response.
Here are different forms of asynchronous communication that you can adopt at the workplace:
Email: Email is one of the earliest methods of exchanging messages among people with electronic devices. It is an indispensable tool for businesses worldwide as it makes collaboration easy. People can share all the necessary updates with the team via email.
Messaging Tools: Messaging software such as Discord, Google Chat, and Slack are used for synchronous and asynchronous communication. They enable you to send messages to your teammates, and they can get back to you at a convenient time. Moreover, you can scroll through your conversations with them so that you don’t miss out on anything important.
Project Management Software: Software such as Trello, Monday, and Asana are the hub of asynchronous communication as you can share files, leave comments, and create workflows for your team members. These tools also make it easy to assign tasks to each team member and track their progress.
Video Recording Software: The tools such as Loom allow you to capture your screen and make videos through your webcam, which you then share with your colleagues. As live video calls can be time-consuming, video recordings are a great way to share important messages with teammates.
Forums and Threads: Intranet forums are a great way to brainstorm ideas and get diverse perspectives from your teams. They enable you to invite your colleagues and start discussions and ask questions. You can keep the interaction going through posts.
Instant Messaging Platforms: Messaging platforms such as Microsoft Teams are also a great way to contact someone without both parties being online simultaneously.
In the modern world, you have many communication choices, but it is essential to use them wisely. If you keep bombarding your colleagues over matters that do not require immediate attention, everyone’s productivity will be affected. So, successful communication at the workplace involves the right mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication.
Here are a few ways in which you can leverage communication at the workplace:
Set a clear expectation regarding communication channels that are more suitable for your team and feasible response timings. The key here is respecting everyone’s boundaries but at the same time making sure that there are timely updates on the tasks at hand.
Reduce the time spent in synchronous meetings. Some of the synchronous sessions can be made asynchronous. For instance, if you want to give an update to your team, you can record a video message and send it across so that the team can view it according to their convenience.
To create a healthy work environment, ensure that you have synchronous and asynchronous activities. Because synchronous communication helps create an organization’s culture, it is crucial to include team-building activities where teams can collaborate.
At the same time, asynchronous activities such as chatting and instant messaging on intranet forums help people stay connected to their team.
Organizations are leveraging async tools to maximize productivity and communicate regularly with remote teams without overwhelming them with too many synchronized activities. Here are some of the most popular asynchronous communication tools being used by organizations across the world:
Airgram helps you with asynchronous communication as you can go through all the critical points in the meeting on your own time. It has features such as HD video recording, transcript, collaborative notes, and action items, so you don’t miss out on anything important.
Slack is a messaging app based on channels, where each channel corresponds to a space where you share everything related to a project. It is highly customizable and integrates with a variety of collaboration tools.
Its Donut feature picks people from your channels to meet-ups for coffee, birthday celebrations, work anniversaries, etc.
Spike is an email app that keeps your inbox organized and makes them easy to read by converting them into message threads. It saves time by scanning the high-priority and the low-priority emails and helps you schedule your emails so that you can send them at your convenience.
If your remote teams are tired of attending long Zoom meetings, try switching to YAC for less urgent communication. With this software, you can simultaneously record an audio message, capture your screen, and send it to your teammates. Many organizations use voice memos created in YAC in place of meetings and complex emails.
Twist is another tool that helps remote teams facing burnout with synchronous activities. Its message threads are aimed at replacing constant video calls and providing timely updates to people working in remote teams.
This software also makes it easy to organize communication in the message threads and makes it easy for future reference.
This software creates a knowledge pool containing all the relevant information about the project and the organization. People often have similar questions, which may have been answered before. So to save time, they are encouraged to go through Tettra to find their answers with the help of a simple search feature.
Moreover, it keeps the documentation updated and easy to find, saving everyone’s time. It can also be integrated with software such as MS teams and Slack.
Communication in the workplace should help people to be more productive. So, to achieve the organization’s goals while avoiding burnout, it is best to create a healthy balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication.