On Your Own Time

Asynchronous communication is when the exchanges of information among colleagues, clients or businesses do not happen in real-time, but whenever the other person is able to communicate. Our workdays are already filled with async communication (like email) but the pandemic has forced a lot more people to leave their shared workspaces and sit at their homes.

Zoom and even instant messaging is synchronous communication, and async communication is actually slow and less collaborative among team members, something which leads to confusion and even isolation.

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How asynchronous communication could change your workday

bbc.com

Remote work involves asynchronous communication, but also involves Zoom check-in meetings and real-time messaging, making it a hybrid activity.

The pandemic has forced async communication on various companies which are now facing the pros and cons.

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  • The main advantage of async communication is that it enables deep thinking, as the expectation of someone responding immediately isn’t there.
  • People can work in ‘flow’ mode and then schedule a time to communicate at their own convenience.
  • New joiners are easy to get on board, as they have access to extensive information and get synced up before they start.
  • Meeting fatigue is reduced as people can watch recorded meetings on their own time.
  • Traditional office hours and location are no longer something to worry about, as Flexi-work across the globe becomes the norm.

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  • Async communication blurs the line between work and home, something that already became fuzzy since smartphones came(starting with the Blackberry, for those who remember them).
  • There is a feeling of disconnection from the rest of the team members, with the interactions lacking visual cues and warmth.
  • The workers are responsible for being up to date with every new development.
  • Work is done alone and each worker is responsible for their own productivity, with some employers seeing it as a trust issue, with increased monitoring.
  • As companies have different work environments and data privacy issues, problems of micromanagement arise with remote workers doing asynchronous communication.
  • Lack of socializing and a dearth of informal conversations are common problems for team members working alone at home in different parts of the world.
  • Messages on Slack, even with the emoji are sometimes misinterpreted by colleagues. Many workers are email fatigued, more prone to misread the message.

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Both Async and Sync communication is necessary in a workplace.

As real-time communication is necessary to boost team morale, employee engagement and creative brainstorming, we cannot rely on only asynchronous communication. The manager needs to balance the communication methods to create a model best suited for the company culture.

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