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Asynchronous Communication: What It Is & Why You Should Care About It

https://doist.com/blog/asynchronous-communication/

doist.com

Asynchronous Communication: What It Is & Why You Should Care About It
Study after study after study into remote work has made one thing clear: Remote workers are more productive than their office-bound counterparts. What's not entirely clear is why. Yes, people gain back time (and sanity) by avoiding rush hour commutes. They avoid the distractions of the office.

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Asynchronous communication

There are mainly two ways to communicate within a company: synchronous and asynchronous communication. While the second type has always been widely practiced, as face-to-face meetings or any other in-person communication, the second type is just slowly being discovered. 

In fact, asynchronous communication enables team members to respond to their colleagues whenever they can, without putting pressure on them that the answer should be provided immediately.

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Real-time communication drawbacks

While real-time communication inside of a team might lead to solving faster some issues, it also has various disadvantages. 

For instance, having your colleagues come to ask you questions to which you feel pressured to answer on the spot leads to you being continuously interrupted, which results in being less productive and feeling stressed or even getting a burnout, as you try to do everything in proper time.

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The asynchronous workplace

The asynchronous workplace

When the employees are provided with control as to when they are willing to communicate with their co-workers, there are many advantages that emerge. 

For instance, having the freedom to decide exactly how your working day should look like leads to more satisfied employees as well as to better communication within the team. Further benefits vary from feeling less stressed due to better planning to greater transparency and more efficient work.

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The importance of synchronous communication 

While asynchronous communication has so many proven advantages, like happier employees, there is still a need for synchronous communication to be ensured within the team

Each team member should have at least one monthly one-on-one with their leader, teams should participate in Zoom sessions where only non-work topics are discussed, there should be organized yearly team buildings or new members should be given the chance to spend some time with their mentor while working in-person with them.

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Opting for asynchronous communication

  • At the individual level, communicate as much information as possible through written messages, plan in advance whenever you need data from others, making sure your documents are shareable and sharing everything that needs to be known by the others as well as making sure discussions about the meetings are going to take place afterwards.
  • As a team leader, encourage writing communication as much as possible, evaluating employees based mainly on their results, making sure your team members are trustworthy, independent, responsible and organized, promoting transparency within the team and, last but not least, ensuring solutions suitable for emergencies, as you never know what might happen.

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Asynchronous Vs Synchronous Communication

  • Asynchronous communication is when we send a message (such as emails) without expecting an immediate response. The recipient can take hours to answer it.

  • Synchronous (or real-time) communication is when you and the other person are engaged in a face-to-face audio or video conversation, like a video call or a phone call. The information discussed is responded immediately.

Instant messaging tools like Slack or Teams are synchronous, and in some companies, email is also used as a real-time communication tool.

Communication Boom

Team communication has increased by 50 percent in the last 20 years. We spend an average of three hours a day working on emails. On an average, Slack users send about 200 messages in a day.

This near constant communication hampers work productivity, with video calls, one-on-one meetings, e-mail and team chat leaving little room for actual work.

A Central Management Tool

A Central Management Tool

Physical presence does play a large part in moving our projects forward. Managing a project remotely requires a diligent and transparent approach to keep track and maintain the various tasks, deadl...

Keep teammates accountable

Creating accountability is a great way to manage the work remotely. Accountability is shifted to the teammates, who are now supposed to be responsible for their own work and decisions.

One way to build accountability in remote teams is to assign groups and let teammates hold each other responsible. Also make teammates share their work experience and any issues they face, publicly (within the team) so that it acts as a ready solution for others, reducing repeat work.

Document Everything

Even if the team is small, document, formalize and map each process, making it scalable and automatic.

Standard Operating Procedures, if used correctly in a remote setting, can act like a central nervous system.