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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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.

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.

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.

  • 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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Hybrid companies function best when the entire company is optimized for remote work. Successful hybrid teams set up processes to help their remote workers thrive alongside their office teammates.

Leadership must acknowledge the various challenges remote workers face and create solutions. Create a remote work policy that keeps remote workers and contractors from feeling like second class team members. Remote workers should feel fully connected and not missing a thing.

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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.

  • 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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