The Async Mindset - Deepstash

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When it comes to team communication, faster isn’t always better

The Async Mindset

This requires managers to:

  1. Focus on the output rather than the number of hours worked.
  2. Trust their employees and give them space and freedom.
  3. Understand that 24/7 connectivity isn’t good for employees wellbeing.
  4. Get rid of unnecessary meetings.
  5. Encourage ‘Deep Work’ by disconnecting from communication tools periodically.
  6. Ensure communication is only within office hours.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

When it comes to team communication, faster isn’t always better

When it comes to team communication, faster isn’t always better

https://qz.com/work/1853725/why-asynchronous-communication-works-for-teams/

qz.com

7

Key Ideas

Faster Isn’t Better

Back-to-back video calls, all-day team chats combined with an expectation of immediate response is taking its toll on people trying to work from home.

In the quest to create a real-time interaction of the office, we are cutting the remote workers' ability to get things done.

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.

Problems With Real-Time Communication

The overhead of real-time communication leads to:

  1. An inability to focus and make any meaningful progress in work.
  2. The constant interruptions, and context-switching draining mental resources.
  3. A constant FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) due to connectivity being made a priority over productivity.
  4. More stress, high frustration and time pressure, which can lead to burnout
  5. Lower quality discussions due to lack of time to think and reflect.
  6. No offline time, which leads to a constant connection with work, disrupting the work-life balance.

Benefits Of Asynchronous Communication

  1. More control over the workday, and on how we structure our lifestyle due to flexible work hours.
  2. High-quality responses due to workers having the time to think, reflect, and provide insightful ideas.
  3. Better coordination and planning, leading to less stressful teamwork.
  4. Employees can block their hours for uninterrupted ‘Deep Work’ time.
  5. All conversations are automatically documented in email and chat.
  6. Easy to disconnect at the end of the day, leading to better work-life balance.

The Default Setting

While face-to-face connections are important, make sure that zoom meetings, phone calls and other real-time communication are not the rule, but an exception.

Personal and real-time interaction is good for team building, but we need to provide flexibility to the remote team in both work hours and location, and make it okay for them to disconnect when required.

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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 ...

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.

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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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.

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  • Set clear expectations and make an effort to be a good listener.
  • Set clear boundaries. Establish a preferred time for communications so you feel respected and acknowledged.
  • Get to know others. Remote workers often have purely transactional interactions. Listen to people and get to know them.
  • Update people on what you’re working on and your availability
Use Shared Experiences

A co-located office develops its own personality through inside jokes, shared experiences, and a collaborative environment. A remote team needs to develop something similar.

Creating specific Slack channels based on interests and book clubs where the company funds the books are the easiest ways to do this for remote workers.

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