Remote work is here to stay, and the most concerning factor were— communication. But you can bash this problem with asynchronous communication.
It’s something that we at Akiflow preach and follow religiously. In this blog, we’ll help you unlock a productive team with asynchronous communication.
- What is asynchronous communication?
- The benefits of asynchronous communication
- How to optimize the workspace for asynchronous communication?
- Asynchronous communication tools
What Is Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication doesn’t happen in real-time. This means without any in-person meeting, on the phone, or a Zoom call.
For instance, you cannot understand the information your team member has sent you. So instead of sending a meeting invite or walking to their desk, you ask them to send an email or a Slack message.
And they can send you a response according to their available time.
The benefits of asynchronous communication
We asked Dominic Kent, a manager at Mio how they think async communication has benefitted them.
“From a manager point of view, at Mio, I manage several freelance writers and graphic designers. We exclusively use Slack, Trello, and Google Docs. 100% of our communication is asynchronous and written.
The emphasis on written comms means everybody is singing (or writing/designing) from the same hymn sheet. Everything is black and white and traceable.
If something needs to be changed, we don’t have a meeting about it. We exchange messages or update the relevant documents or cards. This helps keep introverted personalities involved where they might stay quiet in-person or on-screen.”
- Promotes flexibility
One of the greatest benefits of asynchronous communication is the flexibility of responses. So people from your remote team can manage conversation around a flow state.
Flow state or state of flow refers to a mental zone where you’re completely immersed in a task.
So, if you’re in a state of flow and someone sends you a message on Slack, you can reply after you’re done.
This is a boon for people working as per a time-blocking schedule. And the way you manage communication in remote work can improve productivity significantly.
But the expectation of receiving instant replies from the team is not async communication.
- Deep work
Sync communication helps you develop and improve your relationship with your co-workers. But it often leads to interrupted work.
And as I mentioned before, the expectation of instant replies is not a focus-friendly goal. And not to mention the endless energy-draining video meetings.
Asynchronous communication helps you work for a longer time without distraction from meetings or messages. This will lead to quicker and more efficient completion to project timelines.
- Minimizes burnout and stress
The pressure of being constantly available puts your team under stress and eventually leads to burnout. You can remove this stress by including async communication in the practice.
And due to a misconception, that remote work means employees need to be available 24/7 they often fall into the trap of endless meetings and replies.
Promote asynchronous communication and support your team to move from their work after certain hours. This will lead to a mentally healthy and more productive team.
- Improved team relationship
Remote work opens doors for you to work with a global team. But if you rely only on sync work— you have limited opportunities in your state or city.
Because of different time zones, attending every meeting will lead to more stress and burnout.
But with async communication, you can upload the recorded version of the meeting for those who’ve missed it and discuss it with other members.
How To Optimize The Workspace For Asynchronous Communication?
Implementing synchronous communication on a remote team comes with a chunk of rules.
You need to ditch the habit of doing everything last minute as you move forward with asynchronous communication.
Avoid ad hoc video calls or meetings in the remote setting. Because it’s impossible to schedule last-minute meetings across time zones.
The solution—plan everything. Ensure your planned agenda includes more details, essential participants, schedule, and action items. It’ll help you maximize efficiency and help everyone to get the most out of the discussion.
Asynchronous communication aims to cut any distractions because of endless meetings. It emphasizes spending the most time on focused work.
For instance, the manager or someone in human resources might have more meetings than everyone else in the team.
So in that scenario, you need to block the time for deep work. And you can accumulate all the meetings together for the first two days of the week to leave the rest of the week for focused work.
- Be respectful
When you work with people across different countries, it needs respect for time zones. When booking any meeting or call, always communicate with attendees and get their input about timings.
This shows you care and respect their time.
- Progress over perfection
Asynchronous workflows are easy to adopt when developing a culture of progress over perfection. Continue working on a project as per the available resources]. If you reach a block point, try to switch to another task rather than waiting for a response.
And this relieves pressure on your colleagues to reply immediately as some progress is better than none.
Tools For Asynchronous Communication
Akiflow helps you to get your tasks which are scattered all over different apps, in one place.
For example, your company uses Slack for communication, Notion or Asana to manage projects, and Gmail to manage any tasks.
You’ll have to move back and forth among these different websites to get an idea about your work for the day or week.
And Akiflow helps you to get out of such a mess. It integrates with all of the apps I’ve mentioned and more such as Trello, Zapier, Google calendar, Jira, and others.
So you get a unified view of all your tasks in one place without moving to any other app.
- Integrates with almost every app your company might be using.
- Different types of task views to understand your schedule.
- Add, edit, or remove meetings directly from the Akiflow.
- Share availability to your team.
- Minimalistic dashboard which is easy to navigate.
Twist is a messaging tool with a threaded view of team conversations in dedicated channels. Though it’s a real-time messaging tool, it doesn’t pressure you with the expectation of replying instantly. It keeps you updated on every aspect of tasks and projects.
- Various communication models like threads, channels, inboxes, and messages.
- Create different Twist teams and groups for each project.
- Use threads for cleaner and organized discussion.
- $ 5 per user per month
Friday is the digital HQ for your internal communications with the company. It integrates with almost every tool you already use. You can schedule automated check-ins and status updates. It also helps you centralize and track the progress on team and company goals.
- Offers team updates and automated work routines to provide CEO updates
- Gives you insights into daily standups.
- Personal reflection questions in an asynchronous format.
- Individual- $4/mo per person
- Team- $6/mo per person
- Company- $100/mo+ and you need to contact their sales team for more information.
Slack transforms the way you work from one app, and it helps you get everything you need to finish your tasks. You can create different channels for every project you’re working on. So all the information regarding messages, files, and people is stored in one place, which means you can move faster.
- Share your whereabouts with a customized status.
- Mute notifications using do not disturb.
- Carve out focus time with the Clockwise app.
- £6.30/person, per month when billed monthly
- £5.25/person per month, when billed yearly
- £11.70/person, per month when billed monthly
- £9.75/person per month, when billed yearly
- Enterprise Grid- you need to contact their sales team
Toggle Plan is a small yet powerful tool for small teams. You can plan, track, and deliver projects without the last-minute rush. With its minimalistic dashboard, you can focus on getting things done without wasting time figuring out the features of any complex app.
- Build visual roadmaps and project schedules with a simple drag and drop feature.
- Get a clear overview of everyone’s schedule and balance workloads with simple drag and drop.
- Assign or work together on tasks with file attachments, checklists, and feedback comments.
- Team- $8 per user per month
- Business- $13.35 per user per month
Countless meetings tend to increase burnout, and your team feels exhausted even before the work begins. tl:dv helps you have fewer and more focused meetings. You can record your meetings and tag the important moments as they occur.
However, a downside of this application is it’s not readily available for other meeting providers except Gmeet. So if you use Zoom or Cisco, you need to fill out a form and wait for them to give you access.
- Empower your team to catch up on relevant meeting recordings quickly.
- Integrates with Trello, Cisco WebX, Notion, Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and Slack.
- A free chrome extension for Google Meet.
Asynchronous communication helps you to build a healthy and productive remote working culture. As it helps to enhance the flexibility and deep work, you board a train of focused work.
But make sure you don’t cloud these results with the clouds of instant replies and countless meetings.
Akiflow helps you to sync all of your tasks in one place, be it from Todoist, Asana, Trello, Zoom, or Google Calendar, among others. Try Akiflow today; it’s free for 14 days.