There has been a significant cultural shift in our perceptions of where work takes place. But is it time to reconsider our assumptions about when work occurs? In addition to going remote, some businesses have found success with async.
Remote work with asynchronous communication is referred to as the future of work.
Asynchronous working is a result of the numerous and ever-evolving developments that have made remote, collaborative work so simple and accessible. Unsurprisingly, some of the most vocal proponents of asynchronous work are the same organizations at the forefront of this trend.
In fact, 78% of global knowledge workers want location flexibility in their work and 95% want the schedule flexibility that asynchronous work provides. However, success with asynchronous is only possible when the right set of tools is used.
So, today we are going to have a closer look at how asynchronous communication works, and the different types of asynchronous communication tools that make things effortless.
Let’s dive in!
Asynchronous communication is when two people can communicate without having to be present at the exact moment. However, synchronous communication occurs in real-time where two people need to be present at the exact moment. Both asynchronous and synchronous communication have their advantages and disadvantages.
Previously used traditional synchronous communication, such as face-to-face meetings or phone calls, on the other hand, is not an ideal option for remote teams when team members are operating from different time zones.
With teams dispersed across time zones and the rise of remote work, the most successful businesses are embracing asynchronous communication. Asynchronous communication allows team members to communicate on their own time, without everyone having to be available at the same time or respond immediately.
Asynchronous communication tools come in a variety of flavors, such as those designed for chat, video, or file sharing. However, choosing the right async tools is critical to preventing a poorly managed communication system, which can lead to team misalignment, project delays, and even missed deadlines.
Here are 5 major benefits of adapting to an asynchronous mode of communication:
There are many ways and platforms that enable teams and businesses to make async work and communication possible. Here are 10 types of asynchronous tools that will work great in 2023.
The simplest and most widely used platform when it comes to business communication, whether it is internal or external. Emails are a completely asynchronous mode of communication, more like how we used to write a letter, without expecting an immediate response. But it’s not like a conversation where there’s going to be dead silence.
While emails are good for sharing urgent announcements, task or progress updates, schedule changes, and other interactions that should be documented, using them where a lot of continuous discussions are required can be a bad idea.
This is because discussing something in too much detail over email or sharing files on which one of the parties might be dependent can lead to long waiting times, missed details or emails among long email threads, and confusion. This is why using chat tools can be a better option for in-depth async conversations where all your conversations are organized and stored in a simple chain of messages.
Best Email Clients:
Workplace chat tools are the go-to platforms for effective asynchronous communication because they allow teams to engage, share ideas, collaborate on projects, and strategize on business goals all without actually connecting to one another at the same time.
Online chat tools make it simple to send instant messages and transition conversations that were previously conducted via email or in meetings to a more dynamic messaging environment. All of this makes communication among distributed teams even easier.
You get virtual chat rooms and discussion boards for better collaboration. There are even options to organize conversations and chats by different channels or topics. You get mentions and also tagging, where you want to address a particular person or assign something to them.
Best Workplace Chat Tools:
Video communication platforms act as a blend of synchronous and asynchronous communication. You can connect with your teams and clients visually, anytime, and from anywhere you want, making it a flexible option for business discussions.
But, these days, with more tools that support screen sharing and recording features, you can completely use video tools for asynchronous communication.
All you would have to do is record video clips with or without screen sharing and post them or share them with your teams or clients. They can view the clip in their time zone and share feedback by the asked timeline without anyone adjusting for others' time zones.
Best Video Communication Tools:
From the very beginning, businesses have relied on one-on-one meetings to increase productivity. You can now utilize meeting management tools to help you organize meetings in a better way.
There are various types of meeting management tools that can assist you in scheduling meetings, creating agendas, and sharing meeting notes improving virtual meetings and collaboration. These tools are designed to provide a framework for you to plan and execute effective meetings by managing information, setting goals, prioritizing tasks, and completing projects on time.
You can add deadlines and track goals that team members can update to visualize the project's progress no matter where they are in the world. These tools will ultimately keep you and your team as organized as possible, allowing you to maximize your most valuable asset (time).
Best Meeting Management Tools:
Standup calls and meetings for basic updates can also be replaced with asynchronous communication with the help of team check-in tools. Such tools let you share updates, and schedule check-ins daily, weekly, or monthly on your required dates.
You can set in the questions you want to ask your team. Let’s say for example if you want to ask your sales team how many sales call did they take today and if there were any issues faced. Rather than conducting meetings, they can set a check-in message asking the same, and your team can reply once they are available. This will save a lot of time for both the team as well as the manager.
Best Check-in Tools:
By going async, it’s clear that you can make some significant productivity gains as well as open up possibilities for more diverse, distributed teams. Your team might be distributed across cities or countries. But a good project management platform puts them all in the same room together. Think of it as an all-in-one communal digital space where you can comment, access files, give feedback, and share ideas more generally.
Even with all your team members working in different time frames, a project management system will help everyone gain a clear understanding of what is going on, which tasks are being worked on, who is responsible for which tasks, what is expected of you, and so on.
Apart from chats, feedback, comments, video calls, etc., project management tools also have notifications, updates, and reminder features that ensure nobody overlooks anything where their involvement is critical. Moreover, there are multiple customizable view options offered, which again makes it flexible for each team member to work and share the data in the way that suits them.
Best Project Management Tools:
Team members can design, plan, interact, and collaborate on project materials and related content using an online whiteboard. These tools simulate the type of collaboration that takes place during an in-person meeting.
When you're all in separate places, it is difficult to include everyone and make sure everyone is heard. Online whiteboards promote collaboration regardless of where your team is located by allowing everyone to engage visually, which is more interesting and inclusive than merely listening to a presentation.
Online whiteboards allow everyone in a meeting to stay on the same page, allowing for speedier decision-making. Because everyone has a visual aid, they can concentrate on brainstorming rather than taking notes.
You can brainstorm ideas with your team, share prototype sketches, or compile a list of product name ideas and get their feedback/input on it. Also, these whiteboards autosave to the cloud, so you can always refer to them any time you want to without worrying about missing out on anything even during the discussions.
Team members working from different time zones can contribute their ideas on whiteboards according to their convenience which makes whiteboards an asynchronous collaboration tool.
Best Online Whiteboard Tools:
Creating knowledge bases or wikis is another great way to share thoughts, plans, details, images, and documents at the same time as collaborating on them without engaging in real-time communication.
Wikis are best known for their open editing feature, which allows users to "co-create" posts and contribute information on a continuous basis. Strategic reports, meeting notes, and presentations are frequently stored here for reference throughout the company.
Best Knowledge Base Tools:
Document collaboration and file-sharing tools are particularly useful for asynchronous communication because they enable team members to work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations at different times and from different locations.
These tools give people the ability to both edit the document in real-time and leave suggestions and feedback for others to address later. This feature encourages collaboration even when team members are not in the same physical space.
File-sharing software like Google Drive also makes it simple to share, collaborate, and store files in the cloud, where they can sync across multiple devices, removing any productivity barriers such as timezone, physical boundaries, etc.
Best Document Collaboration & File Sharing Tools:
Surveys and polls automatically collect information from external sources, identify trends, engage your audience, and collect useful feedback. You can target a specific audience with them.
You can create and distribute surveys on your own, and then analyze the results. You can also use them to assess employee and customer satisfaction and conduct market research to improve your products and services.
Best Survey Tools:
Asynchronous communication tools are more important than ever as remote work becomes more common and people spend more time working from home. It's time to switch to a more modern solution for keeping remote teams connected.
Once we accept the new reality of async communication, it makes sense to invest in high-quality asynchronous tools that provide a deliberate, healthy experience. Indeed, investing in strong employee communications solutions (both synchronous and asynchronous) should be a top priority for any organization or team.
Pratik Shinde is a Content Creator at Make SaaS Better and an SEO enthusiast. He helps fast-paced B2B SaaS startups acquire customers through organic marketing efforts. He likes reading philosophy, writing non-fiction, thoughtful walking, running, and traveling.