In a demanding modern work landscape that continues to favor remote-first solutions, asynchronous communication is now more important than ever. In an effort to connect remote and hybrid employees, employers are often forcing unnecessary meetings, resulting in meeting overload, fatigue, and even burnout. As employees continue to redefine what it means to work in a modern work landscape, demand for innovative asynchronous solutions continues to soar. People are realizing they have too many meetings in their calendars and are actively seeking solutions that allow them to connect and collaborate without having to add another synchronous meeting to their calendars.
Asynchronous communication refers to a method of communication that doesn’t require participants to communicate or exchange information in real-time. This means that the individual that is responsible for initiating the conversation does not expect an immediate response and instead initiates the conversation with the understanding that the recipient will respond at their earliest convenience. When practicing asynchronous communication, employees can send and receive information independent of each other’s availability, allowing information and ideas to flow freely without the added pressure of an immediate response. Common examples of asynchronous communication include email, text messaging, direct messaging, letters or snail mail, video recordings, asynchronous meetings, and project management tools.
Practicing asynchronous communication is especially beneficial for accommodating different time zones, managing busy schedules, and facilitating effective communication among remote or hybrid teams with varying availability or working hours. In addition, practicing asynchronous communication is also an excellent way to give employees back time. If employees don’t have to attend as many meetings, they will have more time to focus on high-value tasks and deep work. Additional benefits include improved overall communication, increased productivity, enhanced inclusivity, reduced pressure, and more flexibility.
Asynchronous communication is an excellent tactic that can be used to boost productivity, enhance flexibility, and promote a healthier work-life balance. By removing the pressure to be constantly available and responsive, employees can craft more meaningful responses, and respond when it suits their schedule. For example, if two team members in different time zones need to have a conversation, one teammate may feel as though they must work outside of their regular hours, resulting in added stress, anxiety, or even burnout. If these employees were to instead practice asynchronous communication, they could operate with the understanding that they can each communicate within their respective schedules and still be productive and efficient.
Additionally, starting a workday with a calendar full of meetings can cause a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety which can often spill over into an employee's personal lives. Thankfully, asynchronous communication can help alleviate this type of workplace stress by reassuring employees that they can eliminate unnecessary synchronous meetings and instead practice meeting asynchronously where they can take their time and respond when convenient.
Thousands of leaders at companies like Shopify, SurveyMonkey, Webflow, and Gong.io have been using Fellow to optimize and improve internal communications with collaborative meeting agendas, real-time note taking, and an array of time-saving templates. With Fellow, you can drive engagement and productivity before, during, and after every asynchronous meeting by fostering accountability, encouraging continuous improvement, and enabling important conversations—all with one easy-to-use tool.
Loom is a one-way video messaging tool that can be used to record asynchronous messages that are then made shareable with a link. This asynchronous communication tool is an excellent resource for distributed teams that are hoping to connect or share information. Where employees would share their screen if they were meeting synchronously, Loom allows them to instead capture a screen recording asynchronously. The video recording can then be shared and watched at any time.
Range is an asynchronous meeting software designed to help teams share daily check-ins, track goals, and run effective meetings. This asynchronous communication tool empowers employees to host more intentional meetings and interactions, and is most commonly used to host stand-ups and check-ins. Where employees would normally be required to meet in person or face-to-face via video conferencing software like Google Meet or Zoom, Range instead makes it possible to meet and provide updates asynchronously.
Standuply is a digital agile development assistant or Slack bot that powers asynchronous stand-up meetings. Instead of requiring employees to meet face to face, users can instead use Standuply to facilitate asynchronous meetings, making it possible for employees to provide updates in accordance with their own schedules. This asynchronous communication tool also saves repeated answers from Slack and Teams and connects employees with internal subject matter experts when there is no answer, fostering clarity and accountability.
Google Docs by Google Workspace is a cloud-based asynchronous communication tool that can be used to foster collaboration among dispersed teammates. With Google Docs, teammates can independently collaborate on documents and use the editor’s features to ask questions and continue with other tasks until they receive a response. Alternatively, teammates can work on the same Doc in real-time, allowing teammates to connect, and collaborate regardless of geographical barriers or constraints.
Geekbot automates recurring tasks like standup meetings so managers can set the time and frequency of standups and specify the questions to ask and who should receive a prompt. After the parameters have been set, Geekbot will post everyone’s responses in Slack or Microsoft Teams, saving everyone tons of time that would have otherwise been spent in meetings. This is an excellent resource for teams that are looking for a quick and easy solution that helps save time, money, and resources.
Miro is a collaborative digital whiteboard that empowers distributed teams to brainstorm and collaborate on important projects. With Miro, remote or hybrid teams can brainstorm, plan, and manage agile workflows by connecting, collaborating, and co-creating documents and designs from anywhere. Miro is an excellent asynchronous communication option for organizations that are looking to empower their teammates to collaborate without forcing them into the office.
Discord is a newly popularized instant messaging and social platform that allows users to communicate through communities known as “servers.” This asynchronous communication tool makes it possible for users to communicate with voice calls, video calls, and text messaging either privately or publicly. Using Discord, employees can build communities where they can discuss everything from large company goals to day-to-day action items. While this tool was originally popularized by the gaming community, it is rapidly gaining interest from members of the business community that are continuing to seek asynchronous communication solutions.
Slack is a workplace communication tool that allows teammates to communicate seamlessly. With a number of synchronous and asynchronous features, Slack empowers employees to communicate via integrated file sharing, instant messaging, video and phone calls, and screen sharing. Slack provides teams with a hub they can leverage to communicate, brainstorm, and share resources, making it possible to connect and collaborate regardless of conflicting schedules or competing time zones. Users can even use Slack's automation tool known as “Slackbot '' to remind teammates of daily meetings, prompt updates, or check in asynchronously!
Vowel is an asynchronous meeting management and video conferencing platform that help users improve internal communication, foster alignment, and boost productivity. This tool is an excellent resource for remote or hybrid employees that want to meet asynchrony. With features that help run daily standups and virtual meetings, you can say goodbye to more popular synchronous meeting software like Microsoft teams or Zoom.
Intercom is an asynchronous communication tool that empowers users to master customer support asynchronously. Instead of meeting with customers or clients in real-time, Intercom can be used to communicate at a convenient time, establishing strong customer relationships and helping to improve the overall customer experience with seamless, timely, and efficient communication. If your team manages customers in multiple time zones or have jam-packed schedules that don’t allow them to be flexible or accommodating, Intercom may be for you!
Zendesk is a customer service and support platform that allows remote teams to communicate asynchronously with their clients, improving efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction. This tool is an excellent resource that helps organizations communicate with their customers and manage customer interactions and expectations asynchronously. With Zendesk, you and your teammates can improve business effectiveness and support operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer experiences with email support, self-service resources for customers, ticket management, chat features, and automation capabilities.
Unlike other resources on this list, Remote.com was built to manage international contractors and employees, making this the superior choice for management dispersed teams with ease. This tool empowers users to manage remote contractors by facilitating asynchronous communication and effective collaboration. The platform's messaging, task management, document collaboration, time tracking, and knowledge base features improve productivity and foster alignment among teammates that are dispersed globally.
In order to master the art of asynchronous teamwork, you must first provide training opportunities for your team. Because asynchronous communication often requires new technology, it's important to refrain from assuming that your team members know how to use them. Instead, take the time to educate and align your team. Taking a proactive stance will ensure everyone is on the same page and ready to collaborate with ease.
Now it's time to get intentional. Take the time to think about the goals you’re trying to achieve through asynchronous communication and communicate them to your team. Before introducing a new tool, summarize how it will help your team support your shared goals and prioritize training.
Like any new practice, it's important to set some ground rules. Educating your teammates on the ground rules that surround asynchronous communication will ensure everyone is informed and on the same page, resulting in fewer miscommunications and more effective communication. Maybe you want everyone to respond to asynchronous messages by the EOD? Or maybe, you want your teammates to set status updates, so their colleagues know when to reach out? No matter what your ground rules may be, it's important to communicate them clearly to your team.
Transparency is key, especially when communicating primarily asynchronously. It can be easy for trust to go out the window when employees are working within their own schedules or communicating primarily asynchronously. To ensure trust is top of mind, encourage your teammates to practice radical transparency. This means making a habit of being transparent with everyone on your team and encouraging your teammates to do the same.
Connectivity is at the core of every successful remote team. So, how can you foster connectivity, despite working remotely with teammates who may be operating from different time zones? The answer lies within technology—or more specifically, collaboration tools like Fellow and Slack. Strong collaboration tools like Slack or Fellow offer many different customization options, so you can organize communications to suit your unique needs, all while promoting collaborative work.
As a people manager managing remote or hybrid teams, it's important to create a culture that prioritizes continuous feedback., This means carving out time to give feedback and making sure your teammates feel comfortable giving you feedback. Fellow makes the process of giving and receiving feedback quick and easy with the feedback feature. With this feature you can incorporate feedback into your team’s day-to-day experience and track progress over time. The best part? You can respond on the web through Fellow or directly through Slack so you can begin to implement positive change immediately!
As remote and hybrid work becomes increasingly common and people spend more time working from home, embracing asynchronous communication is more important than ever. It’s time to adopt a modern solution to keep remote and hybrid teams connected, engaged, and productive. Are you ready to adapt?