What Is Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication is a form of communication that doesn’t require immediate feedback. It isn’t real-time communication and doesn’t need to have all parties present to be effective. Moreover, asynchronous mindset and asynchronous workflows are common in business settings and remote companies’ settings because of their convenience.
The participants can take their time to respond to the message received, whenever and however they can. A good example is an email. When you receive an email, you don’t have to answer or open it right away. That makes it more practical, especially when communicating with someone with different schedules from you.
How Can Asynchronous Communication Be Used To Improve Business?
Relying too much on synchronous communication is slowly eating away at our productivity and making collaboration difficult. Additionally, the transition from sync to async is a bumpy one but necessary. While most businesses have been using asynchronous communications for a while now, it’s still a pretty new medium for some of us. Adapting isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But now, we have no option with half our colleagues working remotely. So how will async communication help improve your business? Is it worth investing in it? Here are the benefits of asynchronous communication and how it can improve your business:
Numerous studies show that remote teams are more productive than in-office workers. However, these studies don’t just put the environment as the most significant contributor to increased productivity. Instead, async communication plays a huge role as well. How? The answer is simple. Asynchronous communication allows you and your employees total control over your workday and team communications even when not working remotely.
You get a chance to go through your opinion, work, and anything else before sending your response. But, more importantly, you get a window to weigh your options and decisions and perhaps do a little research before responding. Plus, you can work on something else while at it.
Less stressful work environment
Whether you’re working remotely or in the office, async communication allows you a chance to breathe through your work. You don’t have to reply to requests immediately, making collaboration less stressful. Plus, you can also give time to your colleagues to plan their workloads and produce higher quality work. For instance, instead of rushing over work to be present in a meeting, you can take your time finishing up your work and watch a recorded video of the Zoom meeting at your own time.
Plus, the freedom of checking and responding to messages and emails only once or twice a day affords your employees a chance to stay on top of their work. That leads to a better value for your company, and deep work takes root as the default culture.
Greater transparency at the workplace
Sync communication like instant messaging or a phone call is that little to no documentation happens. All the discussions and dialogues take place and end in real-time. That makes transparency difficult as team members who weren’t present in the discussions can miss out. With async comm, however, almost everything can be documented automatically.
A good example is using Slack or any other public tool of workplace communication. You can reference and share discussions or conversations with ease later on with others. Plus, you can screenshot important bits of the discussions or save videos and use them later.
Fairness and flexibility at the workplace
If you plan to work in a hybrid workplace, it’s important to ensure equality between remote employees and in-office employees. Therefore, you need to be prepared to balance the needs of both sets of employees. Asynchronous communication can help you with that.
A good example is working with employees in different time zones. In most cases, there’s always a difference of a couple of hours between them. That can make it challenging to communicate with the other stakeholders, not sharing your time zone. For instance, if you plan to hold a team meeting or video conferencing with your employees, it wouldn’t make sense to hold a Zoom meeting or through any other form of synchronous communication.
It would either be too late at night for the other party or too early in the morning, making it impossible to reach the other. So instead, you can send them a copy of the meeting or an email summarizing the key points. If the other party has anything else to add, they will do so at their own convenient time.
Building a diverse team
Another thing asynchronous communication can help your business with is in terms of diversity. The more diverse your team is, the better the work quality and the more productive the team is. You can easily achieve diversity by not limiting your hiring pool for fear of time zone inequality.
Giving your employees a chance to work in a remote setting is a more coveted perk than other bonuses. Additionally, that allows you a chance to sample foreign markets and easily grow your business whenever the opportunity arises. You can think of your employees as world agents for your business. Their knowledge and expertise on market and industry trends of where they currently are can come in handy. Besides, the freedom to work anywhere can be the secret to a better rapport and employee retention rate at any modern workplace.
Helps avoid rush decisions
With asynchronous comm, you have plenty of time to think through issues, opinions, or decisions before responding. There’s little to no room for impulse decisions. That way, you can make the best-informed decisions without feeling under pressure. Besides, you get plenty of time to consult with others as one of the best practices.
More importantly, there’s room for mistakes, and that’s alright. Since you have plenty of time to go through your email before sending it, you can detect errors and edit them. That includes videos and documents.
Is Asynchronous Communication Enough?
Sadly, just like how synchronous communication at the workplace isn’t enough, asynchronous communication is also not enough. So it’s high time businesses put aside the debate of sync vs. async communication and adopt a hybrid system.
This is necessary for numerous reasons, all stemming from the issues related to asynchronous communication. For instance, a major issue with asynchronous communication is its inability to be effective during crises or emergencies where immediate response is necessary.
Since your employees can leave responding or even checking messages and emails until later, they cannot act quickly during emergencies. On the other hand, waiting for long can escalate the problem even further. The best way to go about this is using a hybrid of both types of communication. Each has its benefits and weaknesses that can make up for the other.
Does Asynchronous Communication Really Work?
Yes, effective asynchronous communication is possible. However, to get the most out of it, there are a couple of things you need to do. The first being your attitude towards this type of communication. You can’t expect your employees to be excited about it if you see it as a bottleneck or some kind of hindrance. Instead, look at it as an opportunity for your organization to focus on their work and improve their productivity. In addition, it can help reduce the distraction of employees spending too much time checking messages or status updates.
Additionally, you can set and implement some rules that ensure you get the most out of the asynchronous mindset without any issues. For instance, instead of expecting your workers to respond to your emails immediately, a notification pops up, or within a couple of minutes, you can set a time requirement.
For most companies, the most effective time requirement is 24hours. That’s plenty of time for employees to focus and avoid constant interruptions. Even if there’s a crisis at hand, that time requirement is perfect for finding a working solution way before the deadline.