• Lluís M. Ventura

Async communication to boost your team productivity

In the last few months of remote working, many have realized that this way of working is more productive than working from the office. But why? Well, there are several reasons why remote working is more productive than office work, for instance:

  • No wasted time commuting

  • Ability to self-organize time

  • Avoiding distractions from the office (interruptions, noises, unexpected meetings, etc.).

But while there are many factors involved in remote working that may help us focus better during working hours, the rise of asynchronous communication is an important factor that can boost team productivity (remote or not). This means giving people better control over their time, including when they communicate with their teammates.

But WHAT is asynchronous communication for?

Asynchronous communication means that responses within a conversation do not need to be immediate. Like when you send an email to someone, and the response comes a few hours later.

While synchronous work is sometimes necessary, we are overusing it in our day to day. Using Slack or mail and expecting responses in seconds or minutes (and seeing it as “normal”), jumping from Zoom to Zoom to discuss everything in real-time, etc. This creates a day full of interruptions, putting connectivity before productivity.

Does every interaction need to happen in real-time? What would our day look like if most of the discussions we have become asynchronous, providing each other with the time to provide thoughtful responses when we have the time to do so? Asynchronous communication brings the benefit of providing control over your workday to avoid continuous interruptions, allowing deep work by default to improve decision making. It can also help us use synchronous seriously, when it's really necessary, when it matters, and when it is decisive.

An example of asynchronous communication would be that, instead of a meeting, you receive an email asking for your suggestion on a matter. You process it, think about it for a while and finally, maybe 24 hours later, you answer the email with a list of possible solutions to that matter. This way, your time has been optimized, you have had time to think thoroughly on the matter, maybe you’ve even done some research, and answered the email asynchronously, saving yourself and others from another meeting.

If the future of work involves more freedom about where to work and your own schedule, asynchronous-first companies will win the game.

Can asynchronous communication work for your company?

Moving to an async-first culture in your own organization (especially when moving from a synch communication model) is not an easy job; companies like Doist, Basecamp, Buffer or Gitlab are our references about this! Set the rules and start moving async.

  • Be very clear about the instructions for asynchronous communication: all the people involved need to have a clear idea of how this will work and why you are doing it (which is to be more productive and save time).

  • Set expectations (what I am expecting? Your feedback, the status of that project, ...)

  • Set the channel you use; an email thread, comments on a document, or the tools you will use.

  • When needed, set a timeframe for it (24h, one week, etc.)

  • Organize your teamwork

  • Assign decision-makers

  • Be transparent. Make employees note that their contributions are taken into account.

If you wish to start async conversations (video, audio, and text) in your company and find yourself in shorter, more focused meetings (and eventually in no meetings at all), Comeet is launching an async channel for each of your events! Grab an invite and join our waiting list.