How to Use Asynchronous Communication and Be Productive
Modern work culture can mean anything from shared physical space to remote work, where people work individually and worldwide while collaborating as part of a team. No matter where you work, asynchronous communication means the same thing: the time between sending the message and when it is answered. Asynchronous communication is not necessarily about the tools you use but the approach you take to work. Email and instant messaging can be used both synchronously and asynchronously.
The spirit of asynchronous communication is, for example, a worker who does not feel trapped in his email or who lives with the expectation of responding within five minutes. He can plan his day in a way that suits him, choosing times to react rather than being “always available.”
Asynchronous communication should be distinct from telework, which often uses simultaneous communication tools like chat or videoconferencing.
What impact does asynchronous communication have on productivity?
There’s not a lot of time to focus on real tasks when we’re in a “traditional office” setting, which doesn’t necessarily refer to physical space, but more importantly to mindset.
In this logic, the focus is not on quality production but on mundane tasks such as:
- Attending meetings that could have been avoided.
- Answering countless e-mails instantly.
- Answering sales calls from a service provider.
- Giving unnecessary updates.
- Just being there to talk to anyone when you want a five-minute break.
However, when we are no longer in the “traditional office” context and leave all these distractions behind, we can devote ourselves to more intense work. Without dealing with situations like the constant threat of someone demanding our time or the requirement for synchronous communication, we end up having more time to focus on what’s really important: delivery. And we can achieve outstanding results by focusing on programming, strategy and planning.
Using tools like call center software can help teams implement synchronous communication when needed because we still need to communicate quickly and immediately. However, focusing more on asynchronous communication allows us to continue to do so while being more productive.
3 Tips to Help You Improve Your Asynchronous Communication
1. Be Direct in Your Communication | Asynchronous Communication
They don’t go straight to the point. In a shared office, people often bump into each other to say hello and chat about anything that comes to mind, from the weather to the fantastic e-commerce analytics tools they use. This kind of “small talk” can help build relationships, but asynchronous communication aims to be efficient and accurate.
Be sure to gather all the necessary information and get it to the recipient immediately rather than sending too many disjointed messages. This makes contact easier to respond to and you will receive more consistent feedback. It is also possible that your colleague works in a different time zone so that he will thank you for your attention.
2. Prioritize Only What Is Urgent | Asynchronous Communication
An essential part of asynchronous communication is distinguishing between what is urgent and what can wait. In the office or working remotely, there is always an urgent need for communication – this is where tools like an ACD phone system (as well as the communication tools described in the next section) come into play.
However, most things aren’t urgent, so don’t treat them as urgent. This will only waste colleagues’ time and create tension within the team. If it can wait, wait and collect non-urgent communications. Then respond via email as this is a lower priority method of communication compared to other business communication tools.
3. Take Writing Seriously | Asynchronous Communication
Gone are the days when there were so many meetings that writing could have been more important. Communicating your true intentions comes naturally when you’re face-to-face, but it’s easy to be misinterpreted in an email or instant message.
This means you must take the time to analyze your writing. Before acting spontaneously, think about the tone and manner of speaking. It can build or destroy relationships.
The way you write reflects your personality too. A rushed message with poor spelling and grammar does not convey a good image. However, by writing elaborately, your colleagues will better understand you. Remember that once you have written, there is no going back.
Some Tools for Better Asynchronous Communication
When you need to provide a lot of information or complex data to your team members, recording a video is more appropriate and practical rather than spending time on a written document, which you will always be asked to provide. ‘explain.
Why not use a video platform and othe available platform to help you create, organize and share instructions, weekly staff updates or information updates in one place everyone can access? This method of communication is more accurate and saves you time. There are a number of options available on the web.
Better Asynchronous Communication Tools
Asynchronous Video Tools for More Productive Remote Work
Project Management Tools
You will find several project management online tools available at different prices. The benefits of each vary, and you should choose the best based on the needs of your business and your team. However, they all perform the same basic functions: they let you create tasks, assign them to team members, set deadlines, and track progress.
They also act as a channel where you can communicate asynchronously and collaborate more effectively. You can use any of the tools to give your opinion or post comments for easy access and future reference. Once again, all information will be centralized and the whole team will have easy access to it to help manage the project lifecycle.
Project Management Tools
Similar to project management tools, many internal communication tools exist in the workplace. All of them can be used for asynchronous communication. Some can be used for free, while others require monthly subscriptions, especially for advanced features.
A useful feature that many tools have is the ability to create channels. One of the significant criticisms of email is the tool’s disorganized nature, but channels allow users to organize messages by project or client. This way, everything can be kept in one place for easy reference. You can also invite only the people you need to these channels.
Also, there are many tools that offer great setups, such as GSuite Automation. This allows you to customize your favorite tools and reduce the manual work of large-scale asynchronous communication.
An internal “Wiki” is a digital environment where you can exchange, document and locate vital information. Instead of cluttering your calendars, inboxes, and real-time meeting channels, you can use an internal “Wiki” to create a repository of information and knowledge that your teams can immediately access whenever there’s a need—an update or when they need to consult it.
How to Create an Asynchronous Workplace
Implementing asynchronous communication correctly in the workplace involves more than buying the latest software to plan and build successful projects. After all, communication tools can be used both asynchronously and synchronously. Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of believing that they are promoting an asynchronous culture simply because they have related tools.
To truly reap the benefits of asynchronous communication, there needs to be a cultural transformation across the entire organization from top to bottom. Here are some final ideas for promoting workplace productivity by creating an asynchronous environment.
Be a Fan of Teleworking
If your team wants to work in a particular location or a set of different locations, you need to give them that option. Today, only a small percentage of people need to be physically at work. Companies that embrace telecommuting are more likely to embrace asynchronous communication, as both break the “traditional office” paradigm. In addition, several studies have shown that working from home increases productivity.
Hold Silent Meetings
Prepare and distribute an agenda with a specific plan before your meeting. Ask your team to write down their opinions, questions and comments before the meeting. Then, at the start of your meeting, schedule time for a hassle-free presentation. Participants read comments from their peers and recorded their thoughts and ideas in notebooks.
Indeed, meetings are an example of synchronous communication, but breaking away from the “traditional office” structure, silent meetings serve to promote new ideas such as asynchronous communication.
Avoid the Instant Mindset
Avoid sending messages that contain: “Can you reply to me as soon as possible? or “I would like to hear from you within the next hour. Asynchronous communication only works when everyone knows there is a time gap between when the communication is sent and when it receives a response. Establish a clear set of rules: for example, communication channel messages can be answered within one day and email messages within two business days.
What are the Advantages of Asynchronous Communication?
While we know face-to-face communication is not dead, leveraging the potential benefits of an asynchronous communication strategy has benefits for a business, its employees, and its customers.
This strategy can also benefit companies of all sizes, from a small production testing company with just a few employees to a giant software company. By removing constant distractions, employees can enter a state of deep work focus, which leads to greater productivity and better results.
They can spend more time thinking, creating, and analyzing their demands and less time in synchronous meetings, which are widely recognized as often unproductive.
The employee experience is improved, and teams can work together across different geographies and cultures, with all the benefits that entail. Other benefits include:
- It promotes a more inclusive and supportive workplace that encourages diversity.
- They allow introverts and extroverts to contribute equally.
- They enable employees to tailor their work to their personal preferences rather than being handcuffed to a fixed schedule that no longer makes sense.
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