It’s no secret that remote work can be stressful. Expectations to be available and responsive during set working hours can cause tension, especially when paired with a perpetual assault of notifications.
Asynchrony can help alleviate these problems by giving people control over their schedules and freeing them from endless Slack thread conversations and meetings. However, transitioning to asynchronous work requires the right mindset and a solid framework for communication.
Increasing productivity is one of the biggest benefits that teams experience when shifting to an async work model. By avoiding meaningless distractions, meetings, and requests for immediate responses, async communication allows remote team members to regain focus on their tasks at hand. This allows them to work without interruption for longer periods of time, resulting in higher-quality and more-efficient output. You should work when you’re ready as this would improve your work and make you more focused.
Async work also gives employees the flexibility to prioritize their responsibilities in different ways. For instance, some employees may prefer to tackle smaller, easier tasks first thing in the morning while others are most productive late at night. In the asynchronous work model, this doesn’t matter as long as employees manage their time effectively and keep their projects on track. If they run into a blocker, they can refer to written or recorded documentation that can help them solve the issue on their own.
This type of flexible working also provides a level playing field for introverts and night owls in the workplace, allowing them to thrive in their preferred environment. Additionally, it allows companies to hire talent from around the world, which can lead to new perspectives and ideas in the business.
The transition to async work is a mindset shift for all employees and can take some time. However, it can be facilitated by clear guidelines and processes that clearly outline how to handle everyday operations and project work. Choosing an online collaboration and communication tool that is designed for async work can speed up this process.
It’s crucial to ensure that employees have access to the latest versions of important documents and presentations. By using collaborative tools that allow for instant feedback and editing, team members can easily update materials when needed. This means that less time is spent sending emails and scheduling meetings, and more can be dedicated to completing high-value work.
Another way to promote async work is by limiting unnecessary meetings and evaluating the need for specific recurring ones. By only calling a meeting when it’s essential, you can help your remote team focus on their work while saving the remaining time for more informal connections that can strengthen relationships.
Better Work-Life Balance
One of the best parts about asynchronous work is that it allows employees to set their own schedules and prioritize their workload. This can lead to a better work-life balance, as employees don’t have to worry about sacrificing time with their families for their jobs. Additionally, if an employee is sick or has an emergency in their family’s life, they don’t have to cancel a meeting. Instead, they can inform their manager that they will be out for a day and manage their projects to complete all necessary tasks by the deadline.
This also allows employees to choose the times of day when they perform their best. Some people find that they work better in the morning, while others prefer to work at night. With asynchronous communication, these preferences can be accommodated, which will boost productivity for everyone involved.
While asynchronous communication is an essential part of any distributed company, it is particularly beneficial for teams with remote workers in different time zones. Meetings can be difficult to manage when team members are in different locations, especially if they’re on opposite sides of the globe.
Asynchronous work allows employees to perform their best when they’re most energetic and focused, rather than wasting time in meetings that aren’t necessary. Additionally, when employees are able to focus on their own schedules, they’re less likely to over-communicate with coworkers.
Asynchronous communication also allows for more frequent and shorter meetings, which can be used for in-depth discussions or brainstorming sessions. These shorter meetings can be more effective than lengthy meetings that are often full of interruptions and chatter. This is also beneficial for those who don’t enjoy being interrupted, like introverts.
An important benefit of working asynchronously is reducing the stress of having to be available and responsive during real-time communication. The mental health of employees can suffer when their workday revolves around a constant stream of notifications and a feeling that they must reply instantly to questions. When teams work asynchronously, this pressure to be constantly online is reduced and employees can take control of their workday and set time boundaries that foster mental wellness.
Moreover, since team members aren’t expected to be online and available to respond immediately to messages sent during their working hours, they can focus on their tasks uninterrupted for longer periods of time. This can allow them to progress with their work and meet project milestones without worrying about how they’re perceived by the rest of the team. Additionally, since there’s no need to always be on standby or respond instantly to questions, they can focus on their personal life more than ever before.
As a result, the amount of time spent in meetings is reduced as well. When people don’t have to be in a room with each other, they can prioritize their time and work on more complex projects and initiatives. This can lead to more innovation and better solutions, as well as increased employee morale and productivity.
Another way in which asynchronous work can help reduce stress is by eliminating the need for real-time meetings or video calls. Instead, documentation can be used to communicate project goals, timelines, and other relevant details. This can also reduce miscommunications and unnecessary meetings as team members can refer to documentation when they’re unsure of the direction that a meeting should take.
While transitioning to asynchronous work isn’t easy and can be disruptive to established workflows, it’s worth the effort for companies looking to boost productivity and improve their employees’ lives. Taking small steps like cutting down on unnecessary meetings, using a project management tool that supports asynchronous work, and documenting conversations will make it easier to implement async work. Interested in learning more about the benefits of async work? Check out the GitLab Unfiltered episode featuring Veamly’s Emna G.
If you find yourself constantly in back-to-back meetings or glued to Slack fielding colleagues’ requests, you might not be truly working asynchronously. Instead of spending the majority of your time in real-time collaboration, focus on completing smaller tasks that don’t require immediate feedback or input from a team member.
This allows you to work at times that are most productive for you. It’s been well documented that different people are suited to different working hours, with some people performing better in the morning while others thrive at night. With asynchronous work, you’re able to work when it works for you, so you can complete your assignments and take care of other personal obligations.
Since async work relies heavily on written communication, it’s important that your team members are good writers. This might mean encouraging them to write more clearly and concisely, or even offering writing courses as part of your learning and development program. Similarly, you should encourage employees to use project management software that allows them to easily see who has read emails and messages. This eliminates the unnecessary back-and-forth that can often happen in email threads, and it prevents valuable information from being missed or forgotten.
Asynchronous work also requires a higher level of trust from managers and teammates. In a synchronous world, managers can monitor employee performance in person or via conference calls, but in an async environment, you must trust your team to be self-sufficient and communicate effectively. This may be a challenge for some, but it’s an opportunity to foster a more authentic and inclusive culture where everyone feels valued and included.
In addition, asynchronous work can help to reduce the number of meetings your company holds. Many meetings are unnecessary and can be replaced by more efficient alternatives, like planning sessions or written documents that capture the main points of a meeting. You should also try to avoid biasing your all-hands meetings toward one time zone or a swath of time zones, and consider recording them to make them accessible to teams around the globe. Taking these steps will ensure that everyone’s needs are met, and it will also help your organization to operate more efficiently.