The ways of working have changed over the years. In the past, a remote, non-simultaneous conversation between team members was impossible. This was due to several social, economic and, mainly, technological factors.
Despite the fact that the Internet has allowed remote work for several years, this was an option that few companies implemented. Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic forced an increase in remote work. Today, companies have gone even further by implementing a remote work mode that doesn’t require team members to perform their tasks at the same time.
Check out the latest Remote Work Statistics
- Asynchronous remote work is characterized by its flexibility. It allows team members to perform their tasks from wherever they prefer, organizing their schedules according to their needs.
- For this working model to function, it is necessary to have the right tools in place. From collaborative whiteboards to video conferencing channels, companies need to have a detailed plan that includes them.
- The proper functioning of asynchronous remote working requires the implementation of a good practical handbook by companies. The success of doing so can be easily measured.
What you need to know about asynchronous work
Remote work is here to stay. Today, however, companies are taking it a step further. Asynchronous remote work is a growing trend. Its purpose is to reduce time loss and increase employee productivity and efficiency, as well as their level of personal satisfaction in the company. In this article, we will see its main advantages and some tips that will be useful for its application.
What is asynchronous work?
Asynchronous work is a form of work with special characteristics. The first and most important of them is that team members are not required to perform tasks simultaneously. The second is that, in addition, employees are not in the same physical space.
Team members have their own workspaces in different parts of the world. They also manage their own working times and can organize their schedules according to their needs. All this aims to increase their productivity and give them more independence and autonomy in their assigned projects (1).
Differences between synchronous and asynchronous work
Although these two modes of work share some characteristics, for example, both can be performed remotely, the differences are greater, as you can see in the following table (2):
|Synchronous work||Asynchronous work|
|Working hours are fixed.||Employees can organise their working hours according to their needs.|
|Workers may or may not be in the same physical space.||–|
|It is useful in automated jobs, where mass production takes place.||In today’s specialised jobs, this is an appropriate method.|
|More interruptions occur and concentration is more difficult to achieve.||It allows workers to perform their tasks at the times of the day when they are most productive.|
What is asynchronous work for?
The Covid pandemic caused many companies to transform the way they work. Most simply moved the activity to the online world, with the bad habits that face-to-face work had. This was probably due to the belief that it would be temporary.
The reality is that the permanence of remote working needs reform to be truly useful. The implementation of an asynchronous work method serves to achieve this. With the right tools and an organized work system, it is highly efficient for employees and employers (4).
Advantages of asynchronous remote work
Asynchronous remote work has some advantages over synchronous work. Among them, we can find the following:
In asynchronous work, you can set up a schedule according to your energy levels and current workload so you can do your best work. Without the continuous interruptions of synchronous communication channels, you will achieve highly productive work teams.
Communication is more efficient
Classic virtual meetings tend to start after the agreed time and, during their development, the participants can lose the focus of the conversation. Asynchronous work avoids this type of time loss. In addition, since it is not a simultaneous communication, you can better think about your messages.
Synchronous work is full of interruptions that prevent you from reaching the level of concentration necessary to perform your tasks. Since asynchronous communication doesn’t expect immediate responses, you can turn off notifications for certain periods of time. This way, you will have more time for efficient work.
Allows greater flexibility
This type of work allows you to organize your schedule according to your needs and energy peaks. Moreover, you can do it anywhere in the world. This flexibility of time and space also allows you to find the long-awaited balance between work and personal life.
Some obstacles you may face
Not everything is rosy in asynchronous work. There are some obstacles that employees and companies may encounter in this work mode, for example:
- Different time zones of team members.
- There is no immediacy in communication, which can cause a delay in obtaining certain answers and/or results.
- Technological failures, which can happen to everyone. From the internet service downtime to a sound system breakdown, among others.
The future of work is asynchronous
The use of an asynchronous method for the development of remote work tasks aims to improve productivity. It is not intended to completely replace synchronous work, since, as we will see later, this is necessary for some situations. Companies must seek a balance between these two methodologies with existing resources.
Asynchronous work allows greater flexibility, with longer periods of uninterrupted concentration. With the right tools and processes, in a short time companies can help their employees to work better remotely. This is undoubtedly a goal that companies will soon achieve (5).
How to implement asynchronous remote working?
The implementation of this work method in the company seems beneficial. In order for it to be so, a detailed plan must be drawn up. This is because it is not possible to change the entire way a team works overnight.
If you want the results to be truly efficient, you must first choose the tools that best suit your needs. You will also need to train team members, set deadlines and interact frequently. The latter is important, as asynchronous work can get a bit lonely.
What are the best tools?
There are many tools on the market. The choice has grown tremendously in the last few years. Therefore, you should analyze your needs when deciding which tools to use in your asynchronous work team.
There are some online collaboration channels that will be essential for achieving maximum productivity, among them:
When the team needs to meet, it is necessary to have a channel to make video calls. There are many platforms, but the most popular is Zoom.
See the best Video Conferencing Software
Asynchronous remote work does not require a simultaneous connection. However, the company must have a workspace where team members can ask questions, share their progress or even joke with each other. There are several offers on the market, but Slack is among the most popular.
See the best Business Instant Messaging Software
As each team member performs different tasks at different times, it is important to see where they are. To be able to keep this kind of order, it is necessary to have a project management tool, where everyone can intervene. Among those available, Trello is one of the most popular.
See the best Project Management Software
Asynchronous communication is communication that doesn’t require all parties to be present or connected at the same time. This mode protects everyone’s time and attention by eliminating the unnecessary distractions of synchronous channels. Setting aside special time to review messages promotes more efficient work (3).
See the examples of asynchronous communication
The application of this work method will eliminate unnecessary meetings. Thus, synchronous communication will be limited to strictly necessary cases. It is preferable that meetings are scheduled early in the morning so that members can organize their working day.
How do you know if asynchronous remote work works?
Determining whether your asynchronous remote work plan is working is fairly easy. If you notice that your projects are completed in less time and in a more relaxed way, it means that it is a success. It is also important to make sure that team members feel heard and part of the team.
Likewise, it is essential to have adequate channels where members can evacuate their doubts, leave their suggestions, as well as have didactic tools such as videos. You must understand that this is a new way of working, and we all are still getting used to it. It is normal that some people require more time to adapt than others.
In which cases does the synchronous mode work better?
Although we have talked about the many advantages of asynchronous remote work, it is not suitable for all situations. As we will see below, there are certain times when communication must be simultaneous, or even face-to-face (5).
- Emergencies: There are critical moments that require immediate solutions, such as a crash of a page or an application. In these cases, asynchronous communication is not the most appropriate.
- Incorporation of team members: First impressions are important, and that is why when a new member joins the team, it is advisable to hold a meeting in real time.
- Team relationship: In asynchronous communication, the human aspect might be lost a little bit. That is why it is necessary to look for moments to nurture team bonds, either through games or jokes.
- Conversations about performance: There are certain topics that need to be dealt with in dialogues, such as individual evaluations. For these cases, it is better to use synchronous methods in order to be able to exchange feedback.
Tips for making asynchronous remote work successful
Although each company is different, there are certain habits that can be applied to all of them, regardless of the industry. When converting a job to asynchronous, the following practices should be considered because they will help both employees and employers.
We can’t guarantee the success of the asynchronous system as a way of working. What is certain is that if you apply these tips, you are likely to be on the right track to achieve it and thus increase employee productivity.
Remote work is now a reality, but its asynchronous mode is still taking its first steps in the industry. Work teams that don’t require simultaneity and can organize their schedules report higher productivity. This mode of work offers flexibility in terms of time and space. It also gives you more time for deep work. All this results in better performance.
It is no surprise that asynchronous remote working will be the most widely used by companies shortly. Its successful use requires a detailed plan and the selection of the right tools for the company’s needs. The advantages it brings, both for employees and employers, make it everyone’s first choice.
1. Ilkka Mäkitalo, Asynchronous remote work: 5 tips for success. The Enterprisers Project |A community helping CIOs and IT leaders solve problems [Internet]. June 8, 2022.
2. Amy Rigby, Asynchronous work: The new work model of the future; Trello Blog | Helping teams work better, together. [Internet]. january 25, 2022.
3. Carlos Bueno, From hybrid work to asynchronous work: the next leap in the world of work; El Economista [Internet]. february 19, 2022.
4. Steve Glaveski, Remote Work Should Be (Mostly) Asynchronous; Harvard Business Review [Internet]. 01 December 2021.
5. Catherine Tansey,What Is Asynchronous Work? Here’s Everything You Need to Know to Implement It at Your Organization. Lattice’s Magazine for HR Professionals. 24 September 2021