Employee rubbing eyes at desk
Collaboration

Swap long video calls and emails for asynchronous video

Meetings are essential for communication and team building, but they’re often unproductive. Asynchronous video to the rescue.

By the team at SlackJuly 22nd, 2022

Remote work is here to stay. According to one PwC study, over 80% of employees want to work from home at least one day a week. But remote work only succeeds if you can communicate effectively with your team, and everyone knows who’s responsible for what. That being said, team communication itself shouldn’t be a drain on productivity.

Video meetings have been a blessing for remote work productivity, but they can be a curse too. One Atlassian report found that we spend 31 hours a month in unproductive meetings. What’s the cost of all that wasted time? A study by Doodle estimates that the global cost of poorly organized meetings was a massive $399 billion in 2019.

So how do you avoid those unnecessary meetings while making sure your team feels connected and on the same page? By adopting better ways to work, like asynchronous video.

What is asynchronous video?

Asynchronous video is recorded video content that doesn’t happen in real time. It’s like a voicemail, but with video. You record a video or make a screen recording and send it to your colleagues. Then they watch the video when it fits their schedule.

Four screens showing teammates working together

How to use asynchronous video in the workplace

There are many different ways you can use asynchronous recordings. Some examples include:

  • Company news. Summarize important company updates or a message from the president into a video that employees can watch on their own time.
  • Show and tell. Explain how to accomplish a task or follow a new set of policies with a short video explainer.
  • Key updates. Record key project updates or summarize reports in a video for attendees to review before a synchronous meeting. Use the meeting for discussion.
  • Project kickoff. Record yourself presenting your slide deck or pitch and send it out for review before a meeting. Use the actual meeting for questions and feedback.
  • Brainstorm brief. Brainstorms require synchronous meetings, but you can get attendees on the same page beforehand with a video explaining the topic and session goals.
  • Video drop-by. Share an idea, provide feedback or hash out a problem with a quick video to a colleague.
  • Virtual lunch-and-learn. Send your team fun, interesting or educational videos that they can choose to watch on their lunch break, just like an in-person lunch-and-learn.
  • Build connection. Thank your colleagues, share praise or offer support with personalized video messages.

Advantages of asynchronous video

Asynchronous recording gives you the benefits of face-to-face communication without needing to actually meet.

Benefit 1: No need for scheduling

Scheduling is the first challenge of synchronous meetings, especially if you have a team that spans several time zones. Asynchronous video solves this problem: Your team can watch it when it suits them. It’s flexible and respects everyone’s time.

Benefit 2: Non-verbal communication

Ever feel unsure about the tone of an email? A primary benefit of face-to-face meetings is what’s not said: Nonverbal cues are critical to effective communication. Asynchronous video lets you send more personalized feedback, notes or other communication.

Benefit 3: Fewer technical issues

Poor connectivity can undermine the usefulness of synchronous video meetings. Even a few moments of latency can create misunderstandings, awkward pauses or people talking over each other. Asynchronous video helps overcome those technical issues.

Benefit 4: Reduces virtual meeting fatigue

Virtual meetings can take a toll. Research from Stanford University in 2021 found that 13.8% of women and 5.5% of men reported feeling “very” or “extremely” fatigued after video-conference calls. Asynchronous video reduces video-conference fatigue so employees can watch when they’re most alert and engaged.

When not to use asynchronous video

Sometimes you really do need to get your teams together to talk. Asynchronous video is not well-suited for things like:

  • Brainstorming. Creativity thrives in real-time conversations between people. To make brainstorming successful, it’s best to get people together at the same time.
  • Decision-making. Decisions often require some real-time discussion, making it easier to facilitate with everyone in the same room.
  • Difficult conversations. Challenging conversations, like mediating conflict, giving constructive feedback or sharing uncomfortable news, are often done best synchronously.

Where to start with asynchronous video

Asynchronous video is one more useful addition to your remote work toolbox. It’s best when you want to keep the intimacy and efficiency of face-to-face communication, but don’t want to impose on peoples’ schedules. Of course, sometimes you still need to have video meetings. Every team is different and you know yours best.

Want to try asynchronous video? It’s easy to get started in Slack using the video clips feature. Record and share video content to give updates, share ideas or just say, “Hi!” No meeting required.

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