The bigger you get as a company, the harder collaboration becomes. With the remote work revolution at full throttle, you might think enterprises should have a handle on optimizing communication and productivity costs by now.
But in reality, pivoting to hybrid workplaces and how global organizations manage their workflows are evolving challenges. The key to success comes down to balancing asynchronous and synchronous work.
Whereas synchronous work is a fixed approach that requires real-time engagement, asynchronous work embraces the modern reality that companies have thousands of team members, spread across many departments, projects and time zones.
Read on as we explore the ins and outs of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration and explain how Slack empowers your business to maximize communication, long after Skype is gone.
What is synchronous collaboration?
Synchronous collaboration is a two-way exchange of information in which both people are engaged in the conversation with each other in real time. This type of communication is often scheduled in advance—for example, a phone call, video conference or in-person meeting.
The benefits of synchronous collaboration include:
In-depth interactions to build understanding. You can use synchronous communication to brainstorm ideas and explore topics in workshops.
On the downside, synchronous communication poses problems for companies, such as:
- Can lead to burnout. With global teams in different time zones, meetings can’t suit everyone. Some people end up attending meetings late at night, which can cause them to work longer days and impact their personal time or family life. Remote work also heavily increased the time we spent video chatting, to a point where employees are experiencing Zoom fatigue, a state of exhaustion from constantly seeing yourself during video chats and the excessive amount of close-up eye contact.
- Disrupts employee focus. People want to work autonomously to get tasks done and meet their KPIs. A scheduled meeting disrupts their workflow and lowers personal productivity, slowing their progress and adding extra stress to hit KPIs.
What is asynchronous collaboration?
Asynchronous collaboration is an exchange of information or communication without any need for both people to be present in real time. This allows employees to better control their time and respect the work styles of others.
The benefits of asynchronous collaboration include:
- Enables greater flexibility. Because there’s less expectation for an instant response, teams can prioritize their tasks and reply when it suits them.
- Puts less pressure on people and is more inclusive. Some employees feel stress in meetings, especially since live meetings tend to be dominated by extroverts and struggle with gender equality. Asynchronous collaboration allows people the time to think about their responses and positively impacts meeting dynamics. With less pressure, this approach leads to increased employee satisfaction and a more inclusive workspace.
- More convenient for people in different time zones. This approach works well for remote teams because you don’t need to coordinate a meeting that suits everybody. By recording sessions and documenting everything, asynchronous collaboration allows everyone to catch up on their own time.
While it has some clear advantages, asynchronous collaboration also has some drawbacks:
- Lacks sense of immediacy. With the lag in communication, people can feel they are left hanging around for a reply. However, Slack users can express urgency or the current state of a project by adding custom emoji.
- Can contribute to miscommunication. It’s vital to be precise and detailed with all messages, especially when working asynchronously. Some employees find it easier to explain things in person or on a call and aren’t used to brief, straight-to-the-point messages. Without clear communication, recipients may misinterpret points and could proceed with tasks based on false assumptions.
The importance of a collaborative workflow for everyone
Collaboration is integral to the success of any team—and crucial for remote teams.
Let’s take a deeper look to understand the advantages of a well-defined collaborative workflow:
Improve employee engagement and performance
Ninety-seven percent of employees and management executives believe that a lack of alignment within a team directly impacts the outcome of a project. As you bring people together with collaborative workflows, people work harder, productivity costs fall and performance improves.
Teams with a collaborative workflow finish tasks faster and are more likely to hit deadlines than teams that work in silos. For example, a team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory working on the software used to control the Mars rover needed to find a way to bring together their dev community and tools and become more agile. With Slack, they could easily pick up work between shifts because project updates were waiting for them in shared channels.
Create a connected team
When enterprises work in silos, people are reluctant to share information with other departments. This dynamic negatively impacts communication, decision-making, company culture and employee satisfaction. With 41% of employees already planning to leave their employer in 2021, the siloed environment will only add to the knowledge drain, as your top talent leaves for connected businesses with better company culture.
Companies that communicate effectively are 4.5 times more likely to retain their best employees. You can use collaborative workflows as the strategy to create a more open, engaged and connected workplace—even if your team is scattered across the globe.
In Slack, you can create a seamless workflow that breaks down silos, bringing your team together with a unified vision. In the long run, this helps build stronger bonds within your company.
In our “State of Work” report, 56% of survey respondents said that switching between apps makes it harder to get essential work done, and 68% said they spend at least 30 minutes a day toggling between tools. These stats show context switching to be one of today’s biggest barriers to employee productivity.
With Slack, you eliminate any context switching between tools. More than 2,200 integrations or apps can be connected to a workspace in just a few clicks. Everyone can tailor their experience and increase productivity by connecting the tools they use without deploying companywide integrations.
How Slack fits in comparison with Microsoft Teams
Companies that use Skype for Business Online have a decision to make soon. As that platform moves to end-of-life in July 2021, the platform that companies choose to move to will determine their future success.
Skype’s parent company, Microsoft, will default Skype users to Microsoft Teams. If you choose to be moved to Teams, you’ll end up with:
- A fractured ecosystem of many digital tools. With Microsoft Teams, you won’t just replace Skype with one tool. You will be required to add three tools: Teams, OneDrive and SharePoint.
- Limited integration capabilities. With fewer integrations, Teams will leave your tech stack disconnected. You’ll struggle to optimize workflows or tap into the full potential of automation. All your company’s favorite apps and tools will continue to float around disconnected, never harnessing their full power connected together in one platform.
- Siloed departments and poor collaborative workflows. Instead of keeping everyone in the same workspace, Microsoft Teams breaks them up into Teams. Communicating between Teams is virtually impossible without adding new members; so is document sharing and searching for conversations. Eventually, the lack of open communication will inevitably breed productivity-killing silos.
- Negative impacts on employee satisfaction and retention. Siloed culture is the highway to a disconnected organization. Without a connected environment, people will feel less engaged with their work and bored, and they’ll check out at work.
- More time spent in meetings so everyone can try to get back in sync. This point is one of the biggest drawbacks of Teams. But it’s undeniable, as Microsoft admits the average time spent in Teams meetings increased by over 2.5 times in 2020.
If you want to create an engaged team that thrives on effective communication, close collaboration and productive workflows, Microsoft Teams is not the right choice.
When the curtain comes down on Skype, here are a few good reasons why Skype customers have already moved to Slack:
- Take collaboration to a new level by bringing together teams, tools and workflows in a single, easy-to-use platform.
- Reduce time wasted in meetings, with flexible collaboration in channels and async meetings.
- Increase team efficiency with Huddles, an open meeting that employees can join, ask questions in, and leave.
- Support the needs and schedules of people in different time zones, and minimize digital exhaustion, as everyone can connect through the app rather than facing endless real-time meetings.
- Connect all of your company’s apps and tools with a vast choice of integrations, including the option to connect with partners via Slack Connect, which streamlines business collaboration.
- Create a knowledge repository with inclusive features and an unrivaled search function that can quickly retrieve conversations, files and attachments on any project—even years later.
Skype users now face a choice between two options that might look similar at first.
However, below the surface, whereas Microsoft Teams defaults them into an era of disconnected tools, longer meetings and organizational silos, Slack does the opposite.
When you choose Slack, you leverage the flexibility of synchronous and asynchronous collaboration to break down silos and foster a greater sense of teamwork with a unified vision.
Ultimately, only Slack moves your company toward a more cohesive, connected future that drives improvements in productivity, creativity, and employee satisfaction and retention.
Are you ready to make the best choice for your company’s future? Sign up for our free webinar to learn how Slack improves collaboration and communication in a hybrid workplace.