In response to Covid-19, many U.S. workers became dependent on video technology to communicate and collaborate with their teams when working remotely. Now, as some offices start to reopen their doors, it’s clear that remote work and video communication aren’t going anywhere.
There’s a rising trend in video communication that companies need to know about to navigate how to best work remotely. Here’s the lowdown on asynchronous communication: what it is, how it works and why you need it now.
What is asynchronous communication?
Asynchronous communication is a type of communication that doesn’t happen in real time. You give information when you’re ready, and the recipients respond (if necessary) later. Asynchronous communication includes talking on the phone, chatting in person or participating in a live video conference where all participants communicate “in sync.”
Why is asynchronous communication vital for hybrid work?
A 2021 PNW report, called “It’s time to reimagine where and how work will get done,” found that over half of workers surveyed would prefer working remotely three days a week. Meanwhile, 68% of executives surveyed said they felt workers should be in the office at least three days a week.
In order to meet in the middle, align with employee demands and continue reaping the business benefits of remote work, many companies are shifting to a hybrid work model that combines in-office with remote work. For example, allowing employees to work from home two days a week and having them come in the office the other three days. Or requiring everyone to come into the office one day a month for meetings, but letting them choose where they want to work the rest of the time.
While a hybrid work model offers a slew of benefits for both employers and employees, there are a few challenges to overcome. Many employees have reported the strain of having to be “always on” and feeling attached to their devices when working remotely. And we’ve all heard the term “Zoom fatigue” as spending hours each day on video calls became the norm during the pandemic. Thankfully, asynchronous communication can help empower hybrid workers by reducing meeting time, boosting productivity and increasing organization. Here’s how.
Advantages of asynchronous communication
It’s more convenient
Synchronous communication requires advanced planning and scheduling. Ensuring that everyone on a team can attend a meeting at a specific time isn’t always easy, especially when you have people working across different time zones, locations and devices. With asynchronous communication, there’s no need to make sure everyone’s schedules are aligned. They can watch on their own time.
It boosts productivity
Let’s say you’re not a morning person, and a coworker pitches an idea before you’ve had your coffee. If you’re not feeling your sharpest, you won’t be able to provide the most-valuable feedback. Alternatively, if this same coworker sent you a screen-share recording of her walking through the new concept and you had time to watch it later in the day, you could compile more thoughtful feedback and questions. Asynchronous communication lets people do specific tasks when they feel most productive.
It streamlines record keeping and organization
Asynchronous communication makes it simple to keep track of notes and projects. You can record and share videos for easy future reference. Look for chat and file-sharing platforms that let you save your history. For example, as teams work together in Slack, it creates a searchable archive. You can search a conversation by keyword or pin a file you use frequently, making it easy to find what you need fast.
It helps build rapport in hybrid teams
On days when you aren’t in the office, you can’t just stop by a coworker’s desk. But you can use asynchronous channels, like sending a Slack message or a video walk-through, to supplement those in-person conversations.
Leverage asynchronous communication in your hybrid working model with Slack
Here at Slack, we’ve recently added new asynchronous collaboration features for voice, video and screen recordings that can be quickly and easily shared directly within channels. These new tools can help you collaborate more efficiently and effectively as we rapidly evolve the modern workspace.