The concept of remote work is nothing new, but with the COVID-19 pandemic taking its toll on the world, it has become the norm for companies across all industries over the past few years.
Pre-pandemic, only 17% of U.S.-based employees worked five or more days per week from home. However, that number drastically increased during the height of the pandemic, wherein 44% of workers started to report to work at home.
With telecommuting becoming the new normal today, multiple ways to work productively have surfaced. Besides having a proper workstation setup, establishing effective communication amongst your team members will be vital. One method business owners could strongly consider and look into is asynchronous communication.
But what is asynchronous communication, and how can it be an asset to remote teams? Let this infographic serve as your guide to asynchronous communication, its benefits, drawbacks, and how to successfully practice this form of communication in your organization.
What is Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication is when two or more individuals communicate without being present in real-time. In other words, it’s sending a message without the immediate need for a response. This type of communication allows employees and employers to set their schedules and answer inquiries without much dependence on the availability of others.
Employing asynchronous communication aids in staying connected with members of the company and ensuring everything is operating efficiently, regardless of time zone, location, and other factors.
Benefits of Asynchronous Communication
Now that we’ve established what asynchronous communication is, let us discuss the various benefits of utilizing this form of communication.
- More thoughtful communication
In work conversations, workers often feel obligated to come up with an immediate response, which may not be relevant or conscientious.
With asynchronous communication, team members get more time to digest new information, formulate an answer, and mull over crucial decisions that lead to more strategic conclusions.
Additionally, asynchronous communication decreases distractions. Without an immediate need for a response, workers can reply when their set schedules allow it, improving concentration and productivity.
- Better productivity rate
Asynchronous communication grants remote teams more flexibility to prioritize important work. There will be instances employees would feel obligated to respond to every message sent their way, which could be detrimental in the long run.
Constantly taking time off your day to get back to a considerable volume of requests and questions prevents you from conducting deep and meaningful work. This communication method enables you to deal with these tasks at your own time and pace, putting more critical and urgent work atop of your to-do list.
- Documentation for transparency
Documentation, whether through writing or pre-recorded videos, gives your team a clear vision and timeframe of their duties. With asynchronous communication, all traces of internal exchanges and relays get automatically documented.
This could be beneficial as the logged data could be easily referenced or shared for others to review.
- More honest communication
Asynchronous communication improves honesty amongst your team members due to the higher quality of feedback it allows. Some employees have no problem being true when confronted in a one-on-one setting. However, others may find it difficult to have to answer immediately.
Due to conversations and evaluations not being done in real-time, asynchronous communication gives adequate time for your employees to voice their concerns more accurately when they’re most comfortable.
- Decrease burnout chances
Constantly staying on top of things can be taxing. Through asynchronous communication, stress is diminished as it grants your team more control over their pace at work.
Conventional synchronous communication setups often tether you to your desk to deal with work-related issues immediately. This ability to step away and recuperate could positively improve employees’ physical and mental health, drastically decreasing the chances of burnout.
Drawbacks of Asynchronous Communication
While asynchronous communication certainly has its merits, it also has its drawbacks. Consider the following if you’re looking to make it a staple in your business’s day-to-day.
- Inconsistent immediacy
One big drawback of employing asynchronous communication is the inability to address urgent situations because business is not conducted in real-time. As such, it’s best to plan accordingly in case an immediate need arises, as it will require synchronous communication to solve the urgent problem.
- Unclear tone-of-voice
Unlike its synchronous counterpart, where it feels more intuitive, natural, and human as it gets the point across with the help of body language and tone of voice, asynchronous communication doesn’t always convey the necessary emotion to make people feel connected.
The lack of this real-time communication element could lead to miscommunications and disconnection that could affect the efficiency and productivity of your team.
- Decreased spontaneity
Synchronous communication allows employees to conduct brainstorming sessions and exchange ideas in real-time. While patient reflection can be helpful in many business situations, unfortunately, the async method falls short of the quick, witty, and spontaneous elements essential for collaborative and real-time ideas.
- Lack of community
Since most asynchronous communication doesn’t require deep in-person engagements, it may magnify feelings of isolation for teams working remotely. While it allows employees to function independently, this freedom diminishes the opportunities for direct interpersonal interactions.
Strong connections are essential to building a cohesive team. Although it’s not impossible to develop bonds through asynchronous communication, the process can be arduous.
The key to any high-functioning team is trusting your fellow teammates. However, due to the inability to give instructions personally, some superiors might resort to micromanaging their subordinates.
This type of management could strain working relationships if practiced regularly, as your employees could feel alienated due to constant scrutiny.
How to Successfully Practice Asynchronous Communication
Learning the various pros and cons of asynchronous communication is a start to implementing this strategy. To effectively introduce and incorporate this form of communication into your team’s daily routine, let us discuss the best practices for this technique.
- Set rules that work for everyone
If your business utilizes internal communications, you will likely have defined work channels in place. Have a clear strategy on what should be communicated in each designated space, who needs to be included, and what channels are for private and public use.
- Integrate the right tools
As established, asynchronous communication doesn’t require employees to work simultaneously. However, it’s imperative to integrate the right tools to ensure that every individual can work in sync despite not working with each other in real-time.
Tools like time tracking apps, communication platforms with multiple features, knowledge management tools, and task management software can aid an asynchronous team to work in harmony despite the circumstances.
- Avoid information overload
The business world can sometimes run at dizzying speeds, leaving some important information overlooked due to employees’ substantial volume of work. However, ensuring content relevancy regarding disseminating information allows you to avoid information overload.
One efficient way to achieve this is segmenting workload by criteria, such as department, location, language, and interest. Doing so ensures that every employee gets the right message at the right time without risk the benefits of asynchronous communication becoming irrelevant.
- Provide easy methods for employee feedback
Conducting intuitive employee surveys and collecting feedback allows you to analyze and formulate actionable recommendations to improve the current communication setup you have in place.
- Make content fun and easier to understand
Keeping your employees engaged will become increasingly difficult as the workload piles up. However, making your content fun and easier to consume could make an otherwise monotonous routine engaging.
Think about producing webinars or podcasts to gain your employees’ attention, especially for important company-wide announcements.
- Understand your workforce
Having a clear understanding of your workers’ responsibilities allows you to gain better insights on what you can improve upon as a group to create a more successful asynchronous environment.
Take into consideration their strengths, weaknesses, and how they conduct their work in this remote setup, and evaluate how you can help them be more effective in the workforce.
- Advocate patience
The corporate world is guilty of expecting immediate results and instant gratification. However, practicing patience can be more rewarding.
Through asynchronous communication, you can connect with your employees better by giving them a sense of security about communicating in their own time unless it’s a highly important or time-sensitive task.
- Build trust
Trust is an important factor in any and every kind of business, especially when it comes to an environment with little to no personal contact, like asynchronous communication. If supervisors and workers lack trust in one another, employing this method will be futile.
Stay In Sync with Asynchronous Communication
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in people’s personal and work lives. While some weren’t too keen on working from home, methods such as asynchronous communication allowed teams from all across the board to operate efficiently. This specific technique offers many benefits for businesses whose employees report remotely full-time.
However, with benefits comes drawbacks and constant learning. Keep in mind all the things stated, and you can effectively incorporate asynchronous communication into your practice.
In case you need a call center outsourcing firm to help with your asynchronous team, consider Executive Boutique Call Center. Executive Boutique Call Center provides best-in-class customer service that can cover all of your back-office needs and increase your bottom line. Contact us today to learn more!