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Why Asynchronous Teams Perform Better
Asynchronous. What does it mean? Is it the same as remote working? Does this mean that there is something called a 'Synchronous Team'?
Let's dial the clock back to 2020 (sorry for doing this).
When the pandemic just hit the country, offices and businesses were shut within days. People were confined to 'work from home'. This began the wide spread culture of remote working - and now it's the new normal.
Let's understand what is 'Remote Work'. Well, it's simply working remotely, away from the office. You could be working from your home, or the beaches of Bali, or the mountains of Himalayas. With the onset of the pandemic, almost every business had to shift to Remote Work mode.
Now, let's try to understand what Asynchronous Teams are.
They are teams where people communicate without expecting an immediate response back. For example, I send you an email about certain updates regarding my work. I don't expect you to revert immediately.
Synchronous teams are ones where people communicate expecting an immediate response. For example, meetings. I mean, you can't really sit without replying if asked a question in a meeting, right?
A study shows that on average, a company spends 15% of their time in meetings. Another study showed that an average worker spent almost 6 hours a day on just emails. Can you imagine the amount of hours that goes into just communicating? This is what happens most often in synchronous teams.
Because communication doesn't happen immediately, asynchronous teams don't have 'defined' work hours. Instead, they work in their own preferred timings, with full focus on getting work done.
If the whole pandemic can show us that we don't need to be in the same office space to be productive, it's only time before the entire world realizes that we don't have to communicate in real-time to be productive either.
Recently, there has been a trend for remote teams to switch to asynchronous mode and noticed a bump in their productivity. Let's dive into why asynchronous teams perform better, and hopefully we can convince you to try it as well.
Hire Anyone From Anywhere.
Asynchronous teams take remote working teams to the next level by allowing them to literally hire any good talent from anywhere in the world. With asynchronous communication in place, your diverse team split across the world can work in their own specific timezone. They don't need to stay up at 9pm everyday for a stand up call from the manager halfway across the world.
If you get better talent, performance ought to rise.
Employees Feel Liberated.
Imagine you're a mother of a 3 year old child who is confined to remote work and cannot have a baby sitter due to covid. Do you think it would be fair to expect you to be available all throughout the office hours for work? Of course not!
Everyone has their own struggles to balance home and work duties while working remotely. Asynchronous work gives employees the freedom to work whenever they are free in the day. All they have to do is get the work done, doesn't matter when.
If you have a team that's relaxed while working, it definitely boosts productivity.
Imagine you're working on something and you're deep into it. Suddenly you get a message or a call from someone to clear some doubt. Now you're distracted and it will take you some time to get back into that 'zone'. This is especially common when you have a synchronous work culture where everyone is expected to respond urgently.
With asynchronous mode of work, you are not distracted by real time communication. Whatever emails or threads that you receive can be replied to whenever you want in your day. This assures that once you're in the 'zone' of highly focused work, you're not distracted.
A team of focussed employees will definitely get you things done.
Better Planning = Less Stress.
When you can't just simply get something done urgently by someone else in the team, you will have to ensure you plan your day better. With asynchronous work, people plan out their work load and timings earlier on, and loops in anyone if needed earlier itself.
This way, neither do you have to bother someone at the last minute, nor do you have to worry about getting bothered at the last minute. On the rare days that you need help but can't get at the moment, you can simply pause that work and pick up the next task (which you planned beforehand).
Oh, by the way, we have this awesome feature that lets you drag and drop the tasks you want to do in a day into a calendar inside our tool, Bottle. It's called a Daily Planner, and it integrates with Google Calendar. You'll like it for sure! Okay, we're done with sales.
In conclusion, a better planned team gets things done on time!
High Quality Communication.
Asynchronous work means that whenever there is any communication required, you do it in a way that the rest of your team / stakeholders can read or see it in their own time.
This means that you have to be very clear in the way you communicate. You will have to think twice about what you want to send, how you want to send it, so that everyone can be looped in easily. This avoids unnecessary back and forth, saves a hell lot of time, and the responses you get will also be of high quality.
Phew! I hope those points convinced you of the good side of Asynchronous communication.
Now, we'll admit. It's not all butterflies and rainbows. It's important to have a mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication, especially at the beginning of the transition. For example, even though daily work updates may be sent using threads (asynchronous), you should still have one-to-ones, appraisals or bonding meets with the team (synchronous).
If you're thinking of building an asynchronous team, we just want to take a moment to say that you're doing a fantastic job. Challenging the norm and status quo isn't easy, but we are sure that asynchronous will be a very strong part of work culture in the future, much like how remote working is right now. This is partly why we are building our tool, Bottle - to help teams collaborate and manage their work better! Good luck to you, fam!