How to Build an Asynchronous Team

Jassil Jamaludhin

How to Build an Asynchronous Team

How To Build An Asynchronous Team

What if you found yourself most productive at 11 PM, just when you got that brilliant idea for a campaign? What if you just wanted to spend the day cooking for your family, but you can't afford to take leave from your 9 - 5 PM work? Or what if you simply aren't a productive person at 1PM?

If you remotely related to any of these while working 'remotely' (I hope you noticed the pun), then don't worry, you're not alone. A study conducted by The Martec Group showed that nearly 59% of employees disliked remote work owing to work-life imbalance, distractions due to responsibilities and just due to change of environment. Is there a solution to this problem?

Asynchronous Work is the new cool boy in 'remote' town. Asynchronous teams do not have fixed working hours on a daily basis. They work when they feel most productive in a day, and are not expected to communicate instantly. This means, you can wake up and work for 2 hours, and then spend time with your family for a few hours, get back to work for 2 hours, take a break and you know, continue the cycle. Are you surprised this exists? Well, your team can do this too.

It is clear that asynchronous teams are much more productive than synchronous teams due to many positive reasons. But this productivity can only be achieved if the team is built right. This involves seriously focussing on bringing the right culture, mindset and tools to empower the teams. We have taken the first step and made a small recipe to building a successful asynchronous team. Shall we get to it then?

Results, Not Hours.

With asynchronous work, teams should focus on the results obtained from any work assigned to them rather than the number of hours spent on it. Sometimes, an employee can take just a couple of hours to finish a task brilliantly, and sometimes it may take them a day or so. 

What's important here is to judge the result at the end of the day, and provide necessary appreciation or feedback to the employee to grow. When a team shifts the whole mindset to focus on every win, the whole energy of the team also improves.

Document Like A Nerd.

In order to be a successful asynchronous team, it's important that the entire team has a very strong culture of documenting every aspect of work that may be required later on. This is difficult at first, but with consistency, any team can build this habit.

For example, an onboarding process for a new hire can be completely automated and asynchronised by documenting everything that this person has to know or learn in a Google Doc or Notion Page. Attach some videos, presentations, PDFs and any other necessary information in a central hub that's easily accessible to everyone.

Bonus point: If you're using Bottle, you don’t have to worry about finding where these files are at later on. It's going to be effortlessly easy to search for files with our robust search feature. I can't speak for other tools though, oops.

For the love of God, Reduce Your Meetings.

No, you don't need a meeting for every single idea or problem that you face. Infact, A lot of businesses are discarding meetings. It’s no surprise that this is happening when meetings lead to almost $30bn wasted per year for companies in the US alone.

Try to make it difficult for teams to have meetings. For example, GitLab has the culture of compulsorily sending an agenda before every meeting with topics to be discussed and time. The meeting's output and minutes must be noted in the same doc and added to their central hub.

You can also try to convert your meetings to asynchronous mode with the help your communication channels. On Bottle, you can have a dedicated group chat for standup updates where you can easily drop in tasks to chat and give your update. Yeah, this is only possible in Bottle because we have both work and communication happening in the same tool. Can we get some brownie points for this?

Write Thoughtfully and Clearly.

What happens in a synchronous team is that messages are fired one after the other, and you are notified even if you are not part of that conversation. Instead of this, create a habit of taking a few extra minutes to think about what you want to communicate and write the whole message clearly while mentioning the necessary individual. It's important to over-communicate in remote work because you don’t want anyone to misunderstand your text messages.

If you have any task related queries, instead of asking on the group chat and bothering everyone, you can simply comment on your task on Bottle and notify the required person. This makes it easier to have a well documented and concise conversation within a task. Effective, right?

Have Synchronous Touch points.

Asynchronous does not mean that there will be zero video calls or messages. It's more about being resourceful of everyone's time. While building an asynchronous team, it's important to have some routine check-ins over a video call, maybe 1-1s or brainstorm calls. After all, we are humans and we do long for those humane connections with the people we work with.

Building an asynchronous team is not going to be very easy, of course. It requires a shift in culture and mindset, which takes time to come about. It's important to be patient as a team in the beginning, and reiterate the importance of being asynchronous. Don't worry too much, just get to it, and I'm sure you will do brilliant. All the best!

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