Asynchronous workflows are processes where your distributed team should be able to access to collaborate, at any time from anywhere, without the participants would be online together at the same time. With asynchronous communication, you have a specific time lag because not everyone is online to respond – but will answer when they will be online. In a distributed company, the majority of the communication is asynchronous because of time zones of course. Also, there’s no office and you can’t chat-up anyone immediately. Even a synchronous – real-time – communication channel can become asynchronous, for example, a chat room on a company’s Slack can be lagged, also if you are chatting with someone 1-on-1. So, you should get familiar and embrace asynchronous communication to achieve efficiency.
Asynchronous communication = more focus
There is one big advantage of asynchronous communication: focus.
First, you don’t have interruptions on your work, and no one can grab you to a meeting room or talk to you. Successful remote workers tend to use mute on notifications and check the corporate messages in a specific timeframe so they can keep their focus on working essential tasks.
Second, with your newly found focus, you have to be super precise in your briefing and communication. Because the communication is asynchronous, you have to explain yourself precisely with a sharp focus, so everyone can understand your needs by reading your asynchronous message.
There are other benefits too. With asynchronous communication, you save all of your progress and discussion. If you use a corporate chat service, a to-do-app or a project management tool, or just simply put anything to GitHub, you have direct access to everything that has happened so far on that channel – preserving a great deal of corporate history. This provides you with an immense wealth of material for understanding prior decisions, work, and relationships.
Transparency and flat structure. Because all messages and parts of communication is recorded and online to enhance the efficiency of asynchronous communication, everything becomes transparent and flat. There are no closed office rooms for the managers, and you are in the same chatroom with other team members. We discussed the deal with transparency and why it is a must for every distributed team – asynchronous communication further extends transparency across the whole team.
Enhancing the collaboration and communication. The asynchronous platforms require cooperation – it is a must to collaborate and communicate. You can’t disappear and not react or reply to a task or question. If you have worked in a big team with more than 100 people in an office, you should know, ‘disappearing’ in an office is quite easy. With asynchronous remote tools, everyone is seen to collaborate. It makes everyone super accountable for their tasks and responsibilities.
All in all, asynchronous communication is not just a must for distributed teams, but also the best way to enhance productivity, make everyone accountable on their responsibilities, boost company’s culture, transparency and collaboration capabilities. However, you should agree on the communication guidelines for asynchronous and synchronous communication as well.