Working remotely has been gaining popularity since telecommuting began in the 90s. Last year, 43% of the American population reported that they spend at least some time working remotely. With huge mental health and productivity benefits, remote work is here to stay.
Remote work solves many problems for many people, but it comes with some as well – time zones! Team members are often strung across different locations and time zones.
This makes it challenging to collaborate in the traditional way. Asynchronous communication methods allow teams to maintain productivity on their own terms, from wherever they are. Let’s break this down.
Asynchronous communication is a workflow method. It works by using static communications through channels like Slack or GitLab. Asynchronous communication methods allow everybody to contribute on their own time.
Here is a basic example; Rather than introducing a new employee to the office, they can be asked to make a 2-minute video to introduce themselves. This can be posted on whichever channel the team is using and viewed by each team member at their own convenience.
Another example is a team collaborating on backlog refinement through GitLab issue, Epic or merge request. The flexibility that this allows has been studied and it has been proven to increase productivity by large margins, which may come as a surprise to some.
That’s right when people have the option to do things how they see fit, they get more done. So why is that? Well, the answer likely lies in the many benefits of this workflow and lifestyle.
Asynchronous communication and remote work go hand in hand and their benefits do as well. Let’s have a closer look at some of the benefits this method has to offer.
No pressure to answer immediately - Allowing team members the time to produce thoughtful, developed answers and communications without the need to respond in real-time is a big factor. They will deliver far better, quality communications using the asynchronous method.
Fewer interruptions – When team members are able to dive deep into their workday and focus more on their work, they get more done. Few things are as detrimental to production being inundated with real-time communications – emails, texts and phone calls.
Living documents - These are far more reliable than in-person meetings because they can be referenced and amended as long as they are relevant. This makes it easier to keep everybody on the same page – literally.
Overall organization – Asynchronous communication allows for better planning and collaborative efforts. Whether the organization is small and local or spread out across multiple time zones and continents, the ability to plan and accomplish goals is greatly extended using asynchronous communication.
This method in tandem with remote work promises to be a major adaptation to the working day. From fields to factories to the future, asynchronous communications are what we have arrived at today - or tomorrow, it’s up to you.