This post was most recently updated on March 30th, 2020
Asynchronous communication literally means communicating without expecting an immediate response. For example, you send me an email and I respond to it an hour later. This conversation included a delay in its flow.
On the contrary, synchronous communication demands an immediate response to a message either verbal or textual. For example, you send me an email and I respond to it instantly.
When we discuss communicational styles in the corporate sector, the definitions are slightly different if not the same. People often misunderstand that asynchronous communication in the corporate circle only means remote work. It does not. Later in this post, we will learn the discrete difference between remote and office work.
Co-working environments are becoming difficult to handle: why?
An office worker told New York Magazine,
I used to wake up and turn off the alarm and check Tinder. Now I wake up and check Slack.
The aforementioned quote somewhat depicts the constant need for communication that is created (automatically) in a co-working space, a corporate office. According to the Harvard Business Review article “Collaborative Overload”, approximately 80% of the workers’ workdays are spent communicating with colleagues using different means of communication. This results in a lower threshold of working output and should be controlled one way or another.
The trend of near-constant communication means that the workers at an organization need to befriend themselves with the schedules of regular interruptions in their daily routine with their official duties.
To summarize the issues, it is safe to say that this kind of workstyle allows constant interruptions which are sources of implicit disadvantages for the organization.
Benefits of an asynchronous workplace
On the other hand, asynchronous communication provides consumers with the liberty of choosing when to respond and schedule their work effectively.
You control your working schedule ensuring enhanced productivity
An asynchronous environment allows the employees to take control of their work hours and schedule work according to their ease. This allows the employees to develop a sense of responsibility and ownership for the tasks at hand. Furthermore, it results in enhanced productivity as compared to the boring “do the job in the given time-frame” workstyle.
Effective planning leads to less stress and more work
There are times in an organization’s work cycle when sudden decisions need to be made. This kind of situation can go either way in a stressed workstyle considering the necessity of making a decision swiftly and quickly. However, an async workstyle would have allowed the employees to have better planning alongside contingency plans to cater to varying situations.
Difference between Deep Work and Shallow Work – Deep work ftw!
Shallow work usually means more communication, less concentrated work which results in a task taking longer to complete than it normally should. On the other hand, deep work means performing concentration-worthy work without unnecessary interruptions. In an async workplace, deep work has more value than shallow work which provides better productivity.
Automatic documentation and greater transparency
Since asynchronous communication in both remote work or an asynchronous workplace demands to-the-point and meaningful communication over some communicational medium, it checks the column for documenting the decisions made. This helps in keeping a check-and-balance on the decisions taken to perform the assigned tasks.
To conclude, it is safe to say that promoting an asynchronous workstyle is an open challenge to the status quo. It is still heavily under-appreciated in the industry. However, eventually, its merits will outweigh the myths about an async workplace and workstyle. It will then have a much greater radius than it has now.