In the post-pandemic world, some breaking changes have occurred in the work environment, and one of them is how we work. More and more companies are shifting towards remote work, and so, the power of effective communication becomes more pronounced than ever. But in a remote setting, communication can be challenging, especially maintaining clear and consistent communication among team members who may be in different time zones or whose working hours are different. One of the main challenges in remote teams is asynchronous communication.
What is Asynchronous Communication?
Asynchronous communication refers to the process of sending and receiving messages without the expectation of an immediate response. Unlike synchronous communication, which happens in real-time, asynchronous communication allows for messages to be sent and received at different times. In a remote setting, this can mean that team members may be working on separate tasks or projects concurrently, without necessarily needing to be in constant communication with one another.
Why is Asynchronous Communication Important in Remote Teams?
In a remote setting, asynchronous communication can be is very important, because team members may not always be available to answer messages due to different time zones and work schedules. Empowering your team to practice it can lead to improved productivity, reduced stress, and creating a more flexible work environment.
Tips for Navigating Asynchronous Communication in Remote Teams:
Establish clear communication channels: In a remote setting, it's pertinent to establish clear and consistent communication channels. This can include tools like email, instant messaging (Slack, Teams, etc.), and project management software (Jira). In having these communication channels, updates on tasks, announcements, and other information can be shared easily.
Clarity and Conciseness of the message: It is important to train your team on how to construct a message they may not get a response to immediately. Taking this scenario into consideration, Mr. A wants to request a resource needed for his task;
Case 1: Hello, good afternoon
Case 2: Good afternoon, where can I find the login credentials for the staging environment of our web application?
The above is a case of two people who want to request the same thing, the first person wants to exchange pleasantries before making a request, this is good, but on waiting for the pleasantry to be answered, you'd have to come to make a request afterward. That can result in a loss of productive time because the responder only answers your greetings and have to wait for another (God knows how long) before knowing what exactly the conversation was intended for. But for the second person, the pleasantry and the request get a response at the same time.
Set expectations for response times: When working in an asynchronous environment, setting clear expectations for time to respond to messages cannot be overemphasized. This can help to ensure that team members can respond to messages promptly, while also giving them the flexibility to work on their schedule.
Use tools to keep track of progress: In a remote setting, it can be challenging to keep track of progress on different tasks and projects. By using tools like project management software (Jira, Trello), team members can easily keep track of their work, as well as the progress of other team members.
Encourage regular check-ins: In as much as asynchronous communication can help reduce the pressure of constant availability, it's important to still have regular check-ins in place. This can help to ensure that team members are on the same page and are informed about the progress of different tasks and projects.
Communicating asynchronously is a powerful tool for improving productivity and reducing stress in remote settings. By establishing clear communication channels, being concise in our message, setting expectations for response times, and using tools to keep track of progress, remote teams can navigate the challenges of asynchronous communication with ease and can create a more flexible and effective work environment.