Remote collaboration: 3 reasons to foster asynchronous communication

Remote worke

In this context of remote work, companies must adapt and improve collaboration to maintain employee productivity and engagement.

We still rely too often on instantaneous exchanges, to the detriment of a communication that respects everyone’s pace.

Most of the time, remote conversations don’t need to be in real time. In this 3-point game, I will explain why asynchronous communication – i.e. offline, not real time – can give you back power over messaging and over time management (yours and that of others’!).

1. Productivity ⚡️ connectivity

More often, the response time to an email does not exceed 2 minutes, according to a study conductions in 2015 by Yahoo Labs. When we receive an email or a message on Slack, we tend to give it priority over what we were doing. Yes responding to requests reactively doesn’t allow you to organize your day proactively.

This reliance on notifications and alerts encourages an “always-on” culture, which often comes at the expense of productivity. A University of California (Irvine) study showed that after an interruption, it takes an average of 23 minutes to re-focus on the initial task. These distractions punctuate the day and disrupt the “deep work” that requires concentration. And when everyone addresses their requests in a disjointed manner (without always recalling the context), it is easy to lose track! Some employees may even feel overwhelmed by constant interruption and even burn out.

I’m convinced that asynchronous communication frees you from distractions and repeated interruptions. It allows you to spend more time on value-added activities. Go from a flow logic to a stock logic: opt for a tool that centralizes and organizes information to make it accessible anywhere, anytime. Don’t be afraid to miss out on the flow of conversations and break away from the famous FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) once and for all!

In remote work, you are free to organize your day. What matters is the result. Remember: You are not required to be connected at all hours of the day and night, but to do your work in a timely manner! It is therefore your responsibility to manage your time efficiently and not spread yourself too thin.

2. Spontaneous communication ⚡️ thoughtful communication

Telephone or video conferences are often used for quick and spontaneous exchanges. Employees can easily ask questions live, have in-depth conversations and brainstorm. Synchronous communication is also suitable for “crisis” situations to deal with emergencies, discuss sensitive issues or announce strategic decisions to employees. 

But spontaneous exchanges with off the cuff reactions and feedback are not always the best option. Certain types of missions and projects require a step back, a more in-depth reflection (and therefore well-thought out responses). With synchronous communication, you consume the information at the same time as you receive it. It implies immediate responses that are not often the best. Conversely, asynchronous communication allows you to digest information, find answers, provide solutions, draw conclusions and make decisions without pressure.

Moreover, real-time communication is not recorded: Unless you have a good memory, it is better to take notes during the exchange! Recording your communication in the form of a video or voice message allows the recipient to consult it later and as many times as necessary. 

In remote work, it’s better to set up clear processes and have clear intentions. Everyone needs to know what they have to do, why they are doing it and how they should do it. Asynchronous communication allows you to think about your communication upstream by putting yourself in the recipient’s shoes. It provides a context, formulates a request, sets a deadline and makes all the necessary resources available. Rather than sending information in bits and pieces, in a fragmented way, get straight to the point! With asynchronous communication, you make the message audible and the information is received when the recipient is available (and therefore receptive). Asynchronous communication respects not only your time but also that of others!

3. Social link ⚡️ stress reduction

The feeling of disconnection and loneliness can affect employees’ motivation. In these times of confinement, there is little opportunity for social interaction, synchronous communication is therefore conducive to simpler and less formal conversations.

Videoconferencing replaces the “In Real Life” meeting: It alleviates the feeling of isolation and aims to re-create connection. Hearing your employees and seeing their smiling faces in their daily environment strengthens the social bond. Video reassures, brings nuance and has the power to convey emotions. The weight of words (only 7%) should be put into perspective in relation to the weight of tone (38%) and body language, which accounts for more than half of communication. To make up for the lack of everyday social interaction in the office, it is important to maintain this sense of belonging to keep employees motivated.

However, videoconferencing can easily get out of hand with technical problems of all kinds, meetings that drag on and go off on tangents, and so on. While it is indispensable in times of confinement, we must ask ourselves if it is always the best use of everyone’s time and energy.

With an asynchronous video collaboration solution, you can keep that social connection while avoiding the stress of consecutive meetings. And you don’t have to worry about time zones to collaborate with teams scattered around the globe. Short, asynchronous video communication allows you to work more efficiently without sacrificing the amount of interaction that’s essential in these confined times. 

Avoid the systematic nature of instantaneous communication: Asynchronous exchange should be the default communication mode to remain effective at a distance. Opt for a visual collaboration tool that retains the advantages of video (human connection and enhanced understanding of the message), conducive to taking a step back and being productive!