- Businesses with asynchronous workflows tend to have higher employee morale due to the increased communication and documentation practices that remote work encourages.
- The outlook for asynchronous methods is in question with the continued push to return to the office.
- In a Q&A, VP of Operations at TheSoul Publishing Patrik Wilkens told Allwork.Space that asynchronous communication is key for companies that value efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Synchronous ways of working have always been the norm, but the pandemic thrust much of the world into remote work — which popularized asynchronous working and communication.
There are expected to be 36.2 million American employees working remotely by 2025, according to Zippia. Currently, the percentage of U.S. employees who work remotely at least part-time is 66%, and 68% of Americans would prefer to be fully remote
With the recent push back to the office by employers, it brings up the question of whether asynchronous working will continue into the future of work.
Is asynchronous working here to stay, or will employers require all employees to be on the same schedule/in the same time zone — even if a portion of their workforce remains remote?
What is asynchronous working?
Most traditional offices are home to a workforce that works simultaneously. Fundamentally, asynchronous working simply means employees aren’t all on the same schedule.
An asynchronous workforce includes employees all over the world in different time zones get their work done at different times. Employees and employers message each other through workplace applications at any time of the day, and they have to wait until the other is online for a response.
“Asynchronous work gives people the freedom to move away from hyper-responsiveness and real-time communication towards a mode of work where they get to decide when and where to work,” said Steve Glaveski, CEO of Collective Campus.
The key to successful asynchronous work is to create processes that allow employees to work autonomously, while also giving them the trust they need to do so.
Employees have been utilizing means of communication such as Teams, Slack, and email to conduct work, but it hasn’t been strictly during work hours.
Asynchronous work showcases huge benefits compared to synchronous work; companies that embrace this non-simultaneous type of work are able to move projects forward much more quickly than their competition, according to Remote.com.
Businesses with asynchronous workflows also tend to have higher employee morale due to the increased communication and documentation practices that remote work encourages.
In a Q&A with Patrik Wilkens, VP of Operations at TheSoul Publishing, he told Allwork.Space that asynchronous communication is key for companies that value efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Allwork.Space: Is asynchronous working/communication something of the past now?
Patrik Wilkens: Asynchronous communication and working are certainly not things of the past now, but rather remain prevalent in keeping workers engaged and happy in the workplace.
First, it’s important to recognize that many companies have a dispersed, global staff which means that people are working in different time zones; sometimes, colleagues can be working 6 or 12 hours apart.
With this in mind, there isn’t an advantage to having everyone sign on for their own 9-5, as there won’t always be an overlap. These employees will be more efficient working and communicating asynchronously, based on their individual locations.
But beyond logistics, asynchronous working and communication is also important for employee engagement. We’ve all heard of “quiet quitting” and discussed workplace burnout, so finding ways to keep workers connected and satisfied at work is imperative for productivity.
Over the past few years, people have become accustomed to more flexibility at work; while many companies are bringing people back into the office on some sort of hybrid schedule, workers still expect and should have flexibility to go to a doctor’s appointment, exercise, take a walk, or spread their working hours across the day, as long as they are meeting their goals.
Asynchronous communication is key for this to work, and will continue to be used in companies that value efficiency and employee satisfaction.
Allwork.Space: How does asynchronous communication and a “no meetings” policy help with engagement?
Patrik Wilkens: Today’s employees expect autonomy in their jobs, and want ownership over when they are working, how they are working, and when they can focus on heads-down work.
Asynchronous communication and a no meetings policy allow employees to structure their days the way that suits their working style. Perhaps they are most creative in the morning and most focused in the evening — if that is the case, they should be able to set up their days in a way that is most conducive to their preferences.
Employees who feel seen, heard, and “in charge” will be more engaged, and a no meetings policy directly fuels that.