Due to the changes in the world the work environment has continued to evolve along with its definition. More and more positions are being completed remotely in one’s home or different destinations across the globe as one team member can be in an entirely different country working virtually alongside you. However, work can still be completed productively and effectively with the right strategies while adapting a healthier work formula.
Synchronous work is the most common and well-known type of communication such as the office environment. If someone has a question or needs something they can come straight to you and request it, you are always accessible. Essentially synchronous work and communication mean they happen quickly and in real-time. A colleague can easily send you a skype message with expectations of a quick and immediate response. If they don’t hear from you immediately, they may send you another one with indications they are anxiously awaiting.
The Stress of Synchronous Work
Synchronous work can cause a lot of internal stress, seeing your messages piling up, feeling the angst within knowing you need to respond and the pressure to do so quickly. Usually, the message is not even of an urgent matter but your body has an internal reaction knowing that it must be done quickly and that your colleague is expecting a response. Other duties and tasks can take a back seat when in fact they are the priority with the end product clearly illustrating it. At times the non-stop communication can be the most stressful part of your job as opposed to the actual work in your position.
Asynchronous work has a different approach where one responds to communication when they have the ability and time to do so in their schedule. One can continue with their work throughout the day without having to be dependent on someone else’s response. When one does not have the demands of pushing out a high volume of responses in a reactive way the communication reflects. Clear, accurate, and well-thought-out communication occurs with much higher quality responses. Answers may be more thorough as one’s attention is solely on their response as opposed to the other tasks swarming their mind of knowing that their inbox is bursting with expectations of an immediate response.
Scheduling a set time to address your inbox in your agenda is a beneficial way to effectively clear out your email and not have missed information or unclear answers. The respondent understands that you will address their concerns and requests and know that it will be in totality, not requiring several other follow-ups to finally get a full response. This method can allow an employee to feel respected knowing that the work they are doing at other times is also of importance and deserves to be interruption-free.
Freedom in Asynchronous Work
In today’s remote work, regardless of your physical location and time zone, all colleagues can be included and truly feel a part of the team. Instead of forwarding countless, confusing emails, companies utilize threads allowing for asynchronous communication. Teammates can feel comfortable adding their input onto the threads which they may not have a chance in a virtual or real-time meeting. You may not all be working simultaneously, however; threads provide a clear flow of communication and decisions. Any of those involved can connect and have a direct overview of what is happening and the evolution of the conversation. There are no missed emails or reading responses to an email that wasn’t the most recent. It is to the point, easy to understand, and up to date anytime that you connect no matter what time zone you are working in increasing productivity and minimizing confusing frustration.
Accessing online shared documents and power points is another example of powerful asynchronous communication and work tools. The documents can be edited or reviewed when it is convenient for each party as opposed to spending countless minutes with back-and-forth emails working out a time that works best for all those involved. It is not dependent on location or time zone; they are always available.
Power points and clear documents can easily be sent out to staff for review and training instead of coordinating schedules for in-person team meetings. Staff can access them and insert a time to do so in their calendar for the week and minimize many unnecessary meetings.
Asynchronous Work + Remote Work = a winning combination
Prioritizing your tasks according to your schedule, working remotely without the distractions of constant interruptions at your desk, and having the freedom to move from different time zones are characteristics of asynchronous work. Remote work is becoming the new normal and has many benefits reflected in the employee and their work.
The stress level of an employee can decrease knowing that their manager is not a few steps away to add more pressure visiting their workspace. The employee has the responsibility to know the work needs to be completed promptly and sets their schedule accordingly. The pressure comes from themself knowing that their place within the company is reliant upon the success and completion of their duties. One must have a sense of responsibility for creating their structure for the day and evaluate how they most effectively work. This independence can empower an employee as opposed to being monitored and directed.
Benefits in Asynchronous Work
Remote work and its companion asynchronous work can minimize one’s stress level and in turn, be beneficial to one’s health physically and mentally. Remote work allows you to take a lunch break outside the four walls of the lunchroom and outside in your back yard, in your hammock, at the beach, or making time for the gym or a walk in your neighborhood. You set your schedule around your priorities and tasks, aware of your responsibilities and deadlines.
Having an employee feel valued, respected, and empowered are side effects of asynchronous work. The level and quality of the work reflect this as one can focus on their predetermined schedule with a clear mind while having a positive mental attitude which in turn benefits the company.