Synchronous Communication happens in real-time, where the parties are in-sync and are processing and responding to messages immediately. This could be a phone call, whatsapp message or a traditional meeting.
On the other hand, Asynchronous Communication (Async) allows a message to be transferred and received as one’s schedule permits. Asynchronous communication could be an email, writing notes in a task management app, or leaving a voice message for someone to listen to when they have the chance.
One of the top productivity hacks of the insanely famous Elon Musk has been to use asynchronous communication to his advantage. Musk prefers to communicate on his own terms- which means defaulting to email and texts, both asynchronous ways of communication.
In his own words…………
If you think deeply and widely, though asynchronous ways of operation are widely acclaimed to be essential for working across multiple time zones, geographies , that is not what they are limited to.
In async team environments, the fastest thinker or quickest talker isn’t the only person to be heard. Corporate meetings can be full of noisy, loud mouths who use dominant behavior intentionally. Unfortunately, being loud has been over hyped in our society for too long!! Allowing less-vocal team members the chance to digest and collect their thoughts before responding helps them to be heard.
Think.. Is someone’s real-time response their best? Reviewing the data, researching further and preparing a well- thought response helps nurture a better outcome.
The next big advantage of async communication is in aiding work life integration. The employee is responsible and accountable for managing their working hours and schedule. And since contribution is based on output and impact, not the number of hours one sat at a desk, no one is penalized for managing personal commitments.
Though async looks like the future of work, there are few non- negotiable things to be built in system for it to be successful :
Tools and processed should be utilized optimally that not only enable remote collaboration but also allow and enhance asynchronous participation.
Expectations should be defined as clearly and succinctly as possible. Everyone should know what’s expected of them, by when, and who they can draw on for support.
Proactive communication and Accountability are super essential and ensure your team prioritizes this from day 1! Cause constant check -ins and reminders can be misconstrued as micro-management and harm the team productivity.