Companies of all sizes are embracing remote and hybrid work. Recent research confirms that remote work improves employee productivity, mental health, and overall happiness. Here at ScreenPal, we’ve embraced remote work from the very beginning. The key to our success, and any team’s success, in building a strong remote or hybrid team is effective communication.
Asynchronous communication allows our team members to work the way we want and need to. We can use video messaging, chat, and good old-fashioned email to communicate across geography and time zones. We can collaborate with our team using software instead of being in Zoom calls all day (remember Zoom fatigue?). In short, asynchronous communication allows us to be more productive, creative and connected than ever before⏤even when we’re working from home.
But what exactly is asynchronous communication? And how does it help remote teams thrive? Let’s take a closer look.
- What is asynchronous communication?
- Asynchronous vs. synchronous communication
- Why video messaging for asynchronous communication
- 5 benefits of asynchronous communication
- 3 ways to build team culture with asynchronous communication
- 5 ways to increase productivity with asynchronous communication
What is asynchronous communication?
Asynchronous communication is any form of communication where people don’t have to communicate simultaneously in real-time to communicate effectively.
Whether through chat, comments, video messaging, or email, asynchronous communication allows us to control when and how we communicate. We can send a message and then continue with our day, knowing our colleagues will receive it and respond when they’re available and at their own pace.
Examples of asynchronous communication include:
- Social media
- Text or video comments
- Text messaging
- Chat messaging, like Slack or Microsoft Teams
- Video messaging, like ScreenPal
Asynchronous vs. synchronous communication
Synchronous communication is the opposite of asynchronous communication. It’s real-time communication. Think phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Synchronous communication is valuable when you have urgent issues to resolve. But real-time meetings can be difficult to coordinate across groups, schedules, and time zones. And at some point, your workday becomes so full of meetings you no longer have time for work!
Examples of synchronous communication include:
- Phone calls
- In-person meetings
- Live video calls and meetings like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet
Why video messaging for asynchronous communication
From a productivity standpoint, video messaging is a great way to communicate information clearly and efficiently. You can create and send your message when you need to, and your colleagues or clients can view and respond at a time that works for them. And from a team culture standpoint, video messaging helps us build better relationships and maintain personal connections across geography and time.
But it’s more than just that. Video is a powerful medium that can help us communicate much more effectively than other methods, such as email or text. Let’s look at three reasons why:
1. Video shows body language and facial expressions. With asynchronous video communication, you can still see people’s body language and facial expressions, even though you’re not communicating in real-time. Video conveys intent, empathy, tone, and social cues that you might otherwise miss.
2. Video is more engaging than audio-only communication. As humans, we are wired to respond better to visual information than audio information. Studies have shown that we remember visuals better than audio because our brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than they process audio.
3. Video allows you to have a more personal authentic conversation. Video is the next best thing to being in person, making it perfect for async communication. You can still see the other person’s face and hear their voice, even if you’re not in the same room. The personal factor of video helps to build trust and connection, even when you’re not face-to-face.
5 benefits of asynchronous communication
We’ve looked at three of the most important reasons why you should be using video for async communication. But the overall benefits of asynchronous communication go far beyond that. Let’s check out five of the most important ones.
1. Async communication saves time
One of the most important benefits of async communication is that it saves time. Think about it⏤if you need to have a conversation with someone, but they’re not available at the same time as you, then you can send a video message at any time and put your mind at ease, and continue with your day.
In addition to saving time, you can also say goodbye to time zone bias. It’s the phenomenon whereby people in different time zones are less likely to be included in conversations because they’re not available at the same time as the rest of the team. Using async communication can avoid this bias and make sure everyone knows that their input is valued and heard.
2. Asynchronous communication encourages deeper thinking
When you’re having a meeting in real-time, you don’t always have the time or information you need to respond to questions thoughtfully and accurately.
With async communication, you have time to think about your answers before responding. You have the opportunity to think more deeply, develop comprehensive responses, and encourage better quality discussions. You can also avoid knee-jerk reactions or emotional responses to uncomfortable work situations.
3. Async communication improves productivity
Productivity is all about being able to focus on one task at a time and getting into a flow state. But when you’re constantly interrupted by real-time communication, it isn’t easy to stay focused. In fact, it can take up to 23 minutes to recover from an interruption and get back into a flow state.
When you’re using async communication, you can avoid interruptions and stay focused on your work. This leads to better quality output and makes you more productive overall.
4. Asynchronous communication supports mental health
Mental health is a hot topic at the moment, and for good reason. According to the World Health Organization, mental health issues are on the rise, with an estimated 280 million people worldwide suffering from depression.
There are several reasons why async communication can help to support mental health. Async can reduce stress levels by removing the pressure to respond to messages in real-time. It also helps to avoid burnout by giving you more control over your time and how you communicate with others.
In addition, async communication allows you to step away from your screen and take a break when you need it for your mental and physical health. Too much screen time can lead to eye strain, headaches, and even neck pain.
Life is all about balance, and async communication allows you to find yours.
5. Async communication bridges the knowledge gap
Knowledge is power, and what better way to enhance your team than by sharing your power with them?
When you’re having a real-time conversation, it’s easy to dominate the discussion and leave others out. But when you’re communicating asynchronously, everyone has the opportunity to contribute.
These async conversations are beneficial for introverted team members who might not feel comfortable speaking up in a meeting. Async communication gives them the chance to share their ideas without feeling pressured or intimidated.
It also helps bridge the knowledge gap between team members at different stages in their careers. For example, a junior team member might hesitate to ask a senior team member for help because they don’t want to appear ignorant. But if they can ask their question directly and asynchronously, they’re more likely to get the help they need without feeling like they’re holding the team back.
3 ways to build team culture with asynchronous communication
Strong team culture can improve productivity, mental health, and job satisfaction. It can also help to reduce turnover and attract top talent.
Culture is created through the interactions between team members, and async communication is the perfect tool for fostering positive interactions.
Up next, we list three of the best ways to build team culture with async communication:
1. Facilitate regular team check-ins
Sending status updates as video messages gives everyone the chance to share how they’re doing and what they’re working on without feeling like they’re being interrupted or pulled away from their work. Bonus, it may also help to identify any potential roadblocks early on.
2. Encourage social interaction
Async communication doesn’t have to be all business. It’s an excellent opportunity to encourage some lighthearted social interaction. This could be as simple as sharing a funny meme or article or asking everyone to share their favorite coffee or tea recipe. These small interactions help build relationships and make everyone feel like they’re part of a team.
3. Celebrate successes
When someone on your team does something great, let them know! A simple “congrats” or “great job” video message goes a long way in making people feel appreciated.
5 ways to increase productivity with asynchronous communication
Last but not least, we have productivity—the driving force behind every business. Asynchronous communication can be a powerful tool for increasing productivity, both individually and in teams.
On an individual level, async communication allows you to plan and structure your day in a way that works for you. Research shows that task-switching can decrease productivity by up to 40%. So async communication lets you focus one task at a time and avoid that productivity hit from multi-tasking.
On a team level, video messaging in particular can help to avoid the dreaded “reply-all” chain. We’ve all been there—someone sends out a group email, and then everyone starts chiming in with their two cents. The next thing you know, you have 50 unread messages in your inbox and no idea what to do with them.
With video messaging for async communication, team members can respond on their own time, and can communicate more clearly and effectively. This avoids the need for constant back-and-forth and helps everyone to stay focused on their work.
To make the most of async communication and boost productivity, keep the following tips in mind.
1. Create set office hours
Creating set hours will help ensure that you’re only working when you need to and not trying to juggle work and personal commitments simultaneously.
Burnout is a very real phenomenon, and it can have a severe impact on your productivity. Setting office hours makes you more likely to stick to a regular work schedule and avoid the gruesome cycle of working late into the night and then struggling to get out of bed in the morning.
2. Set clear deadlines
When communicating asynchronously, it’s important to be clear about deadlines. This way, everyone knows when they need to have their work completed, leaving no confusion about when things are due.
There’s nothing worse than scrambling to finish a project at the last minute because you weren’t sure when it was due. By setting clear deadlines, you can avoid this stress and ensure everyone is on the same page.
3. Use a project management tool
A project management tool can be a lifesaver when trying to keep track of multiple deadlines. Various tools are available, so find one that works for you and your team.
Some popular options include Asana, Trello, and Basecamp. These tools can help you create to-do lists, assign tasks to specific team members, and track progress.
4. Create templates for yourself
If you repeatedly send the same type of message, save yourself some time by creating a template. This could be a simple email template that you can use for client inquiries or a more detailed project plan that you can reuse for each new project.
By using templates, you can avoid starting from scratch each time you need to send a message. This will save you valuable time and help you to be more productive.
5. Take advantage of video messaging
Video messaging helps team members communicate clearly and effectively while also conveying personality and empathy. With tools like ScreenPal, users can record and share quick video messages right from the browser apps they work in every day. ScreenPal is a powerful Chrome extension that can help you to be more productive with async communication.
For instance, you can click on the ScreenPal icon when you are in Gmail composing an email, record a video message, and then ScreenPal will automatically insert an animated GIF thumbnail and link to your video in your email message.
If you use a project management app like Asana, Trello, or Basecamp, you can record a quick video of your project feedback or status update and share it right there in the web app. Likewise, suppose you are in customer success or support. In that case, you can record your screen to show a customer how to resolve their issue from within your CS software application.
This new addition to the ScreenPal family is perfect for those who prefer async communication because it makes it easy to record and share quick video messages. With the always-free ScreenPal, you can avoid the back-and-forth of traditional email communication and get your message across quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
If you’re looking for a way to boost your productivity, try out ScreenPal. It just might be the solution you’ve been searching for.