Asynchronous communication is key to remote work. You can't expect your teammates from across the world to be available exactly when you are free or respond to your messages immediately. Instead, the focus should be on working independently & responding thoughtfully through long-form messages when you get time.
However, a new HBR article suggests that asynchronous communication may not be the most effective way of remote collaboration and the focus should be on communicating synchronously in bursts and doing deep work at other times.
A mixup between periods of high activity and those of little or no activity comes naturally to humans.
How to use this at work:
- Align on common times when the team is available. (Dropbox's new virtual-first model also talks of implementing this.)
- Block other times for deep work.
Do not view emails & messages as forms of asynchronous communication where you send something whenever you like & the other person responds whenever they are free.
The article claims that video communication isn't very great as people tend to focus more on visual cues & less on participation.
You want to make sure there's a healthy, rapid exchange of messages during the bursty period rather than long moments of silence to think and respond.
- Solves problems with loss of creativity & brainstorming caused by remote work.
- Areas such as engineering need synchronous communication for problem solving.
- Finding common times daily is tough due to different locations and schedules.
- Rapid exchange of short messages may result in superficial conversations.
Do you see any loopholes in this model or you think this will be a game changer? Let me know your thoughts on this!