Asynchronous Work: What Is and How to Manage It in the Best Way

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work. Many businesses have allowed their employees to work away from the office. Some employers set specific working hours and require employees to stay online and available throughout their shift. This is called synchronous work. 

While other businesses let their employees complete their tasks and respond to colleagues when convenient for them as long as they do it within a predefined period, like 24 hours. It’s referred to as asynchronous work. This article will discuss async work further, its benefits and challenges, and how to manage it in the best way.


What Is Asynchronous Work?

Asynchronous work is all about letting your team work at their convenient time within a predefined period. Async employees enjoy working at their own pace and do not need to communicate with their team in real-time. 


Differences Between Asynchronous and Synchronous Work and Communication

The main difference between asynchronous and synchronous work is the work schedule. With sync work, employees have fixed working schedules. Async work gives employees the freedom to choose when to do their tasks as long as they deliver results within a given timeline. 

Now, let’s discuss the difference between async and sync communication. Sync communication happens in real-time. The information exchange happens without delay. 

Meanwhile, async communication involves the use of tools like emails and video recorders. The message recipient doesn’t necessarily respond immediately. For example, a U.S.-based employee sends a recorded video message to a team member in Asia and understands there will be a delay in response. Other examples include sending emails and using project management tools like Asana to communicate. 


Benefits of Asynchronous Work

Businesses and their employees will benefit from asynchronous work if they do it right. Here are some advantages you can anticipate:

  • Employees can better concentrate on the task at hand. They won’t be distracted by constant communication with colleagues or spend time on back-to-back meetings.
  • With async work, you can choose to work during your energy peaks. This can result in higher quality work and increased productivity. 
  • Flexibility in the work schedule can help improve employees’ work-life balance. 
  • Async work gives workers autonomy, which creates a more trusting working environment. It shows your employees you trust them to do their job.
  • Companies can hire across time zones and access a larger talent pool.


Challenges of Asynchronous Work

While asynchronous work offers many benefits, it also comes with difficulties. Here are some of the challenges you may face with asynchronous work:

  • Slower communication
  • Less unity and team collaboration
  • Potential time management issues
  • The lack of in-person communication can cause employees to feel disconnected from the company. 
  • Work-life balance can get worse, especially when boundaries are unclear.
  • Additional work for project managers, as they are the ones who need to facilitate communication and establish boundaries.


When and Why It’s Better to Use Asynchronous Work and Communication 

Asynchronous work and communication are ideal if you have a global workforce or remote teams. It will enable your team to maximize the perks of working from home or wherever they are. They can work at their own pace, and everyone can feel empowered. In addition, the absence of disruptions will allow them to focus on their task and accomplish more. 


How to Implement and Manage Asynchronous Workflows?

If you haven’t tried async work, you may wonder how a team can collaborate and get things done if not everyone is online simultaneously. The key to this is multiplexing tasks, mastering async communication, and ensuring everyone is on the same page by setting clear goals.


How to Manage Asynchronous Meetings?

Meetings are crucial even with asynchronous work. But how do you manage it if people aren’t required to be in the same place at the same time? 

You first need to determine the right communication tools. In terms of discussing the meeting agenda, you can record videos but keep it short. But make sure to include all relevant information and documents. You can also use an email for longer and more detailed discussions. 


Tips and Best Practices for Asynchronous Workers 

Working away from the office and on your own time presents challenges, like getting distracted by chores at home. To ensure you stay on the right track, consider these tips and practices:

  • Manage your time and set boundaries.
  • Be transparent at all times.
  • Communicate often and early.
  • Don’t over-communicate.
  • Familiarize yourself with async tools.


How Kilpatrick Can Help Your Company in Managing Asynchronous Work

If you’re having difficulties in managing asynchronous work, Kilpatrick Executive can help. In addition to finding the right talents, Kilpatrick provides services and technology that support the development and management of your teams working from different parts of the world. Our experienced consultants can help you develop solutions to your organization’s HR problems. 


Find out more on how Kilpatrick can assist you in managing asynchronous employees. Contact us today.