asynchronous communication is a critical component of the future of work
The more I observe organizations struggling to work effectively while distributed the more I realize the future isn’t about “remote work” so much as “asynchronous work.”
That includes converging and diverging, as obviously there are times when our best work is done together in real-time.
Asynchronous (async) work requires:
- Strong communication skills
- High levels of trust
- Ability to write effectively
- Continuous reflection and iteration
- Cadence and rhythm of interaction
- Frequent alignment check-ins
- Proper tooling and processes
- Clear and continuously renegotiated boundaries
These skills are increasingly essential for high-performing teams of knowledge workers, where efficiency and effectiveness are (read: should be) top of mind for everyone working as a part of the team. Since working efficiently means producing the desired results with minimal wasted effort or resources, it’s imperative to practice and learn how to effectively work efficiently—and asynchronous work enables this.
Async work helps you and your teams:
- Reduce dependency on meetings
- Reclaim valuable time
- Cultivate less chaotic environments
- Facilitate more effective decision making
- Easily document knowledge, processes, and solutions
- Be free of constant scheduling and coordinating
- Cultivate more inclusive work cultures
- Have time to prepare your best thoughts, ideas, and responses
🚧 ⚠️ Rough Terrain Ahead ⚠️ 🚧
🛑 What’s this? ✍️ This whole note is a work in progress, but the below part is really rough. So why’s it here? Share ideas before they’re ready.
A knowledge worker’s toolkit needs to be well-rounded, and an increasingly essential part of this toolkit is the ability to work and communicate asynchronously.
think in terms of inputs and outputs to design better processes.
Slack (or Microsoft Teams, or similar) should be used primarily for informal communication. If you are accustomed to Slack being an always-on center of urgency in a prior organization, breaking your reliance on it as a core part of accomplishing tasks will require deliberate effort and reinforcement.
How to transition to working asynchronously
Resources for further learning
- GitLab — The Remote Playbook
- Threads — What the Evolution of Asynchronous Communication Tells Us About the Future of Work