Last editedMay 20222 min read
The modern work environment has evolved a lot in the past couple of years thanks to the integration of new technologies that enable remote working. Even as many of us head back to the office, these technologies continue to improve and enhance the way we communicate.
One of the communication methods that has become popular among modern businesses is asynchronous communication. It means communicating 'out of sync' instead of responding immediately to interaction, as is the case with traditional synchronous communication.
Here we will explain what asynchronous communication is and how it can benefit your business.
What is asynchronous communication?
Asynchronous communication happens when one person provides information and there is a time delay between the second person receiving, processing, and responding to that information. Communication does not occur in real time due to the time delay between interactions.
For example, an in-house team in the UK might send some instructions to their offshore partners working in China. Because of the time-zone difference, the offshore team will not read or respond to the instructions for several hours. When they respond, the UK's in-house team will have finished for the evening, and it will be several more hours until they respond.
While asynchronous communication has been around for a long time, it is now a part of work culture within the same time zone and even the same office. Now, two colleagues in the same building can use asynchronous communication to have a conversation at a pace that suits both of their schedules. This saves one or both having to interrupt their workflow to have a conversation that does not need to happen in real time.
Benefits of synchronous and asynchronous communication
The advantages of synchronous communication are simply that you have a conversation in real time. Responses are immediate, and you can connect on a personal level more effectively with a back-and-forth exchange. Synchronous communication helps brainstorm ideas, team-building activities, and one-on-one training or onboarding.
Note that the above examples where synchronous communication is beneficial are generally exceptions to the regular work routine. It should also be noted that not all responses need to be immediate in the usual daily interactions between workmates. Synchronising everyone's schedule to facilitate synchronous communication can be detrimental to one or more parties involved.
So let's look at the benefits of asynchronous communication which are less obvious.
Benefits of asynchronous communication
Being able to work to your own schedule is empowering for employees. Their time is theirs to manage, and they are not expected to drop everything to have a meeting or discussion that doesn't benefit their own productivity. Instead, they can make the decision to continue on the task at hand rather than breaking the flow of their concentration.
Responding asynchronously also allows employees to handle tasks like clearing their email inbox at times of the day less suited to intense focused work, which can vary for different people. For example, many like to focus in the morning and communicate more in the afternoon. This can boost overall productivity for the team.
This method of communication helps reduce stress, and actually encourages thoughtful communication. This means that instead of responding in real time with little to no time to process the provided information, the employee can take their time to really think about how to respond effectively.
To recap, the benefits of asynchronous communication in the workplace are:
Encourages thoughtful communication
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