The work landscape has shifted and morphed into a creature far beyond the norm. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever transformed how we work, leading to hybrid work and asynchronous work models.
But hold on! Let’s not put the cart before the horse. Perhaps you’re wondering, what is asynchronous work? And if you’re not, you should be. Here’s why…
The New Kid on the Block: Asynchronous Work
Unlike popular belief, asynchronous work is here to stay. It’s a way of organizing work in which people and teams aren’t required to physically be in the same place or at the same time. With the lessons most companies learned in the wake of the COVID pandemic on work and employee productivity, this option seems like a no-brainer.
I know you’ve just wrapped your head around remote work, and you’re probably thinking, “Another work model?! I just got the hang of this whole remote work thing.” But bear with me here; there’s more to this story.
Unlocking the Power of Asynchronous Work
Okay, let’s put a pin in the jargon for a moment. Before we jump into the countless advantages of asynchronous work, let’s take a step back.
Imagine this: It’s a typical day at work. Your team members are scattered across different time zones, you’re juggling back-to-back meetings, and your best ideas always seem to strike when everyone else is off the clock. It’s a scheduling nightmare.
This is where asynchronous work waltzes in and says, “Hold my coffee!”
Asynchronous Work: The Superhero in Disguise
Asynchronous work is about breaking free from the shackles of the traditional 9-to-5, Monday- to Friday work schedule. It gives your team the freedom to work when they are most productive, even if that means working at different times.
Sounds intriguing. But wait until you hear the benefits. Asynchronous work is like a Swiss Army knife for modern work challenges. Let’s delve into its many tools!
1. Flexibility and Work-Life Balance
In an asynchronous work setup, your team members can arrange their work around their life instead of squeezing life into the gaps between work. That yoga class at 11 AM? No problem! Picking up kids from school? Easy peasy!
This flexibility doesn’t just make your team happier; it also makes them more productive. Why? Because when employees have a healthy work-life balance, they’re more likely to be focused and energized when they sit down to work.
2. Improved Productivity
Asynchronous work allows people to work at their “peak hours.” Not everyone is a morning person brimming with creativity at the crack of dawn. Some folks are night owls whose best ideas come to life under the moonlight. I get my best creative work done early in the morning before my teammates in my time zone have woken up.
With asynchronous work, everyone can work at times when they’re most productive. People do know when is their best moment to get focus work done. This way, you’re not just getting more work done; you’re getting better work done.
Asynchronous work allows for the best focus time
3. Enhanced Creativity
When a rigid work schedule does not bind you, your mind can wander and explore new ideas. Asynchronous work provides this freedom. It creates an environment where creativity can flourish, leading to innovative solutions and breakthrough ideas.
4. Global Talent Access
Think about it. When time zones do not limit you, you can tap into a global talent pool. Need a top-notch software developer? You can hire the best, no matter where they live. Looking for a creative content writer? The world is your oyster!
5. Reduced Burnout
Employee burnout is a real problem. And one of the leading causes? Long, inflexible work hours. Employees can take breaks when needed with asynchronous work, reducing stress and the risk of burnout.
6. Efficient Use of Time
No more hours wasted in meetings that could’ve been emails. In an asynchronous setup, meetings are scheduled only when necessary, and most communication happens through tools that allow for thoughtful responses.
7. Better Decision Making
With asynchronous communication, everyone has the time to think through their responses. This leads to more thoughtful decisions and less on-the-spot pressure.
8. Inclusive Work Environment
Asynchronous work is a win-win for everyone. It’s ideal for parents who need to balance work and childcare, individuals with different abilities who might need flexible schedules, and people living in different time zones.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Each team is unique and will require a tailored approach to reap the full benefits of asynchronous work.
The Asynchronous Advantage
Asynchronous work offers an array of advantages, especially in this new era of hybrid work. Picture this: Your team working seamlessly across time zones, with everyone having the freedom to contribute when they are at their most productive. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t. This dream can become a reality with a little thing called Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).
OKRs: The Secret Sauce of Asynchronous Work
OKRs are a goal-setting framework that can help your team understand what they need to achieve and allow them to work towards these goals at their own pace. Here are the benefits:
- Enhanced employee engagement: When employees understand their goals and can work towards them at their own pace, they are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their work.
- Improved well-being at work: Working asynchronously means your team can balance work and personal life more effectively. No more juggling childcare or missing gym classes!
- Increased productivity: People are productive at different times. With asynchronous work, employees can do their best work when they are most energized and focused.
So, what does an ‘asynchronous first’ company look like? It’s a company that considers work in terms of outcomes, not hours. It’s a company that understands that the office is just one place where work can happen. The company sees the potential for growth and success in hybrid work and remote work models.
But What If I Want My Team Together Sometimes?
Excellent question! Even in an ‘asynchronous first’ company, everyone can be in the same place at the same time. A company, however, will struggle to add remote workers, successfully implement a hybrid work model, or expand into new regions or countries without that ‘asynchronous first’ mindset.
In other words, it is not a case of throwing synchronous work out the window. It’s all about being adaptable and flexible. It’s about allowing the work to dictate the schedule rather than the clock dictating the outcome.
There you have it, a deep dive into the ocean of benefits that is asynchronous work. It’s more than a trend; it’s a revolution changing how we think about work and productivity. But keep in mind: Ultimately, giving your team the freedom to work in the way that suits them best will result in a happier, more productive, and more engaged team. Who wouldn’t want that?
Dive In Headfirst or Dip Your Toes?
Okay, so you’re sold on the concept, but the transition seems daunting. Fear not, brave manager, because you can start small. Try implementing asynchronous work for a single project or team and see how it goes. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new work model won’t be either!
Q: Isn’t asynchronous work just another term for remote work?
A: Nope, they’re not the same. Remote work refers to working outside of a traditional office setting, while asynchronous work refers to working at different times. You can be a remote worker
Q: How can I ensure my team is accountable in an asynchronous work model?
A: Great question! Accountability in an asynchronous work model can be ensured by setting clear expectations, using OKRs, and regularly checking in with your team.
Let’s dive deeper into making your organization genuinely asynchronous first. Schedule a free call with me to discuss your experience with asynchronous work and how you can better embrace this new way of working. Because the future of work is asynchronous, and the future is now!
Koen Blanquart is an author, keynote speaker, and strategy consultant. Being a digital nomad, Koen operates worldwide, while he considers New York his home base. In his most recent book, Koen gathered tips and methods of digital nomads to manage a remote workforce and hybrid work. Koen explains how asynchronous and remote work is critical in creating a high-performance workforce in his most recent book. Whenever Koen finds a chance, he’s out and about with his camera.