When working as a member of a remote or hybrid team, strong communication is the key to success. This isn’t a new revelation, but a reminder that if you and your team have been running into speedbumps lately, your mode of communication just might be the reason why.
These roadblocks could have arisen for a number of reasons. Maybe your team is used to the familiarity of meeting in-person and is struggling to adapt to their new video conferencing platform for safely-distanced meetings. Or maybe you're tried and true asynchronous communication platform that worked great when you were commuting to the office is unable to adequately support the communication needs of your fully remote team.
When considering how to implement synchronous communication vs asynchronous communication in the workplace, finding a balance that works best for your employees is key. The most successful remote organizations recommend that the majority of employee communication is done asynchronously. They have found that 70% asynchronous, 25% synchronous, and 5% in-person is the ideal communication formula for high-functioning remote teams.
To get the most out of your remote communication, it may be time for you to reinvent, or at the very least redefine, your team’s synchronous and asynchronous communication strategies.
Synchronous communication is any communication that happens in real-time between two or more people, with the expectation of receiving an immediate response.
In a typical onsite office setting, the majority of communication that happens is synchronous and often happens without a second thought. However, when you are a member of a remote or hybrid team, synchronous communication requires an added layer of scheduling and planning.
Some examples of synchronous communication are:
For remote teams, especially those that rarely meet in-person, synchronous communication helps to build trust and camaraderie. Having the option to conduct business or casually catch up in real-time can go a long way towards helping remote employees feel connected to the rest of their organization. Therefore, synchronous communication should be reserved for situations that benefit from either a humanizing factor or necessitate immediate responses.
Some of the primary uses of synchronous communication for remote teams are:
Asynchronous communication is any communication where there is a time lag between when one person delivers information and the other person receives the information. In other terms, asynchronous communication is any communication that does not happen in real-time.
For most remote and hybrid teams, asynchronous communication is the ideal mode of transferring information. Asynchronous communication allows all parties to take the time they need to process and respond to information, on a timeline that best fits their schedule. It is an essential tool for remote teams, but has gained prominence in office settings as well due to the vast array of modern asynchronous communication tools.
Some examples of asynchronous communication are:
Whether you are a fully remote employee or work primarily in an office, there are many benefits to utilizing asynchronous communication tools throughout your workday. When you turn to asynchronous methods of communication over synchronous methods, you are choosing to relieve the pressure of immediately responding and instead can have the time to generate a response that is more than an automatic reaction. Communicating on your own schedule leads to higher-quality communication, a benefit to any organization remote or on-site.
There are certain situations where synchronous communication is the more logical and more useful form of communication. However, for remote and hybrid teams, synchronous communication requires an added degree of advanced planning to ensure everyone involved can fit the conference call or remote meeting into their schedule.
To ensure that you are using synchronous communication only when it is necessary and to prioritize employee productivity, use these strategies when scheduling your next synchronous communication session:
When utilized correctly, asynchronous communication allows for more productive conversations among hybrid or fully remote teams. Additionally, asynchronous communication allows for a record of conversations and a more collaborative environment for long-term projects without interrupting the natural workflow of any team members.
For fully remote workers, asynchronous communication is a critical tool that's purpose cannot be overstated. To instill asynchronous communication best practices in your remote teams, use these asynchronous communication strategies:
The tools you choose to support both synchronous communication and asynchronous communication at your organization is just as important as the decision of which mode of communication to utilize. It will be up to you to find the software and apps that work best at keeping your remote and hybrid teams connected as they work from anywhere, here are the basic asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to get you started.
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