Asynchronous Work Might Be the Key to Productivity — Here's How to Make it Work for You

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
May 22, 2024 at 12:18PM UTC

As we move into a new world of work, different styles are emerging and replacing traditional ones. Now that more and more people are doing their jobs remotely, collaboration isn’t what it used to be.

Today, asynchronous work is steadily replacing synchronous work as the main mode at organizations around the world. While the synchronous style means that colleagues are collaborating and communicating with one another at the same time, no matter where they’re located, asynchronous is the opposite — people are working at different times, without expecting or receiving immediate responses and not necessarily completing their responsibilities simultaneously.

This is a more flexible style of work, and many employees enjoy more freedom. But it’s not without its drawbacks — and it requires careful consideration and planning on the part of workers and their managers. 

4 ways to make asynchronous work work for you

1. Establish means of communication.

Organizations and team members alike need to hammer out the details of how and when they will communicate. Even if they are largely working asynchronously, there may be, say, a weekly Zoom meeting to touch base. Perhaps they will also use Slack for quick check-ins, too. There should be established methods of getting in touch with colleagues in case of emergency as well.

2. Leverage collaboration tools.

Today, there are plenty of cloud-based tools that allow multiple people to access the latest versions of projects from practically any location. For example, Google Workspace encompasses apps like Docs, Sheets, Gmail and much more. Coworkers can collaborate on projects at any point, leaving changes and comments on files and storing their materials in one place.

3. Keep a schedule and task list.

Just because you aren’t working together with your colleagues at the same time doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have structure. In fact, structure is critical for maintaining balance, keeping the lines of communication open and otherwise keeping your work schedule on track.

It’s helpful to set a schedule and create a task list to ensure that you’re establishing order in your life and the lives of those around you — and formulating clear boundaries.

4. Define roles and expectations.

This one is mostly for managers, but it can be helpful for individual contributors and employees at any level to keep in mind, too. Because employees aren’t able to collaborate in person, they must always know what they’re supposed to be doing at any given time, as well as whom they should be collaborating with on given projects. The expectations must be clear as well. There should be goals that everyone involved is aware of, so you always know what you’re working toward.

Asynchronous work may seem intimidating, especially if you’re used to working side by side with colleagues and being able to get in touch with them whenever you need to. But as the work world evolves, it’s important to embrace the new styles that come with it. Who knows? It could even make you more productive.

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This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.

Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, and Funny-ish. View her work and get in touch at: www.lauraberlinskyschine.com.

Have you tried asynchronous work? How did you make it work for you? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss members!

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