Right mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication for remote teams 👀
A few weeks back I was preparing the (Product Hunt) launch plan for Flexiple and wanted a couple of dedicated hours by myself (a bit of googling revealed people call it 'Deep Work'). Given we have a small team with frequent verbal interactions during the day, I simply wasn't able to find time for two straight days. Eventually, I spent three hours at home after work to get this done.
This made me rethink the way we work in office and we realised the need to change the way we communicate. Constant distractions surely affect personal productivity and in turn, lead to lesser work being done. So we moved all our conversations to Slack (with integrations in place), speaking in-person only when absolutely necessary.
While moving to Slack was a marked improvement for us, by design, it pushes you to have 'live' chat or 'synchronous' communication. It was very easy for Varun to tap me on my shoulder when he saw that I hadn't responded to his message for 20 mins despite being online.
The problems we faced, simply magnify in the context of a fully remote team. This is why you see a lot of people talking about, and the movement towards, 'asynchronous', especially in the remote context.
- Asynchronous is effective - particularly to boost personal productivity
- Asynchronous alone may not work - Functions like engineering require collaborative work at times (e.g. pair programming). Moreover, having only asynchronous never lets you form a connect with your teammates
- Finding the right mix is critical - For example, Doist uses synchronous only 25% of the time for meetings (formal or informal catchups)
I would love to hear what you have to say on this. What mix of synchronous and asynchronous do you have at your workplace?
Remote Working Chronicles
Boris first ventured into remote work when his manager at Kiloo Games proposed working part-time while pursuing his Master's degree. He soon realised that it was so easy to be productive and get things done when working remotely. Boris went on to build his own fully distributed company thereafter. You can read his entire journey here.
Having lived in Miami, FL her entire life, Irma just wanted to get out and experience a new environment. This was her big push to go remote, wherein she pitched to her bosses on becoming the first remote employee of her company. Irma now works as a remote product manager, a function people are still skeptical of, working well in a remote setting. You can read her story here.
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