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How you can facilitate asynchronous work

Small Business • December 27, 2023 at 4:15 PM • Written by: Elizabeth Walker

Many employers with remote workers and distributed teams have begun looking for ways to offer their employees more autonomy and promote collaboration as they work in different physical spaces and potentially different time zones.

A practice known as asynchronous work is often the key to reaching this goal. But what exactly does “asynchronous” mean, and how can you achieve it?

Below, we’ll look at what asynchronous work is and how you can implement it in your organization to create efficient and independent remote teams.

Takeaways from this blog post:

  • Asynchronous work allows employees to complete tasks on their own schedule, reducing pressure to be constantly available and allowing for greater focus and productivity.
  • Implementing asynchronous work processes promotes autonomy and trust within remote teams, allowing employees to work independently and make their own decisions.
  • Asynchronous work fosters a more relaxed and inclusive workplace, building trust and facilitating collaboration among team members in a remote setting.

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What is asynchronous work?

Asynchronous work is a practice that allows your employees to complete their tasks on their own schedule instead of following the same schedule as their colleagues. In a remote setting, asynchronous work can mean that you don’t require members of the same team to be online simultaneously.

Unlike synchronous work, where managers expect employees to be in touch with their teammates immediately throughout the work day, asynchronous workers can respond whenever is best for them. Communication doesn’t have to be instant, so your employees can reduce pressure on themselves to respond quickly and instead focus on their work.

The key to asynchronous work is implementing processes that allow your employees to work autonomously and trusting them to do so. After all, you may have remote teams that live all over the globe. These individuals can maximize their productivity in any time zone without waiting for others to complete their tasks.

What are the benefits of asynchronous work?

Asynchronous working requires thoughtfulness and careful planning. But it creates a more relaxed and inclusive workplace, particularly if you’re a fully remote company. Let’s highlight some critical advantages of asynchronous working in the sections below.

Greater productivity and less stress

When you allow your employees and teams to set their own time and work routine, they can focus more on their work, creating a stress-free work environment.

According to studies1, the average employee only goes 11 minutes without a distraction, with office workers getting interrupted seven times per hour. Without the constant distractions of chat messages or video calls, employees can have more uninterrupted time throughout the day to finish their work. Deep concentration on the quality of their work is better for your business outcomes.

Asynchronous working provides ample opportunity for people to work without unnecessary distractions—and minimized distractions mean greater overall productivity.

More ownership and individual responsibility

Working asynchronously gives your employees greater flexibility for task management and allows them to make more independent decisions. Taking ownership of their work also relieves your managers and team leaders, freeing up time for them to focus on their work as well.

Ownership and responsibility are essential aspects of working at any company. It makes your employees feel like an important part of the company, where leaders gear and trust their opinions, which improves employee engagement and satisfaction. They’ll also have more control over their day and can use their time more effectively to provide their best work.

Builds trust throughout your organization

If you’re doing asynchronous work and communication correctly, you’ll build trust between yourself and your employees. If you trust your employees to be thought leaders in their skillset, reliable in their abilities, and vulnerable enough to show weakness where they need help, your company will run much smoother in a remote setting.

Asynchronous work facilitates all three of these aspects. Your employees can focus on delivering their work on time and thinking deeply about their tasks while empowering them to collaborate with their entire team.

This independent level of working creates trust from the top down because your employees will know you believe in them to get the job done.

Promotes greater flexibility

The most significant benefit of working remotely and asynchronously is that your teams can set their own hours in a flexible work climate. If you have employees that are more productive during the day, they can opt for that. If you have other employees that work better at night, they can pick those hours.

Asynchronous working also means employees can work from anywhere they are most productive, whether from home, in a café, or even while traveling. Having the flexibility to make their own decisions allows them to build their ideal work environment with the best work-life balance.

Finally, if your company operates in multiple states or is international, you may have employees in different time zones. With synchronous collaboration, employees in different time zones usually struggle to make themselves available during non-work hours.

Asynchronous work solves this problem entirely. Employees can work according to their time zone without waiting for their teammates to log on and complete tasks, ultimately driving ownership, independence, and flexibility.

How you can facilitate asynchronous work in your organization

From adopting different processes to creating a more positive company culture, moving to an asynchronous work environment doesn’t happen overnight. Luckily, we’ve got some tips and tricks you can use to become an asynchronous company.

Here’s how you can facilitate asynchronous work at your organization:

  • Focus on transparency amongst remote team members: Most discussions should happen publicly or on record, ensuring people don’t miss crucial information.
  • Encourage writing and detailed messages: Explain situations in detail to a point where there are no pressing questions. There should be as much written-down information as possible.
  • Rely on documentation: This involves documenting your processes and best practices for everyone to read and refer back to in case they have questions, such as with a company handbook.
  • Promote asynchronous communication methods: You should choose an asynchronous model that allows your teams to communicate at different times. This ensures your async teams will have the information they need when working.
  • Avoid excessive back and forth: If a discussion takes a few back-and-forths via messaging, it’s no longer considered async communication. Save these conversations for a brief meeting or synchronous call.
  • Limit the use of video calls: In an asynchronous setting, coordinating video calls may not be feasible. Use instant messages or quick phone calls to reduce the time spent on virtual meetings and enable employees to focus on work.
  • Provide sufficient training: Managers should clearly define tasks and ongoing projects and include all necessary information, like the expected outputs, timelines, owners, contributors, and the steps involved, along with adequate training for individuals to succeed.
  • Introduce the right tools and processes: Review your async teams' tools and processes and choose the best ones that encourage a seamless work environment.

How does asynchronous communication compare to synchronous communication?

Asynchronous communication is just one aspect of asynchronous work, but it’s the most widely known aspect because the vast majority of people have practiced asynchronous communication skills at some point. Asynchronous communication describes all forms of communication that don’t require many different parties to be available simultaneously.

Async communication is typically not in-person, and it's usually unscheduled. It protects everyone’s time and promotes more meaningful work by reducing unnecessary distractions, especially if you have remote workers.

Examples of asynchronous communication tools include:

  • Email
  • Letters or other direct mail
  • Project management platforms like Asana, Basecamp, and Trello
  • Document sharing, like Google Docs
  • Text messaging
  • Direct messaging, like Slack messages
  • Video messaging

On the other hand, experts consider synchronous communication “real-time communication.” It’s when two or more people are exchanging information at the same moment without delay. It can be in-person or virtual, scheduled or impromptu.

While synchronous communication may be the norm within an office environment, if you’re transitioning to a remote environment, you’ll want your teams to have a say on how they want to communicate.

Other examples of synchronous communication methods include:

  • In-person meetings
  • Phone calls
  • Video conferences, like Zoom meetings
  • Synchronous group learning environments
  • Water cooler conversations at the office

A significant downside of synchronous communication is that it can distract your employees from what they’re working on and break their focus. Not being able to focus entirely on their work means a potential drop in consistency, leading to lower productivity.

Generally, asynchronous communication practices maximize productivity, while synchronous work binds progress to communication and availability. But at the end of the day, asynchronous and synchronous communication methods must work together for modern companies.

When you should choose asynchronous or synchronous communication

As we learned above, asynchronous and synchronous communication is the differences between faster and more flexible communication. However, there are specific situations where each type of communication method would work best.

Choosing synchronous communication may be best when:

  • You need to build a personal connection with a client or customer.
  • You’re hosting a workplace retreat.
  • Brainstorming ideas with leadership.
  • Discussing a topic with a lot of variables.
  • Discussing sensitive issues, such as HR concerns.

However, synchronous communication is ideal for you and your employees when a message isn’t urgent. People can receive the message and respond at their own pace without worrying about interrupting their daily tasks.

It’s best to choose asynchronous communication when:

  • Immediate feedback isn’t required.
  • You need to communicate with multiple people who aren’t available simultaneously.
  • You want to clarify the context before an upcoming meeting time.
  • You’re collaborating with someone in a different time zone.
  • You have documentation for employees that they can use for future reference.


With remote work increasing in popularity in recent years, finding the right balance between synchronous and asynchronous methods for your remote organization is essential.

An asynchronous work model can bring a lot of value to your company if you know how to optimize it. The tips and tricks we highlighted above will enable your teams to function more efficiently in a virtual workspace as the first step in achieving your goal of running a successful and asynchronous company.

This article was originally published on July 20, 2022. It was last updated on December 27, 2023.

  1. https://www.getclockwise.com/blog/what-is-focus-time#:~:text=How%20we%20spend%20our%20work%20time

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Elizabeth Walker

Elizabeth Walker is a content marketing specialist at PeopleKeep. She has worked for the company since April 2021. Elizabeth has been a writer for more than 20 years and has written several poems and short stories, in addition to publishing two children’s books in 2019 and 2021. Her background as a musician and love of the arts continues to inspire her writing and strengthens her ability to be creative.