Approximately 92 million Americans can work remotely in some capacity. However, the McKinsey survey results suggest that only 87% of these people choose to do so. That may be because remote work doesn’t equate to flexible working.
“Flexible working” covers many areas, primarily freedom of working hours and location. When employees ask to work remotely, what they want is flexibility to work in a way that suits them.
But flexible working can be challenging to implement. How do you keep everyone on the same page? The key is to embrace separate working styles by employing asynchronous work strategies.
Asynchronous work allows you to hire from anywhere in the world while maintaining a cohesive team. How is that possible?
Here’s a hint: the magic ingredient is nothing to do with weekly teambuilding meetings. Those are more likely to scare off talent.
Instead, asynchronous work is built on trust, autonomy, and communication.
But if the key is communication, how can it work with a global team? It’s doable but takes thorough planning. Here’s our guide on how asynchronous working works, and how to make a success of it in your company.
What Is Asynchronous Work?
Asynchronous work simply means that teams aren’t required to work in sync, or at the same time. Instead, they can choose to work whichever hours suit them, regardless of when this is in the work day.
While this is similar to the idea of flexible working, it’s a more deliberate strategy. Knowing that your team works from different at any hour of the day or night changes how you communicate.
Asynchronous working strategies don’t require staff to be online at a particular time. It assumes that most, if not all, communication will not be in sync. Rather, replies will always be delayed and at each employee’s discretion.
What Are the Benefits of Asynchronous Work?
As asynchronous work is more deliberate than flexible work, the benefits are clearer. Here are the advantages that have the greatest impact.
Better Management-Employee Relations
Employees who don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule will appreciate the agency that’s being extended to them. Now, they can work when it suits them, and when they are most productive.
This employee independence leads to better relationships with management. Staff feel trusted and empowered to manage their workload.
Choosing when you work best enables each employee to individually streamline their productivity. This becomes particularly powerful as asynchronous work comes with fewer disturbances. No weekly checkups, morning meetings, and other time wasters get in the way.
Instead, communication is all necessary and deliberate. And it can mostly be saved for when it’s convenient for all parties.
Wider Talent Pool
The remote working boom showed companies that flexible working expands their talent pool. Mastering the asynchronous working style means you can hire talent from anywhere.
Moving past the constraints of a time zone means you can consider global candidates. This is the best way to find the perfect person for each role in your company.
Tips for Successfully Implementing Asynchronous Work
Just because asynchronous work is a great solution doesn’t mean it’s easy to pull off. It requires a complete change in mindset. If you try to keep traditions like weekly team meetings a constant feature, your business won’t be able to reap the full rewards of the strategy.
Here are the most crucial pointers for making asynchronous work a success.
Keep Meetings to a Minimum
Meetings require synchronous communication. That is, everyone has to be available at the same time.
This is not well suited to the asynchronous working style. It can cause issues with remote teams who have to accommodate a different time zone.
For the greatest success, keep meetings to a minimum. Decide whether each meeting must happen in real-time, or whether the information could be sent by email. After all, if you wouldn’t want to get up for a meeting at 4 a.m. then neither does your team.
Don’t Favor One Time Zone
But some meetings are necessary. Emotional topics, like discipline and firing, or urgent matters, such as company-wide changes, are best done in real-time. Brainstorming is also only possible when all parties communicate live.
For this necessary synchronous work, don’t favour one time zone over another. Not everything should happen at the ideal time for your head office or managers.
Instead, alternate which time zone’s working day you’ll be meeting in. This helps each team member feel valued and increases enthusiasm for these meetings.
Clear Communication and Documentation
All communication needs to be crystal clear. As it will mostly be written, there’s lots of room for misinterpretation. Set clear communication guidelines, and stick to them.
This requires thorough documentation. All meeting notes should be recorded and accessible thereafter. This keeps everyone in the loop.
For that reason, your online workspace needs to be easy to use. If it’s difficult to find resources, your employees won’t be able to work autonomously.
Don’t set them up for failure. Optimise all online platforms that you use.
Incorporate Buffers Into Deadlines
Finally, make allowances for delayed communication by adding buffers to your deadlines.
However early you currently like client projects to be completed ahead of schedule, move that up by a day or two. That way, any communication issues or delays stay in-house. They don’t turn into delayed deliverables.
Work With the Global Employment Experts
Implementing a new strategy is never an easy task. Without proper planning and expertise, the transition can be stressful and problematic.
When embracing a new work style, it’s best to bring in the experts. Bradford Jacobs has helped companies optimise their communications and working styles for decades. We help you prepare for and manage working transitions, whether that be changes in policy or expanding overseas.
If you like the sound of asynchronous work, talk to us today to see how your company can implement it.