It goes without saying that asynchronization has officially entered the ranks of corporate buzzwords. There’s validity, however, in its leap to mainstream jargon, as the methodology has ushered in unprecedented levels of productivity and growth for businesses across the country.
Forty-two percent of workers in the U.S. were forced out of the office and into their homes last year when Covid-19 struck. Businesses that weren’t able to pivot their operations to function remotely suddenly found themselves in hot water, while others with more agile infrastructures and technologies were in a better position to adapt. From here, paths diverged. Some led their organizations forward with a “business as usual” mentality, while others opted for hyper-cognizance, noting market movements and enacting organizational changes in real-time.
Asynchronous work was that change, and it has opened the door to flexibility for businesses and organizations that proved capable of making the necessary adjustments to implement a new model. Asynchronization offered, and continues to offer, leaders an opportunity to continue to do well, working towards and achieving their business objectives — but also the chance to do good, maintaining jobs and doing right by their people during a time when many faced economic and emotional difficulty. It has worked really well for us at Aura, and I know many other companies are finding similar.
So, What Is Asynchronous Work?
Asynchronous work focuses on the most valuable resource of all: time. Asynchronous is a new way of working where time is reimagined. It means to take the measuring of time and implement systems across your organization that make the best use of it. An asynchronous workforce operates in a mode that sets a decision point and works backward from there, both individually and collaboratively — all at once and without the need for a centralized location. The benefits are realized in increased schedule flexibility while at home, enhanced work-life balance, rediscovering value in the work day-to-day, greater focus during prescribed working hours and much more.
The topic of whether fully remote workforces will become the new normal is deserving of editorial attention entirely on its own; however, in our current corporate reality, asynchronous working models have proven to make a difference.
But how exactly does asynchronous work … work?
Say Goodbye To The 9-To-5
Asynchronization doesn’t have concrete daily working hours — quite the opposite. Finding pockets of time throughout the day and committing to achieving a predetermined list of objectives is the name of the game. Doing so allows for uninterrupted focus and clarity in what needs to get done, inching the team and business closer to its end goal.
Meetings Mean More
In an asynchronous business, meetings don’t occur simply to inform others, especially when the conversations can be covered off in an email or via collaborative tools.
How should leaders adjust? By leaning on prep work heading into a meeting and circulating pre-reads and other necessary information ahead of time so all members join with an understanding of what needs to be discussed and, more importantly, where the call needs to end, so everyone is on the same page as far as next steps and responsibilities are concerned.
This isn’t to say that all meetings will be canceled in the name of efficiency. Having allotted time on the calendar to talk about things other than work, or to celebrate a milestone or special occasion with teammates, can have a tremendous impact on morale. Face time with colleagues is important now more than ever, as working remotely can lead to feelings of isolation and exclusion. Finding the right balance of the two in an asynchronous working model is no easy feat, but doing so will net the business a stronger culture in the long run.
Communication And Documentation Are Key
In our increasingly connected economy, communication and documentation tactics have become one in the same thanks to technology. Collaboration tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Teams and Slack merge the two tactics, making it extremely difficult not to communicate and collaborate. Implementing a balance of the many productivity and communication tools available into your business infrastructure to track progress toward goals will help in holding your leaders and employees accountable and will help you identify areas for optimization and opportunity.
But like anything, know there are limits. Encourage autonomy and trust throughout your organization and ensure your leaders are promoting the same at every level. There’s no height a business can’t reach when its people can communicate freely and feel they’re supported and empowered to get the job done.