Asynchronous Work

What Is Asynchronous Work?

Asynchronous (async) work can be described as an organizational workforce that doesn’t abide or operate on a standardized business schedule, instead, individual employees can execute their workload autonomously and fulfill obligations per their personalized timetable. Where traditional working models of yesteryear conform to the Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm routine, nonsynchronous work is empowered by the radical shift to changing technologies and the increasing viability of remote work.


Further defined, asynchronous work is the execution of team cooperation and collaboration without the requirement of simultaneous online participation. Asynchronous communication is a core attribute of asynchronous work in that employees are able to personalize response windows and aren’t obliged to communicate and respond instantaneously or in real-time. Non-parallel work better balances individual work-life by reinventing processes and pioneering new ways for businesses and employees to operate. Tools such as Google Workspace enable asynchronous work, all from a centralized collaborative space where data can be accessed and shared by employees at any given time. Asynchronous work only becomes possible with the adoption and use of tools such as these.

The Benefits Of Asynchronous Work

When employees are given the chance to better decide and navigate their workload, it frees them from singular deadlines and immutable constraints that can ultimately hinder productivity for them and the wider team. Time wasted refreshing Gmail and participating in meetings that aren’t relevant to a particular employee objective can be avoided with asynchronous scheduling. Async work allows for employees to be more flexible and versatile with their time, allowing them to better balance work-life and produce purposeful contributions.


Async work reimagines the monotonous 9 to 5 workload, understanding that employee productivity isn’t always best achieved under immovable parameters. Instead, when an employee is afforded trust and flexibility they become empowered and are better able to independently and effectively self-manage. Enterprises with a remote workforce know the sporadic effort required in coordinating meetings with team members located around the world, in different time zones. Async work solves this issue by enabling an environment where employees can personalize communication schedules, coordinate with each other, utilize long-form communication methods and predetermine the availability of each team member.


Nonsynchronous work can also mitigate instances of miscommunication between team members. Whether video calls, phone calls, or other real-time communicative efforts, objectives and misunderstanding can occur if you’re without access to fast wifi or the app is giving delayed responses. A benefit of Async communication is that it’s primarily done through writing mediums, e.g. notes, docs, email, etc. The alternate pace at which async communications are conducted allows time for each employee to craft and articulate responses with less potential for error.


Having the time to compose, edit and convey messages, objectives, and information with accuracy creates a foundation for clear and coherent communication channels. Moreover, data and information are more easily verifiable and accessible due to the tangible nature of the writing tools utilized by nonparallel communication. This can result in the acquisition of reference able data that can be accessed and stored at the organization’s discretion.

The Challenges Of Asynchronous Work

While there are multiple benefits of async work when organized and implemented properly, there are also a few challenges. Async allows for further individual autonomy over workloads but as a consequence, it can also inhibit collaborative productivity. Team efforts and time-sensitive objectives can stall if one member isn’t readily available or responding. This means results are less instantaneous, decisions aren’t able to be made and time-sensitive information can’t be relayed. asynchronous work can quickly become inefficient if not implemented with the correct education, employee training, and management tools.


Poor asynchronous management processes can also result in employees working imbalanced and informal hours. This can eventually lead to increased stress for an employee who hasn’t defined parameters around their workload and capabilities. It’s the employer’s responsibility to ensure asynchronous work benefits not only the company but the employees too. If clear and concise boundaries and protocols aren’t set, employees may operate in a grey area and not be aware of their objectives and limitations. Things like reiterating availability, designating responsibilities, providing emergency contacts, time-tracking, and deciding on hours of contact can all mitigate the challenges and risks that come with asynchronous work.

How Asynchronous Teams Work

Asynchronous work requires a few key elements in order to maintain organizational productivity. The remote nature of async work means an entirely new management process needs to be understood and adopted by all involved – this means readjusting thought, work, personal, and management processes. Employee trust is a core element driving asynchronous work. With a new level of personal responsibility, employees must manage and fulfill their workload without the motivational benefits of asynchronous routine or the presence of superior guidance.


With async work, each team member autonomously tailors their workload in conjunction with team objectives – which means placing added trust in the employee’s hands to self-manage. Employee trust is just one of many ways that enable async teams to operate, others include adopting the lean methodology. A Japanese philosophical method that believes in reducing waste and optimizing processes – this also applies to asynchronous people management. Identifying redundant processes, reclaiming lost time, and increasing individual productivity can be pillars of not only an organization’s async workforce – but a wider people process improvement strategy.


The implementation of successful people management processes is pivotal to async work. Establishing clear guidelines that cultivate efficiency and mutual participation is also key, such as dedicating a time slot where all team members are required to be available and online at certain hours/days of the week. This straddles the line between asynchronous and synchronous work – where a percentage of work is dedicated to organizational meetings conducted in real-time.

Essential Tools For Asynchronous Teams

It’s essential that for asynchronous work to succeed, the right management tools be utilized to improve communication, documentation, coordination, and collaboration efforts. Organizations already have multiple simultaneously moving parts and with asynchronous work adding an extra layer of complexity, the importance of underpinning concurrent processes with reliable and centralized tools and solutions becomes apparent.


Below are the essential tools harnessed by an asynchronous workforce aiming for efficiency and productivity:

Communication: Gmail

For communicative tools, Gmail has long been a classic form of contact for global industries and it seems its formal appeal is the reason for becoming a primary form of communication for asynchronous teams. Apart from being trusted and reliable, Gmail has a ton of extra features, including Smart Compose and Smart Reply, intelligent search suggestions, and automatic spam filters. Gmail, Slack, Zoom, and ProtonMail are a few other reputable communications providers.

Time Keeping: TimeDesk

Asynchronous teams working remotely and self-managing need to focus on what matters most. This means less time spent tracking and recording work hours. TimeDesk is a perfect app for tracking team actions, time spent, and productivity levels during work. Timekeeping apps like these tell you the duration of which you work and can keep you from going overtime and burning out. Clockify, Toggl, and Time Doctor are a few other timekeeping reputable tools.

Team Collaboration: Google Workspace

Google Workspace is a set of trusted applications and tools ideally suited for collaborative and communicative asynchronous work. Collaborative tools that are easy to use and can simultaneously host multiple parties are of added importance for asynchronous teams who require seamless collaborative capabilities given their disparate operations. Google Workspace is a classic set of productivity tools continuing to stand the test of time. Docs, Worksheets, Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Forms, etc. all have collaborative features allowing team members to securely compose, edit and share content.

Project Management: Asana

Managing multiple ongoing projects with various moving parts can be a challenge for any team, even more so if you’re in an asynchronous team, that’s why adopting project management tools that relieve the pressure of having to manually organize and coordinate projects are highly recommended. Project management tools like Asana are created to enhance productivity, communication, and collaboration while enabling transparency, accountability, and integration. Trello, Wrike, Monday, and Jira are a few other good project management alternatives.

Asynchronous Work & Digital Transformation

As technology rapidly evolves, the pressure for organizations and employees to keep pace and adapt to changing technological demands proves challenging. Digital transformation has reinvented and pioneered new and innovative processes that are revolutionizing major global sectors. These newly emerging technological processes, tools, and devices have opened up a world of possibilities for organizations – enabling the increase of efficiency, productivity, and profitability. These tools, however, are only as beneficial as the people processes underpinning them.


Asynchronous work is only viable when the tools and processes coming out of digital transformation are understood and utilized to the fullest. Async teams are tasked with producing and coordinating work remotely, which means added pressure and responsibility – and a slim chance of succeeding without these innovative tools and solutions. Digital transformation forges new innovative processes that empower and emancipate asynchronous workers – extending them the right to disconnect, log off and reshape what work looks like in the 21st century.

Updated: December 09, 2022

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