Digital Communication

Asynchronous vs Synchronous Communication: How to Balance Them in a Remote Work Environment

by admin

A lot is going on in the workplace, and it revolves around communication, from team managers sending instructions to their subordinates to junior team members reporting the latest updates to their line managers. Communication is essential in the workplace. Therefore, it is important to ensure that proper communication is implemented in the workplace.

In this post, we will be discussing two major types of communication that operate in the remote work environment, their similarities and differences, and how to balance them in remote work.

What is asynchronous communication?

Asynchronous communication is one of the most common forms of communication in remote working environments. It is a type of communication that creates a lag between when a message is sent and when the recipient interprets and sends feedback. Some of the most common examples of asynchronous communication include the following:

  • Email
  • Letters or direct mail
  • Project management tools
  • Text messaging
  • Direct messaging
  • Video recordings
  • Asynchronous meetings

Unlike asynchronous communication, synchronous communication happens on an immediate basis. It is a communication pattern where at least two individuals exchange information in real-time. The most important word in describing synchronous communication is “real-time.” Synchronous communication must be done in real-time, but it must not necessarily be a physical communication — it can be virtual. Some of the common examples of synchronous communication include the following:

  • In-person meeting
  • Phone call
  • Video conferences, such as Zoom, Slack, and more.
  • Conversations over coffee

Some differences exist between asynchronous and synchronous communication. However, the most significant one is that synchronous communication happens in real-time, making it faster and more dynamic. On the other hand, asynchronous communication occurs over a given period, eliminating the need to be available in real-time.

How to find the balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication in a remote team?

Both synchronous and asynchronous communication have an essential role in the remote work environment. The best bet is to find a way to balance them.

1. Minimizing Synchronous Meetings

One of the best ways to balance async and sync communication in a remote work environment is to minimize the time spent in synchronous meetings. The team managers should make efforts to convert some synchronous meetings into asynchronous ones by sending emails or voice recordings to the team members.

2. Proper Documentation

Another way to create a balance is by properly documenting every detail of the meeting for future reference purposes. You should always write document summaries of decisions and resolutions during synchronous meetings. After sitting in on a meeting, or after being in a meeting, if you make a decision, write down the context around that, and write a summary of the decision. Record action items immediately. Don’t wait around; record it immediately. Document your processes and responses to frequently asked questions.

3. Organizing Team Bonding Events

Furthermore, team managers in a remote work environment should always organize regular team bonding events to manage isolation and maintain social relationships. Combining async and synchronous communication will achieve a happier team with a healthy work-life balance.

4. Striking a Balance

Both asynchronous and synchronous communication is essential to the proper functioning of every startup. But, to get the best of both worlds, team leaders must create a good balance between the two forms of communication.

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