What is Asynchronous Work and How can Your Tech Team Put It Into Practice?

Asynchronous (async) allows for employees to organise their workload in alignment with their individual timetables. As it doesn't require team members to be working simultaneously, communication is not immediate, so workers can maximise productivity, and reduce pressure on both themselves and their colleagues.

By allowing your employees to work autonomously, this provides them with trust and responsibility, highly valued principles in a working environment. It has increasingly proven to be a method which comes with significant benefits, as companies that are embracing async are moving projects forward much more quickly than their synchronous style competitors. Businesses with async workflows tend to have higher employee morale, thanks to the trust necessitated by the async approach.

Asynchronous work enforces some of the best long-sought practices, such as multiplexing, communication, and action!

Multiplexing is a term used for when tasks are broken into smaller tasks as much as possible, enabling workers to track productivity as fast as possible. In this way, with this finely broken down format, more people are able to work on the same big task by tackling the smaller tasks within it. By multiplexing tasks, combining them to produce results faster, this allows workers to achieve success with more efficiency. 

Below we have put together a list of reasons as to why asynchronous work can benefit your tech company, and how to best put it into practice to ensure maximum results.

1. Efficient Communication 

Asynchronous work allows for slower response times and more efficient communication. With less interruption and distraction, productivity increases and work is produced at a higher, faster standard. By keeping communication async, this allows people to focus on their tasks longer, and to concentrate on best practices like documentation and writing proper procedures. For software developers, the opportunity to concentrate more on their individual tasks, such as writing code, which demands total focus, and less on regular communication with colleagues, will no doubt lead to achieving more within a shorter space of time. With an emphasis on multiplexing, asynchronous work promotes a transparent and all-encompassing working style, which ensures that your team is always up-to-date on what everyone is doing. By multiplexing tasks, this reduces scope which allows workers to deliver faster, and achieve success with confidence.

2. Documentation

Asynchronous work relies heavily upon documentation. Written procedures, note-taking and producing detailed reports result in an increased sense of clarity and organisation within the workplace. Placing more emphasis on written evidence and project write-ups, and less emphasis on meandering zoom meetings and phone calls, your workers will get more done with their time, and you’ll benefit from being able to watch their progress as they go. Taking, once again, the example of the software developers, they often need a lot of individual concentration time to complete important tasks such as code documentation. Code documentation enhances code readability and usability by combining pictures and written explanations which describe what a codebase does and how it can be used. The documentation of code, be it a simple explanation of code functions and blocks, or a more comprehensive summary of every aspect of the application, allows for it to be reused by others. The decreased disruption and distraction that an asynchronous working style offers enables coders to focus on documentation, expanding the overall knowledge and skills of your tech company at large. 

3. Decentralised Decision-Making

Asynchronous communication empowers independence, putting more trust in employees and their ability to perform. It focuses on making sure that a task and its effects are independent of whoever planned or executed it. Where synchronous work tethers progress to communication, forcing teams to halt progress on projects when one of the team members is unavailable due to different work hours or time off, asynchronous work allows employees to take action and follow their initiative. Asynchronous work encourages the concept of always defaulting to action, which reduces waiting times and helps the team move faster. If, for example, there is one developer with a tight deadline to make for an important company, but they have to take a day off due to sickness or other commitments, then another developer with some time on their hands can step in and complete the task. The transparency of async work enables your tech team to help each other out, without the extra stress of having to communicate more than necessary.

4. Autonomy

The ability to stay connected while also controlling the inflow of messages is not to be underestimated. As suggested in our recent guide about how to prevent burnout, the feeling of a lack of autonomy at work might be one of the main reasons as to why tech employees likely feel less motivated to perform at the best of their abilities. For many, the ability to get things done and stay connected, but to unplug when desired, represents quality of life. When employees decide when to receive messages, they retain their sense of personal agency and autonomy. They say when they are reachable, and are not left waiting for long periods and then expected to immediately react when a representative responds. This sense of agency in a tech team is vital for the performance and well-being of your employees, as by allowing this individual control, you are showing that you value your team, which in return will result in happier, and more loyal workers. 

5. Strong Teams

Sticking to a 9-to-5 work schedule in your company’s timezone excludes a vast pool of tech talent who don’t live in your area. Switching to asynchronous work will open up your doors to excellent candidates worldwide who would not have been able to work for you otherwise. If your tech company hires remotely, then multiplexing may already be something you are familiar with by now. With people working all hours of the day, tracking workload and project progression of your employees through a sociable and effective platform - take a look at our list of suggestions, here - will enhance the productivity of your tech employees. As a tech company leader, it is important to bear in mind that with many tech companies increasingly hiring solely remote employees, such as software engineers and data analysts, people boasting such skills can be found all over the globe. Nearshoring your tech team is actually a great way to shorten your tech team costs, Portugal for example has very talented professionals at a much lower rate than other european countries, if you would like to know more about it, here’s an article about nearshore in Portugal.

6. Clear Priorities 

An asynchronous working structure will grant your employees a clearer sense of both priorities and individual responsibility. When all tasks are communicated via multiplexing systems, this allows for all of your employees to keep track of what they are doing, and what their colleagues are doing. This prevents overlap, communication delays, and other such factors which hinder employees working within a synchronous company structure. If an employee feels in control of their workload, and has the space needed to be able to organise their daily schedule in a manageable and healthy way, this will boost overall company performance. Does the happiness of your employees matter in the bigger picture? Yes, and a great deal more than you think. Not convinced? Read our article which discusses this in more detail. 

7. Manageable Workloads

To produce great quality code, developers need time slots where they can dive deep into a problem and get lost in the task at hand. That could be a challenge for your tech team, if they are dealing with several projects for several clients who want quick responses. With an async approach, you can ensure your team members get deep work done while keeping in touch with their teammates in their own time. This respect for interruption free work-slots guarantees results at a more efficient and proactive rate.

8. Effective Meetings 

Fewer scheduled meetings results in more productive and dynamic company communications. When meetings are not as regular as the typical synchronous working schedule, this gives employees more time to prepare for them, which ultimately results in more engaging and constructive meetings, when they do happen. We’ve all been stuck in a meeting that drags on far too long, and at the end feel like nothing has been achieved and you have lost valuable time that could have been put towards something else. By taking the micromanagement foot off the pedal, and trusting your employees are doing their job to the best of their abilities, this allows everyone more time to focus on individual tasks. By checking up on your employees every now and again, as opposed to every hour, this not only gives you more time to think about your company's development, but it gives your workers the chance to achieve more in their working hours. When you schedule meetings, make sure to give employees enough time to plan for the meeting and to set time aside for it. Let them know beforehand what exactly the meeting will be about, so as to save time in the meeting itself. 

What is Asynchronous Work and How can Your Tech Team Put It Into Practice? Final Thoughts

Ultimately, asynchronous work can boost the overall performance of your tech company, while making space for a healthier and more efficient workforce. With transparent communication, less interruption, and stronger teams, your business will benefit from implementing an async approach. If you are interested in expanding your business, KWAN can help you set up your nearshore team with tech specialists who are already used to work in multinational teams and from different time zones. Talk to us and let’s assesse the needs of your business together!

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