What is the Right Level of Asynchronous vs Synchronous Work for Team collaboration?

What is the Right Level of Asynchronous vs Synchronous Work for Team collaboration?

Communication. A simple five-syllable word. It helps us connect with others. Work. Make meaningful relationships. But sometimes, communication is extremely complicated.

Especially when you're working.

How often do you find yourself in deep work, only for someone to ask you a silly little question and completely throw you off your game? Probably often.

More than 70% of people report frequent interruptions when working. That affects their concentration and, in turn, diminishes their productivity. 

But what if there was a way to minimize these disruptions? What if you could choose the type of team communication that would work best for you and your project?

Good news, there is!

There are two types of communication: asynchronous and synchronous. Both of them can boost your team collaboration efforts. But how? Let’s start from the beginning. 

What's Synchronous Work?

Synchronous work is when people need to be available at the same time. Communication happens in real-time, such as through a conversation or video call.

For synchronous work to happen, all parties need to be available and present simultaneously. That type of work is often considered more personal because it allows immediate feedback.

It can also be more efficient if everyone is on the same page.

Examples of Synchronous Work

There are many examples of synchronous work. 

Some common ones include:

  • Weekly team meetings (in-person or via video conference)
  • Brainstorming sessions and project discussions
  • Water cooler conversations with team members

Pros of Synchronous Work

There are several advantages to synchronous work. One big one is that it allows for immediate feedback. That can be helpful when you need to make quick decisions or want to avoid miscommunication.

Another pro is that synchronous work can help build relationships. It's a great way to connect with others and create a strong team dynamic.

Lastly, synchronous work can be more efficient than asynchronous work. If everyone is on the same page, it can save time by avoiding back-and-forth communication.

Cons of Synchronous Work

However, there are also some disadvantages to synchronous work. One big one is that it can be disruptive. Interruptions can throw you off your game and diminish your performance.

It can also be challenging to coordinate, as you need to make sure everyone is available at the same time.

Lastly, synchronous work can be quite demanding for your team. Not everyone is focused at the same time, which can take them away from doing important work. 

What's Asynchronous Work?

Asynchronous work is communication that happens over a period of time. It's often done through email, text, or social media. Unlike synchronous work, asynchronous work doesn't require everyone to be present simultaneously.

Asynchronous communication is often considered more personal because it allows for more time to reflect and respond. It can also be more efficient, as people can respond when they have the time.

Examples of Asynchronous Work

Asynchronous work is done through various methods, such as:

  • Email
  • Team collaboration tools like Slack
  • Text messaging
  • Social media platforms (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)
  • Pros of Asynchronous Work

Now, asynchronous work indeed has its advantages. Of course. The biggest one is that it's less intrusive. Asynchronous communication can allow you to work without too much interaction.

You can do it on your own time, making you less likely to be interrupted or thrown off your game. Another pro is that asynchronous work is more flexible. You can respond when you have the time, which is helpful if you're working on a tight deadline.

Lastly, asynchronous allows for more reflection and thoughtfulness in responses, which helps you avoid a team member misinterpreting your message.

Cons of Asynchronous Work

But nothing is perfect. Since it's less personal, asynchronous work can lead to confusion and misinterpretations. Seeing how there's more time for people to respond, it's easy for messages to be misunderstood. 

That can lead to conflict and confusion.

Another downside is that asynchronous work can be less efficient than synchronous work. If everyone is working on their own time, it can take longer for projects to get completed.

Asynchronous Work vs. Synchronous Work

You're not sure what team communication method is better for you and your squad?

On the one hand, you don't want to be interrupted all the time; however, you also don't want your teammates to misinterpret what you say.

What should a good teammate do? Ask themselves a few questions, of course. 

If you're unsure how to go about this, just ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is a problem urgent enough to interrupt others' work?
  • Is the answer to your question needed immediately?
  • Is a timely answer what your teammates need right now?

Keep in mind that an emergency on your part may not be an emergency for someone else. To create a working model that’s suitable for everyone, you need to be open with your teammates and speak about your problems. 

Luckily, our online environment gives several opportunities to communicate effectively without doing it synchronously. But sometimes, you'll need it.

The Future of Work: Asynchronous or Synchronous?

So, what does the future of work look like? Will it be asynchronous or synchronous?

The answer is both. Yeah. Team collaboration is complicated like that. 

As the world becomes more and more digitized, there will be a shift towards more asynchronous work.

However, there will always be a need for synchronous work. In-person meetings, video conferences, and phone calls will still be necessary to some degree.

What's important is finding the right balance between the two. Too much asynchronous work can lead to confusion and misinterpretation, while too much synchronous work can be disruptive and intrusive.

The key is to find the right balance for your team. And with the help of collaboration tools for business, such as Kosy, that's easier than ever before.  To boost your team communication, try out Kosy for free, and take your company collaboration to the next level.