In today’s fast-paced business world, the teams that double-down refining their communication and seamless collaboration are the one’s most likely to find success. But it isn’t always necessary to set up a meeting to progress; sometimes optimal productivity can arise from working asynchronously. There is a time and a place for working synchronously and asynchronously, particularly in a fast paced work environment, it’s a matter of understanding which to use and when.
Synchronous (sync) work
Also known as working together in real-time, sync work is where teams meet and collaborate in person or via video meetings. Working synchronously allows teams to:
- Quickly align on time-sensitive matters
- Work through problems and making key decisions in a discussion-based format while being able to ask critical questions
- Troubleshoot or brainstorm new ideas or solutions
- Interact in real-time and build rapport
Where teams choose to communicate and collaborate without meeting in the moment, often using written communication channels (e.g. Slack, Discord or email), audio/video channels (e.g. Loom and Slack audio notes) and project management tools (e.g. Jira, Miro, Shepherd or ClickUp) where tasks and projects can be managed. Working async is becoming common practice, particularly amongst remote or hybrid teams bringing about:
- Flexibility for team members to address less urgent matters when it suits them
- Reduced pressure on team members to be constantly available
- Uninterrupted deep work without having to drop what you’re doing to jump into a ‘quick’ meeting
- Improved productivity and job satisfaction among team members
By leveraging both sync and async working styles, teams can ensure that all urgent matters are addressed in real-time, while also allowing team members the freedom to collaborate in a timeframe that suits them and where they are able to avoid constant context switching.
In order for any team looking to successfully work synchronously and asynchronously, it’s crucial to know when to use each and establish clear and well-documented expectations when it comes to setting meetings and communicating in a timely manner. If used correctly, teams are able to operate optimally.