You are currently working on an important task, suddenly an employee comes in and has an urgent question. For your work, the question has no significance. It takes you an average of 23 minutes to get back to your original concentration. On average, you have to reckon with 22 comparable interruptions of your concentration per day.
How can you avoid being disturbed in your workflow by external influences from employees, colleagues, sales partners, or customers?
In this article, we will give you an insight into the topic of asynchronous communication and show you the potential for improvement it offers.
Asynchronous versus Synchronous
Asynchronous communication is relatively self-explanatory. It is the opposite of synchronous communication. The term synchronous (ancient Greek σύν syn ‘with’, ‘together’ and χρόνος chronos ‘time’) means at the same time. Synchronous communication is, for example, a personal conversation, a telephone call, or a meeting. For the exchange of information, several people must be in direct contact.
Asynchronous communication, on the other hand, does not require direct contact. Information is provided and taken note of at a later, appropriate time. As soon as the recipient of the information has the necessary capacity, he or she responds. In this way, the recipient can work without interference. E-mails, for example, can be a medium for asynchronous communication.
“Asynchronous communication means I can ask my coworker a question in-chat and not worry about bothering her since she’ll get back to me when she’s available. Asynchronous communication means I can go to rural Minnesota and feel like I’m working from the office like normal.”
Communication as a disruptive factor
In the quote, an essential advantage of asynchronous communication is highlighted: You no longer contribute to disrupting the workflow of your employees or colleagues. With synchronous communication, in case of doubt, not only the interlocutor in his workflow is disturbed, but also colleagues within earshot. In times of open-plan offices, synchronous communication is becoming a disruptive factor more and more. A study commissioned by Plantronics shows that noisy colleagues are the most common reason for too much noise in the workplace. More than half have already complained to management about noise at the workplace. Too much noise harms productivity leads to stress and physical side effects such as headaches.
This is so fatal, because communication is essential for companies, both for the workflow and the working atmosphere. As soon as several people are involved in a project, an agreement, an exchange, communication must take place to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings. So you need a different kind of communication.
This alternative is asynchronous communication. It has other positive effects besides the advantage of privacy:
If you receive an e-mail from a colleague, you have all the relevant information available there. You do not have to ask yourself during the conversation whether you would forget something of what was discussed, you do not need to make additional notes. At the same time, all parties have the opportunity to process information, formulating ideas, and thoughts at their own pace. Moreover, asynchronous communication is more accessible than synchronous communication.
Communication across borders
In times of digitalization, it is not unusual to hold telephone conferences with partners or customers who are thousands of kilometers away, in another country, or on a continent. Due to the time zones, this can lead to inconvenience or problems when making appointments. Asynchronous communication makes it easier to work with people who are not in the same place as you. Asynchronous communication creates the freedom not to be tied to the workplace, for fear of missing a colleague or a phone call. Besides, asynchronous communication can enable working methods that were previously out of the question, such as the freedom to work wherever you are.
Asynchronous communication in practice
The possibilities are almost endless, whether you choose a company-wide chat program such as Slack, the old-fashioned emails or the like depends on the resources and requirements of your company. The only important thing is that you also recognize the asynchronous nature of these tools.
If the beep for incoming e-mails rips them out of your concentration each time you receive them and you interrupt your work to answer them, then the e-mail also becomes a synchronous means of communication. It is helpful to issue notifications for messages on your mobile devices or to retrieve e-mails only during certain periods and send an out-of-office message in the meantime.
The exception proves the rule
Asynchronous communication does not work equally well in all situations; it should not replace synchronous communication without replacement. Synchronous communication in the form of a telephone call or a meeting is a better solution for certain situations.
This is particularly the case if the communication is not simply about exchanging information. Synchronous communication is often the right tool for developing joint solutions when there is a need for discussion and, of course, for establishing and expanding personal relationships.
However, asynchronous communication can be very helpful if you do not want to be distracted from the workflow by every message, every e-mail, or other distractions. After all, constant availability can prevent us from working productively.
Discover new ways to work
And improve your collaboration. qmBase offers your company more than just the possibility of asynchronous communication. As a web-based, digital company platform, qmBase enables you to collaborate asynchronously on a document, a measure, or an entire project. It makes no difference whether you are using your home office or are currently on a business trip or from a company location. qmBase is accessible worldwide and enables collaborative, interactive collaboration between all employees – agile, efficient, and tailored to your needs.
The individual task lists remind each employee of the tasks to be performed. So you don’t have to remind your employees and still, nothing is forgotten.
Would you like to know more about the advantages and the extensive apps of qmBase or test the software directly? Then get in touch with us now.
Share this Post