We have embraced asynchronous work, because it works so much better for us. This page explains the why and the how.
How we work async
- In-person interaction is no longer the first tool to get work done;
- We prefer writing down and making recordings over verbal explanations for knowledge transfer. It’s proven an effective and preferred way to keep up to date, and we’ve seen it improves decision-making and learning;
- Openness is one of . We are open and transparent in what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. Transparency over what you are working on requires written project updates to work well asynchronously. Project updates are written Notion;Our core values
- Valuing written opinions over oral ones can help introverted people or people that think things through first and determine their opinion thereafter. This is how we are supportive and improve equality;
- Flexibility in working hours and working location. This can be an individual benefit for those who are looking for this and whose roles allow for this (Flexibility in working hours is not possible in all roles, some roles are bound to opening hours).
Why asynchronous work
The benefits really lay within the flexibility for us as colleagues to work when we want and when we are most efficient. This bolsters our autonomy. You do not depend on the Netherlands for our workforce any longer.
'Status updates' are given in writing to keep everyone informed. If there are meetings, they are well prepared and recorded for the people who cannot attend. This way meetings become way more efficient, and you have fewer people present for the sake of being present. People who miss a meeting have the opportunity to respond later. This might means that there are new insights that are shared later. The idea is that because everyone can participate in discussions, you will come to better decisions.
Async work also brings calm. You don’t have to be always on, and you don’t have to interrupt or be interrupted in real-time. This helps with focus and enables you to do deep work.
5 phases of a synchronised work according the CEO of Wordpress.com
Matt Mullenweg describes 5 phases on the path from traditional working at the office to becoming an asynchronous and distributed workforce. In a lot of companies, we are often expected to be available all day and respond à la minute to messages and last-minute meeting requests.
What if we turned it around?
Level 0: You must be present
- You may work from home one day a week
- You play online office
- You experience the benefits of remote collaboration
- You work together asynchronously
- You reach Valhalla
Tips for better-asynchronised work
- Cut down on meetings. Experiment with doing fewer meetings and calls, and more written/recorded (project) updates and see how this works for you;
- Document decisions, updates, and thoughts. Without the availability of instant communication, documentation is crucial. Storing in Notion is highly preferred;
- Create a personal bio. Everyone works differently, so it’s important to communicate how you work best. A personal bio or ‘user guide’ informs your colleagues about your unique working style;
- Show when you’re available. Letting your colleagues know when you usually work is important not only for logistical reasons but also for communicating personal boundaries. Google Calendar offers support for this. Slack statuses are also a nice way to communicate your status to your colleagues.
- Socialize. Working asynchronously can be lonely, so be sure to schedule regular social activities. If your teams are distributed, there are plenty of virtual activities and events you can take part in, such as online quizzes and games. E.g. You can react to daily watercooler topics are posted in #informal (so, subscribe!) or meet random colleagues every week by subscribing to #sp_coffee or #vnl_donut or . Other teams use open Discord channels instead of physical presence or include walk-in-minutes just before regular meetings start.
- Request specific feedback from specific people; for example team checks (reviewing work before deploying) or getting feedback on your collaboration. When you don’t speak any more on a regular basis. It could help you and your team members to specifically ask for feedback or give feedback. The tool Grow can be used for this.