Asynchronous work: 3 ways it can make you save time and money
Companies need to prioritize the efficient use of resources, especially time and money. Saving these resources leads to profit maximization, scalability, and maintenance of a competitive edge. Fortunately, asynchronous work can help, regardless of whether your team works in person, remotely or in hybrid mode. So, how can asynchronous collaboration increase their motivation and efficiency?
- It allows employees to work at their own pace, promotes diversitt and prioritizes work-life balance, ultimately leading to more efficient use of time and money.
- Prioritizing employee experience at work can reduce spending on new hires and save time on training.
- Async work improves employee focus by eliminating distractions from real-time communication. It also eliminates multi-tasking, which reduces productivity by up to 40%.
- An effectively conducted async meeting can boost team productivity by allowing members to contribute at their own pace through digital collaborative tools. Unlike traditional meetings that require everyone's presence simultaneously, async meetings can make things move forward from anywhere, at any time.
Note that an asynchronous work model can be used regardless of team size or working style, but clear communication is crucial to its success. Providing information beforehand and making it easily accessible is necessary when using this model.
Also, to improve asynchronous collaboration, managers need to set targets and deadlines for employees, use collaborative tools to document work progress, and foster a positive work culture that emphasizes trust, accountability, effective teamwork, open communication, diversity of schedules, and respect.
If there’s anything you should be concerned about saving in your company, it’s time and money.
Both big and relatively minor companies need to prioritize the efficient use of resources for different reasons, like long-term viability or profit maximization.
But much more than this, companies should be focused on preserving time and money to maintain a competitive advantage for innovation and investment, scalability, and effective risk mitigation practices.
However, there are a thousand and one ways to save time and money in a company, and if we take a wild guess, you might already have tried out a couple of these options. Still, we bet you haven’t tried the magic of asynchronous work — which is why you are here.
Whether your team is working in-person, remotely, or in a hybrid fashion, you can save time and money while ensuring team productivity by identifying the topics that can be addressed asynchronously.
In this article, we would like to introduce three concrete ways asynchronous work can help you save two of your most valuable resources.
As a bonus, we’d also introduce some examples where asynchronous work led some companies to reach unexpectedly high results or reduce costs.
How can asynchronous work increase team motivation and efficiency?
Now, what is the link existing between increasing team motivation and efficiency, and saving your company both time and money, as we just stated before?
Here’s the thing: if you want to save these two resources, you must go back to the foundation, the resources that make every other resource even exist: people.
Your workers determine whether or not your company will succeed or… not. If they maximize the use of available materials, perform tasks on time, and obtain fewer corrections & do-overs, you’d spend less time and money on your projects.
So, the key to saving more time and money comes back to your employees; how you treat them, how they treat you, how fast they work, and how good they do what they do — and the simple terms for this are team motivation and efficiency.
So how can asynchronous work boost team productivity, which, in turn, would lead you to save money and time? Before we look into some ways this is possible, let’s talk a little about the term “asynchronous” itself.
What does it mean to work asynchronously?
“Asynchronous” is the opposite of “synchronous,” which is taken from the foundation word, “synchronize”. To synchronize or to sync means two or more elements work together at the same time and pace, and towards the same goal.
But when it comes to the opposite word, asynchronous or async, it means that those two or more elements are not working at the same pace. But still, it remains towards the same goal.
Let’s take a look at one example of this:
A woman, who plans to travel, calls a travel agency to help her find the best airline, friendly fees, and destination hotel for her convenience.
In this case, different people at the agency would be working towards the same goal: to find the best solution for the client.
But they will probably not be working at the same pace or even the same way. One agent could consider checking out the best airlines straight away, while another one would be contacting hotels close to the destination airports about two hours later to fit with their opening hours since they are located in a different time zone.
This means these two agents do not work in sync, given they are not doing it exactly at the same time. They are working asynchronously, and once they both have their recommendations ready, they will be able to get back to the customer to share their offers with her.
But then again, how is asynchronous work related to increasing team productivity, which would ultimately help you save your resources? Here are a few ways this can happen:
Async work increases flexibility and reduces stress
‘All fingers are not equal’ is so popular that people have forgotten how true it is. If you ask ten of your employees to complete fifteen reports, a PowerPoint presentation, and the draft of a contract proposal, you will have ten different ways of working and ten different working paces to get these tasks done.
Some might need more time, and others might need less work. Allowing your employees to work at their pace shows that you value their differences and prioritize their work-life balance.
So how does this help you save time or money? The answer lies in your turnover rate.
If you’re prioritizing your employee experience at work, how often do you think you’d be spending money on hiring new employees?
Also, how much time do you think you’d be spending on new employee training and handover?
A quick guess could be less or none.
Asynchronous work improves employee focus
Another thing to think about is the focus of your workers while on duty. If everyone is forced to work at the same pace, that will mean there’s a need for real-time communication.
Imagine that while driving, your employees or their managers keep calling you to verify different information. How distracted would you be? Now, imagine what it’d be like if your employees worked on a project while fielding calls, responding to emails, and awaiting confirmations.
The team’s productivity will suffer, and you’ll be wasting time.
But listen to this; if everyone’s working at their pace (which means all resources needed would have been provided beforehand), there’ll be a positive difference.
Your workers will be able to stay focused during tasks and eliminate multitasking, which has been proven to be a productivity killer by as much as 40%.
Async discussions lead to better decisions and transparency
Whether or not you work at the same pace, you can’t escape meetings — but you don't have to do them the conventional way. In some situations, or turning a meeting into asynchronous work can also positively impact your team’s motivation and productivity.
But first, how can you have an async meeting? Asynchronous meetings, in general, are those that don’t need everyone to be present at the same time. It can happen through a recorded video meeting or a collaborative digital tool.
That said, when you allow your team to contribute according to their schedules, they’d have reflected and gathered more information on the subject matter, leading to more thoughtful discussions, well-considered decisions, and reduced misunderstandings.
Also, since each async meeting needs to be well-documented, there are ways for your team to easily centralize each of your discussions on an online whiteboard, for example. By doing this, you would keep track of all your exchanges, and use them for future reference.
But again, how does this save time or money?
Answer this: how long do traditional meetings take? And let's be honest: not everything is necessary or productive in a one-hour meeting. And all of this has a cost! As a matter of proof, check out our meeting cost estimator.
Therefore, asynchronous work reduces the need for real-time meetings, freeing time for more meaningful tasks, and reducing what it would cost to organize a synchronous meeting with your team, which is often even not really necessary.
How can asynchronous work be applied, no matter the size or working style of a team?
Now that you know the benefits of asynchronous collaboration on your team and your company, let’s look at how to apply the working model to your team.
As you can already tell from the topic, the size of your team or how you work (remote, physical, or hybrid) does not affect the use of the model. However, it might seem challenging if you don’t know what to do and what not to do. So how can you apply asynchronous work to your company?
Foster clear communication
Since your team is not working at the same pace, you’ll need to provide them with all the information they need beforehand.
You also need to ensure the information is in a place they can refer to at any time. That means you shouldn’t only use phone calls as your main communication tool. Implement tools like digital coommunication platforms that keep things documented — like chat features, for instance.
Set expectations and deadlines
You have allowed your team to work according to their schedule. But you also have a company to run. You must set a target for each employee to meet. The tasks should also have a clear deadline so there can be progress.
Use collaborative tools
If you are yet to adopt digital collaborative tools, then you are yet to maximize the resources at your disposal.
Collaborative tools help your team better document communication, work progress, and other information. It is also a way to foster teamwork even while working separately.
Build a positive work culture
Emphasizing trust, embracing diverse schedules, accountability, open communication, and respect will all help you facilitate effective asynchronous collaboration.
3 examples where asynchronous work made companies save time or costs
Here are now three concrete examples of people and C-level executives that have adopted the asynchronous work model and have ultimately saved time and money in their companies.
Optimizing weekly meetings
Suzanne Frawley, the Director of Talent Management for an Oil & Gas Company, knows how vital frequent meetings are for teamwork, productivity, and alignment with the set goals.
But instead of the conventional weekly meetings that waste time, Suzanne started using Klaxoon's Weekly Template to lead her team meetings once a week, while preparing them asynchronously.
With this template, everyone can prepare the meeting beforehand at their own pace, sharing their accomplishments, the week’s focus, and the challenges they faced. Then, the team gathers for a synchronous meeting which should not exceed 45 minutes a week, and where every team member can participate and speak about what they have prepared asynchronously.
The template is ready-to-use, so all Suzanne has to every week do is duplicate it every week, and send the access link to her team beforehand. This helps her gain a lot of time, and even improves her team motivation and participation in their weekly meetings!
Setting an efficient customer support
While customers love the sound of 24/7 support, this system is not that simple to handle synchronously for internal workers. You need to have several teams available all over the world, and all their time and attention need to be focused on customers’ inquiries, so it becomes hard to work on anything else, even when there are no requests.
That’s why a Head Managing Director of an e-commerce company decided to adopt an asynchronous system to help save labor costs.
Using a ticketing system and ensuring a response within 24 hours, he can offer asynchronous customer support. Though this does not affect the customers in any way (they can still submit their inquiries at any time), it makes work easier for the team and the company at the end of the day.
Now, all the inquiries are submitted onto a platform to which all the support agents have access. Therefore, an agent can attend to the inquiries during availability without requiring round-the-clock staffing.
Collaborating around content creation
Now, let’s take the example of an Executive Director of a publishing company. Committing to the asynchronous model for as long as she can remember, she testifies that the method has helped her reduce the need for in-person meetings while accelerating the content production process.
In other words, she did not just save time, but she also saved overhead costs with the asynchronous work model. To do this, she asked her writers, editors, and designers to contribute to projects at their own pace by leaving comments and suggestions directly in the documents. Her excellent method fosters teamwork, asynchronous collaboration, project progress, transparency, and team productivity.