Collaboration has always been foundational to a team’s success. But now that we’ve entered the era of remote work, there are new opportunities to consider when it comes to team collaboration.
In an all-remote setting, mastering asynchronous communication is vital. And lately, asynchronous video is called to transform the workplace
In this article, you will learn what asynchronous communication is, which tools to choose, and how to build an asynchronous culture inside your team. Let's dive into async video communication.
What is asynchronous video communication?
Long meetings, brief chats, team brainstorming sessions, call updates things can quickly get out of control. So what if I told you there is a solution that is a happy middle ground between messaging and video chatting? In my honest opinion, asynchronous video interaction can really help you solve this issue.
Asynchronous video communication allows users to record a message and send it to participants without waiting for an immediate response.
Video calls are the best alternative to face-to-face communication when we work remotely. Asynchronous video communication gives you the benefits of a video call without the hassle, as people have the option to watch it at any time.
What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication?
Synchronous or asynchronous, that's the question. Some people prefer to respond to and discuss any issue immediately, so synchronous communication is best for them. Simply put, the parties in the video call are talking to each other in “real-time.” Async video communication is the opposite; it doesn’t need an immediate response. It's especially convenient for companies where team members live in different time zones. Both strategies are suitable for remote work; however, asynchronous video interaction leads to new work opportunities.
Asynchronous communication saves you time and helps you focus by reducing interruptions. When you communicate with the help of an asynchronous system, interruptions are less common making time for deep work longer, and the chance of reaching the flow is much higher.
Benefits of an asynchronous workplace
Most people see distractions and breaks as part of work, but some companies, such as Doist, Gitlab, Zapier, Automattic, and Buffer, embrace a more asynchronous approach to collaboration. Here are some key benefits of giving employees more control when they communicate with their team.
- Less workday restrictions = happier and more productive employees
The advantage of asynchronous communication is that employees don’t need to set working hours. Team members have complete control over structuring their workday according to their lifestyle, biorhythms, and home responsibilities (for example, caring for children). For example, I like to start my day with a good breakfast and then a big cup of coffee in a café while async communication unloads the workday and plans everything as it is convenient for me.
- More time for deep work
Because the employees have the opportunity to work without the constant need to check messages, they can devote more time to doing the work that creates the most value for your organization. In addition, they may stop to check their messages in batches 1-3 times a day, instead of switching between work and messages or meetings.
- Time zone difference
Your team may be spread worldwide, which means there are different time zones in which your teammates work. In that case, asynchronous videos are definitely a great solution.
So, in which cases should you try asynchronous collaboration?
- When to reduce time spent on Zoom calls
According to Norma Design, average meetings last about an hour in the US. Imagine if you have several of them per day. Wouldn’t you rather sit down and work than go through your colleagues' calendars to find vacancies for meetings?
- When you are tired of constant correspondence
Messengers often distract from work that requires deep concentration, so sharing updates with colleagues through pre-recorded videos would be a great alternative.
- When Wi-Fi interruptions prevent long video calls
During serious negotiations with the client, the Internet connection must be excellent, both for you and your business partner. To avoid any inconvenience, try to use asynchronous communication. For example, just record a video with the presentation, and the client or your employee will be able to watch it at a convenient time with no interruptions.
Platforms for async communication
Asynchronous communication is a great solution when there is no need for immediate response. Fortunately, there are several platforms for asynchronous video communication today. Let me tell you about some of them.
Loom is a video platform that allows people to send recorded video messages. Combining the expressiveness of video with the convenience of messaging, Loom is a new, more efficient way to liven up your work and communicate with colleagues and customers.
With Loom, you can record your screen, voice, and face to make a video you can share instantly in less time than you need to enter an email. It can be used by various teams from engineering to marketing to design.
Loom is positioned to be an absolute must-have for distributed teams.
Vidyard is an online video platform for marketing and sales teams that allows users to create, host, and share videos with customers and colleagues.
Vidyard integrates with many platforms, including Slack. Thanks to this integration, you can further improve team collaboration by recording videos and sending them directly as messages in Slack. You can start recording or add an existing video in seconds right from Slack with a simple “/vidyard” command.
This new European startup promises to help you reduce the number of meetings needed to share updates, get feedback, and solve roadblocks. Claap allows employees to record a short video updates on a specific topic, enable others to comment on the relevant part, and set a deadline for team members to respond. Colleagues then watch the video and respond in due course.
Claap considers itself to be the remote working equivalent of “fast catch-up.” It integrates with other tools in the workplace, such as Trello or Jira.
In addition to this list, in summer 2021 Slack became more asynchronous. With the help of the bot Standuply, you may run asynchronous stand-up meetings without necessary calls. So, if your team already uses Slack, try to gradually move to ьщку asynchronous communication.
When to use asynchronous video
Now let's see how and when you can use async video communication with your team. I tried to structure all the possibilities of asynchronous videos on specific examples and personal experiences.
Asynchronous video is great for sharing information, skills, and expertise. You can always share short clips with colleagues about the knowledge gained in courses or meetings you’ve recently taken. For example, at Altigee we often exchange ideas through short informative videos. This is especially useful for a team of engineers when you need to understand how some functionality works in code, and you have a pro who can easily explain this.
New hires onboarding
Asynchronous video helps new team members learn about the company's best activities and see how they work in practice during remote onboarding. You can create an invitation video, share information about your company culture, and provide a tour where to find all the work tools a newcomer needs for the work.
Sharing product updates
With the help of async videos, a team of engineers and product managers, for example, can share and track all the changes made to a product or service. It increases transparency and engages the entire team in asynchronous discussions to make better project decisions.
Engineering stand-up meetings
For a team of engineers, asynchronous video helps team members share updates on what they were working on recently, their plans for the following projects, and whether or not they need help on anything else. Imagine if, instead of explaining in text, your colleagues recorded everything in short videos and showed all the changes in practice.
Design team updates
Designers can use async videos to present their work throughout the design process. It’s also a faster and more effective way to review work with the team. Your designers can share videos on Slack, Figma, Sketch, Photoshop, Trello, or any other place where your team works.
Creating asynchronous videos will also be helpful for your marketing team. Marketers can onboard and activate users with the help of videos, create informative videos that showcase new features of your product, or reach out to customers for testimonials or requesting interviews.
Asynchronous communication allows you to communicate with your team without the requirement of being present at the same moment. With asynchronous videos, you can generate online content in advance, and the team members engage with it on their schedules.