June 29, 2021 by Andrea Rajic

The Power of Running Collaborative Asynchronous Meetings

The Power of Running Collaborative Asynchronous Meetings

This blog post was brought to you by our friends at Complish, who are experts on collaborating asynchronously and running better, fewer meetings.

Asynchronous communication has been around for ages...just how long? Well, ever since the Neanderthals have been carving their markings into the walls of caves, you could say async communication has existed. Of course, it's only recently that it's gaining such recognition as a communication and collaboration style that is turning everyday remote teams into high-performing ones.

If you're still in the dark about what this type of collaboration is, it's best to take a pause here and read up on asynchronous communication. If you're already acquainted with async collaboration methods, let's dive in and take a look at the power it holds for distributed teams, and how to optimize your async meetings.

The Power of Asynchronous Collaboration

Any successful remote manager can tell you that documentation is the lifeblood of remote teams. Not only does the act of writing things down bring forth more thoughtful reflections and discussions, but it also builds greater transparency and improves visibility within your team.

Why is async collaboration so powerful?

  • Allows your team more time for focused work with fewer interruptions.
  • Enables you to collaborate with team members who aren't in your same time zone.
  • Promotes greater diversity and inclusion since it allows companies to hire talent in different time zones, of varied cultures, locations, and situations, which also brings forward a more diverse skill set range to the company.
  • Allows team members to work and collaborate when it suits their schedule. So, rather than having employees work hours that may not fall in line with their productive flow, they can choose to work when they are most productive and creative.
  • More!! The benefits of async collaboration are endless, and remote work experts and 'Accomplished Peeps' as we call them, praise async collaboration for allowing them to more effectively and sustainably scale remotely.

Async Meetings for Distributed Teams

If you want to have fewer, better meetings, you'll have to start leaning more into async communication methods. A 2019 study on the cost of meetings, shared some startling results - meetings cost U.S companies $399 billion in 2019. We would like to think that this number has decreased over the last year and a half as teams have learned the importance of async collaboration, but yet, it still seems like remote teams are still struggling to incorporate async.

Let's just say, old habits are hard to break, but it's better late than never. Incorporating more async methods into your company's working model is going to be necessary for achieving success in this new state of remote work.

Incorporating an asynchronous working model

Remote work experts are vocal about the importance of leaning more into async because they've firsthand seen its effects on their own companies and those they work with. Using meetings as an example, excessive synchronous meetings have been draining our energy, putting us in a funk, and not to mention, costing companies billions of dollars in time spent in meetings. So, rather than spend your days on zoom calls to stay connected with your team, it's about time to rethink your meetings. Start by considering adopting async meetings as your first step in shifting towards an async working model.

With teams spread across the globe, attempting to coordinate synchronous meetings is just about as difficult as trying to get a group of kindergarteners to stand in a line for more than a few minutes. So, how can you run your meetings in a more optimized and efficient way? Here's how 👇

Optimize your Distributed Team Meetings

There are many mistakes distributed teams make when it comes to running asynchronous meetings. Most of these mistakes result from teams trying to operate their meetings the same way they did in the office, but in the online space. Clearly, we've all seen that this doesn't work very well.

With a few simple mind shifts, you can optimize your meetings for the remote working world. Here are a few of the main shifts in thinking you'll have to make:

  • Not everything that needs to be discussed, needs to happen synchronously.
  • It is possible to have fewer, better meetings. For example, an async daily standup meeting can function just as well, if not better than the one you previously held synchronously.
  • Focus on high-quality discussions over knee-jerk responses. Teams that communicate asynchronously and hold async meetings have learned how to be more clear in their communication to avoid unnecessary back-and-forths.

Besides changing your mindset around how your distributed team thinks about meetings, another way to optimize the way you run them is with an async meeting tool that provides your team with a central place to plan and communicate their work, even if it happens in other tools. A remote meeting tool not only keeps your team up to date with what's happening across your organization but also improves transparency and visibility all while connecting your team to the company's larger goals and objectives.

How Successful Distributed Teams Collaborate

The most successful remote leaders and their teams have learned the value of asynchronous communication and have figured out that it's one of their superpowers that leads their organization forward. Unlocking the power of async collaboration is key to success, and it all starts with having fewer, better meetings.

Here's what some of the top remote work experts are saying about asynchronous collaboration and running async meetings.

"One of the critical differences between successful remote teams and unsuccessful remote teams is the way that they communicate, and it primarily focuses on asynchronous communication."

-Liam Martin (Co-founder, Time Doctor)

"We kind of look at [in-person] meetings as a last resort. Synchronous communication, like face-to-face communication, is a small bit of how we communicate with each other, but it's the last bit. We kind of have this mentality of, if it can't be done asynchronously, or if we just hit a wall asynchronously, then we move it to a meeting."

-Chase Warrington (Head of Business Development, Doist)

[To be successful in the remote world]"It's leaning more on asynchronous communication. It's leaning more on digital tools. It's leaning more on emotional intelligence and soft skills and communication of your team. It's so much more than just a workplace transformation."

-Laurel Farrer (CEO & Founder, Distribute Consulting)

Written By

Andrea Rajic

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