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Asynchronous communication 101: Benefits & examples

Asynchronous communication is any type of communication where team members work together at different times of the day. Find out more here.

By Darcy Hogendorn in


Times are certainly changing, and it’s happening fast. For many, this means the office isn’t the traditional workplace anymore — offices and cubicles are becoming a relic of a bygone era while remote work is on the rise.

This is great news for everyone involved. Team members love it so much that a recent FlexJobs survey reveals that 97% of workers wanted some form of remote work, either full time or hybrid.

Employers love it, too. In the same survey, a staggering 94% of employers report that when switching to remote work, productivity either stayed the same or increased. Beyond productivity gains, managers are no longer constrained by geography with remote workforces — they can hire higher quality talent from all over the world.

That said, remote and hybrid work environments do have their drawbacks, and one of them is communication. You can’t just pop into someone’s office anymore (which is both a good thing and a bad thing), and this means more emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, maybe a Slack channel, and more.

This can add up to a lot of interruptions or communications scheduled at inconvenient times. Thankfully, asynchronous communication is one way to work around these difficulties. Let’s dive into what asynchronous communication is, its benefits, and some real-life examples of how it works.

What is asynchronous communication?

It’s a simple concept: Asynchronous communication is any type of communication that doesn’t take place in real time. Email is probably the most common example. You send your message, and the recipient can respond to it at their convenience. Voicemails, video recordings, instant messages, Slack, message boards — these things and more count as asynchronous comms, since team members are free to tend to them on their own time.

On the other hand, synchronous communication happens in real time. Face-to-face meetings, phone calls, video conferencing, and Zoom meetings are all prominent examples of synchronous communication. While synchronous comms have their benefits, they can be difficult to schedule when you’re working with distributed teams on different schedules, in different time zones, or on opposite ends of the globe.

Key benefits of asynchronous communication

Why adopt async comms wherever possible? Because they offer a lot of major advantages where team communication is concerned. This communication style is especially helpful for remote and hybrid teams, but even teams who go into the office most days can reap the benefits. Read about a few of the biggest perks below.

Asynchronous communication creates flexibility

Flexibility is one of the biggest advantages, for two reasons. The first is happiness. Some team members aren’t morning people and would rather not brainstorm or do standups first thing in the morning. Others are ready to take a break and catch up on Slack messages during the mid-afternoon slump. People may need to work in the evening if something is happening during the day. Asynchronous communication tools let people loosen up their schedules, and that makes work a lot less stressful, which means employee burnout is less likely.

Flexibility also allows for greater productivity. You can’t enter the deep work state when there are constant interruptions. Phone calls, Zoom meetings, people popping into the office — these are interruptions that can derail a train of thought, cost individual team members tons of time, and decrease the whole team’s productivity. The flexibility of asynchronous communications lets everyone tend to messages when they’re not busy working on other, higher-priority tasks.

Asynchronous conversations and meeting notes are documented automatically

You already handle a lot — and so does the rest of your team. Make life easier by removing the role of “note taker.” Asynchronous communication does the work for you. If it’s text-based, like emails or message boards, then the notes are all right there. At most, you’ll need to copy and paste them, and do a little bit of formatting and trimming to create a condensed, easy-to-read version.

Video meetings and messages can be rewatched where necessary, or you can create a brief dictation for your team when you have a chance to do so.

Either way, this type of communication gives you a record of exactly what was said so that people can reference it as needed.

Asynchronous work removes the hurdle of time zone differences

One of the biggest advantages to hybrid and remote work is the ability to work with team members all over the world. You can take on the talent best suited to your projects regardless of geographical boundaries.

But one of the biggest drawbacks to the global talent pool is scheduling conflicts. A good time for you might mean team meetings are scheduled at 3 a.m. for other members of your team. Async communications are a neat way to get around this. Leave messages so that people in different time zones can tend to communications during business hours — whenever those hours might be.

Asynchronous conversations can be more honest and accessible

This is one of the benefits that people don’t always consider since it can be subtle. But it’s true that asynchronous conversations can be more honest, inclusive, and accessible — which stands to improve teamwork overall. There are many reasons why some team members might not feel comfortable speaking up during synchronous sessions. Think about some of these scenarios:

  • New team members, introverts, or shy people who feel uncomfortable speaking up during meetings
  • Awkward topics that might make people feel like they’re being put on the spot
  • Brainstorming sessions in which people may hesitate to put forth half-considered ideas during an animated, in-person back-and-forth

Asynchronous communication can help in each of these scenarios, and others where it may be tough to talk in a synchronous conversation. It can be easier for new people, shy people, or the introverts among your team to contribute without feeling like they’re interrupting. When it’s time to touch on awkward topics, asynchronous comms give people room to breathe and tackle the topic tactfully at their own pace. As for brainstorming, many people don’t feel comfortable tossing out ideas they’ve not had a chance to really consider — async comms give them that chance.

Examples of asynchronous communication

You know the advantages, so now it’s time to get down to business. What are some of the best examples of asynchronous communications that you can implement within your teams? There are many, both text and video. We’ll explore some of them below.

Video recording

Videos are one way to go about it. It’s a simple concept. Unlike Zoom or similar teleconferencing apps, with asynchronous video, you record what you need to say and either post it, place it on Dropbox, or stick it into your chosen communication channel so that team members can watch it later.

Tools for this type of async communication

  • Your phone or webcam: Video communication channels don’t need to be anything complex if you only need to leave a message on occasion. Simply record a video and email it, text it, or drop it in the group chat for later.
  • Rewatch screen recorder: Rewatch’s screen recording feature makes it easy to record your screen — or just a part of it — and even nest your camera onto the screen as part of your recording. This adds a personal touch and is an invaluable resource for visual learners, who can watch your process step by step. Once your recording is finished, you can upload the video directly to your Rewatch video library (more on that later) for team members to watch at their convenience.

Email conversations

Email is the tried-and-true method for asynchronous communications. It’s also the one that most people are intimately familiar with since workplaces have been running on emails for decades.

One of the great things about most email platforms is that there’s so much you can do with them. Send text, do status updates, add pictures, attach documents, embed video — anything goes. You can also keep conversations confined to chains, organize topics by folders, and send to as many people as you need to.

Tools for this type of async communication

  • Microsoft Outlook: Outlook is one of the biggest names in the email business — and with good reason, because it gives you a ton of tools for sorting conversations, creating address lists, and more. Plus, there are tons of integrations which means it will work with lots of other well-known project management tools.
  • Gmail: Gmail works similarly to Outlook, and it makes it easy to host, store, and send attachments via Google Drive.

Work chat & collaboration

Collaboration platforms differ tremendously in what they can do. Some give you everything imaginable, like storage, productivity apps, calendars, meeting rooms, emails, chat, and more. These all-encompassing platforms are great when you need a suite that does it all, plus communications tools to keep everyone in sync.

But not every team needs something quite so robust. Lots of teams just need a convenient way to keep in touch and share files throughout the workday. In that case, choose a chat-focused collaboration platform with direct messaging and video messaging tools.

Tools for this type of async communication

  • Google Workspace: Workspace is a whole lot more than a tool for asynchronous communications — but comms are one of its primary functions. Create, share, group edit documents — and use the commenting features to leave remarks that people can reply to. It also gives you a calendar, a video meeting place, chat, and several other ways for everyone to connect and collaborate.
  • Slack: Slack is a cloud collaboration tool that focuses on chat and async communications. Use it for direct messages, sending files, and organizing conversations into different topic channels.

Video libraries

If you prefer video communications (and there’s many reasons you might, since they let you hear vocal tones, see facial expressions, and let you add graphics) then you’re going to need a video library to keep it all organized. Your video library should be a one-stop place where remote workers can search through videos by topic or date.

Tools for this type of async communication

  • Rewatch: Rewatch gives you so much more power over your video library, allowing you to transform it into a video knowledge base. Host async meetings and post other videos, sort everything into easy-to-find categories, and even take advantage of transcripts to create text notes and to make videos keyword-searchable — like a wiki.

Team members can also take advantage of the mentions and comments function. This allows users to leave timestamped comments and even tag one another, creating an engaged, cohesive, and collaborative video library. Find out how Rewatch libraries can help your leadership team keep everyone aligned more effectively.

  • Most video hosting platforms: These tools, like YouTube or Vimeo, usually offer the basics — like a private channel where you can host and sort videos into different channels. This allows people to prioritize what to watch or browse by date and topic. Subscribers should also get notifications of new videos. However, depending on the platform, these notifications are not always timely, so keep this in mind if you require quicker response times.

Task and project management software

Task management and project management software is less about communications and more about creating a collaborative platform. Most give project managers the ability to create, assign, and manage tasks. They also give everyone a spot to share their work and make progress updates or do check-ins. By their very nature, these apps involve communication, so while they’re not focused on comms, they do offer ways for people to connect.

Tools for this type of async communication

  • Asana: Asana gives you tools to connect the pieces of a project across the entire team. For asynchronous communications, you can use Asana to create messages and update boards, lists, and more.
  • Monday: Monday is another project management platform that gives you some comms features. This app gives you lots of tools to plan and track projects — including big, enterprise-level endeavors. With Monday, team members and collaborators can leave comments and use other tools to keep their peers updated.

Enhance your asynchronous workflows with Rewatch

Ready to take your video communications to the next level? Then you need to check out Rewatch. It’s the ideal app for remote teams who rely on asynchronous videos to share updates, demo their projects, share ideas, and more. Use Rewatch to put all your video calls and messages in one organized, searchable place — and then use our analytics to learn how your team is watching and what you can do to improve the way you deliver vital information. Get started here!

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