What is

Asynchronous Communication


Asynchronous communication refers to collaborating with distributed teams in different locations via digital tools. Read the complete glossary definition.

Effective communication is vital for successful business operations. It is particularly crucial for companies with distributed, global teams

When your staff is based across the world, you should implement different types of communication, including asynchronous methods. This powerful tool helps team communication regardless of location, time zone, or working hours. 

Defining Asynchronous Communication

Team members don’t need to be engaged in real-time conversation during asynchronous communication. Instead, they send and receive messages when convenient for them without requiring immediate responses. 

We are all familiar with synchronous communication, during which we engage with others in real-time. However, this can be challenging when team members work on different schedules. Coordinating phone calls and in-person meetings or staying on top of instant messaging apps can be difficult. 

As a result, global teams are increasingly turning to asynchronous communication or a mix of both. This allows team members to communicate on non-urgent matters without waiting on people in a different time zone to respond. Then, they align their schedules to hash out issues that require face time. 

Tools that Facilitate Asynchronous Communication

Several tools help teams to establish solid asynchronous communication channels. These tools enable individuals and teams to interact effectively without the need for real-time communication. 

  • Email: Almost every team around the world uses email as one of the primary communication tools. However, email is particularly powerful asynchronous communication. People can send and receive messages at any time without the need for immediate feedback. Plus, emails keep records of conversations. 
  • Instant messaging apps: Teams use a wide range of instant messaging apps to improve communication. Popular apps include Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Discord. Users can send messages, share files, and collaborate on projects. They often include messaging threading and notification settings.
  • Project management platforms: Project management tools such as Trello, Asana, and Jira provide features for asynchronous communication within the context of specific projects. 

These platforms enable teams to create tasks, assign responsibilities, share updates, and discuss project-related matters asynchronously. They often have comment sections and notification systems to keep everyone informed.

  • Collaborative document editors: Teams no longer need to send draft versions back and forth. Instead, they can use platforms like Google Docs, Microsoft Office 365, and Notion. These facilitate collaborative work on various types of documents and presentations. Several users can work on the same file at the same time or leave feedback for later.  
  • Discussion forums and online communities: There are also wider discussion platforms like Reddit, Stack Overflow, and Quora. They can help teams get insights from a global pool of experts and insights from niche communities.  
  • Internal wikis and knowledge bases: Organizations often utilize internal wikis or knowledge bases to share information and documentation. Tools for this include Confluence and SharePoint. These platforms enable asynchronous access to valuable resources and provide a centralized repository for important company information.
  • Voice and video recording tools: Platforms like Loom, ScreenPal, and Zoom allow users to record messages, presentations, or demonstrations. These recordings can be shared with others, who can watch or listen to them at their convenience. You can also jump on Zoom for a video call. 

The tools that are ideal for your team will depend on your preferences, setup, scale, and other factors. Make sure to select the tools that work best for your unique needs and try new ones if you don’t see great results. 

Key Benefits of Asynchronous Communication

There are several reasons why asynchronous communication is crucial for global, remote teams. 

Time Flexibility
Asynchronous communication empowers individuals to communicate at their own pace. Participants can contribute to discussions, share information, or ask questions without requiring an immediate response. This flexibility accommodates varying schedules and time zones, allowing teams to work seamlessly across geographical boundaries.

Reduced Interruptions
Unlike synchronous communication, asynchronous communication minimizes disruptions caused by constant notifications and the need to respond immediately to queries. Your team members can focus on their tasks and respond to messages when they have the time and mental bandwidth, resulting in increased productivity.

Documentation and Transparency
Asynchronous communication often leaves a clear record of conversations and decisions. These can be beneficial for future reference, accountability, and knowledge sharing. Tools like email, project management platforms, and collaborative documents enable participants to revisit past discussions and track the progress of projects.

Thoughtful Responses
Asynchronous communication allows individuals to carefully craft their responses. They have the time to consider different perspectives and gather relevant information before replying. This enables more thoughtful and well-considered contributions to discussions, fostering deeper engagement and critical thinking.

Global Collaboration
Asynchronous communication is particularly advantageous for teams or projects that involve members from different time zones or locations. Eliminating the need for real-time availability promotes collaboration without creating unnecessary delays or bottlenecks.

Manage Your Global, Distributed Team with Borderless 

Managing a global, remote team can be a challenge. At Borderless, we are experts in international employment. We help you understand the different work cultures across the globe and support you along the entire employee lifecycle in over 170 countries. 

Book a demo today to find out how we can help.