Asynchronous team communication
Asynchronous teams are happy teams. They are full of independent, self-motivating people capable of doing their job without a policeman-manager watching second after second during the working hours. If you thrive to improve your employee structure, if you wish to hire smarter and more creative people, you have to enable a different culture.
There are simple rules to establish asynchronous communication in any team. If you follow them, you can accomplish a decent level of asynchronicity in your organization.
Rule #1: There are no fixed working hours
If you want to let people give their best, you have to provide them with full freedom to decide their working hours. Someone works better in the evening, someone in the morning. There are days when we are not feeling inspired to work, so it’s better to skip the day and avoid wasting time at work when we can not create anything good. This is possible only if it is clearly communicated to people that nobody expects them to be at their desk at any specific time. It doesn’t mean they don’t have to work; this only establishes the simple truth that nobody has to pretend to work.
Rule #2: No urgent tasks
The team leader or manager is not allowed to ask members of his team to do something urgently. If he does, that means he did something wrong in his job of planning. Of course, there are situations when we need to fix something that prevents us from doing our business, but these are exceptions to this rule, and we have to take care to keep them exceptions. Some managers developed their work style around urgent tasks that are more urgent than the highest priority task on our list. It has to stop immediately! This behavior leads to late-night calls to employees, weekend overtime work, holiday spoilers, and many other unnecessary stress generators. Everyone is obligated to plan his job correctly, managers included.
Rule #3: Everyone uses a common messaging platform
Whatever you like better - Slack, Telegram, Teams, Google Chat, or something else. It is essential to have one chat for all team messaging to avoid wasting your time when you have a question. When you establish the chat you use, you are free from asking everyone for the phone number, preferred way of communication, or endless discussions of why this tool is better than others. Decide and stick to your decision.
Rule #4: Any time is right for a message
We can send a message to each other or project-specific channels whenever we want, but nobody is obligated to answer immediately. You answer when you have nothing more important to do. If it is a one to one message, always respond. If it is a message to a project-specific channel, answer only in case you have what to say, avoid answers that say nothing useful.
Rule #5: Recurring meetings are forbidden
Meetings are necessary sometimes, but meetings tend to become significant time wasters. The ultimate efficacy killers are recurring or periodic meetings scheduled monthly, weekly, or even daily. If you want to encourage asynchronous communication, you have to establish strict rules about meetings. Always ask yourself twice if you need a meeting at all. Once you have a meeting, try to call as few people as possible to it. Forbid recurring meetings forever to avoid so many harmful effects they have on efficacy. There is a widespread problem coming from managers that count their daily success by the number of meetings. Avoid those managers at any cost. If you already have them in your organization, fire them immediately.