As the Covid-19 pandemic pushed more companies to embrace remote work, global hiring and flexible schedules, the traditional 9-to-5 workday has become less and less standard among professionals. Instead of requiring everyone to work during the same hours, companies are beginning to entrust their workforce to manage their tasks on their own time.
While there are certainly advantages to having set hours, the pros of asynchronous work outweigh the cons in the eyes of many modern employers and employees. For companies looking to adopt an asynchronous work style, eight members of Young Entrepreneur Council explain what leaders need to do to make this model work effectively.
1. Be Proactive In Supporting Your Team
Asynchronous work places a greater emphasis on personal accountability and communication. This means we, as leaders, must be more creative and proactive in how we support our teams across time zones. This includes both resources that allow for instant collaboration of ideas and materials, and processes that help reduce ambiguity, confusion or duplicate work, like regular standups or check-ins. – Rong Zhang, Hirect
2. Promote Planned Flexibility
You need to promote planned flexibility. Yes, at times emergencies pop up and you need to use flexibility, but in most cases, you can plan events. If team members structure their work around their lives and then communicate this, people can find better balance and will feel like life and work are in harmony. Plan to go to the gym, plan to watch your kids’ sports game or plan that daily nap. Then let people know you will be offline or when you will work. This structure will allow for freedom and understanding between team members, which will lead to a better morale and an environment where people can trust each other no matter when people work. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
3. Track Outcomes And Results Instead Of Time
Punching a clock has never been the best way to measure productivity, nor has the simple act of sitting behind a desk in an office. Measure employee accomplishments by tracking outcomes and results; it is a more accurate and sensible way to check progress. Studies have shown that employees who work from home and make their own schedules are more productive than those who sit in an office for eight hours. By eliminating the commute to and from work, you eliminate reasons for missing work while creating even more incentives to get the job done from home. Of course, mutual trust is essential for this model to succeed. – Evan Nierman, Red Banyan
4. Develop Systems Around Communication
The most significant step in making a remote workplace work is developing tools and rituals around regular inter-team communication. Apps like Trello or Slack can help you stay up to date with multiple teams, and allow these teams to easily and quickly interact with one another, share assets and make notes. If you do not focus on communication and get it right, it is very easy for important tasks and even entire employees to get lost somewhere in the digital ether. Regardless of the time zone, you want to build into your workers habits of regular updates, check-ins and progress reports. This is another reason why finding the right software for your teams is essential, as the software you use can heavily dictate what these needs look like in practice. – Salvador Ordorica, The Spanish Group LLC
5. Build A Sense Of Community
One of the biggest challenges when you have remote workers and flexible schedules is giving everyone a real sense of connection with your company. You don’t want it to be just lots of isolated people doing their particular jobs, sending their work in and logging off. That can work for a while, but you’ll find it hard to retain the best talent. To build a sense of community with people who may be far apart physically and even in different time zones requires some effort. Make sure everyone is able to communicate on multiple channels. Have virtual meetings at different times to accommodate people all over. Do what you can to encourage socializing. Have a purely social channel. In-person get-togethers are also good to build deeper connections. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
6. Hire the Right People
Do not underestimate the importance of hiring the right people. An asynchronous work style is awesome, but only for certain employees—those who are self-motivated and disciplined enough to get things done without constant supervision. It’s not just a question of skills; It’s a matter of personality traits, values and mindset. Put extra time and effort into assembling a team of those who can function like that with no problem. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
7. Ensure Your Policies Embody Asynchronous Benefits
One of the best ways to make an asynchronous approach work for everyone on your team is to indoctrinate the values that go hand-in-hand with asynchronous work into your company’s culture and mission. By weaving the benefits and values of asynchronous work into the fiber of your company (like autonomy, productivity, efficiency, inclusivity, etc.), then you’re more likely to see individuals thrive when adopting an asynchronous work style. It’s doubly important when you’re running a global and/or remote team. From recruiting to onboarding to training to annual reviews, if your business’s policies embody the core benefits of this type of schedule, you’ll witness how asynchronous schedules will work well for your company. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
8. Rethink The Function Of Meetings
In our workplace, we have stopped weekly “all-hands” meetings where everyone has to attend and listen to the latest company updates. These meetings are often unproductive and they are inconvenient for people in different time zones, which is why we now do them every quarter instead of every week. You can also implement standup days where employees simply communicate through chat and update the team on what they’re doing. This can be very helpful for companies that are making an asynchronous work style switch because it will help employees focus on their individual projects and stop wasting time on unproductive meetings. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner