September 5, 2022

The Future of Work Meetings is Async

Ever attended a meeting and realized 3 minutes in that you’re better off doing something else?

Back in 2019, Korn Ferry published a survey where two-thirds of respondents said that “spending too much time in meetings and on calls distracts them from making an impact at work.” And when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, meetings became even more frequent (now done through video conferencing tools). Fun fact: The founder of Zoom himself got so exhausted by back-to-back online meetings that he coined the term “Zoom fatigue.”

I’m not a fan of lengthy and meandering meetings, so I’m grateful to work at a company that recognizes the benefit of async communication.

Here are 3 simple ways to practice effective async communication:

1. Write clearly and cut the clutter.

Effective communication is the #1 time-saver. Raphaelson and Roman write in their book Writing that Works, “To get action from busy people, your writing must cut through to the heart of the matter. It must require a minimum of time and effort on the reader’s part.” Think your message through before pressing send, ensuring you’re sending all the relevant details that the recipient need, can understand and act on.

2. Determine what can wait.

Not everything is urgent (though it may feel like it). But if we demand a prompt reply from our teammates, we could disrupt their flow and hurt their productivity.

I just learned about Bubbles today, and I’m excited to incorporate it into my workflow. It’s a free tool that helps remote workers collaborate through screen, video, and audio messages, which are recorded and perused on each employee’s time. This is the ideal alternative to status updates and “quick” meetings that are never truly quick.

3. Select the best medium.

Some meetings could be translated into quick emails, while confusing documents could be discussed over Zoom (or IRL coffee☕️). Going async at work is not about eradicating team connection and collaboration — it’s about sending a message at the right time, in the right length, to the right people, and through the right avenue.

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