Building a Collaborative Asynchronous Work Environment




  • Gloria Mark, a professor of informatics at the University of California, Irvine points out that it can take over 20 minutes to get back into a complex problem after being jolted out by a distraction. (View Highlight)
  • I wanted to build a company that allowed me to have time for deep work, time to take walking breaks in the middle of the day, and time to pick up my son from school. Even more, I wanted to create a work environment that gave my employees the same privilege. (View Highlight)
  • form of asynchronous remote work. In an asynchronous environment, all or most of the work is done at the employees’ preferred working time. Employees use asynchronous work tools to communicate, and there are typically very few real-time meetings (View Highlight)
  • While we have some roles that need to be available for meetings with clients, most of our team spends their day focused on deep work like writing, editing, or coding. (View Highlight)
  • “We actually collaborate much better because we are async,” told me, pointing out that everyone gets time to think about and organize their thoughts before they speak or write. “All messages are logged,” he told me, “so it’s really easy for us to link back to something someone said.” (View Highlight)
  • One of the benefits my team talks about most often is the high level of flexibility and autonomy they get thanks to our asynchronous environment. (View Highlight)
  • One thing that I find challenging about asynchronous work as my company grows is that I can’t get answers to all my questions immediately. I know that’s probably a good thing (because I’m not constantly interrupting my teammates), but it’s required an adjustment to my expectations around work and forced me to get better about processes. (View Highlight)
  • Writing is more time consuming than speaking,” he said, “but it also helps to clarify thinking in a different way. We’ve all had an ‘aha!’ moment while typing up something we were confused about.” (View Highlight)
  • The most underrated skill that successful people, especially introverts, have is the ability to write clearly. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in. If you are a thoughtful and strategic writer, you’ll be more confident in your interactions—in emails, public speaking or even just small talk (View Highlight)
  • As writing becomes more ingrained in your daily life at an asynchronous company, it’s only natural that some of that writing will turn its way into documentation. “We document everything that is done more than once,” Kiran Shahbaz told me. “Because we don’t have the luxury of ad-hoc questions and answers, these need to be prepared beforehand (View Highlight)
  • , Stack Overflow for Teams offers a collaborative place for teams to ask and answer questions without interrupting each other in real-time chat platforms. Similarly, Twist is organized around threads and works more like a traditional forum than a real-time chat tool (View Highlight)
  • daily standup tool called Status Hero to record what we’re working on each day without all having to hop on a call in real-time. Other teams I spoke to use tools like Metro Retro to capture and share their agile retrospective notes both synchronously and asynchronously. Finally, I’ve gotten to be a big fan of leaving async video messages through ZipMessage. While real-time calls are useful for collaborating quickly, a lot of meetings could be replaced by video messages. (View Highlight)
  • if employees are allowed to work when, where, and how they want, you have to be able to trust them. “Async only works with 100% reliable team members,” Kiran Shahbaz told me. Ronak Ganatra agreed, adding that everyone must be “accountable and independent.” (View Highlight)
  • Hiring employees who are used to working asynchronously also helps. I look for people who have worked remotely and independently in the past. For (View Highlight)
  • Regular sharing is a habit that takes time to build.” – Anthony Eden, DNSimple (View Highlight)
  • Almost every new employee we hire goes through a period of time where they’re still trying to wrap their head around this asynchronous work thing. (View Highlight)
  • Some people struggle to get into a consistent work routine. One of our core values is that “we work at a sustainable pace,” so I often have to remind team members not to put in extra time on the weekends or evenings unless that’s when they prefer to work (View Highlight)
  • Everyone I talked to for this mentioned how challenging brainstorming in an asynchronous workplace is. Many of them use real-time meetings for that work and regular team check-ins that require more back-and-forth at a quicker pace. (View Highlight)
  • remote work is becoming the norm, but asynchronous workplaces are still relatively rare. This working style requires total buy-in across the company and a high degree of trust between employees and managers, so it may never become the standard. (View Highlight)
  • Is there anything more annoying to hear when you’re elbows deep in a hairy bug? (View Highlight)
    • Note: Building a collaborative asynchronous work environment is a model of work which allows people to work at their own preferred times, uses asynchronous tools to communicate, and gives employees the freedom and autonomy of remote work. Asynchronous work allows companies to access a global talent pool, improves documentation and collaboration, and increases productivity. Challenges include needing to trust employees, getting used to the mindset shift, and having to have some real-time tasks and roles.