Scheduling for Asynchronous Work
The concept of async work is a fairly new one to most people in the 9-5 grind. Pre-pandemic, most employers required their employees to report to a physical office, dressed and ready to go for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.
The pandemic hit and madness ensued as the vast majority scrambled to get accustomed to not only working offsite, but also managing others in their household (kids, pets, partners, etc) as well as other responsibilities.
Even though this was a huge shift in the working community, the concept of asynchronous work has been around for a while, and proponents of the async life have argued that it improves productivity.
async-first doesnt mean async only. same way mobile-first doesn't mean mobile only.— peerrich.eth 🗓🍊 (@peer_rich) February 8, 2022
async-first means you want to reduce the calendar clutter and have great docs and async playbooks, so you can use Cal.com for the real important meetings that cannot be done async
What is asynchronous work?
In contrast to synchronous work, asynchronous work simply means that employees can work on their own time, and on their own schedule without the expectation of immediately responding to others in their organization. It allows team members to focus more, and have complete control over their working schedule.
How is this beneficial?
There are numerous benefits to having an async work environment. First and foremost, it gives the team the autonomy that they need. Let’s be honest, we’re all adults here and therefore have the cognitive ability to manage our working schedule. It relieves the pressure of responding right away, and allows colleagues to think about a response that will deliver well thought out and processed communication, instead of quick knee-jerk responses.
In general, an asynchronous work environment also lends itself more to a 24 hour operation and is much easier to work across timezones. Personally, I like to change up my working hours. Some weeks I find that I am more productive in the morning hours, and some weeks I find I am way more productive in the evening hours. Because Cal.com has an async work first mentality, I am able to use my most productive and focused times of the day to hone in on my work.
How to make async work, work.
One of the things that we pride ourselves on at Cal.com is our async first work style. We find that it bodes well for our whole team, especially since we’re spread across timezones. The following tips are things that we have used and implemented to make the most out of our async environment, and has proved successful in keeping our team aligned.
Communication is one of the most pertinent factors in an asynchronous work environment. Lots of teams will use instant messaging and email to ensure that their employees are keeping connected throughout their workday. It’s always better to over communicate instead of under communicate. Google has some really useful courses on technical writing that can help your team learn to communicate better, especially in a tech workspace.
Setting clear expectations is the next piece of how to make the best out of your async work environment. Having those conversations upfront about what is expected, how to best be productive, and best practices with the async work environment is key. If you have someone new on your team that has never worked in a mostly asynchronous environment before, they may not fully understand how best to communicate and stay focused during their workday. This also includes “what not to do” sections to make sure that your team doesn’t slowly go down the slippery slope that is transitioning back to fully synchronous work. While some sync time is most likely going to be mandatory for most job functions, laying out clear guidelines for what’s expected is key to successfully balancing async and sync time.
Last but not least, create space for your team to connect. At Cal.com, we have an entire channel for “water cooler” chat that anyone in our company can add to at any point in time. It allows us to see what each other is listening to, watching on Netflix, and doing in their spare time as well as toss resources that are applicable to our jobs back and forth.
Where does Cal.com come in?
Long story short, is async work for everyone and every job? Not necessarily and even with all of our efforts to stay async, there are very few and far between jobs that allow for only async 100% of the time. That’s where we step in. Cal.com is built to help you take control of your schedule; organize your day in such a way that you can focus during your async time and make the most out of your sync time with your team.
you can't peer program asynchronously— peerrich.eth 🗓🍊 (@peer_rich) February 8, 2022
you can't have an investor call to check someone's vibe asynchronously
you can't do the initial interview and onboarding of a new employee asynchronously
you can't close deals asynchronously
In the words of our co-CEO and co-founder Peer,
“i always say:
do 90% of work async, so you can focus the last 10% on the most impactful work:
- hiring interviews
- peer programming
… that cannot be done async and that’s best done with cal.com”