To be asynchronous or not to be asynchronous? That is the question.
This twist on the Bard’s famous words touches on the challenge most managers of remote teams face: how to best engage a team through meaningful programming. Is it best to find ways to be together? Or does it make more sense to plan activities that can be done on someone's free time?
Here we explore the benefits and downfalls of asynchronous versus synchronous events, to help you best serve your team’s needs.
Simply put, asynchronous (async) events don’t occur at the same time.
This is common in online learning–where instructors record lessons for students to complete on their own time. This allows students more than one opportunity to take in the content. And as a bonus they don’t have to rush across campus to make it to class on time.
When it comes to asynchronous events at work, staff are offered activities to do when it suits their schedule. Elements that you can include in an async event are pre-recorded meetings and celebratory messages. There are also opportunities for off-screen activities, like challenges and contests. Examples include fitness challenges (e.g., 5K running club), photo contests (e.g., nature, weekend adventures, holiday decorations), or company picnic (send staff non-perishible foods and picnic swag).
On the other hand, a synchronous event occurs when all attendees participate at the same time.
Synchronous events are the more traditional kind of work event. Your team shows up to a shared space and interacts together during a determined time frame. For remote and hybrid teams synchronous events can be held in the virtual space on video calls through platforms like Zoom or Google Meet.
With many employees working remotely or in a hybrid-model, deciding between synchronous and asynchronous events can be challenging. Ultimately, both types of events have their pros and cons. Weigh your options, maybe try both, and see what works best for your team.
Collaborating across different time zones can be challenging, but it's becoming increasingly common in today's globalized world.
To support the workplace shift from traditional to hybrid, here are some tips companies can use to keep employees engaged.