Synchronising Asynchronous Remote Work 🌍

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Product Minting

On the couch. On the floor. On the desk. On the bed. In the office. How do you like your work?

Roughly, the average time difference between any two continents is 12 hours. You may be starting a new week at the very moment your coworkers are still partying or snoring.

Hiring hack at the end.

Maybe. You need to. Chill?

Maybe. You need to. Chill?

When stakes are involved, humans are a very anxious bunch. We’re more likely to have conflict than discipline when we need to operate as a unit.

As an employer/manager, everyone on your team has their personal stakes in working with you. You must never ignore this.

Organizational psychology shows us that without keeping our staff sustainably motivated, our businesses will only suffer. And suffer.

Business comes with its own stakes…

To build a strong team, you prepare against these threats:

  • Other companies will try to poach your carefully-selected, high-performing teammates, (workforce losses)
  • The stream of work is never-ending, and results are essential (workforce wastage)
  • Your resources are finite (limited resources)

…and remote work raises those business stakes 🛰

You inherit the crucial responsibility of keeping comms + systems butter-smooth and air-tight—without the luxury of access to everyone’s immediate attention at their desk or office.

People lie, Michael. People lie.

People lie, Michael. People lie.

Today, having distributed teams spanning continents, it is clear that the value the individual brings matters the most at work. We’re just separated by, well, physical space. 👨🏽‍🚀

Your access to them is limited to a digital notification. Is that good or bad?

The goal of this piece is to provide practical solutions you can implement in your remote employment for smoother asynchronous work.

Highly-Motivated, Tight-Knit & Async 📡

Understand this, remote work will never be the same as in-office work. Sure, a hybrid model will help you eat your cake and have it, but business conditions vary with industry, company size, and the characteristics of your workforce.

It’s not to say that remote work is a tougher model of employment, but it just means that certain biological factors that help people integrate into your company’s culture won’t kick in without a catalyst.

In a sense, your employees are… electronic.

Electronic employees are people too?!!!!

Electronic employees are people too?!!!!

After collecting feedback from my networks and social media, here’s how electronic employees feel about working async:


No real-time collaboration/communication when I need it.”


The freedom to design my life.”

Nuff said. But then there’s stuff they’re not saying. We’ll get to that.

First, let’s recount the long-term benefits of async work:

  1. Presence: You can serve & support customers anywhere on the planet in real time (Hey there, Big Brother 👁)

  2. Quality: Gain access to the global talent market to employ the best people to take your business to the next level.

  3. Attractiveness: Global champions relish the freedoms of working async, from diverse teams to the personal space required for deep work and improved well-being.

  4. Performance: With helpful systems in place, individual contributions & performance are easier to recognize & reward.

Companies like GitHub, GitLab, and Automattic are fully remote and async. Many other companies, such as Google and Microsoft, work in a hybrid style.

Depending on your business, async might be exactly what you need. But here’s the fine print…

…the freedom of async is a double-edged sword 🪂

We love remote work, but we’re still working through the trade-offs.

It’s not as easy to build relationships and team bonds over the internet. We lose the water cooler/early bird conversations that allow us to really connect.

For people without friends or family nearby, their job is their social life. Screens just won’t cut it, so encourage your employees (in that position) to co-work however possible. I’ve seen it work wonders in dealing with isolation.

Our employment models must be sustainable if we want to build businesses that outlast us. What will remote work be like in 100, no, 1000 years?

As far from traffic as possible.

As far from traffic as possible.

Harnessing Human Nature: Electronic Employees 🔌

Working remotely allows us to slack off when we need it. After all, no one’s watching. This is not a problem, if; we can pick up after ourselves.

We all make a mess sometimes, but neglect will destroy any amount of hard work. We can’t have that. Workforce losses, workforce wastage & limited resources are threats to your organizational success.

Your counterattack?

⚔️ Personal responsibility + Clear vision + Enabling culture = Highest Performance

Actions to take here are twofold, from your end, and theirs. If you employ middle management, they’ll maintain both.

Want some of this middle management?

Want some of this middle management?

Your end: Approach (Clear Vision + Enabling Culture) ⚖

If their assignments feel like a chore, your team will put out the bare minimum.

Before you ask your employees to lift a finger, show them why you think working on X (and not Y) will bring results, and allow them to disprove it with data from your customers/community.

It’s a slow death to run your team on hopes and dreams. They will certainly burn out.

They’re asking:

  • Why are we doing this?
  • How do we measure success?

Don’t sugarcoat the data. If it’s not looking good, it’s not looking good. When the stakes are clear, your team will go all in.

It’s a pain when their hard work does not bring the results they expect, from leadership or from the customers. It shows a lack of depth, and they too, will withdraw.

This information you provide will be crucial for the next step.

Their end: Feedback (Personal Responsibility)👂🏾

To keep everyone accountable, promote a heavy feedback culture before any decisions are made at any level.

According to Harvard Business Review’s research, immediately after listening to someone talk, the average person remembers only about half of what they’ve heard—no matter how carefully they thought they were listening.

Aye, aye, Captain! What did you say again?

Aye, aye, Captain! What did you say again?

That means you must reduce the time spent in meetings, and increase your focus on providing high-quality instructions that can be referred to consistently and continuously.

Text is the simplest medium. Go higher with visuals, video & audio.

Let’s See The Gantt Chart

Before opening any apps or even checking new messages on Slack, insist that each member of your team go through the big picture; daily.

It should be a visual representation of their responsibilities, their relevance, and the metrics for success. Each is essential.

Without everyone able to see the grand scheme, confusion, and miscommunication are all you’ll get, with hardly anything done.

For big teams, use a Gantt chart. Smaller teams (2-5 employees) may be able to get by with a simpler task list as long as it allows for subtasks & assigning.

💡 Show Sarah (hi!) what, why, when and where her work matters in the team project. It won’t take you 5 minutes to add in for each person, and it will give your employees a singularity of purpose.

If Sarah knows that her deliverables will be the foundation for Segun’s work to kick off, it gives her a sense of duty.

If Segun knows he puts the cherry on top, he’s encouraged to follow through each process and understand everyone’s contributions better.

We all need to see the plan. Make it available, or you’ll get stuck doing back-and-forth texting.

Tools: Microsoft To-Do, Notion

Personal Responsibility Is Fuel

Insist that your employees send you a daily 30-60 second rundown of their daily work in line with the Gantt chart (or whatever you use to plan), and how anyone can find it.

It must be in line with the company’s daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly goals and it’ll save your team significant waiting time looking for access to solutions, files, folders, and reports.

Sarah: “My goals for today were X & Y. I’ve started on X, but I had challenges with Z and resolved them with Segun. We decided on ABC as the best route. I’ll finish X first thing tomorrow, on schedule.”

”Y is done and available in the #Alphabet channel on Slack.”

Daily progress makes weekly strides, and so on. It will keep everyone, including management, setting attainable goals and managing the workforce as a limited resource.

More importantly, it’ll help to answer questions another employee may have about another’s work.

Since the main issue with collaborating asynchronously is real-time access, providing a video or audio recording of what was done and where to find it will go a long way.

Tool: Loom

PS: If you find that your teammates are lacking in personal responsibility, you may have hired poorly, or they have one foot out the door.

Hiring Hack:

Roughly, the average time difference between any two continents is 12 hours. You may be starting a new week at the very moment your coworkers are still partying or snoring.

In Asia alone, there are 11 time zones.

If you hire talent in time zones (4-8 hours) ahead of yours, you make it more convenient for them. They can use their daytimes to do life, and work synchronized with you/the team till their bedtime.

Hey, your company doesn’t have to suffer just because the planet is spinning. 😉

Hope you enjoyed this piece. Transition to sustainable remote work with HRQ. Book a discovery call here. 🛰

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