The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Asynchronous Communication

Do you have teams across the globe? If you do, how do you communicate to ensure every member is caught up with project progress? If you’re struggling with this, it’s time to leverage asynchronous communication. Read on as we tell you what this is, why you need it, and the tools you need to get started!

Zight | May 18, 2020 | 17 min read time

Article Last Updated: May 26, 2024

The Ultimate Guide to Workplace Asynchronous Communication

Today, remote work and flexible schedules are running industries. And yet, the more work dynamics change, the more we need better communication. The need to communicate with the right people at the right time is apparent.

Think of your teams – distributed across different time zones and cultures – and it makes sense why traditional synchronous communication no longer cuts it. Instead, you want to invest in asynchronous communication without real-time interactions.

Read: How Zight Helps you Communicate Asynchronously

But wait, what is all this? Let’s tell you what asynchronous communication is, how it differs from synchronous communication, and why it’s your ticket to success in a changing work landscape.

What is Asynchronous Communication?

Asynchronous communication is any communication “not happening or done at the same time or speed.”

It is a type of communication where a sender passes information, but there is a time lag before the recipient receives the communication and responds to it. This means that the involved parties do not have to be engaged at the same time. Instead, one party initiates the communication, and the other(s) can engage where it fits into their schedule.

I. How Does Asynchronous Communication Differ from Synchronous Communication?

As we’ve seen, asynchronous communication does not need both parties to be available in real time. In contrast, synchronous communication happens at the same time.

During a real-time conversation or video call, you will get an immediate response to your questions or comments because communication is happening in sync. All attendees have set aside the same block of time to meet up and hold a conversation.

Async is different because it is all about communication on your own terms, in your own time, from wherever you need to be. Here’s more- with async:

  • Both parties don’t need to be talking at the same time
  • You can consume the communication whenever you want
  • You can respond in your own time
  • Interaction is available for future reference
  • You get time to translate, transcribe, or study materials
  • You get your calendar back
  • You have the ability to present better thought-out, defined, and edited responses

II. How to Decide Between Sync and Async

Communication creates human interaction, but how do you choose between synchronous and asynchronous communication methods for different tasks or discussions?

When creating an async message, you have to consider questions like:

  • Am I using the best format (written, verbal, or video…) for this message?
  • Does the person receiving this message have all the context they need?
  • Am I communicating clearly so that there will be no confusion?
  • Am I considering the tone of my language and how this message will be received?
  • Am I providing any needed resources or next steps, so that the conversation or project can move forward?
  • Is this communication being documented so that it can be found later for future reference?

The Benefits of Asynchronous Communication

The advantages of adopting asynchronous communication in all settings are numerous. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Enhances productivity: Asynchronous communication minimizes the need for frequent meetings so team members can focus more on their tasks. This leads to increased productivity as employees can dedicate uninterrupted time to work.
  2. Fosters autonomy: The asynchronous model eliminates constant oversight, granting team members the freedom to think creatively and make decisions independently. This lessens the burden of micro-management and empowers individuals.
  3. Equalizes time zones: For organizations that operate across multiple time zones, asynchronous communication eliminates the bias toward any single time zone. This ensures that all team members, regardless of their location, have an equal opportunity to contribute.
  4. Promotes intentional communication: In a work environment where asynchronous communication is the norm, any synchronous (real-time) meetings that do take place are likely to have a specific, significant purpose. Since most routine communications are handled asynchronously, the need for a real-time meeting usually indicates that the matter is important and requires immediate attention or discussion among team members. This makes every interaction more valuable and prevents unnecessary time drain.
  5. Cultivates a sharing culture: Asynchronous communication encourages the sharing of knowledge, ideas, and learning methods to foster a collaborative environment where collective intelligence thrives.
  6. Improves quality of responses: The flexibility to respond in one’s own time allows for more thoughtful and well-crafted communication. That enhances the quality of interactions.
  7. Provides a record for future reference: Many asynchronous communication tools automatically document exchanges, making it easier to revisit past discussions or decisions.

Asynchronous Communication For Remote Teams

As more companies go global and remote work becomes the standard, asynchronous communication has emerged as a critical player in making teamwork click – even when team members are miles apart or in different time zones. So, what are the unique hurdles and fixes when using asynchronous communication in a remote work environment?

Let’s dig in and find out.

I. Cultural Differences in a Remote Work Arrangement

Organizations focus on delivering a seamless experience to their employees by implementing more text or written communication. Virtual teams across borders carry on essential discussions and meetings via their smart screens in a remote arrangement; but have to deal with diverse cultures.

Virtual communication is different from in-person conversations, and some team members may face more difficulty than other members at work. Even if it involves asynchronous communication, it can still lead to cultural differences for the professionals.

Here are some examples:

1) Language Barrier or Inarticulacy

Professionals working in virtual environments may encounter obstacles due to their inability to express themselves verbally or nonverbally. Language is a crucial barrier to connecting people asynchronously. For instance, English is widely spoken across cultures and subcultures, so most professionals prefer it. But not everyone can speak English easily or have the same level of understanding.

For instance, when an organization hires a new remote worker from a different culture, they may face challenges using the right words in English, especially technical jargon. This can lead to low job satisfaction, and the employee may experience lower morale due to miscommunication or misinterpretation.

A language barrier occurs when employees speak various dialects, leading to a disrupted working schedule. China, for example, has dialects that differ from region to region. The same words or meanings used by one communicator can create misunderstanding for another leading to a conflict of ideas.

2) Different Time Zones

Time is crucial in business decisions, especially for global teams in different time zones. To navigate this challenge, these teams often rely on asynchronous communication methods like online forums, emails, and pre-recorded videos.

For example, an employee in the United States and another in Australia may find it difficult to attend a meeting at the same time due to the difference in daylight hours. This makes real-time, or synchronous, communication challenging.

Another issue arising from time zone differences is the added effort required for communication. Coordinating meetings or video calls often involves waiting for team members to agree on a mutually convenient time, which can lead to delays and complicate the decision-making process.

3) Limited Availability

For global teams to work effectively, it’s essential to strengthen their relationships across different borders and time zones. Having a communication gap between team members due to limited time or availability can impact work negatively. Often, video calls or conference meetings take more time than in-person conversations as teams wait for colleagues to join.

If two team members work remotely from different countries, coordinating a mutually convenient meeting time can be challenging and may result in delays. Therefore, establishing a flexible schedule that accommodates everyone’s availability is essential. This approach helps to mitigate the challenges of limited availability and ensures a clear path for effective communication.

4) Cross-Cultural User Experience

Culture has the power to influence mobile usability. When it comes to user experience, every individual has preferences based on specific cultural elements. For instance, Uber’s app is available in the UK and the US and operates differently considering both countries’ cultural differences and geographical aspects.

Consequently, users may find it challenging to adapt to new apps with unfamiliar visual designs and functionalities. For this reason, it’s crucial for mobile companies to establish a strong connection with their target audience. Global teams should be mindful of cultural contexts when designing apps, considering factors like color schemes, symbols, and overall style.

5) Unclear Body Language or Gestures

In a remote work environment, introverts often find it easier to concentrate on tasks without the distractions of a traditional office setting. However, this experience isn’t universal; many teams find that remote work requires extra effort in communication and collaboration.

While some remote workers still value traditional methods for building meaningful business relationships, complete with non-verbal cues like posture and gestures, the lack of these cues in virtual interactions can be a hurdle.

Managers often engage in group discussions and complete pre-meeting tasks to ensure they don’t miss out on anything when communicating. Yet, the absence of body language in virtual meetings can make it difficult for team members to gauge reactions and contribute effectively

II. How to Overcome Cultural Barriers Based on an Asynchronous Communication Approach?

Working in a virtual environment with a global workforce isn’t an easy task. To establish successful asynchronous communication, your teams must understand the timing differences such as Greenwich Mean Time, UTC Time, and Daylight-Saving Time. Moreover, you must understand cultural diversity before developing an effective communication strategy.

Here are some of the ways you can solve communication problems:

1. Use Recorded Videos

Software like Zight (formerly CloudApp) is perfect for screen recording for any virtual office setting that prefers asynchronous communication. It offers the convenience of staying connected through videos and screen-sharing – accommodating team members across different time zones.

This flexibility allows users to view recorded content at their convenience, thus bridging both communication and cultural gaps. As a result, global teams can work more efficiently and make fewer errors.

Screen recording also replicates a real-time, meeting-like experience for users. For example, managers can record meetings or discussions and later share these recordings with team members in different time zones. This enables everyone to participate in the meeting and respond when convenient, enhancing team collaboration.

2. Understand Cultural Flexibility

The most important thing is to respect cultural diversity and create a comfortable environment for remote workers to communicate asynchronously. Any global leader or manager needs to be upfront with their coworkers to understand the time and commitment you’re expecting from them.

When it comes to cultural flexibility, all workers from different cities or countries can look for a communication method that connects them virtually. For instance, you can send documents using Google Docs with your comments or use software like Doodle to schedule a meeting time that is feasible for everyone.

It’s significant for team members to understand each other’s cultural differences and adopt informal communication styles to feel connected. Global teams can also carry out contests, happy hours, games, and fun sessions for other coworkers through screen record technology.

3. Build Trust & Comfort

Building trust among virtual team members is as crucial as bridging the communication gap. Your team must have a strong work ethic and a great sense of accountability, even when working remotely. However, putting too much pressure on them or not trusting them enough can create discomfort, leading to low job satisfaction.

If you’re a manager of a global workforce, you can try changing your communication style for your virtual teams. You can start by asking your team members what works best for them to feel valued and respected. This way, you choose a comfortable communication method for everyone in different time zones and cities.

4. Utilize Technology and Media

All global workforces use technology to facilitate communication. Technology and media are vital in extending human capacities while conveying relevant messages effectively.

Through technology, such as the internet, apps, or software, global workforces can conduct team-building activities and further support other cultures in a remote setting. Whether it’s sync or async communication, they share a collective goal, i.e., to maintain a strong business relationship and a virtual work environment.

However, it’s also essential to use the right technology and media at the right time, so the remote workers don’t feel left out by their other team members. Global teams can use video chat software, screen recorders, and other apps to highlight important meeting tasks and reminders for effective communication.

For instance, you can use cloud-based software to schedule your meetings and conduct them privately while inviting a few of your team members. Or you can share your recorded videos or webinars with your global community to help them clearly understand the business goals and objectives.

III. How Do Different Cultures Work Asynchronously?

Working with diverse cultures is all about embracing asynchronous communication as it requires special attention to provide team members with an equal opportunity to participate.

With the rising digital culture, global teams are now deliberately shifting their paradigm from synchronous exchanges to asynchronous communication.

Now, recorded Zoom meetings and video call transcripts have replaced traditional communication media. Here’s a quick guide to learning more about how different cultures work asynchronously.

a) By Setting Communication Boundaries

With the increasingly global community, colleagues and managers prefer to work in a relaxed environment. However, it can lead to annoying interruptions.

That’s why managers set clear communication boundaries for remote workers so they can focus on their assigned tasks. Any business needs to set specific engagement rules with different priority levels so the teams can know what is expected from them. These rules can help employees align their tasks with greater responsibility without fearing missing out.

b) By Setting Working Hours

Most team members are reluctant to adopt new changes or go full-remote because they prefer conventional communication methods. However, setting their fixed working hours can help them stay connected with other team members. It’s also an effective way to convey precise working hours to the remote workers, so they don’t feel any extra burden on them.

c) By Training and Championing Technology

If you’re part of a remote team where most workers are hesitant about leveraging asynchronous communication, it’s time to train them.

Most global workforces train their team members and provide them with basic knowledge about using any software or app to help them communicate better. This way, the team members can learn about new features and systems before making important decisions.

d) By Broadcasting

As each day is a new day in the office, it’s essential to spread relevant information to other team members. A workable approach is to disseminate the news and information by broadcasting communication. Some reputable virtual companies have developed a culture of recording and conveying messages to remote team members.

Due to async communication, leaders have also started working on their newsletters and weekly announcements to send to other team members. The broadcasting technique helps teams establish a culture of sharing regular achievements, news, and information regarding their department.

e) By Providing All the Best Tools

For effective remote working, global workforces need access to the same tools. For instance, Google Docs is a collaborative software that allows multiple sharing where users can edit, share, or make comments.

Access to the proper tools increases productivity and efficiency among team members working from home. Since many companies are now working remotely, implementing these tools ensures employees’ success and provides them with their support.

What Are Some Examples of Asynchronous Communication?

The reality is that most of us engage in asynchronous communication daily, often without even realizing it. Here are some examples:

I. Everyday Scenario

Say your co-worker is out sick, but you want her to know about a minor, harmless website bug or typo you found earlier that day. You might send her an email with a screen recording that outlines the error so that she will know about it when she’s back to work. You don’t expect an immediate response from her. Instead, you’re providing her with the information she needs to tackle the problem when she’s back at work.

II. Other types of asynchronous communication include:

  1. Sticky notes on the fridge: A classic example that even predates the digital age. Leaving a note for a family member or roommate about groceries or chores doesn’t require an immediate response.
  2. Emails: The quintessential form of asynchronous communication in the professional world. You send an email when you can, and the recipient reads and replies when they can.
  3. Instant messenger apps: While platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams can facilitate real-time conversations, they are often used asynchronously. You send a message and the other person replies when they’re available.
  4. Internal wikis or instructions: These are repositories of information that team members can refer to at their leisure. No one needs to be online at the same time to access the information.
  5. Video or screen recordings: These can be particularly useful for complex tasks. You record the information once, which can be viewed and reviewed multiple times at the viewer’s convenience.
  6. Project management tools: Platforms like Asana or Trello allow for task assignments and updates that team members can check and act upon in their own time.
  7. Virtual whiteboards: These collaborative spaces allow team members to contribute ideas or information asynchronously.

Some communication methods can blur the line between asynchronous and synchronous communication. For instance, if you and a colleague are online and engage in a rapid back-and-forth conversation via an instant messaging app, the interaction becomes synchronous. However, the same platform can be used asynchronously if the conversation doesn’t demand immediate responses from either party.

Top 5 Asynchronous Communication Tools

While you may not need to communicate in real-time on most occasions, you want to have the best tools at your disposal to facilitate asynchronous communication at work. Here are our pick of the top 5 asynchronous communication tools that can take your team’s collaboration to the next level:

1. Zight

Zight is a versatile screen recording tool that goes beyond basic capturing functions, offering a comprehensive suite for asynchronous communication. Available on Mac, and Windows, and as a Chrome extension, it allows you to take screenshots, create screen recordings, GIFs, and even webcam videos.

Here are more reasons you’ll love the software:

  • Ease of use: Zight offers an intuitive user interface that makes capturing and recording a breeze. You can easily take a full or partial screenshot, record a video, or even create a GIF the first time you use Zight
  • Annotations: You can add arrows, text, and other elements to your captures to emphasize key points – making your communication more effective
  • Cloud storage: Say goodbye to the hassle of managing files locally. Zight offers cloud storage so that your captures and recordings are securely stored and easily accessible whenever you need them
  • Reactions: Zight takes asynchronous communication to the next level by allowing reactions to shared content. This feature adds an interactive layer for a more engaging communication process
  • Seamless file sharing: You can easily share your content through a link, and the best part? The recipient doesn’t even need to be a Zight user to view it
  • Versatility: Whether you’re in customer support, marketing, or software development, Zight adapts to your needs. You can easily use it for training and onboarding, troubleshooting, and even for regular updates or presentations

2. Trello

Trello is highly effective for asynchronous communication, particularly for remote teams. It operates on a system of boards, cards, and lists for transparent project management and workflow tracking. Each task or project has its own card, and team members can comment on these cards to provide updates or ask questions.

This setup is ideal for asynchronous communication because it doesn’t require immediate responses; team members can check-in, update their tasks, and communicate on their own time.

3. Google Drive

Google Drive offers a robust suite of collaborative features so team members can work on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations without needing to be online at the same time.

Members can leave comments, make edits, and suggest changes that can be reviewed and acted upon later. Google Drive also offers version history, which keeps track of all changes made to a document, providing a transparent communication trail. This makes it easier for team members to catch up on what has been done, facilitating effective asynchronous communication.

4. Asana

Asana is a robust tool for asynchronous communication, designed to streamline project management. It allows team members to work on tasks and projects at their own pace with features like discussion threads, document sharing, and deadlines for each task.

This task-based system eliminates the need for real-time interaction – ideal for teams across different time zones. Asana also provides status updates and project timelines for a transparent view of progress and responsibilities.

5. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams facilitates asynchronous communication for remote and hybrid work settings. Teams can collaborate at their own pace through features like chat threads, file sharing, and document collaboration.

It also allows teams to record meetings and share notes to catch up asynchronously. This software is ideal for global teams in different time zones, allowing for flexibility and autonomy in communication.

Bonus Tips for Effective Asynchronous Communication

1. Embrace Multimodal Communication

Consider using a variety of communication formats to cater to different learning and processing styles. Combine written messages, video recordings, and voice memos to ensure your message is understood by all team members, regardless of their preferences or accessibility needs.

2. Set Clear Expectations and Norms

Establish guidelines for asynchronous communication within your team or organization. Clearly define response times, preferred communication channels for different types of messages, and expectations for documentation and follow-up. Consistency and clarity will minimize misunderstandings and maximize efficiency.

3. Prioritize Clarity and Conciseness

In asynchronous communication, brevity is your ally. Be concise in your messages, focusing on clarity and relevance. Use bullet points, headings, and formatting to break up text and highlight key points. Remember, the goal is to convey information effectively without overwhelming your recipients.

4. Foster Active Listening and Engagement

Encourage active participation and engagement from all team members by acknowledging and responding to their contributions. Even in asynchronous communication, it’s essential to demonstrate attentiveness and respect for others’ perspectives. Respond thoughtfully to comments and questions, and invite further discussion when appropriate.

5. Leverage Automation and Integration

Explore tools and platforms that offer automation features to streamline your asynchronous communication processes. Automate routine tasks such as scheduling meetings, sending reminders, or assigning follow-up actions to save time and reduce manual effort. Additionally, seek out integrations that allow seamless communication between different tools and systems used within your organization.

6. Cultivate a Culture of Feedback and Iteration

Embrace feedback as a valuable tool for continuous improvement in your asynchronous communication practices. Encourage team members to provide constructive feedback on communication processes, tools, and formats. Use this input to iterate and refine your approach over time, ensuring that it remains effective and relevant to your team’s needs.

7. Practice Empathy and Flexibility

Recognize that asynchronous communication may present unique challenges for some team members, such as those juggling multiple time zones or dealing with connectivity issues. Demonstrate empathy and flexibility in accommodating diverse needs and circumstances. Offer support and resources to help individuals navigate asynchronous communication effectively and feel included in the conversation.

8. Promote Accountability and Ownership

Empower team members to take ownership of their communication responsibilities and commitments. Encourage accountability by setting clear goals, deadlines, and deliverables for asynchronous interactions. Foster a culture of trust and reliability, where everyone feels accountable for their contributions and follows through on their commitments.

9. Provide Ongoing Training and Support

Invest in training programs and resources to help team members develop the skills and confidence needed for successful asynchronous communication. Offer tutorials, workshops, and coaching sessions focused on effective communication strategies, digital literacy, and use of communication tools. Ensure that support is readily available to address any challenges or questions that arise.

10. Measure and Evaluate Performance

Regularly assess the effectiveness of your asynchronous communication practices and identify areas for improvement. Monitor key performance indicators such as response times, engagement levels, and overall satisfaction with communication processes. Use feedback from team members and stakeholders to refine your approach and optimize outcomes over time.

By implementing these bonus tips, you can enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of your asynchronous communication practices, enabling your team to collaborate more seamlessly and achieve better results in today’s dynamic work environment.


Flexibility, autonomy, and global collaboration are key drivers of a successful workforce today. With asynchronous communication, you get the tools necessary to make remote work feasible and improve productivity and work-life balance.

Create & share screenshots, screen recordings, and GIFs with Zight