How Asynchronous Communication Makes a Happier Global Workforce

Asynchronous Communication poses a lot of challenges globally for the productivity of remote teams. In this article, we discuss the what these challenges are and how remote teams can overcome them to improve communication and productivity.

Zight | August 15, 2022 | 10 min read time

Article Last Updated: July 23, 2023

How Asynchronous Communication Makes a Happier Global Workforce

Communication creates human interaction while highlighting unique cultural characteristics and differences. Today, the ever-expanding internet and instant communication via technology are integral in connecting people from different cultures remotely. More professionals prefer to use technology for asynchronous communication as it reduces cultural barriers and creates opportunities for them. 

A study by Owl Labs found that, “Globally, 16% of companies are fully remote,” and “55% of those surveyed said they work more hours remotely than at the physical office.” Remote is the new normal. However, a few cultural implications can create a communication gap among remote professionals. 

Let’s discuss how these implications create challenges for people in an asynchronous communication setup and its solutions.

Asynchronous Communication Definition

Asynchronous communication refers to 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.

Culture Differences in a Remote Work Arrangement

Organizations these days focus on delivering a seamless experience to their employees by implementing more text or written communications. Virtual teams across borders carry on important discussions and meetings via their smart screens in any remote arrangement with a diverse culture.

However, 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 environmental and cultural differences for the professionals.

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 for connecting people asynchronously as it unites them all under one roof. As a widely spoken language across cultures and subcultures, most professionals prefer English. But not every individual can speak English with ease 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 while using the right words in English, especially technical jargon. It can lead to low job satisfaction. The employee may experience a loss of 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 meaning used by one communicator can create misunderstanding for another leading to a conflict of ideas.

2) Different Time Zones

Time contributes to significant business decisions. Due to different time zones, global teams use async communication, such as online forums, email, and videos, without direct contact with people. For instance, if one employee works in the United States while the other employee works in Australia, they may not be able to attend a meeting simultaneously. That’s because people experience different daylight hours and can’t communicate most of the time in an asynchronous work setting.

Another dilemma of having different time zones is that communicating requires more effort with more delay in meetings or video calls. The global teams have to wait for their members to schedule a meeting based on mutual decision and availability. Thus, there’s also friction in communication and waiting time due to different time zones.

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 due to the absence of relevant remote workers.

For instance, if two persons work remotely in different countries, setting up a meeting at the same time may create difficulty. Thus, they’ll have to come up with a comfortable and flexible schedule for everyone. It will help them overcome limited availability issues to perform proper tasks by establishing a clear communication path. 

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. It operates differently considering both countries’ cultural differences and geographical aspects.

Thus, users may find trouble getting accustomed to new apps and software with different visual designs and functions. That’s why it’s also essential for mobile companies to connect with their brand and audience effectively. Considering the color, symbols, and style, the global teams must keep the cultural context in mind and understand the app’s design accordingly.

5) Unclear Body Language or Gestures

Working in a remote setting is ideal for introverts to focus on their tasks more clearly with less office noise. However, it’s not the same for most team members as they have to spend more time and effort listening or working with others. Many remote workers prefer the conventional approach to lead meaningful business relationships while maintaining body postures and gestures.

Managers have to follow group discussions and perform pre-meeting assignments to ensure they don’t miss out on anything when communicating. During the conversation via phone calls or video calls, it’s challenging for the coworkers to read and understand the body language in a virtual environment. It prevents the team members from developing specific responses and contributing effectively during the meeting.


Difference Between Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication Setting

When working with a diverse or distributed team, understand the importance of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Async communication includes immediate responses and real-time feedback via video chats or phone calls between the team members. For instance, team members can organize a meeting using Microsoft Teams or Slack to get instant replies.

But async communication is different as it contains more text-based or non-verbal communication. For instance, you can leave a voice message or write an email to your team member. However, they’ll only respond at separate times as per their convenience. Leveraging an async communication style can be exhausting as it causes more delays in meetings and neglects the spontaneity aspect of any business culture.


How to Overcome Cultural Barriers based on Asynchronous Communication Approach?

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

What are some of the ways global teams can solve their communication problems? If you also want to know, let’s discuss them here.

1. Use Recorded Videos

Software like Zight (formerly CloudApp) is perfect for screen recording for any virtual office setting that prefers asynchronous communication. It provides convenience to users working in different time zones to stay connected through videos and screen-sharing. It’s the ultimate solution that is flexible for all the team members during any time of the day. Most importantly, users can save their time by viewing the recorded screen as per their time zone. It reduces the communication & cultural barrier between teams across borders and helps them work efficiently without miscommunication. This way, global teams can perform their tasks more diligently with minimum or zero errors as they can save & view the recorded screens any time they want.

Another significant aspect of screen recording is that it provides a real-time environment and a meeting-like environment to the users. For instance, managers and global team members can record their videos via the screen record app while carrying out meetings or discussions. They can later send these videos to their coworkers who work in a different time zone so they can also become a part of the meeting and respond accordingly.

2. Understand Cultural Flexibility

The most important thing is to respect cultural diversity and create a comfortable environment for remote workers where they can 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 while putting your comments inside 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 your 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 from a distance. 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 questions from your team members and what works best for them to feel valued and respected. This way, you can 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, even if they are from another side of the world. Technology and media play a vital part 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.


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 levels of priority 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 even remotely 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 a 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 in a better way. In 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 tooling increases productivity and efficiency among team members as they work from home. Since many companies are now working remotely, implementing these tools ensures employees’ success and provides them with their support.


Final Thoughts: One Day at a Time!

Building a thriving remote culture with asynchronous communication requires making small decisions daily. It’s vital to keep cultural implications at a minimum while providing a friendly remote atmosphere to everyone, considering the global workforce. As remote workplaces are becoming a new norm, the key to creating a safer ground for everyone is to work on more improvements while utilizing the best technology gradually.

Here at Zight (formerly CloudApp), we help users create and share videos. You can capture images, gifs, and screen recordings, annotate your captures and share in seconds.  Try it for free today or get a demo to see how Zight (formerly CloudApp)’s tool can help you communicate faster in an asynchronous environment.

Ready to chat with us about how to save time, money and help your team communicate better?