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Sharpen your focus with asynchronous communication

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November 25, 2022
Sharpen your focus with asynchronous communication

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Since the pandemic, back-to-back video calls make it tough to concentrate on real work. You can now shrug off Zoom fatigue, and collaborate more efficiently via "asynchronous communication" thanks to time tracking.

Do you ever feel exhausted from attending virtual meetings?

Due to connection problems, the ringing doorbell in the middle of a meeting, unending video calls, and frozen screens.  

If your answer is yes, you are certainly not alone.

As according to one study, 44% of professionals interviewed report having experienced video call fatigue since the onset of the pandemic. Among them, 59% indicate that video calls are not always necessary, and 15% state that they would rather swap these exhausting calls with other channels.

Interestingly, women are affected worse, with Stanford University finding that one in seven women –compared to one in 20 men– reporting extreme fatigue after Zoom calls.

Virtual meeting

Experts suggest that the right way to counter this problem is to resort to synchronous communication. That is virtual meetings, only when necessary, and make "asynchronous" work the default mode.

What does asynchronous communication mean?

Put simply, it is when communication does not take place in real-time. Instead, everyone responds when it is most suitable for them.
Virtual meetings are of course beneficial when used with moderation. However, when overdone, they create the feeling that you are chained to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc. You are frequently disrupted.
Although you plan your meetings perfectly, synchronous online meetings will present some unavoidable problems. Such as:

- Be at Cross-Purposes:

In most of our online conversations, we turn off our cameras due to "bad internet connection". The human mind pays attention to facial expressions and body language while speaking. Voice-only communication can and does cause a lot of misunderstandings. Because we are misunderstood in our meetings, we constantly have to repeat ourselves or explain again. This means a waste of time for everyone.

- Talking Over:

Let's be honest, we've all been there. Someone interrupted us while we were speaking in an online meeting. Or we tried to address the manager's question with multiple people at the same time and no one got it.

- Internet Problems:

We all try to use our home internet during office hours. On top of that, add your children who attend online classes. Therefore, some of us may be disconnected from the internet during synchronous meetings. Woe to us if this person is the one to make the presentation. We have no choice but to pray for the internet to come back, or the meeting will be postponed. What a waste of time!

No wifi zone sign

There is no one ensuring that people are paying attention and doing what they need to do when simultaneously presenting in a virtual setting.

Considering that your workstation may be overcrowded with distractions, you or they certainly won't pay attention throughout the meeting. As a result, you or they may lose out on important information, which is a significant synchronous meeting challenge. Also, your time management is compromised when there are lots of virtual meetings.

Kids bothering their mother when she is on a virtual meeting

The decisions you take in real-time might be hasty due to problems caused by.

Gaps in communication, for example. It is very natural for you and the other party or parties to disagree. In a virtual meeting, it's not always easy to convey your clear objective. You can capture particular indicators like body language and posture during face-to-face interactions.

Virtual meeting

Videoconferencing has the disadvantage of limiting the impact of these body language gestures. Instead, in asynchronous communication, you can disconnect when you need to focus on a complicated task. This helps you to avoid the disadvantages of limiting the impact of synchronous communication. You can organize time in a much more efficient manner.

Last but not least, you have more time to weigh all the pros and cons before reaching a critical decision.

Time tracking is part of the solution

Furthermore, certain groups such as junior employees, might sometimes be less willing to take the floor in a real-time meeting and express their ideas. In asynchronous communication, however, such individuals may have more time to formulate and present their ideas on a sound basis. The result is, of course, a larger diversity of thought and better solutions for everyone.

Plus, it's crucial to keep in mind that people can be nervous. Switching from physical meetings to video conferences may be difficult for a firm that is strongly reliant on them. Causing disagreement or even tension among employees and disrupting the workflow process.

As a remedy, you might need to prepare ahead of time and write summaries after each meeting. You could even need to get comments from participants frequently throughout the session.

Doesn't it sound exhausting? Alternatively, you may avoid such issues and buffering tasks (other summaries, pre-meeting plans, etc.) by using an asynchronous communication model.

Planning on a notebook

We all use asynchronous communication tools such as e-mails and digital whiteboards. Yet it is necessary to organize these around a collaborative framework, which is best delivered these days by time-keeping software.

By encouraging everyone to log in their time regularly, software like BeforeSunset creates transparency as regards the division of labor. BeforeSunset shows you who is working on which task, allowing you to contact not everyone, but rather the right person at the right moment.

Managing tasks and ideas

Project workflows can be visualized in time management software. Allowing leaders to see where bottlenecks occur and intervene at the right places without necessarily involving and distracting everyone in the process. Time tracking tools also provide a single source of reference where each team member can access the latest information and updates.

Moreover, when meetings are truly necessary, they can be scheduled at the times most suitable for everyone, according to their timesheets. The basic rundown is that a healthy mix of synchronous and asynchronous communication will allow your company to perform much better. And time tracking software can make this a reality.

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