Jan 11, 2023

Asynchronous video messaging is the future of work

Remote work is here to stay. It’s time to redefine workplace communication.

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Asynchronous video messaging is the future of work

Finally, all signs are pointing to the fact that remote work is here to stay. With this in mind, it’s time to redefine workplace communication. Read how this new paradigm of communication is helping hybrid and remote teams improve productivity to stay engaged and aligned in their work.

Many employers and even employees had anticipated the remote work trend was merely temporary, believing they would fully return to the office when the pandemic is over. Now, it’s safe to say they were wrong. As remote work is here to stay and will likely only grow in 2023, it’s finally time to seriously educate ourselves and redefine how we can collaborate in this new environment.

If you do your own research, the first thing you’ll discover is probably a phenomenon referred to as “asynchronous communication”. I’ve already covered what asynchronous communication is and why it matters to remote and hybrid teams, but there is one additional mega trend that you should know.


What is asynchronous video messaging?

As a relatively new concept, this is sometimes referred as “asynchronous video messaging” or “async video messaging.” These terms are more widely known, but “asynchronous video meeting” seems more precise.

We are all very familiar with synchronous video meetings from our experience using Zoom or Google Meet: a type of online meeting wherein all participants meet in a virtual meeting room at a designated meeting time, in real time.

In contrast, an asynchronous video meeting is a type of online meeting wherein participants don't need to be present at the same time. Instead, they can view recorded video messages at their own time and respond to the meeting at their own pace, either by leaving comments or posting their own video responses.

For example, you can record a video message to showcase your work in detail and send this to your team members or clients to review and provide feedback per their own schedules. This is what makes asynchronous communication so powerful.


Benefits of asynchronous video messaging

Asynchronous video messaging benefits arise from the characteristics of both asynchronous communication and video communication. Though these advantages quickly add up, I will only mention five here for the sake of brevity.

1. Well-considered responses

Synchronous video meetings leave very little time to think and prepare before responding: thus frequently leading to shallow conversations as participants naturally feel pressure to respond quickly.

In contrast, asynchronous video messaging provides additional time to think, research and provide thoughtful responses. Everyone speaks when they are fully prepared, consequently summoning deeper and more meaningful conversations. This is far closer to an optimal form of communication as a major component within work-related communication.

Ultimately, the added element of time is what makes asynchronous video messaging so powerful and why you should consider adoption—whether your team is remote or not.

2. Fewer meetings = productivity boost

Although synchronous meetings are an optimal form of communication in many circumstances, they are certainly overrated and overused. According to Atlassian, the average person wastes more than 31 hours in unproductive meetings every month. Are 31 hours per employee worth sacrificing, as synchronous video meetings are essential? Definitely not.

AsI shared in my previous article, asynchronous video messaging is sometimes a big help to scale back these unproductive meetings. There are a number of things you can start today, and I highly recommend you check out that article while looking to make an immediate change.

Recent research shows employee productivity increases by over 70 percent when meetings are reduced by 40 percent. Moreover, fewer meetings can also boost communication and even job satisfaction.

3. No hidden scheduling costs

Organizing a video call that everyone can attend is a very expansive task. It’s also time-consuming and interruptive. However, other options were previously few and far between as the experience of a combined audio/video presentation via screen sharing was not easily replaceable.

Now, you can have the same experience using asynchronous video messaging tools such as Tape: allowing you to record a video message using your webcam and PC screen and then share it with your team or clients via an email or shareable link.

In this way, the effort required to isolate a common time slot that works for the entire team is no longer needed. In other words, asynchronous video messaging does not come with hidden costs.

4. Transparency

One thing I’ve learned from performing over200 interviews with various types of teams is that those who hold meetings more frequently always suffer from transparency challenges.In their desire to resolve various issues, they put a lot of effort into writing down meeting notes that are easily lost and read by no one: failing to effectively capture the entire context of any given topic.

This issue naturally fades away when you use asynchronous video messaging. All context is automatically stored in the cloud, meaning the team can access it at any time.

5. Flexibility

Once you adopt asynchronous video messaging to your team, you’ll enjoy true flexibility: wherein core time spent working simultaneously fades away and everyone can work per his or her own schedule and preferences.

Working across time zones and hiring global talent becomes so much easier when the challenges involved with scheduling sync meetings everyone can attend are diminished. You can, however, continue to bond through face-to-face communication in an asynchronous way.


Your team needs asynchronous video messaging, no matter how they work

No single tool can replace every type of communication at work. Although your team uses Slack as a primary communication channel, for example, you still need email and Zoom. Each is better at some form of communication than the others, and asynchronous video messaging tools work in the same manner.

Asynchronous video messaging is better than Zoom or Slack for those occasions when you need to discuss complicated topics or provide an easier explanation by presenting multiple layers of visual content. Examples include showcasing deliverables and receiving feedback, reporting bugs, engaging in in-depth discussions, sharing project updates, performing asynchronous interviews, and more.

Nevertheless, we continue to head to a meeting room—whether virtual or not—when we really don’t need to or perhaps doing so is inefficient. It’s therefore time to seriously reconsider and re-evaluate how we communicate at work.

Use this framework to determine which communication channel to use

Each team might have different criteria with respect to choosing the best communication type as well as diverse preferences. However, a simple framework used by the entire organization can help reduce unnecessary inefficiencies caused by discordance and help quickly pinpoint the optimal communication channel.

We finalized the framework below following multiple revisions after years spent both working in a distributed team and talking to hundreds of people who work on a remote or hybrid basis.

It’s very easy to forget how much a single communication tool can impact productivity for the overall organization once employees become accustomed to using it. However, we are experiencing a very unusual moment as we realize this monumental change in our working environment is here to stay. Now is the time to fully explore this distinct opportunity that, until now, has been missing: asynchronous video messaging.