In our trainings, when we get to the part about what asynchronous work is and what it looks like in practice, we then share something like this,
There are then often a lot of deep frowns which translate into “What??? How is that even possible!?”
One of the most important (and difficult) mind shifts that a traditional in-person team must make when evolving to anywhere working is to go from a synchronous working mindset to an asynchronous working mindset, where presence is of no consequence.
Your focus is moving from:
“Where are you at the moment?”
“What are you doing at the moment?”
”Is your work on schedule to move this project forward?”
The asynchronous working culture shift
Traditional in-office in-person teams have a speaking culture that is, information is primarily shared verbally in the form of meetings, hallway chats and “tap-on-shoulder” moments in a physical space. A speaking culture is inherently synchronous, meaning you have to be in the same space and time to hear the words spoken.
The highly successful, fully distributed office-less, work-from-anywhere teams have a writing culture that is, information is primarily shared as text, in the form of online handbooks, “meetings in documents”, status updates, etc. This culture is inherently asynchronous, meaning text can be produced at one time and read by others at various other times, from anywhere.
These two cultures are vastly different. Here is the thing. If you want to evolve from an in-person to a fully distributed work-from-anywhere team, you need to understand that you are going to have to shift from a speaking culture to a writing culture.
This shift is crucial to your success and it takes time and training to master.
Please understand that the principles and best practices that underpin successful work-from-anywhere workplaces have been long established. So there is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel.
The work is to learn what these are, understand them, and then lead the assimilation of them into your specific workplace.