We are not ready for the asynchronous future

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Work from home update

I have a confession. No matter where I am, I like to arrange my work in a structure around 9.30 am to 6.30 pm. I know that it is very outdated in these times.

However, after we conducted great remote work experiments during the pandemic, many workers did not want to return to this rigid state.

The jargon for working flexibly on our own time is “asynchronous work”. There has been a lot of discussion about this concept, some of which are too complicated, but it boils down to doing your work “when you want it.”

Asynchronous work allows employees to work without having to be free at a specific time, most obviously during the past nine to five periods.

“Synchronous” work refers to people collaborating at the same time, such as in a meeting. But these two methods are not mutually exclusive. Some synchronization work is always necessary. For example, after completing a project with colleagues in the office, you can work from home at the time that suits you best.

There is nothing new about working asynchronously.Teams, especially in global organizations that operate across time zones, have Working asynchronously for years -A group of people somewhere in the world ends on this day, while another person keeps going.

However, we are rapidly entering the field where these interleaved work practices apply to the individual level. This is where things can get tricky, because organizations must consider many dynamics: the size of the company, the roles in it, and what digital tools they need to provide. For most companies to take full advantage of asynchrony, major cultural changes are required.

First, it needs trust. Allan Christensen, chief operating officer of technology company Doist, said that we need to abandon the idea that “unavailable people are equal to people without jobs.” Fully remote team.

Unsurprisingly, this change needs to come from the top, and Christensen suggests that any strategy involving new tools and work practices should be introduced slowly.

The software company GitLab also operates a completely remote team. Darren Murph, its remote head, said that without a structured “roadmap” and quarterly changes, asynchronous work is not easy to achieve, so that “the team can gradually adapt to new tools and messaging and how to best utilize them.”

Many companies already have some technology and do some asynchronous work, but the autonomy that allows people to work in new ways is very different.

The advantage of asynchronous work is that it gives employees more freedom and can be part of attractive and flexible work opportunities.

It also allows people to deal with deep tasks without being interrupted, and as Christensen pointed out in an email response to my question, there is more time to reflect on things before providing answers. However, he added that it will also slow down at first, and any problems may take longer to surface.

When the team schedules a meeting or spends a few days in the office, compromises need to be made. Frictions can also arise in organizations where workers cannot work from home.

Murph said it is also important to realize that breaking daily routines may not be effective for everyone. There will always be people like me who are more willing to continue working around the “traditional” structure.

Therefore, if employers seriously consider providing flexible job opportunities and allow some asynchronous work, this will require time, effort, and in some cases, a thorough reform.

“The organization underestimated the tsunami changes in the nature of work,” said Tsedal Neeley, Professor of Business Administration At Harvard Business School. She added that some people will have to improve the skills of the entire workforce.But it seems that the company is not prepared, because many companies want to switch to a more flexible model No more detailed plans have been implemented.

In the coming months, we will see whether those who want complete freedom are ready to leave old-school companies and turn to more out-of-sync employers. Traditionalists like me may once again find themselves attending morning team meetings alone.

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Pilita Clark is away

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