Async working is an inclusivity superpower

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March 30, 2021 by Jason Yavorska, photo by Clay Banks

Remote and async working come with a lot of benefits, but one of the ones that isn’t spoken about as much as it should be is how it can create a more inclusive environment.

Meetings and chat are places where loud, immediate voices tend to win. It requires special consideration and planning to be aware of the quieter voices in the room, and not all groups remember to include people who aren’t naturally speaking up.

Even apart from some people’s tendency to be quiet, a lot of people with great contributions may not speak the language of the meeting as their first language, may have disabilities that make it hard to be able to participate in a rapid-fire exchange, or have family or health issues/commitments that make it impossible to attend at the scheduled time. People who are simply in other time zones or are traveling can be excluded as well.

A better way

Fortunately, the rise of remote working, and in particular async styles of collaboration that focus more on non-realtime, written communication, can help bridge the gap. By moving the discussion into documentation, people who engage more easily with the written word are able to read, think, and only then add their inputs. In a spoken-only environment, you may never have heard their input at all. The more diverse voices that engage with the discussion, the stronger the output will be.

Having the discussion take place over a few days, with a clear due date, also brings benefits. It’s common that after a day of reflection something new and important is realized. By giving space for the team to have this kind of reflection, as the discussion is happening, you avoid the situation where the discussion has to be had again, in another meeting, and with more cycles spent re-aligning over something that could have been done right the first time.

How to get started

You can achieve this kind of inclusivity without having to change a lot about what you’re doing today. Everybody benefits from fewer meetings and chat interruptions, so moving conversations into documents or issues can be an easy sell. More advanced solutions like AsyncGo can take things to the next level when you’re ready for better facilitation and discovery of the conversations that are happening, but you don’t have to start there. You can make a change to written and async documents, without any special tooling required.

Be sure in the document to add the context and outcome you’re looking for, add the collaborators you were going to invite to the meeting, and set a due date. You’ll be surprised how effective it is, and you’ll wonder why you ever defaulted to meetings in the past. The real benefit comes from the new kinds of voices you’ll see participating once you create some breathing room in the discussion.

Person working remotely

Are you interested in having fewer/better meetings, and collaborating with your team with more flexibility? We'd love to have you give AsyncGo a try.

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