The world is changing, and so are the ways that companies work.
Employees aren’t required to be in an office on a daily basis, nor do they need to be physically located near their co-workers.
Even if remote work turns out to be less productive on some metrics than others, reducing carbon-based emissions or the improving work-life balance could make up for it.
– Mark W. Johnson and Josh Suskewicz, Harvard Business Review
There’s even more.
So, it’s time for businesses to discover to new places when it comes to team building.
In this article you will learn about a new approach towards strengthening the bond within a remote team.
Asynchronous Team Building.
Never heard of it?
I will start with an explanation.
There are many new definitions that come with the advancements in technology.
Asynchronous communication (short: Async) is one of them.
At its core, asynchronous communication is an exchange of messages between individuals or groups, where some information is delayed until a reply has been received.
The most common forms of asynchronous communications are
- Instant-, Text-Messages (Chat)
- Social Media Posts & Comments
- Voice-, Video-Messages
Async has become increasingly popular.
Technology-savvy people have become accustomed to working on their own schedule, which can be outside your typical 9-to-5.
Going one step further, experts claim Async Video Meetings are the future.
With the rise of remote work, “typical” office hours are being challenged, paving the way for unique working schedules.
On the flip side, Async also has drawbacks.
Such as lack of emotional connection and increased risk for miscommunication, which may lead to an increase in conflict due to misunderstanding.
But how does Async connect to team building?
I’ll explain that now.
Async team building is an excellent, yet often overlooked method for building a cohesive and productive team.
You can create and maintain relationships with your remote team without having to plan a huge event.
This means saving time and money.
Especially if your team is distributed across different time zones, this can be handy.
You just learned about the different types of Async communication, there is also different types of Async team building.
Here are some examples.
- Playing trivia via Email
- Having a Slack/Teams Channel to post images, or text about personal info
- Using a communication bot for weekly check-ins
The internet is buzzing with how powerful it is to have a solid team culture.
Many are saying that this can be achieved by having scheduled company events.
While scheduled company events are beneficial, they aren’t the only way to build an engaged and connected workforce.
Remote leaders should focus on asynchronous team building as well because it has many benefits that traditional in-person events lack.
First, asynchronous team building brings people together without distractions from work or home life and allows them to bond through shared moments online throughout the week, not just during one event.
Second, you’re able to reach more people who live far away from each other and expand your connection across different regions of the country and world, where you would otherwise struggle.
Imagine having Pimchan, a Product Designer from Bangkok and Andrea a Sales Manager from Rome in one team.
When Andrea kicks off his work day at 10 AM after having taken care of his kids, Pimchan is already set up for her afternoon yoga class as it’s 4 pm.
Not really convenient.
Here’s how you can help Pimchan and Andrea with Async team building
- You start a trivia Slack Channel only for the funniest and craziest questions
- Pimchan, Andrea and other team members compete against each other
- You have a weekly winner on Friday and monthly every last Friday
- Monthly winners receive a physical prize like special company gear
- The prize is actually sent to the winner
You have bridged the remote and real-life world with Async Team Building!
Need more inspiration?
Check out these cool retro games for you and your remote teams.
Now that you have a clear picture of how Async team building works, let’s look at some tools and companies that offer special services.
The tool GeekBot presents stand-up or team bonding questions via Slack/Teams directly to your team members.
For example light-hearted questions about favorite ‘Pizza Toppings’ reveal fun facts of everyone, while water cooler chats let people build trust and establish a more personal bond in the office space.
Trivia quizzes are the best way to get everyone on your team talking and learning about each other.
With the help of the tool Water Cooler Trivia you have it all in one place.
The chance for meaningful conversations is high, because no one can hide what they know when it’s their turn in front of the group.
Customized weekly quizzes for teams are available in seconds through this app.
Spark conversations that will maintain positive energy throughout your whole week.
Async Video Messaging
Video messaging is a great way to communicate and collaborate with your team, no matter where they are.
It’s an effective tool that can be used for training sessions, project updates, casual one-on-one chats or even fun and light interactions.
But for some reason, many companies are still hesitant about using video messaging in their remote teams’ day to day workflows.
But, it does not have to be that way.
The tool Loom lets you record and send video and screen messages very fast and efficient.
Besides project updates, you can use this to strengthen team bonding.
Instead of spreadsheets, have your team show their favorite website, hobby, and something they are proud of.
It can even be the latest book they have been reading.
- BBC - “How asynchronous communication could change your workday”
- GitLab - “How to embrace asynchronous communication for remote work”
- OwlLabs - “What Is Asynchronous Communication & How Do You Use It?”
- doist - “Asynchronous Communication: The Real Reason Remote Workers Are More Productive”
Thanks to the wonders of technology, we can now work from anywhere.
But that doesn’t mean it always goes smoothly.
In this article, you learned about the importance of asynchronous communication and how Async team building can help your remote team function more effectively.
To help you get started with this type of work and team building environment, we’ve provided 3 examples and tools you can try out on your own.