Remote work

Top 5 Asynchronous Communication Tools For Remote Teams in 2021

Enough has already been said about the positive (or negative) experience of remote work in 2020. But, the ability to provide a focused and productive work environment has been something that feels missing from most of these experiences. That is why we wrote this guide on top 5 Asynchronous communication tools of 2021. 


Asynchronous communication tools are what make an okay or good remote work environment an amazing work environment. 

5 Asynchronous Communication Tools 

Slack

Most people who use Slack, they use it as a real time communication and collaboration tool. But Slack isn’t just that. While carefully outlining their culture on Slack, organizations can make it far more non-intrusive by using a mix of real time and asynchronous communication.


Here’s how Alley does it with its team. Real time messaging from Slack at Alley was responsible for forced context switching resulting in loss of productivity and constant source of interruptions reducing the focus from deep work. 


To create a more productive environment with Slack, Alley team came up with the following rules to drive successful adoption of async communication: 

  1. It is okay to let your teammate know that you are unavailable to get yourself a large chunk of uninterrupted deep work
  2. Whenever you message someone, don’t assume that they are free, provide as much information as you can to the person so that it is easy for them to understand it in one go
  3. An urgent request on Slack also has to qualify as a true emergency 
  4. One should leave any channel that he/she isn’t active in
  5. Use reminders in Slack to respond back when you are free 
  6. Don’t use @here or @channel casually (this is also a part of our Slack etiquette guide)


And with these simple rules, they were able to increase async communication across their team. If you are using Slack and struggling with async communication, try some of these too. 

Holopod 

Speaking of Slack asynchronous communication, at Holopod we have spent years working on solving this issue ourselves. And, here’s how we built Holopod to solve it for you: 

  1. You can use Holopod smart Slack status updates. With this feature, you can easily automatically update your Slack’s status to something that is self explanatory (e.g. instead of “busy” you can set it to “Working on Sprint CCE 2 until 1 PM”, it is easy for your team to understand that you are working on a priority sprint and not wonder when to expect a response. 
  2. You can also configure these statuses to modify Slack’s behavior. For example, you can have notifications disabled automatically when your Slack status is “Working on Sprint CCE 2 until 1 PM”, once it is 1:01 PM, your Slack will start notifying you of any real time event, but before 1:00 PM all messages will be snoozed. 
  3. We make it extremely easy for you and your team to know whether it is the right time to message you or not. With Holopod’s automatic Slack status updates and calendar integration features, your Slack status will automatically update if you are out of office in a meeting; and notifications will be snoozed or allowed based on how you have configured them 


Here, try Holopod out if you haven’t already, and make your Slack smarter. 

Twist

Created by the team at Doist, Twist is a Slack replacement for remote teams. Twist brings asynchronous communication to the focus and helps you have more organized and clear communication even with a remote team.


Here’s what is helping Twist stand out and receive so much love from such a wide remote community: 

  1. There is no indicator that shows whether you are online or offline, which takes away the pressure of staying available all the time. 
  2. When a message is posted on a Slack channel, it either highlights a Slack workspace or notifies someone. But with Twist, you can select the people you wish to notify- be it on a comment or a thread.
  3. Twist allows you to get 100% control over your notification’s organizations
  4. Native OOO feature that allows you to stay relaxed, let’s everyone else see when you will be back and meanwhile you can stay distraction free. 
  5. You can connect Twist with amazing tools like Github to drive even higher productivity 
  6. The ability to onboard and collaborate with guests. You can use this feature to work with external agencies, contractors, consultants, etc 

Loom

Sometimes words aren’t enough to explain or collaborate asynchronously. You need video, which is exactly what Loom helps you do seamlessly. Loom is a video making tool that helps you create short videos, upload them on cloud and share the url with your team without needing any other software. Your team can watch this video when they are available, rather than being forced to jump on video calls and leaving what they were working on.


To understand how amazing Loom really is, we don’t need to look anywhere but at Loom itself. Loom has turned their remote all hands meeting into an asynchronous one by using Loom.


Email 

Email has been the go to async tool for teams that aren’t using any other tools above for async communication. Some inherent design of email as a tool helps it stand out as a communication tool such as: 

  1. Emails are usually written thoughtfully and clearly 
  2. Most discussions over email are focused and rarely skew 
  3. Emails usually don’t loop unnecessary participants to a conversation 


Loop

Loop team is an app that serves as a virtual office for the distributed team. Teams inside the Loop app are organized by time zones, and besides each team member you can view their real time status (e.g. in Standup). These statuses are automatic too.

Depending upon who is available, you can jump in a quick video/audio discussion. What is very unique about their interface is that it has intentional design that brings a lot more focus to the communication itself. A good example of this is their video discussion feature that opens up a very tiny window on your screen so that you focus a lot more on collaboration instead of everything else. 


Some feature that Loop Team app brings to the table are:

  1. See who is around 
  2. Automatic status updates 
  3. Live updates 
  4. Rich profiles that are organized by timezone 
  5. Tons of integrations available