Why async?
Dated: 09/03/2023

Asynchronous work is when teams work at different times of the day, rather than at the same time

Let's look at it from an employer's perspective:

  • The employees control their own time.
  • Controlling/Managing your employees is hard
  • Your stress goes up since you can't keep asking “are we on track?”

These above are personal truths I've found; then why would you EVER try async?

This diagram is majorly why I think synchronous work is bad:

The more time you spend in a system (sync/async), the more akin you are to it. As you progress in your career as a worker, your time is valued more so you end up spending more time in meetings, mentoring other employees, being management etc.

You aren't “working”, yet you are bound.

Here's the same graph but with asynchronous introduced:

At first, async introduced in a team is HORRIBLE.

It eats management's time to set up new processes, higher leadership can't talk directly to team without feeling like responses are taking days if not weeks. Meetings are less so communication feels blocked. AND the employee has no idea what to do with this extra time, communicate that they're working less hours while providing the same value or, say the truth?

There are three ways a manager deals with outperforming employees, say an employee ends up finishing a task that should've taken a week, in a day. 5x efficiency. Here are the manager's options:

Notice the bar with 1 taking up more space than 2 or 3? The source is mostly my own experiences + of people around me (you can think 20-30 jobs + freelance workers)

We as human employers are (mostly) un-empathetic to our employees, not because we are evil but because we have no incentive to take care of them. Employees are disposable human shells that make you money or do your work, and you eventually break that bond going your own separate ways.

If so, then why async?

Because if you have happy, healthy, productive employees; your company will perform better.

Good teams have realized this long ago and pivoted to async-only or async-first models. Gitlab being the first of them, interviewing and contributing made me realize the power of their model, and converted me into this async buddha.

Async teams end up being more productive because the employees are much happier, healthier and get to choose their own time vs. having to follow someone's schedule.

Founders start companies/businesses because they don't want to listen to someone else; they should not hold back their best horses just because there are 4 meetings lined up in the day.

Here are some actual sources to end this article, hope you enjoyed the post :)

Asynchronous work statsRemote work statistics (and async)Remote work should be mostly asynchronousThe complete guide to asynchronous and non-linear working