Async Work

Master the art of asynchronous work to boost productivity across different time zones.

Ewoud Uphof

As a marketer speaking to fellow marketers, I want to delve into a topic that's becoming increasingly relevant in our field: asynchronous work, or 'async work' for short. In the fast-paced, always-on world of marketing, understanding and effectively implementing async work can be a game-changer for your team's productivity, work-life balance, and overall success.

Why async work matters

Async work matters because it allows team members to work at times that suit them best, rather than being tied to a traditional 9-to-5 schedule. This flexibility is particularly beneficial in marketing, where creativity and strategic thinking are paramount. By enabling team members to work during their most productive hours, async work can lead to higher quality outputs and more innovative ideas.

Additionally, as marketing teams become more globally distributed, async work supports collaboration across different time zones, ensuring that projects move forward without requiring everyone to be online simultaneously.

What is async work?

Async work is a work style that doesn't rely on all team members being available at the same time. It involves communication that doesn’t expect immediate responses, and tasks that can be completed independently. This approach contrasts with synchronous work, where real-time collaboration and immediate responses are the norms, like in traditional office settings or live meetings.

Examples of async work in marketing teams

  1. Content creation: Writers and designers often benefit from async work, as they can focus on their tasks without the interruptions of meetings and real-time discussions. They can then share their work with the team for feedback at a time that suits everyone.
  2. Social media management: Social media teams can schedule posts and content in advance, allowing for team members to review and provide feedback asynchronously. This approach is especially effective for teams managing accounts across different time zones.
  3. Campaign planning: Marketing teams can use tools like Notion or Asana to plan and track campaign progress. Team members update their tasks and leave comments for others to review later, allowing for ongoing project development without the need for constant live updates.

Best practices for async work in marketing

  1. Clear communication: Establish clear guidelines on how and when to communicate. For instance, use email or project management tools for non-urgent communication and reserve instant messaging for urgent matters.
  2. Set expectations: Clearly define what needs to be accomplished and by when. This clarity helps team members manage their time effectively.
  3. Use the right tools: Tools like Slack for communication, Asana for project management, and Google Docs for collaborative document editing are essential for effective async work.
  4. Regular check-ins: While immediate responses aren't expected, regular check-ins (like weekly summaries or updates) are crucial to ensure everyone is aligned and projects are on track.
  5. Respect boundaries: Recognise that async work doesn’t mean availability at all hours. Respect team members’ time zones and personal work schedules.

Async work, when done right, can lead to more thoughtful communication, higher quality work, and a more flexible and satisfied marketing team. It's about finding the right balance between independent work and team collaboration, leveraging technology to stay connected and aligned. As our work environment continues to evolve, embracing async work can be a key factor in staying agile and responsive in the ever-changing world of marketing.

Break work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, to improve mental agility.

Implement strategic pauses in your workflow to reassess priorities and prevent burnout.

Designate uninterrupted time slots for deep work to boost efficiency and output.

Prioritise tasks by urgency and importance to maximise productivity.

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