Guest post by Shift
If your job involves asynchronous and remote work, then you’ve probably already heard of (and use) a lot of the well-known communication and project management apps with your team, including Slack, Asana, Trello, Todoist, Microsoft Teams, and Notion. But, no single app can quite do everything, so there are probably a few areas in your daily workflow you just haven’t found the right tool for yet. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best apps for asynchronous remote work that you probably aren’t using yet, but will want to add to your tech stack ASAP.
What Is Asynchronous Communication?
If your workplace doesn’t use this method, you’re probably wondering what the meaning of asynchronous communication is. The definition of asynchronous communication is that you don’t communicate with other people on your team in real-time. Instead, you send messages when you want, and receive them back when other people want to reply. It also means that real-time meetings are not used as a key method of communicating information. Asynchronous communication requires everyone on a team to be on board, as well as forward-thinking and organized, as information needs to be available when people need it, and requests need to be made ahead of time.
Here’s one example of asynchronous communication: Instead of holding real-time objectives and key results (OKR) meetings, everyone on the team records a short video of their OKR. Follow up questions can then happen in either video form or in your team’s chat app. This method is an ideal way to hold OKRs for remote teams with people working in many different time zones, which would make holding a real-time meeting impossible.
The Best Apps for Asynchronous Communication
Finding alternative methods of communication to real-time video meetings is crucial for asynchronous teams. The best way to ensure that all ideas are communicated clearly is to take a layered approach and have multiple methods available to choose from. Below are the 10 best apps for asynchronous communication and collaboration that you may not have heard of but will want to start using today.
Try using this streamlined, collaborative note-taking app so that everyone on your team can work on documents together without worrying about who has access or having to email documents back-and-forth. It’s easier to share, search, and organize documents in Notejoy than in many other collaborative writing apps available. There’s even an option to add discussion threads and reactions when providing feedback. Notejoy is a great option to choose if your team needs a space where people can provide written feedback to video communication through Loom.
Flow is a workflow visualization and project management tool that help you visualize your project’s timeline and your team’s workload. It also enables you to collaborate and plan projects without ever having to hold real-time meetings. What makes Flow different from other project management apps is the wide variety of different ways you can view a project. The “Workload” view is especially helpful for seeing which team members can take on more work and who is already overloaded. This feature will cut down on the time it takes to figure out who should be assigned a task, which is sometimes challenging to figure out for remote and asynchronous teams.
Clockify is a time tracking and timesheet app. It allows you to share how much progress you’ve made on a task, and track other team members’ progress through Clockify’s “status” feature. Using this feature can help your team cut down on unnecessary progress check-ins. Plus, if you work on an asynchronous and remote team that needs to keep track of billable hours, Clockify is an excellent addition to your tech stack.
If you’re looking for a more streamlined team chat app with fewer distracting features, then Twist is your best option. It’s also an app that actually encourages asynchronous communication over synchronous communication. Conversations are organized into “Channels,” “Threads,” or “Messages” optimized for short discussions, long-form discussions, or quick messages, respectively.
Always communicating via text with an asynchronous and remote team can sometimes feel isolating without any face-to-face interaction. Loom is a great solution to bring that back the human touch without necessitating synchronous meetings. It also helps to solve the problem of text-based communication lacking any tone, which can cause misunderstandings. From presenting an idea for a new project to providing feedback, Loom is a must-add app to your team’s asynchronous communication tech stack.
In the brainstorming stages, it can be helpful to visualize your ideas so that everyone on the team can understand. With Mindmeister, you can build collaborative mind maps for brainstorming sessions or project roadmaps to add a visual layer to text-based communication. Sometimes reading an idea via text, or even hearing it over video, just isn’t enough to fully understand what’s being communicated. Mindmeister helps make sure there is no ambiguity when communicating ideas to an asynchronous and remote team.
Don’t think asynchronous daily standups are possible? Think again since Jell allows your team to ask daily standup questions asynchronously. You can then publish standups in a centralized place with the app. Scrum meetings, OKRs, check-ins, goal tracking, and integrations are also all possible, and fully customizable, within Jell. Jell’s main benefit is how much more organized it is to hold daily standups here rather than in a standard team chat app.
Sometimes collaborating strictly via text isn’t clear enough. If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way to markup PDFs, websites, and images, then this the tool for you. It even has an integrated Slack app so you can markup images and add them directly into a Slack conversation. Being able to mark up images and documents makes providing feedback, asynchronously, so much easier.
It’s easy to become completely overwhelmed by work emails. If you’re working asynchronously, then you’re probably getting a slew of incoming work emails during your off-hours. SaneBox makes it a lot easier to automatically sort and organize those emails so you don’t start every day with an overflowing, disorganized inbox. As a bonus, you can even go into “Do Not Disturb” mode when you aren’t working.
Shift brings together all of your apps, email accounts, and documents together into one streamlined desktop workstation. Are you overwhelmed by all of the apps you need to make remote and asynchronous work possible? Save yourself from having countless open tabs (and save a ton of RAM) by opening everything in apps or web tabs in Shift instead. Shift also offers collaborative workspaces for you and your team to work together and share your favorite project management apps, documents, bookmarks, tabs, and more.
Do you have any other favorite apps for asynchronous communication that you think should be on this list? Let us know @GetShift and @SaneBox.
This post was brought to you by Shift, a desktop workstation that brings all of your apps, documents, tabs, and bookmarks together to streamline your workflow and help you and your remote, asynchronous team work better—together.
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