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How to rethink your communications in a hybrid workplace?

Learn about the two most popular types of hybrid communication before you change your current strategies.

If your organization has adopted remote work or a hybrid approach, you've probably noticed how differently you communicate with your colleagues have become. You may also have encountered some challenges along the way with how your company communicates. According to an Alight study, only 42% of employees say their company does a good job of communicating. That's why establishing clear communication with the right tools is crucial.  

Before changing your communication methods to adapt them to the hybrid model, it's important to know the two most popular types of hybrid communication: synchronous and asynchronous.  


What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication?

Synchronous communication

In a typical office environment, most conversations are synchronous. Synchronous communication occurs in real time and is intended to provide immediate responses and is often the preferred means of addressing sensitive topics, complex issues or for emergency situations.  

It is ideal for brainstorming and build relationships. However, the expectations for remote colleagues to respond immediately is sometimes more disruptive than productive.

Here are some examples of synchronous communication:  

  • Face-to-face conversations  
  • Phone calls
  • Video conferencing  
  • Instant messaging


Asynchronous communication  

Asynchronous communication does not occur in real time, as there is a delay between the person transmitting the information and the person receiving it.  

With fewer work interruptions, asynchronous communication gives hybrid teams more control over their task planning. On the other hand, the lack of face-to-face interaction can increase the sense of isolation and email exchanges can easily become tedious.

Here are some examples of asynchronous communication:  

  • Emails  
  • Shared documents
  • Collaboration tools and software    

Do you have the right technological tools for hybrid work?

When employees are working remotely, your communication tools shouldn't limit collaboration between your team members. So you need to think about how you can modernize the communication methods that are already in place.    

Hybrid collaboration and synchronous communication can be made more dynamic and productive.  For example, some planning tools offer interactive boards, so your team can work on projects in real time.  These platforms can help you bring your teams together for brainstorming sessions, creativity and spontaneous discussions. Then, the team can engage asynchronously, adding new ideas, comments and documents to these boards between meetings.  

Organizations with less distributed teams that require quick interactions should lean toward synchronous communication. On the other hand, organizations that value flexibility and have more dispersed teams should look to asynchronous communication.  


Find the balance between synchronous and asynchronous communication  

As we can see, hybrid communication requires a certain level of time, effort and cooperation. The technology and the communication style you choose depends on your business goals and on the size and distribution of your remote team. You also need to consider individual preferences. Some employees favor face-to-face conversations and in-person meetings, while for others a detailed email is sufficient. By striving to achieve a balance between asynchronous and synchronous communication, hybrid teams can enjoy the best of both worlds.

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Hybrid Office Specialist