With many large corporations hiring contractors worldwide, being open to asynchronous working can help you find work opportunities that you might not have considered before.
What is asynchronous working?
Project team members might not all be online at the same time. Depending on the structure of the team, asynchronous working typically falls into two categories:
● Team members are all online during a small window of time.
● Or all work is asynchronous, with coworkers not being online simultaneously.
If you’re searching for a job, including that you either have asynchronous experience or are willing to work that way, could give you a slight edge. When working with recruiting companies, bringing this topic up with your recruiter could help you land a job.
How do asynchronous teams work?
Project team meetings take place often in the early part of your day. With coworkers in Europe or Asia, teams can get on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, with a facilitator sharing their screen to go over the work for the day.
Work is assigned to team members through various tools (Jira, Asana, Trello, or similar project management tools), and conversations are tracked through the software.
For example, suppose you are based in the eastern United States. You can assign tasks in a project management tool to team members in Asia and log off for the day. Then, when you come to work the next day, due to the time zone difference, your colleagues in Asia may have completed the work already and are ready to discuss it at a short morning meeting.
With asynchronous working, teams must decide how often they have conference calls. A short stand-up call each day (15-20 minutes) could be a primer to allow the team time to bond by getting to know each other through a simple icebreaker, and then the rest of the time is used to discuss the day’s work.
Once the team falls into a regular cadence, work flows naturally from one team member to the next by building the team’s processes into a project management tool.
Here are two examples:
● A developer builds a web page, and hands the work to the quality assurance team in Asia, then the work is handed to an agency for user acceptance testing. Finally, a member of the brand team gives the final sign-off.
● A content producer writes the brochure and passes the work to the designer, who puts the content into an Adobe XD file and creates the brochure; proofreaders review the work, and then the marketing director gives the final review and signs off.
Once a team has defined its work processes, asynchronous working flows naturally from one step of the project to the next.
Embracing a different way of working
If you’re used to working a typical 9-5 job, being open to working asynchronously could open different opportunities for you. Not only are many tech and pharmaceutical companies hiring contractors from around the globe, but positioning yourself as having the necessary communication and technical skills to embrace an asynchronous work environment sets you up for success.
Why? Proving that you can be flexible and work with teams not only in the same building but in different parts of the country or the world broadens your opportunities. Maybe the next job you take might be for six months or one-year contract that has branched in multiple countries rather than a brick-and-mortar storefront in your city.
When we change how we look at our opportunities, doors could open.
A remote position might be best if you can’t find work in your town.
A crucial part of working asynchronously is taking the time to learn project management and collaboration tools. Such tools add essential skills to your resume and allow you to sell yourself to a prospective employer.
With tools such as Jira, Mural, and Trello, what matters isn’t the tool itself but understanding the logic of why a team wants to use the tools. A simple YouTube search offers dozens of short videos you can watch to learn what the tools do. Layer that with real-life stories of collaboration, and you have a story for success.
Hiring managers want to know that you’ll fit in on the team and be a productive member who can handle the work and the challenges that often come up in projects.
Putting it all together
With working asynchronously, it’s essential to know the pros and cons. How often have you been on an email chain that goes around until someone steps out of the circle and says, “Can I call you so we can talk this through in 5 minutes?” When you work asynchronously, there are times when you need that instantaneous ebb and flow of a conversation. It might be a phone call, Zoom, or simply chat, but knowing when you need to do that to solve a problem is a great story to share with a hiring manager.
Asynchronous work can open doors for teams, and it can do so for you as well. When we think differently and consider working in a new way, more opportunities can present themselves. And in the end, with a highly competitive job market, the more you can sell your experiences and skills, the better.
Ron Vitale is an accomplished digital project manager and has successfully overseen the launch of over a dozen websites, He is currently working as a scrum master on an asynchronous team as a long-term contractor.
His colleagues have come to know him as a diplomatic problem-solver with a proven ability to envision people’s web needs and then launch viable new web-based systems on time and under budget.
Ron is also the author of more than 20 fiction and non-fiction books and uses his author career as a platform to learn new technology and online marketing techniques. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.