The experiment sought how to best leverage asynchronous communication, or communication that doesn't happen in real-time, and synchronous communication or communication between two or more people in real-time.
Weary of what is commonly called “Zoom fatigue” during the pandemic, TechSmith “engaged in a full month of no meetings, challenging our ability to use asynchronous communication methods to perform work rather than relying on meetings as a crutch,” the firm’s vice president of human resources Amy Casciotti wrote for the publication.
“The end goal was never to fully replace meetings long-term, but rather to understand how to match the right type of communication with a particular work task,” she noted.
The month-long break from meetings wasn’t perfect, but TechSmith did realize a 15% bump in their workers feeling productive, while 85% were interested in getting a deeper understanding of “asynchronous communications as a means to limit meetings,” Casciotti wrote.
“Synchronous is ideal when immediate feedback or time-sensitive decisioning are required, and when there is a high degree of ambiguity or sensitivity to the subject matter, where emotional intelligence becomes critical (e.g. discussing a new problem that spans multiple teams, IT fire drill, etc.),” according to Casciotti. “We recommend asynchronous communication when collaboration isn’t immediate and doesn’t need to occur in real-time (e.g. solicit feedback, review content) or when there is a one-way share of information (e.g. quarterly updates, campaign results). These guidelines have helped employees begin to approach meaningful communication in an intentional and repeatable way.”