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Top Ways I've Learned to Keep Motivation High in an Asynchronous Workplace Asynchronous working environments are constantly evolving, and we're all learning to adapt, particularly in areas like motivation. I've discovered several effective tips and tricks that keep our motivation levels high, and hopefully yours soon as well.

By Tom Medema

Key Takeaways

  • In an asynchronous setting, recognizing employees' efforts becomes even more vital to maintaining motivation.
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The asynchronous work environment was largely forced upon us in recent years, with professionals worldwide having little say in the matter. However, the continued commonality of this geographically extended workplace means we have to make sure that by cutting certain corners of traditional work, we aren't depriving ourselves of personal working life hacks and skills, such as motivation, that should be ever-present in workplaces.

From my experience, intrapersonal-type skills tend to be cast aside and devalued in an async environment. Our focus for today is motivation, which is one of them. If we just stop for a second to think about prior conversations regarding our levels of motivation, I believe that most of our memories will jump to a time when a pitfall in motivation brought about the conversation, and thus, occurs at a time when it is almost impossible to successfully maneuver ourselves out of this rut, and onto an inspired, powerful, and motivated path once again.

This mustn't be the case, and as a pioneer of async communication and workplaces myself through my role as CEO of Bubbles, I want to make sure we are continuously mindful and self-aware, but that we also collaborate to structure our working environments in such a way that we give each other the highest chance of success and omnipresent motivation. Let me show you how.

Related: Has Technology Killed Face-To-Face Communication? How to Navigate the Nuances of Digital Age Communication

Understanding asynchronous work

To understand optimizing asynchronous motivation, we should first boost our understanding of this newfound technique. I say newfound, but in reality, async communication has been around for donkey's years (relatively speaking), with email and fax, for example, but these processes were never enough alone to fully run businesses from. This is why, with the recent influx of revolutionary async communication methods and tools, such as Bubbles, and the increasing popularity of tools like Slack, we are witnessing a new asynchronous generation and phenomenon among professionals. However, not everyone is keeping up.

In 2022, Buffer's State of Remote Work report revealed that only 38% of companies had an async-first policy, despite 52% of employees desiring an async set-up. Moving and evolving with the times is something critical in my view of a successful business, and trying to always align with what our employees want is something that should go without saying. If we ignore these lighthouse signals, we are likely to witness, ironically, things like a lack of motivation in our teams. Nevertheless, I want to focus on the instances where async has been chosen and help as best as I can, starting with some soft-skills and intrapersonal skills.

Related: How to Create an Asynchronous Work Culture

Flexibility and employee preferences

The allure of remote work largely stems from its flexibility. Buffer's report highlighted that 67% of remote workers valued flexibility in time management, while 62% appreciated the choice of work location. This flexibility, however, must be balanced with strategies to keep remote workers motivated and engaged.

Empathy and recognition in asynchronous work

Empathy is naturally intertwined with asynchronous working. Providing our employees with vast flexibility and choice of working locations cannot be discredited in terms of a caring approach to each individual, to the extent that these two remote benefits came at the top of an importance list in the same Buffer report. I want to note here, though, that this is not just about 'being nice' to our staff, because the reality is that we will gain masses in return for this thoughtfulness, through boosts in motivation, productivity and desire to impress. This claim that I make is not plucked out of thin air, and in fact, according to Businessolver, a staggering 70% of employees and HR professionals agree that empathetic organizations lead to higher employee motivation. Moreover, 68% of HR professionals believe employee recognition and feedback positively impact retention (SHRM). In an asynchronous setting, where face-to-face interactions are limited, recognizing employees' efforts becomes even more vital to maintaining motivation.

Here are five more strategies for maintaining motivation.

1. Establish clear communication channels

Clear and efficient communication is imperative for your team to thrive in an asynchronous environment. I am not just referring to the technology here, as although that is the umbrella above this, it is equally important to set expectations for response times and time-based performance.

Related: Open Your Digital Doors: Communication and Remote Work

2. Build this culture of recognition

Recognition excites people and boosts motivation. Professionals are aware of this to some degree, with Reward Gateway proving that 60% of employees want to see managers or leaders praising their colleagues' work more often. When feedback like this arises from a group who are looking to become a more prosperous and motivated team, we can be sure that regular recognition, whether in one-on-one sessions or daily stand-up, is something to focus on.

3. Promote work-life balance

One of remote work's main and most widely covered struggles is unplugging after work hours. Again, encouraging a healthy work-life balance and being empathetic with after-hours communication can prevent burnout and maintain motivation.

Related: Having A Work-Life Balance is Nonsense. To Reach Your Goals, Follow Another Approach

4. Provide opportunities for professional growth

Employees want and need growth and development opportunities even in an asynchronous environment. Keep the conversations going about career paths, and make sure to mentor wherever you can.

5. Implement flexible work policies

Flexible work policies are a key motivator, and a highly valued aspect of async, as established earlier. A PR NewsWire report also indicates that 81% of employers see improving talent retention as a motivation for adopting flexible work policies, as well as boosting the pool from which they can hire. Allowing employees to choose their working hours can increase job satisfaction and motivation, meaning you get more from less.

So, I hope by now you have clocked on to the importance of not neglecting key aspects of our work lives, such as motivation. This is a lesson that is aimed at helping you and your teammates, so I hope you can go away from this motivation to instill some new values in your asynchronous workplace!
Tom Medema

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

CEO of Bubbles

Tom is the Founder of Bubbles, one of the fastest-growing remote work tools in tech— with a quarter of a million users. As a former CTO, he scaled his last company's remote engineering team from 1 to 150 in under two years. Those growing pains led to Bubbles, an async video collaboration platform.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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