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02/06/2020

Asynchronous communication promotes productive work

Asynchronous communication is essential for cooperation in remote teams but also in many on-location companies but of a certain size. Starting with team members with different working hours, in different time zones, through to managers and other people who are in meetings and calls all day, and in between or even in the evening hours, the questions and topics of the individual teams have to deal with.

Where does communication take place?

In most organizations, communication takes place in the three established channels: via e-mail, Meetings and Small group chat instead of.

e-mail is great for asynchronous work; because here you can open threads (topics) via the subject line and also incorporate several actors into the communication. Sounds good in theory - in practice, however, it usually looks like we lose track of things quickly because there are too many threads, team members are sometimes looped in via CC and then not and you usually still have the two to three hundred unopened Emails in the mailbox. And let's be honest, when it comes to the additional functions popular with messengers such as emoticons, voice record and mention, e-mail looks kind of old-fashioned.

Meetings are known to take place mostly via video team chat and involve a group of people. That can be very productive, especially when it comes to explaining things quickly or simply showing something, for example a presentation or a screen share. Sometimes meetings also require notes, of course, so Google Docs or, better still, Confluence is a good choice.

The Small group chat again works at short notice and allows you to concentrate on one topic and thus use the participants' time more efficiently, but it does not build up any knowledge within the team. This can mean that, for example, management does not even notice what is happening at the grassroots level or, conversely, that managers have a full overview of the projects, but none of the team members have gotten wind of it. If the discussions are accessible to larger lists, more stakeholders can stay informed. But copying chat histories elsewhere would be quite pointless, Google Docs and Confluence are ruled out as a solution here.

Effective communication is feasible - with team chats

Considered individually, all of the communication channels mentioned are established and offer a high level of utility. In their entirety and within teams, however, the overview and a lot of efficiency are quickly lost. Similar to how Confluence helps to keep an overview in knowledge management, team chats do this in communication and are actually essential for productive asynchronous communication.

Advantages of team chats

For the fast reader, here are the top advantages summarized: 

  • Executives can prioritize their time and respond to messages when they have the time but still effectively participate in the chat community.
  • More (not all!) Discussions from meetings and e-mails can be moved to the chat.
  • Individual team members can concentrate on their work instead of constantly scrolling through emails to make sure they don't miss anything important.
  • Remote employees can participate on an equal footing with people present in person.
  • Important conversations and information are not missed.

ORMI.cloud builds on Zulip

There are a good number of team chats out there, and as you would expect, each one has certain advantages and disadvantages in terms of features, security and costs. 

We decided on Zulip because as an open source solution it can be hosted on your own system without any problems and thus guarantees full data sovereignty. The issue of license costs does not even come up and as with (almost) all open source solutions, the community guarantees continuous topicality and security.

Zulip as the Swiss Army Knife for Communication

And what about Zulip in practice? Let's take a quick look:

Zulip combines real-time chat and proven email structures for asynchronous communication. Zulip is inspired by the highly effective threading model of email: every channel message has a subject, just like every message in email has a subject line. Channels are called streams in Zulip.

Topics hold together in Zulip conversations, just as subject lines hold e-mail conversations together. They make it possible to efficiently catch up on messages and reply to them in context, even to conversations that started hours or days ago.

Zulip offers the possibility of opening further sub-threads or, as it is called with Zulip, sub-topics within the stream. Communication via Zulip is thus similar to a forum - clear and structured.

Of course, with Zulip there is also the possibility of a direct chat, voice or video call - in a team or directly between two participants. 

So it's not about reinventing the wheel with new communication technologies, but about merging the proven channels logically and efficiently in one tool. 

You can find more information about Zulip in English on the official website Zulipchat.com website.

Advice, configuration and installation

Zulip is an integral part of ORMI.Cloud and we are specialists in installing and configuring the system. So you can confidently concentrate on what is important to you and leave the technical part to us. We would be happy to present you the advantages of ORMI.Cloud and more details about Zulip in a non-binding presentation and consultation.

Are you interested in your own solution?


If you are interested in what a solution could look like for you and your team, contact us. We offer you one non-binding and first direct consultation. Or try out Confluence now, directly and without obligation, with our free one Test account - without automatic renewal.

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