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What is synchronous and asynchronous communication?

December 12, 2023
Nikita Dymenko

Nikita Dymenko

Categories: Reviews

Synchronous vs Asynchronous Communication

What is asynchronous communication?

Communication that happens on a non-immediate response basis is termed asynchronous. In this format, people respond when it suits them, and not always instantaneously. The key advantage of this method is that the respondent manage the work-related communication hierarchy themselves. Email serves as a prime example of this communication type, implying that an immediate response is not expected.

The asynchronous work model provides significant flexibility, allowing team members to work during peak productivity periods, emphasizing quality results rather than just attendance. This model significantly reduces the stress and sense of urgency that typical for real-time work, which is especially useful for teams spread across different time zones. Success in an asynchronous environment depends on self-management, correct task prioritizing, and right usage of communication tools.

What is synchronous communication?

Interaction that happens instantly (synchronous communication) is essential for the smooth team collaboration and decision-making. It is very important for organizing tasks and getting quick answers.

In offices, this type of communication is often used because it allows you to immediately ask a question or discuss it with your colleagues. This usually involves the use of tools such as video conferencing, phone calls and instant messaging.

Difference between synchronous and asynchronous communication

Synchronous communication occurs in real-time, such as face-to-face conversations or live video conferences, where all participants engaged, enabling swift idea exchange and decision-making.

On the other hand, asynchronous interaction allows for a more adaptable approach: individuals can respond at their own convenience, resembling activities like sending emails or adding text message to a digital whiteboard. When deciding on the most suitable form of communication, consider your objectives, your desired outcomes, and what is most conducive to the needs of your team members.

Examples of synchronous and asynchronous communication

Asynchronous communication examples

synchronous and asynchronous communication
Asynchronous communication allows individuals in a team to respond to messages and queries at their own convenience. This involves the adoption of a variety of tools and platforms that support such adaptable communication and collaboration, for example:

  • emails
  • digital boards
  • company newsletter
  • videos and voice notes
  • recorded trainings or evergreen webinars
  • collaborative documents

Synchronous communication examples

Immediate communication occurs when team members talk or send messages to one another in real time, which can be either in a physical setting or through digital channels. There are classic forms of immediate communication:

  • in-person meeting
  • phone calls
  • video conferencing
  • live events
  • hiring interview
  • water-cooler chats
  • instant messaging

Video conferencing in synchronous work

Video conferencing has become an indispensable element of simultaneous collaboration because it provides efficiency and synchronization for distributed teams in a remote work environment. The insights of Buffer’s “State of Remote Work 2022” report show that the vast majority of respondents are committed to maintaining a quality level of communication and collaboration while working remotely, which underscores the value of video conferencing to connect team members.

The leveraging of video conferencing for urgent, collaborative tasks is vital to prompt critical tasks fulfillment and quick decision-making. Unlike asynchronous communication that allow delayed responses, video conferencing requires all participants to be accessible at the same time.
statistics synchronous and asynchronous communication

Key advantages of video conferencing in a synchronous work environment include:

    1. Instant issue resolution: Participants can instantly raise questions and brainstorm solutions collaboratively in real-time.
    2. Strengthened team dynamics: Visual interaction and the opportunity to view each other’s during video calls deepens trust and mutual understanding between team members.
    3. Maintaining and developing the company ethos: Regular video meetings play a critical role in maintaining and developing the company’s cultural identity, which is especially significant for remote workers and new team members.
    4. Enhanced educational experiences: Video conferencing introduces a hands-on aspect to training and educational workshops, rendering the process more dynamic and engaging.

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In the contemporary professional environment, with the increasing prevalence of remote work, the ability to adapt to various communication methods is crucial. As organizations handle multiple tasks and projects, understanding the differences between immediate (synchronous) and delayed (asynchronous) communication is essential.

Immediate communication, similar to synchronous methods, is invaluable in situations requiring prompt feedback and collaboration. For instance, during crisis management or real-time project execution, quick exchanges of ideas and decisions are vital. Platforms such as video conferences or instant messaging services play key roles in enabling seamless coordination and swift issue resolution.

On the other hand, delayed communication, represented by asynchronous methods, thrives in situations that require thoughtful analysis and responses. Tasks that require deep thought benefit from asynchronous channels, allowing people to work at their own pace without the pressure of an immediate response. Platforms such as email, project management tools, or discussion boards support this mode of communication by encouraging careful consideration and meaningful input.

In today’s workforce, achieving balance is crucial for enhancing productivity and well-being. By adeptly transitioning between synchronous and asynchronous communication, teams can harmonize their efforts efficiently while accommodating individual preferences and schedules. This adaptability not only improves workflow but also fosters a supportive work environment, leading to increased employee satisfaction and reduced stress levels.

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