It's been almost a decade now that we've all been promoting the benefits of remote work and location independent living.
With the pandemic suddenly shooting remote work into the mainstream, it seems like people are finally starting to believe the merits of remote work. Most people don't want to go back to the office and I strongly believe most people won't go back to the office after the pandemic ends.
We now have millions of people working remotely but most still have to work at specific hours, be on standby, take calls and attend virtual meetings.
What's the next thing after remote work is now mainstream? I think it's async work.
What is async?
Async is short for asynchronous and in this case it means being able to work without having to wait for someone else to answer.
With async you decide when you work, you're autonomous and the only thing that matters is if you get your work done. There's no manager looking over your shoulder, and you don't have to be on-call. You get a lot of responsibility and because of that you make sure you actually do great work. Because if you don't, you lose your job. But evaluating your performance stops being about showing up, it starts being about the quality of your work.
Many of us who have been working remotely for the last decade have also been async because they go together well.
Async is life changing
Async for sleep
Studies are increasingly proving people have different genetically predisposed chronotypes, meaning some people naturally wake up early in the morning, while others wake up closer to noon. Since the industrial revolution, we've been living in a society dominated by early birds while night owls have been getting a bad deal.
If you work async, you can work at the most optimal times for you.
Async for location independence
Having to be on call at specific hours means you won't be able to travel or move to and live in different timezones. It's difficult for Americans to work from Asia (8am in New York is 8pm in Taipei), and it's difficult for Europeans to work from America (8am in Amsterdam is 3am in New York).
If you work async, you're unrestricted by timezones and can live wherever you want in the world
Async for deep work
While sync work is littered with distractions of people who want your attention. Async work means you can be alone with your own thoughts and go into a creative flow state also known as deep work:
Cal Newport in Deep Work: "the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive."
This means that increasingly async people will be able to output work of higher quality than sync people.
Async to avoid crowds
Maybe the biggest superpower of an async work life means you can do everything outside of peak hours.
You can drive when roads are empty.
Go to the beach when everyone else is working.
Go to the gym mid-day when all equipment is available.
Go to the supermarket when there's no crowds like after 5pm when people get off work.
Book fun travel trips in the middle of the week when hotels are cheap and there's no crowds like in the weekend.
Off-peak, you get everything almost instantly.
Async for health and happiness
I think all these things culminate in lower stress, better health and increased happiness for asyncers.
Being able to live a more balanced life where work doesn't dictate your daily life structure, but you yourself choose it, seems like a much more healthy idea.
The async-sync divide
This is such a big advantage that I believe we'll see an increasingly big divide between people who can work async and those who can't.
Those who can (the asyncers) will be able to have a more free and peaceful life with less stress, less crowds, more focus on high quality deep work, more opportunity for fun, as well as being able to live wherever they want.
Those who can't (the syncers) will remain stuck to working in archaic Monday to Friday 9 to 5 hours, being distracted by coworkers, with mediocre work output, while living their leisure life in the weekends, paying the highest prices to spend in crowded places with other syncers while getting stressed from being stuck in traffic and standing in lines everywhere, and being tied to a single timezone for work.
The dividing factor is that syncers disrupt the life of asyncers because one doesn't have the same freedom. The asyncer will have to limit their life to the syncer's work hours. Eventually a smart asyncer will decide either the syncer has to become async too or the asyncer calls it quits.
I believe that's why asyncers will congregate to each other. It's a better life.
The next frontier to fight for
I believe async work is at the same place as remote work was just a few years ago.
Most people are not convinced it works. But all the smart people are already doing it.
I don't know what it'll take to convince everyone of async's merits but I hope this blog post helps. And I believe we should fight to make async work the default, because as you see it will probably improve the life quality of millions and maybe billions of people. As the rise of remote work is doing now for so many.
The future is async.
Well, I hope.
Thanks for listening. ❤️
P.S. I'm on Twitter too if you'd like to follow more of my stories. And I wrote a book called MAKE about building startups without funding. See a list of my stories or contact me. To get an alert when I write a new blog post, you can subscribe below: