Convy  Guide
Our vision on team communication in 10-15 years
Difference between sync and async remote communication
How remote communication emerged
Challenges remote teams face today
What’s wrong with existing communication tools
So what, should we all go remote now?
Our vision on team communication in 10-15 years
In the future there’ll be more remote communication. We also believe it’ll become more human-oriented, and topic-based. These qualities will help us be more connected with less stress and more freedom.
It’s the end of 2022 when I’m typing this, and some people still work 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. This is an outdated format invented for factory workers in the 19th century and implemented all over the world in the 20th. It was designed to find a balance between work and play, and also to regulate employment relations at that time.

Intellectual and creative work doesn’t apply to the working shifts and regulations. It’s a very individual thing. Some people need to get up early and spend their morning alone or with their families, and only after kids leave for school do they get down to work. Others prefer to work at dawn while everyone else is sleeping. For example, so did Hemingway and other famous writers.

To stay creative and productive from day to day, it’s crucial to be in the best state of mind. Going to the office is not a solution to that. Creativity can't be regulated. It can only be nurtured in a certain environment suitable for a certain person. Then why pull them out of this environment?

The shift to working remotely, in your own rhythm, has already started. We believe that in 10-15 years from now it will be a preferable condition for any creative worker to:
Be able to work from anywhere on any schedule
Build a comfortable daily routine based on the peculiarities of your body and mind, not some outdated law regulations
Have a tool that allows you to keep your routine and at the same time helps you stay connected
Difference between sync and async remote communication
Async communication happens at any time convenient for each separate person, while sync or real time communication happens for everyone at the same moment.
There are two types of remote communication: synchronous and asynchronous, or simply sync and async. Here’s how they differ one from another.
Sync communication occurs when a realtime dialogue takes place. To put it simply, sync is when we interact with another person or a group of people and receive feedback right away. For that, you and your interlocutor have to be in the same medium at the same time: a chat, a Zoom call, a Figma board, or an office if you go to one. It can be ineffective and challenging if you’re building a distributed worldwide team.
Async communication implies that you don’t expect to receive an immediate answer. In other words, the answer can arrive at any moment convenient for the recipient of our message. Async allows you to work at your own pace, building your routine the way that’s best for you. Your teammates can be in different cities, countries, and time zones, and get their job done separately on their own schedule.

Remote consists of sync and async communication. These two types are interconnected flowing from one to the other. We switch between these modes, but it’s still remote.
How remote communication emerged
Async communication is not a new thing. Though until 2020 remote communication wasn’t mainstream and continued to imitate office communication. The pandemic turned it upside down: even those companies who were skeptical about remote work were forced to send their employees home. Surprisingly, nothing failed, and since then the percentage of remote workers has skyrocketed.
People have been using remote communication for centuries, and it’s still here, with us. The first prototype of remote communication were handwritten letters, postcards, and telegrams. With the rise of the internet in the 90s, emails replaced handwritten letters and brought remote communication to the new level. That was the moment when first partly remote teams like 37signals appeared.

Later in the 2000s forums and ICQ occurred. They were prototypes of the messengers we know today: Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, etc. During the 2010s the tools and technologies we use for remote and async communication today emerged: Google Docs, Zoom, Notion, Figma and Mirror with its collaboration boards, various chat apps, and others.

All these apps made remote communication more widespread but it still wasn't mainstream. Even video calls that were a breakthrough in the world of personal and team communication did not lead to major changes. Inertia kept us on the well-trodden path of office work.

From the 1990s until 2020 remote was considered to be something radical. Corporations were skeptical about these new technologies. Their managers didn’t consider remote to be a serious way to conduct business and coordinate teams. Moreover, there were so many questions, such as: how to manage it being in different time zones, how to control the workers, how to attain desired KPIs, and etc.

The pandemic forced everyone to switch to remote communication, whether they like it or not. It turned out that for many companies, remote communication works just fine. It was the point of no return, when business began to look at remote differently and saw an opportunity for cost optimization. Besides, the pandemic revealed a set of problems many companies were dealing with long before.
Challenges remote teams face today
Remote is fucked up. We’re here to fix it and design a new approach to remote-first teams from scratch.
Communication is the glue connecting people in teams, departments, products, etc. Therefore, the tools we use for remote communication should work as a glue to keep us connected and present as if we were in the office.

Live communication has many invisible threads that keep us connected. When we work remotely those threads get torn apart and we need to weave new ones to stay in the know of ongoing events, projects, and tasks. That’s why we try to compensate for them with a large number of emails, meetings, voice messages, and calls. We just want to be connected again.

In a nutshell, the problem is that the people from remote teams are disconnected, poorly connected or overconnected today. At least they are not as connected as when they sit and work together in the same room.

Being connected is the biggest challenge we’ve faced since the start of the pandemic and the rise of remote communication in our teams. So far, the tools we use today are not helping us cope with this problem.


Out of the context

Lack of information causes a distorted view of the occurring projects and processes

Can’t find any necessary information: files, links, emails, meeting notes, latest agreements, etc.

Have to deal with communication problems instead of getting a job done

As a result people who are disconnected or poorly connected get fired because they didn’t do their job well and didn’t make any progress.


Always online, even on the go or vacation

Holding 3-5 calls a day → Zoom fatigue

Distracted by continuous notifications

Can’t focus on the current tasks

Have a lack of time for getting a job done

As a result people who are overconnected burn out and quit the job.
What’s wrong with existing communication tools
All available tools for remote communication suck. They perform functions and have nice-looking buttons, but they don’t solve the problem of staying in touch without breaking into our daily routine and forcing us to stick to an uncomfortable work schedule.
As we compare communication to glue, here goes the main problem we face: all tools for remote work are shitty glue. Let’s take a look at Slack and Microsoft Teams, well-known and widespread communication tools.

Microsoft Teams works smoothly only within its own ecosystem. As soon as you decide to use a calendar app or a mail client outside Microsoft world the magic vanishes and you have to glue new tools by yourself.

For example, if you use Notion for writing meeting notes, you can’t open those docs in MS Office. They are simply not compatible with each other.
Slack is glue in a cool glancing package, but it doesn't glue anything. Its development team passed the buck onto users and made them responsible for connecting all the incoming information. Slack is not built around use cases and workflows, but around functions. It has a lot of features, but you don't know how to apply them to your particular case. You'll have to figure it out on your own.

Slack is like Lego without instruction. It doesn't know anything about notes, tasks, and meetings. Yes, they have Huddles now, but you can’t schedule them.

These examples show that the current communication tools do not provide a thoughtful and worthwhile solution. They offer you crutches instead of bionic legs and suggest you run a marathon. This’s not OK. The responsibility for making Slack, MS Teams, or any other tools the communication link—the glue of your company—is entirely passed on to your team, to the users.

The only place where you can tie all the communication together is your head. It’s the only tool that allows you to come up with your own system, to glue all these up. Transparent and coherent communication has become the responsibility of each individual team member, which, due to human nature, will never work properly.
So what, should we all go remote now?
No, remote is not a panacea, but when applied right it can improve the quality of your life and increase the efficiency of your team. It’s a long-term trend that is to stay with us.
The share of remote communication may vary for different companies, in different fields, at different stages of their development. There are companies that can be 90-95% remote today—we call the remote-first. For example, design studios, creative agencies, lawyers, and psychologists.

On the other side, there’re companies where the share of async communication is only 10-20% and this percentage can’t be expanded. It includes building companies, medical clinics, and hairdressing salons. Their employees have to be present in the office or at the building site to get a job done.

We don’t see remote as a universal remedy for all communication problems and challenges remote teams are facing today. However, it’s one of the most flexible management approaches to communication and workflow organization we ever had in the history of humanity.

The secret to effective clear remote communication is the right combination of sync and async modes. That’s why we’re writing this guide to help you figure out which mode is best for a particular scenario.
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