Our ‘New Normal’ Initiative; Introducing Async 1.0!
We noticed that Impalans, like the majority of the world, are struggling with integrating work and life right now; causing anxiety, stress and overwhelm.
These things compounded can impact how folks can show up at work, and the extent to which folks are able to bring their full natural selves.
Our new Async initiative therefore, is designed to give Impalans more autonomy to run their day around personal commitments, preferences, and mental health ebbs-and-flows. Not the other way around.
Leaving more space for family, Netflix & chill, exercise, or mental-health downtime - whenever and wherever it’s needed.
We’re rolling this out as a ‘New Normal' Initiative due to extended uncertainties and lingering lockdowns. But there are so many benefits to working this way that we’re going to aim to continue our async working structure into the future!
The main things that will change at Impala
- No set work hours. Turn up and be present when it suits you.
- No internal response-time expectations. Folks can be offline at any point, for any reason and that’s ok.
- Fewer, more meaningful meetings. So there’s less restrictions, and more deep-work time, whenever that may be.
Basically, full flexibility to manage and navigate life around this strange 'New Normal'!
Asynchronous communication and its benefits?
There are many benefits to asynchronous communication. However, the main four that stood out to us were:
- It facilitates true flexibility: Asynchronous working removes the need or expectation for immediacy.
- It encourages independent and critical thinking: More autonomy promotes independent problem solving and growth.
- It documents and leaves a trail: Better documentation begets better transparency, collaboration and honesty.
- It gives everyone a voice: Asynchronous discussion and brainstorming empowers the more introverted or naturally quiet voices.
In short, it was a no-brainer for us to introduce this initiative to Impalans!
Setting boundaries and expectations
When introducing this new initiative, expectation setting was super important.
Feeling empowered to set boundaries is a core pillar for a positive asynchronous environment. We created resources, such as an internal communications guide, to help Impalans navigate some of the teething pains that can come with this new initiative.
We’re a pretty high-achieving and motivated gang in the Impala team. And we’re aware this can be dangerous when we remove parameters to work-hour expectations.
So to avoid overworking and overwhelm, we’ve been extremely explicit internally about the dangers and the expectations, and we’re proactive in our check-ins. This is an ongoing focus.
Diversity and inclusion
We’re constantly working to develop and improve our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives at Impala, and we felt asynchronous working was a great next step.
Inclusivity is ensuring that people feel accepted and comfortable at work.
However, it’s also making sure that everyone can live their own lives and accept their own personal situations, and health requirements during lockdown without fear of retribution or discrimination.
It would be unfair of us to request meetings and calls which would compromise another team member's workday, or fail to acknowledge that a one-size-fits-all approach simply isn’t inclusive, when we're all struggling in lockdown.
Async helps us support and show up for everyone; especially parents, carers, and those struggling with mental health.
What about collaboration and real face time?
Collaboration and real-time community is something deeply engrained into our Cultural DNA. One of our Core Values is 'Keep It Human' in fact.
We don't believe that collaboration or a strong community are mutually exclusive to an Async environment.
We'll still have our London HQ Office for folks to work from, Impalans will still visit each other, our Slack community will always be lively, and Impalans will naturally gravitate to working at similar times.
We're just empowering Impalans to be more in control of the where, how and when.
What we hope it will achieve
Working remotely, especially during Covid-19 has left a lot of remote workers feeling they need to be available 24/7 - because, well, what else do we have to do?
At Impala, we measure results, not hours. We also don’t set any minimum work hours per day. This means that people should feel free to achieve the best results when it best suits them.
Giving Impalans the power to operate asynchronously we hope will allow them to feel more empowered to own their time, more productive, and more passionate about the work they do!
Is the future asynchronous?
2020 illustrated that we can’t predict the future, however, there is a lot of discourse around remote working and asynchronous working and how the traditional approaches to being ‘present’ at work are changing.
We think we’ll see more companies heading in this direction sooner than they naturally would.
But for now, we’re just trialling this new way of working to see how it pans out for us as a business and its effect on folk’s mental health, as ultimately, that’s the most important thing!