Collaboration

10 asynchronous communication tools to level up remote teamwork

10 asynchronous communication tools to level up remote teamwork - featured image

Remote work environments and remote teams are the future of many organizations. Business owners understand that productivity doesn’t suffer when employees work from home, and many people prefer to work from the comfort of their home offices. 

At the same time, team leaders and team members are still figuring out how to communicate and collaborate effectively across physical distances and different time zones. 

That’s where asynchronous tools come in. The best asynchronous communication tools will help you and your team make up for a lack of in-person contact and unlock effective workflows. 

Disclaimer: The information below is accurate as of January 6th, 2023.

Best asynchronous communication tools -graphic

What are asynchronous communication tools?

Asynchronous communication tools are apps and software platforms that help you communicate with people not in real time.

Examples of asynchronous communication are sending an email, a video message, or a direct message on Slack. 

Async communications don’t require an immediate response from others, like an in-person conversation, Zoom meeting, or phone call does. Instead people can answer in their own time, thus avoiding workflow interruptions and encouraging more thoughtful responses.

Asynchronous vs. synchronous communication

Synchronous communication is real-time communication. Chatting with your team members face to face in the office, a phone conversation with a potential client, brainstorming on a video call — all of these are examples of synchronous communication.

While asynchronous communication is definitely on the rise, it’s hardly a new concept. Good old-fashioned letters are the best example of asynchronous communication.

When you leverage async communication, you free up people’s time for productive and deep work.

10 best asynchronous communication tools

1. Vowel

Vowel is an all-in-one meeting management platform that lets you hold virtual meetings and manage your meetings at the same time. 

Vowel homepage

Who is Vowel for?

Vowel is for teams who want to run their internal meetings more efficiently and productively. 

Vowel is a video conferencing platform and a meeting operating system that provides automatic meeting transcription, meeting agendas, action items, collaborative note-taking, and meeting recordings, all accessible through one dashboard.  

A screenshot of Vowel where users can view meetings from their dashboard

Top features

  • Built-in meeting agendas sent with meeting invite

  • Action items assigned to team members

  • Video recording with automatic time-stamped transcription

  • Talk-timers to stay on track and make sure everyone gets their say 

  • Automatic post-meeting recaps 

G2 rating

4.5/5

Vowel pricing

Vowel has a free plan, with meetings of up to 50 minutes and 12 participants.

A screenshot of Vowel's pricing page

Vowel’s Pro plan costs $8.49 per user per month, which lets you hold meetings for up to 120 minutes, with rewatch and search through past meetings for up to 60 days. 

If you’re a larger team and need more participants, the Business plan costs $16.49 per user per month. It lets you hold meetings with up to 50 participants and removes the meeting time limits.

2. Range

Range is a meeting management tool that handles the asynchronous parts of team check-ins, like agendas, action items, and notes. 

Range-homepage

Image Source: Range

Who is it for?

Range is for teams of remote workers who need to be aligned on tasks and goals but don’t necessarily want to schedule another status update, stand-up, or check-in meeting.

Top features

  • Meeting agendas

  • Goals for async check-ins, meetings, and Slack

  • Built-in icebreaker questions 

G2 rating

4.6/5

Range pricing

Range’s Free plan is limited to three goals and up to two sub-teams. Range’s Pro plan costs $8 per user per month, which yields an unlimited number of goals and unlimited search history. 

Range pricing page

Image Source: Range

Tool #3: Asana

Asana is a project management tool that lets you track tasks to keep projects progressing as they should.

Asana-homepage

Image Source: Asana

Like most other tools in this category (Trello, Microsoft Planner, ClickUp, etc.) you can create projects, divide the project into tasks, and assign someone to complete each of them. Collaborators communicate on Asana by checking off their tasks and leaving comments.

Who is it for?

Thanks to its customization, many remote and traditional teams can use Asana to keep track of what needs to be done.

Top features

  • Custom views, such as kanban board, Gantt chart, or calendar 

  • Task assigning and commenting

  • Integrations with Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, and other productivity software

G2 rating

4.3/5

Asana pricing

Asana has a free plan, but the Pro plan costs $10.99 per user per month. It lets you set up unlimited dashboards, add custom fields to tasks, and use the task templates feature. 

Asana pricing page

Image Source: Asana

For bigger companies and teams, there is the Business subscription tier at $24.99. Here you can have portfolios (manage groups of projects at once), access the workload balancing feature, and unlock advanced integrations with tools such as Salesforce.

3. Dropbox

Dropbox is an online file storage and sharing platform, but for the purposes of this guide we’re interested in their Dropbox Capture product.  

Dropbox-homepage

Image Source: Dropbox

Dropbox Capture is an asynchronous video communication platform that lets you take short videos with your webcam (you can capture the screen at the same time) or send a GIF or a voice message. 

Who is it for?

Dropbox Capture is for anyone who frequently shares updates with their team, demonstrates how a product works, or needs to use their screen to walk through onboarding instructions.

Top features

  • Webcam access

  • Screen recording support

  • Integration with Dropbox cloud file storage system 

G2 rating

4.4/5

Dropbox pricing

Using Dropbox as a company, you have the choice between the Standard and Advanced plans.

Dropbox pricing page

Image Source: Dropbox

Both of these plans come with Dropbox Capture and let you take unlimited-length videos in 4K resolution while using advanced video editing tools. 

5. Notion

Notion is a note-taking app that’s also a knowledge management tool and a project management tool. 

Notion-homepage

Image Source: Notion

At its most basic level, Notion lets you create documents (cloud-enabled, shareable) that can have many different elements embedded inside, like a kanban board, table, or checklist. Because of this, Notion fits many use cases. 

Who is it for?

Notion is for teams looking for an all-in-one solution for knowledge and task management. Notion’s main strength is that it connects knowledge documentation with project management. 

Top features

  • Flexible built-in elements  like kanban boards, journals, and tables 

  • Templates to get you started with anything from personal organization checklists to company goals 

  • Unlimited pages and blocks 

G2 rating

4.6/5

Notion pricing

Notion has a free plan that works for most individuals. For teams and businesses, paid plans start at $8 per user per month for the Plus tier.

Notion pricing page

Image Source: Notion

In that tier, you get unlimited blocks (elements such as text boxes, images, tables, etc.), 30 days of history, and sharing with up to 100 guest users. 

The Business plan is $15 per user per month and adds advanced features like SAML/SSO and bulk PDF export. 

6. Trello

Trello is a project management tool that teams can use to organize and track projects and tasks. 

Trello-homepage

Image Source: Trello

Trello is a web-based tool, modeled on the kanban methodology for task tracking. Each Trello board has lists and cards. A card is a task that contains instructions and any relevant information and documents. Cards can be labeled and assigned to people and due dates. 

As the project progresses, cards move from one list to another — such as “Planning” to “Doing” to “Complete.”

Who is it for?

Trello is for anyone who needs a way to organize their tasks or keep track of projects (and isn't using somethng like Asana). Trello is especially useful for those individuals and teams who prefer a visual overview of their work. 

Top features

  • Visual overview of projects through boards, lists, and cards

  • Integrations with Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, and other services 

  • Android and iOS mobile apps

G2 rating

4.4/5

Trello pricing

Trello has a free plan for basic features, but you can get the Standard plan for $5 a month per user. 

Trello pricing page

Image Source: Trello

This comes with unlimited storage (250 MB per file) and unlimited boards. For $10 per user per month in the Premium plan, you get more views: calendar, map, timeline, table, and dashboard. For more security and control there is the Enterprise plan which costs $17.50 per user per month.

7. Confluence

Confluence is a project management and team collaboration tool made by Atlassian. 

Confluence-homepage

Image Source: Confluence

Using this tool, teams can communicate and collaborate asynchronously by creating and editing documents.

Similar to Notion, Confluence allows for many kinds of documents and can be used as a wiki for managing knowledge or as an agile project management tool. 

Who is it for?

Confluence is for teams who want to centralize their knowledge and planning and have one single source of information for all their activities. The platform also integrates with popular productivity tools such as Jira, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.

Top features

  • Dynamic content and extra functionality through macros

  • Best-practice templates to get started easily 

  • Page versioning to track and revert changes 

G2 rating

4.1/5

Confluence pricing

The Confluence free plan comes with basic features and up to 10 users. The Standard plan for Confluence is $5.75 per user per month and comes with up to 35,000 users and 250 GB of file storage. 

Confluence pricing page

Image Source: Confluence

With the Premium tier at $11 per user per month, you can have unlimited storage and engagement analytics showing on-site and at page level. 

If you need more than 800 users, the Enterprise tier is for you.

8. Slack

Slack is a super popular team communication tool featuring instant messages (chat) as well as audio and video calls. 

Slack homepage screenshot

Image Source: Slack

In Slack, teams can create channels dedicated to any topic such as a specific project or team updates. Within each channel, users can send text messages or have one-on-one or group calls (or "huddles"). 

Who is it for?

Slack is for teams of all sizes who need synchronous communication through calls, but also asynchronous communication through chat. 

Top features

  • Channels to organize discussions 

  • Huddles for quick team check-ins within a channel

  • Short audio and video messages 

G2 rating

4.5/5

Slack pricing

Slack’s paid plans start with the Pro tier, which costs $7.25 per user per month. 

A screenshot of Slack's pricing page

Image Source: Slack

Compared to the free plan, this plan gives you unlimited chat history and group video calls with screen sharing and up to 50 participants. 

If you need advanced identity management and have compliance requirements to fulfill, look into the Business+ plan at $12.50 per user per month. 

9. Google Workspace

Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is Google’s collection of productivity apps for companies and teams. 

Google Workspace screenshot

Image Source: Google Workspace

It includes things such as Gmail, Google Drive, Google Meet, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Sites, and others. 

As such, Google Workspace is a fully featured work collaboration platform that can be used for synchronous communication (Google Meet) and asynchronous communication (Gmail, comments in Google Docs). 

Who is it for?

Perhaps the better question would be “who isn’t it for?” since a lot of companies use at least some of the apps in Google Workspace. 

However, it should be noted that Google Workspace still doesn’t come with a dedicated project management tool. While it's possible to recreate some of that functionality using spreadsheets, calendars, and forms, you may find it easier to use a product like Asana or Trello. 

Top features

  • Shared collaboration in docs, spreadsheets, etc.

  • Custom email addresses ending in @yourcompany 

  • Integration with Salesforce and DocuSign in Gmail and Google Drive

G2 rating

4.6/5

Google Workspace pricing

To start with Google Workspace, you can choose the Business Starter plan. 

Google Workspace pricing page

Image Source: Google Workspace

It costs $6 per user per month and you’ll be able to run meetings with up to 100 participants. Each user gets 30 GB of cloud storage too. 

Google also offers the Business Standard and Business Plus plans at $12 and $18 per user per month respectively. These plans offer more meeting participants, higher storage limits, and enhanced security.

10. Loom

Loom is a video communication tool that lets you send videos and screen recordings to your team members. 

Loom-homepage

Image Source: Loom

With Loom you can record yourself through your webcam and capture video from your screen at the same time. Then you can edit your video and send the link to others.

Who is it for?

Loom is for people who create video announcements, product demos, workflow tutorials, etc. 

Those interested in getting the benefits of asynchronous communication can use Loom as a replacement for meetings. For instance, instead of having a whole meeting to announce that you’re switching to a new productivity platform, you can create a Loom video and demo the platform at the same time. 

Top features

  • Webcam and screen recording 

  • Video trimming 

  • Video in up to 4K resolution

G2 rating

4.7/5

Loom pricing

If you just want to send quick video messages to your team, the Starter plan is free. 

Loom pricing page

Image Source: Loom

To get more features such as custom branding and engagement analytics you’ll need the Business plan, which costs $8 per creator per month. 

Key types of asynchronous communication tools

There are a lot of different async communication tools available, as we discussed above. In this section, we’ll walk you through some main categories. 

📥 Email

Email is the oldest form of internet-enabled async communication, and it’s still holding its own against newer technologies. 

Need to send out a company announcement or provide a step-by-step onboarding guide for a new remote hire? You can be sure people will get it with email. All devices support email and that’s its biggest strength. 

📹 Video communication

There are two main kinds of video communication in a work context: virtual meetings and video messages. Video messages are perfect for sharing tutorials and brief explanations. They’re also a great way to reduce the number of meetings you’re having because async video communication tools cut out the need for live screen sharing.

💬 Chat

Tools in this category straddle the line between asynchronous and synchronous communication. Slack, for example, can be used both ways with instant messages and audio and video team communication options. 

Compared to email, chat is quicker and less formal. But relying too much on chat makes notifications pile up, which can distract team members and make them less productive.

✅ Project management

Project management and task management tools, like Asana and Notion, allow team members to update each other on task status and completion.

The main advantage of project management tools is that they are a comprehensive record of the status of different tasks. A dashboard allows team leaders and project managers to get an overview of how a project is progressing.

🧠 Knowledge management

Knowledge management systems, like Slite and Atlassian, are a popular way to maintain knowledge bases of useful information for employees. Companies usually manage organizational knowledge through a learning management system (LMS) or a wiki-based platform. 

Knowledge management allows companies to centralize files, documents, instructions, and common procedures. This cuts down on the number of orientation and onboarding meetings while letting any employee refresh their knowledge when they need to.

💻 Video conferencing and meeting management

Most meeting platforms are synchronous communication apps — think video conferencing software that allow you to meet wherever you are.

Then there are adjacent apps and add-ons that help manage the meetings you’re having and share takeaways.

How to choose asynchronous communication tools that suit you

Here’s what to look out for when choosing asynchronous collaboration tools for your tech stack.

1. Type: Do you need video communication, chat, or knowledge management? Or all three? Once you know what you need, review the next three factors.

2. Use cases: Different tools have different use cases. For example, Vowel can be used for coaching sessions, sales calls, and daily standups, among other things. Evaluate what you can get out of a single tool. It’s a great way to save money — all those yearly subscriptions add up!

3. Security: Make sure your tools come with privacy certifications that match the obligations of your company to its customers.

4. Pricing: Compare the pricing plans of similar tools and see which one offers more functionality for your money. While getting the most features might be tempting, think about whether you’ll actually use all of them. No need to pay for something your team won’t ever touch.

Level up your asynchronous communication

Working remotely means communicating asynchronously across different time zones.

Using a meeting tool like Vowel gives you the best of both worlds — synchronous communication for real-time meetings, plus features like action items, time-stamped notes, and recordings to continue collaborating after the meeting.

A screenshot of a recorded meeting summary in Vowel

It helps you work better asynchronously by letting you:

  • Skip meetings you don't need to attend and catch up later

  • Record walkthroughs, demos, notes, and more in your personal meeting room (and share the link)

  • Use bookmarks to mark key moments in meetings (so they're easy to go back to later)

  • Share specific clips from conversations to give your team members context

  • Organize meeting recordings in folders for training and onboarding

  • Revisit shared notes to see key points and action items

  • Search across all your meeting content (like you would Slack or email) to find what you need

See how Vowel works by signing up now for free!