Cardinal sins against the async remote culture

Posted on August 03, 2022 · 3 mins read · tagged with: #remote #work

Covid19. That’s probably TOP 1 reason for showing companies that a remote workplace is not only a burden but a real possibility. Still, even after this transformation that went viral (pun intended), there are behaviors that may decrease the quality of a remote work. The following ones I perceive as cardinal sins against the async remote culture.

Hello, no hello

There’s nothing worse than being interrupted by a direct Hello message. Especially, if it’s followed up by the update status that informs you that the next part is being written. It’s not coming in a second but rather a minute or two. It makes you wait for the next thing to come. The best response that I found so far is No hello. Sharing a link and the reasoning behind it might look harsh so better wrap it up properly.

The second sin is sharing a link without a context. This might be just fine if you send a meme to a friend. The bigger the group though, the worse. Just imagine sharing a link in a company public channel that is followed up by tens, if not hundreds of clicks. Writing a one sentence of description does not cost that much, but can be a great time saver for folks that might not be interested. Instead of

you can always

Writing a longer direct message in one go, can lower the frustration of the receiver. Looks interesting? Find more at:

Unconditional communication

Sharing a context and conditional communication are strongly related. If you write unconditional, imperative messages, they are hard to reason about and execute in one go. They also can be understood as commands. Consider

Publish the recent version of the page

and compare it with

When the new version of the page is ready, please test it carefully. If all cases are green, ship it. If you find anything buggy, pause it and bring it to the channel so that we can have it discussed.

The latter sounds still a bit command_ish, but it shares the context and provides some guidance, what to do if a specific condition happens.


It’s all about writing more! If you perceive it that way, that it’s just applied overcommunication it’s fine. Of course as long as you write it in one message with the initial hello, provide a link with a context to what overcommunication is and get more specific what to do in different cases.