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6 asynchronous collaboration tools for more productive teams
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6 asynchronous collaboration tools for more productive teams

Learn about the best asynchronous collaboration tools and features for better productivity and teamwork, whenever, wherever, and however you work.

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After finding out that about 67% of knowledge workers prefer to share their ideas asynchronously with their managers, you decide to create an async-first work culture.* But as the leader of a diverse team, you also know that everyone has a different work and communication style, and you want to create a productive, inclusive environment that works for everyone.

Working async gives you and your team more flexibility and time for focus work. But to do it well you need to know which tools to use and where each one fits into your workflows and tasks. Leaders of highly collaborative teams need to sign up for the right tools and train their teams in how–and when–to use them if they want great async collaboration.

In this article, you'll learn what you need to look for in an asynchronous collaboration tool, as well as the best tools for async working so you can improve productivity and reduce burnout. We'll also show you how visual collaboration platforms like Switchboard make teamwork the best part of work—whether it’s async or in real time. 

Want to do more async? 
Switchboard’s persistent rooms unite all your people, tools, and conversations—so you can cancel more meetings.  
Sign up for free

What to look for in an asynchronous collaboration tool

To master asynchronous working, you need to understand the difference between synchronous vs asynchronous collaboration tools. This can help you get the most out of each tool and avoid miscommunications or notification overload. 

Asynchronous collaboration tools like email let you respond on your own time, giving you more flexibility and control over your schedule. Synchronous collaboration tools are built around face-to-face or real-time interactions. For example, video conferencing, instant messaging, and live document editing tools. 

Here are the key features to look for when choosing async tools: 

  • Easy to use. Look for a tool that has an intuitive and user-friendly interface. This makes sure team members can quickly get to grips with the platform without a steep learning curve. 
  • Suits your working style. Different teams may have varied workflows and processes. The ideal tool should be flexible enough to accommodate various work styles and the specific needs and preferences of your team.
  • Customizable notifications. This feature lets team members control the frequency and type of notifications they receive, reducing unnecessary distractions. This way, important updates aren't missed while allowing individuals to manage their attention and focus.
  • Scalable as the team grows. The tool should be able to accommodate a growing number of users and changes to your processes. 
  • Integrations with other apps. By allowing data and information to flow seamlessly between different tools, you can have a leaner tech stack. This helps avoid busywork and the cognitive load you get from context switching between different tools to find what you need. This can account for as much as four hours per week spent toggling between apps, notifications, and messages. 

6 Asynchronous collaboration tools for team productivity 

Now that you know what features you should consider, we'll take you through the best asynchronous collaboration tools—and when you might need them during a project. 

Quick note: You'll notice Slack isn't listed as an async tool below. It's evolved into a tool that can create the expectation of an immediate response and a sense of urgency—making it hard for async teams to prioritize focus work. 

1. Switchboard: Best async project collaboration tool

Switchboard room populated with design tools and product goals
Switchboard enables async collaboration by keeping everything organized in one place. That means less time toggling between apps, conversations, and notifications. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is an async-first collaboration platform that allows you to organize all the apps and tools your team uses into persistent rooms. It’s designed to foster team communication, collaboration, and productivity through interactive project rooms. This enables more async work, eliminates silos, and keeps everyone on the same page without the need for constant meetings.   

Switchboard is the only collaboration platform that unites all your people, files, and internal collaboration tools in one place for async project work. However, you can also collaborate in real time if you need to with video, audio, team chat, polls, and emoji reactions. 

Best of all, Switchboard saves all your files right where you left them, so you never need to repopulate the room again. That means you'll always know where to find the information you need for a specific project, even between meetings. Also, anyone can hop into the rooms and share ideas, catch up, or make progress on their own schedule, which helps to create an async work culture

Key features:

  • Expansive canvas to add browser-based apps, websites, PDFs, and images
  • Switchboard AI, which can answer questions and generate summaries of room activity
  • Multiplayer browsers that support any website or web-based application
  • Room recording
  • Sections to organize content
  • Voice and video calls
  • Presentation mode, to get people to focus on your view
  • Built-in whiteboard and whiteboarding tools including sticky notes, shapes, notepads
  • Apps including timer, voting, polls, icebreaker, and open questions
  • In-room chat
  • In-app support
  • Up to 200 rooms for projects, meetings, and more
  • Up to 500 members and unlimited meeting guests
  • Up to 300 GB storage per workspace


  • Free: Includes limited features, rooms, and members (ideal for small teams or individuals).
  • Pro: As low as $10 member/month for up to 200 rooms and 500 members; plus Switchboard AI and additional storage.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

When you sign up for free, you get access to all Pro features during your trial. After that, you can choose to keep your Pro plan or move to the free plan with limited features, rooms, and members. 

Best for: 

Switchboard is ideal for highly collaborative teams that need an always-open space to move project work forward, together or async. 

When kicking off your next project, create a dedicated project space in Switchboard. You can add task management tools, market research, user feedback, and even whiteboards. With a central location for everything related to the project, you can cancel more meetings and keep work moving async.

2. Google Docs: Best for asynchronous document collaboration

Living Google Docs document with @-mention capabilities
Google Docs lets you tag your coworkers and bring their attention to important tasks or information async. Source: Google

Google Docs is a popular document collaboration tool known for ease of use and accessibility for companies using Google Workspace. Leave comments and suggestions directly within the document and have team members provide feedback, ask questions, or make suggestions without requiring immediate responses. Address comments at your convenience and get an email every time changes are made or when comments are added. 

With saved changes, you can also access the document's version history. This makes it easy to track edits, review changes, and revert to previous versions if necessary.

Key features: 

  • Document translation 
  • Smart Compose to save time writing  
  • Version history 
  • Tracked changes
  • Autosave
  • Comments, emojis, and notes 
  • Ability to tag colleagues in comments  
  • Secure and encrypted storage 
  • Integrates with Google applications and popular tools
  • Mobile access
  • Async edits, comments, and action items
  • Email notifications 
  • Multiple formatting options


  • Starts for free
  • Business Starter: $6/month per user
  • Business Standard: $12/month per user
  • Business Plus: $18/month per user

Best for: 

  • Hybrid or remote teams of any size using Google Workspace and Gmail that want an easy-to-use tool for documentation and internal knowledge sharing. 

For your new product feature, product managers compile strategy, research, and goals documents in a single Google Drive folder. Teams collaborate async on Docs, addressing questions and challenges early on. A memo in your Switchboard room signals document check completion by software engineers and UX teams, meaning you're ready for the next phase.

3. Mural: Best for async whiteboarding

Screenshot of Mural's virtual whiteboard with named cursors and sticky notes
Mural's virtual whiteboard is great for organizing ideas async and planning projects . Source: Mural 

Mural helps you collaborate with your team async through resizable canvases, sticky notes, comments, icons, gifs, and images. You can invite your coworkers to your shared project or board, guide them around it, and even hide unfinished aspects of your project so they don’t get distracted. 

Key features

  • 365 editable templates plus the ability to create custom templates 
  • Unlimited workspaces and guests on higher-tier plans 
  • Editable, exportable, shareable boards
  • Infinite resizable canvases
  • Simultaneous editing, drawing, writing
  • Icons, gifs, and images to express complex ideas visually 
  • Sticky notes, comments, and text to add ideas and action items
  • Voice calls to discuss ideas in real time 
  • Mapping and diagramming to quickly and easily visualize flows, maps, processes, hierarchies, etc.  
  • Flexible editing and viewing permissions to control who you collaborate with and what they can access
  • In-app timer 
  • Private mode to hide individual contributions and prevent groupthink 
  • Integrations with 40+ popular collaboration tools like Asana, Trello, Dropbox, and Slack 
  • Mobile app 


  • Free version with limited functionality
  • Team+: $9.99/month per user, billed annually  
  • Business: $17.99/month per user, billed annually 
  • Enterprise: custom priced

Best for 

  • Companies that prioritize async brainstorming.

During your project, you might use Mural to bring cross-functional teams together for brainstorming before defining goals for your new feature sprint. 

4. Asana: Best for project management

List view of projects in Asana
Asana makes project and task management easier by giving you visibility into cross-departmental workflows. Source: Asana

Asana is a comprehensive project management tool you can use to assign, manage, and move tasks through a workflow. It helps streamline project management by keeping everyone on track with to-do lists and providing visibility into task and project statuses, deadlines, and task ownership. This lets everyone get straight to work regardless of when they're online. 

Key features: 

  • Unlimited tasks, projects, in-app messages, activity log, and file storage  
  • Shared team calendar
  • List, board, or calendar view of projects and tasks 
  • In-app messaging 
  • Assignee and due dates 
  • Project overview and brief 
  • Unlimited file sharing and storage (up to 100MB per file)  
  • 100+ integrations with popular tools  
  • iOS and Android apps 


  • Free version with limited functionality
  • Premium:$10.99/month per user
  • Business: $24.99/month per user 
  • Enterprise: custom priced

Best for: 

  • Cross-functional teams that want a central place for tracking tasks, setting milestones, and aligning async. 

Let’s say your company’s product manager needs to keep track of tasks and statuses over your long-running project. They might use a Kanban board template on Asana to manage tasks and workflows visually, from backlog grooming to project completion.

5. Figma: Best for design and prototyping 

Using Figma to create a website asynchronously
Figma lets you co-create comprehensive user interfaces, and bring design and development teams closer together. Source: Figma

Figma is a highly versatile browser-based graphics and user interface (UI) design platform. It’s used by creative teams to work together in real time or async on websites, apps, prototypes, social media posts, user testing, and much more.

Its visual and collaboration features also make it suitable for brainstorming and project management since you can use shapes and text to share ideas, get input, and create project timelines.

Key features:

  • Figma Editor 
  • 30-day version history 
  • Unlimited personal files and collaborators 
  • File export and unlimited storage 
  • Plugins, widgets, and templates 
  • Sketch import 
  • Auto layout 
  • Advanced drawing tools and animations 
  • Unlimited viewers and observation mode 
  • Shareable links 
  • On-canvas commenting 
  • Interactive prototypes with library of pre-made, embeddable videos  
  • REST APIs 
  • Third-party integrations 
  • Mobile app  


  • Free version with limited functionality
  • Professional:$12/month per user
  • Organization: $45/month per user 
  • Enterprise: $75/month per user

Best for 

  • Figma is a favorite tool of UX/UI designers, product people, and marketers, among others, who need to work in real time or async on digital designs. 

During your project, the design team uses Figma to create wireframes outlining the basic structure and layout of the product feature's interface. They then share the prototype with the development team, product manager, and other stakeholders for async feedback. 

6. GitHub: Best for collaborative software development

Screenshot of GitHub navigation screen with multiple projects
GitHub makes it easy to work on feature planning prototypes async with your team. Source: GitHub

GitHub is a cloud-based platform used to store, manage, and collaborate on code, as well as track and control version changes all in one place. With GitHub, it’s easy to connect and ask questions, share ideas, and work together on projects async, which reduces the number of apps you have to switch between to get things done. 

Key features: 

  • Unlimited public/private repositories
  • Automatic security and version updates 
  • 3,000 CI/CD minutes/month (GitHub Team)
  • 2GB of Packages storage (GitHub Team)
  • Multiple assignees and reviewers
  • Code search, review, and assignments 
  • Multiple reviewers in pull requests
  • New issues and projects (currently in limited beta) 
  • Workflow visualization and templates
  • Pages and Wikis
  • Protected branches
  • Access to GitHub Codespaces
  • Mobile app


  • Free version with limited functionality
  • Team: $3.67/month per user
  • Enterprise: $19.25/month per user

Best for: 

  • GitHub is ideal for async software development, version control, and fixing bugs. 

Software developers use GitHub Issues to track tasks, enhancements, and bugs related to your product. Each issue can be assigned to the right team member, labeled for clarity, and linked to specific milestones.

Asynchronous collaboration tools: Get more done—without constant meetings 

Since making the switch to async working, you've noticed an increase in productivity, morale, and employee satisfaction. But it's not just because you've canceled a few unproductive check-ins. 

You've also found the right async tools–like Mural, Google Docs, Asana, Figma, and GitHub–that keep everyone focused, flexible, and aligned. And you've figured out a way to fit each one into your workflows and tasks—giving you more control over how and when you use them. 

You’ve also unified all your tools in Switchboard so you can get more done in between meetings—as well as in them. By keeping everyone and everything organized in a persistent room, you can work async, save time toggling between tools, and keep everyone in the loop without the need for constant meetings.  

Want to do more async? 
Switchboard’s persistent rooms unite all your people, tools, and conversations, so you can cancel more meetings.  
Sign up for free

Frequently asked questions about asynchronous collaboration tools

Which is an asynchronous collaboration tool?

An asynchronous collaboration tool can be any tool that allows you to get work done on your own time. Communication doesn’t happen in not real-time, allowing for flexibility when you respond. Asynchronous communication tools include Switchboard, Google Docs, Figma, or Asana, among many others. 

What is an example of asynchronous collaboration? 

An example of asynchronous collaboration is sending someone an email for them to respond to later. Alternatively, it might be using a digital whiteboard in Switchboard to express your product design ideas. You can then leave it in the room for colleagues to check out and contribute to in their own time. 

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous collaboration?

Synchronous collaboration requires real-time communication or face-to-face interactions that mimic the feeling of in-person work, like video communication or instant messaging. Asynchronous collaboration means you don’t need to respond immediately. It can be used by any team, from in-person companies to distributed team members in different time zones.

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Want to do more async?

Switchboard’s persistent rooms unite all your people, tools, and conversations—so you can cancel more meetings.