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6 best asynchronous communication tools so you can cancel more meetings
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6 best asynchronous communication tools so you can cancel more meetings

Discover the six best asynchronous communication tools and how to choose them, so you can cancel more meetings and have more time for focus work.

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In 1837, British inventors Sir William Fothergill Cooke and Sir Charles Wheatstone patented their telegraph system, which used pointers to spell out letters and numbers in a message sent over electric wires. This drastically reduced the time it took to communicate asynchronously, revolutionizing everything from railroad traffic control to journalism and personal communications.* 

Fast forward to the late 19th century, however, and the reign of the telegraph was over, supplanted by the insistent real-time ringing of the telephone. 

Today, there’s a move toward more async working and communication. This is driven by a growing awareness that people have too many meetings—or too many unproductive ones–which prevent them from getting work done. Also, tools that are supposed to be async–like instant messaging apps–create a sense of urgency that causes you to live reactively out of them instead of proactively tackling what's most important. 

That’s why, in this post, you’ll get a list of six asynchronous communication tools that let you cancel more meetings and get back more time for focus work. You see, async working only makes sense if you have the right tools to improve focus work and team flexibility. Otherwise, you can fall into traps like tool bloat, notification overload, context switching, and even burnout. To help you avoid that, we’ll also outline how to choose the right tools for true async communication and teamwork. 

Get more done—without the meetings. 
Switchboard’s persistent rooms keep everything organized by project, so you can stay aligned on your own schedule. 
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What to look for in an asynchronous communication tool

When you’re looking for an asynchronous communication tool, it’s important that it fits your teams’ needs and makes their lives easier. Here are a few things to consider: 

  • Ease of use. Look for intuitive tools with a user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate. This makes it easier for team members to onboard and start using it quickly. Otherwise, adoption can be poor, which makes it harder to realize the benefits of asynchronous work
  • Suits your working style. Your tech stack should adapt to your workflows and processes, not the other way around. Remember that different people have different working styles, so your tools need to work for everyone. 
  • Customizable notifications. Constant pings can be just as distracting as meetings, so you need to be able to control the frequency and type of notifications you receive. This lets you create a true asynchronous work culture without missing anything important. 
  • Scalable. Your processes aren’t set in stone and will change as your team grows. That means your tools should be able to easily accommodate more users without becoming unwieldy or prohibitively expensive.   
  • Good documentation capabilities. Async work lives and dies by how easy it is to find and share information. Look for tools that allow you to document and save progress, decisions, and updates. Version history is also useful in case you need to wind something back.  
  • Integrations with other apps. You don’t need to sign up for every tool out there—just the right ones. Look for tools that play well together so information can flow between them without you needing to manually update each one. As well as giving you a leaner, more affordable tech stack, this cuts down time spent toggling between different tools, which can waste up to four hours per week. 

Check out our recent post for more on what asynchronous communication is.  

6 asynchronous communication tools for team communication

Now you know what to look for, let’s take a look at six of the best asynchronous communication tools. 

1. Best async project management tool

Switchboard room with apps and documents open.
Switchboard lets you communicate in context async by keeping everything organized in one place. Source: Switchboard

Switchboard is an async-first collaboration platform that lets you organize all your apps and tools into persistent rooms. It redefines what async collaboration is by letting you stay aligned and build faster with fewer team meetings—giving you back more time for focus work. Think of it as a shared operating system that brings all your people, tools, and conversations together. This eliminates silos and time wasted juggling fragmented apps and notifications. Not to mention struggling to coordinate schedules across offices and different time zones to get everyone on video calls. 

Everything in the room is multiplayer, so people can work side by side on anything in real time or make progress on their own schedule. You can communicate async through video recordings, sticky notes, comments, and chat, or ask Switchboard AI to summarize room activity for you to save time.  

Best of all, this async collaboration tool saves all your files after every session, so you never need to download anything or repopulate the room again. That means you can always find the information you need for a specific project, during meetings or in between them.   

Key features

  • Persistent rooms for meetings or async project work 
  • A large canvas to add browser-based apps, websites, files, PDFs, and images 
  • Sections to organize content
  • Built-in whiteboard 
  • Screen sharing for items in your Chrome browser—including multiple screen shares inside a room
  • Audio and video conferencing 
  • Recording 
  • In-app Chat
  • Sticky notes
  • Voting app, meeting timer, icebreakers 
  • Switchboard AI to summarize room activity and answer questions 
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Room permissions for members and guests
  • Host not required for members to enter a room
  • Up to 25 meeting attendees and unlimited guests (on Pro plans)  
  • App for macOS


  • Free: Includes limited features, rooms, and members for very small teams or individuals.
  • Pro: $15 member/month for up to 200 rooms and 500 members; plus Switchboard AI and additional storage.
  • Enterprise: Custom priced.

You get access to all Pro features for one month when you sign up for free. After that, you can choose to keep your plan or downgrade to a free plan with limited features, rooms, and members. 

Best for

Switchboard is ideal for highly collaborative teams that don’t want to have to choose between asynchronous vs synchronous communication. It’s an always-open space where people can communicate and get work done in real time or async. 

2. Notion: Best for async knowledge management

Notion document with comments
Notion lets you create wikis and knowledge bases and communicate async via shared documents.  Source: Notion

Notion is a knowledge management platform you can use to create dedicated workspaces, share information, and communicate async. For example, you could create an onboarding hub for new designers with standard operating procedures (SOPs), video tutorials, and instructions. Or, take meetings async with database templates like Team Updates, Tensions, or End-of-Week Reports. These let team members check in, establish priorities, identify blockers, and review progress without the need for real time meetings. 

You can also create templates for async communications, like announcements or newsletters, comment on shared documents, tag people, and embed videos. 

Key features

  • Dedicated workspaces 
  • Customizable drag-and-drop templates 
  • Collaborative documents with real time edits, notifications, comments, discussion threads, and @mentions 
  • Calendar, Kanban, and Gantt views
  • Automated workflows and tasks 
  • AI assistant to auto-fill tables and provide help with writing and queries 
  • Search and filtering 
  • Page history to track changes
  • Integrations with other tools, like Slack, Figma, Jira, and Google docs 
  • Mobile app  


  • Free Plan 
  • Plus: $8/month per user, billed annually 
  • Business: $15/month per user, billed annually 
  • Enterprise: Custom priced 

Best for 

  • Companies of all sizes that need a single source of truth for knowledge sharing and documentation.  

3. Gmail: Best for asynchronous messaging

Gmail inbox
Gmail lets you send one-off, repeat, and mass communications async. Source: Google

Gmail is an intuitive email platform that keeps a record of all your conversations. It’s popular with companies using other Google Workspace products, like Google Docs, GCal, and Google Meet. Use it to communicate async with individuals or groups through mailings and newsletters, as well as sharing links and documents. Features like smart send and scheduling let you be mindful of work-life balance. You can send messages at the most appropriate time and avoid bombarding people when they’re in focus time or out of the office. 

Key features

  • Professional email address with your company domain
  • Inbox categories, labels, and filtering 
  • Inbox search 
  • Smart send
  • Smart reply and compose 
  • Scheduling   
  • Auto-reply and out-of-office settings  
  • Snooze and smart nudges, so nothing gets missed 
  • Undo sent messages 
  • Chat 
  • Integrations with Google Workspace: Drive, Documents, Sheets, Slides, and Calendar 
  • Mobile app 


  • Business Starter: $6/month per user, billed annually 
  • Business Standard: $12/month per user, billed annually 
  • Business Plus: $18/month per user, billed annually 
  • Enterprise: Custom priced 

Best for 

  • Teams using Google Workspace that want a secure way to exchange information async, both internally and with clients.  

4. Asana: Best work management tool

Inbox in Asana
Asana makes it easier to stay on top of task management with a dedicated inbox. Source: Asana

Asana lets you communicate async about work where it happens: in your project management platform. Use it to assign, manage, and move tasks through a workflow to keep everyone on track. You can communicate async via comment threads and @mentions. For example, your UX designer might reach out to their project manager for an update on project status or to share documents and links to wireframes. All this provides visibility into work status, deadlines, and ownership, so people can get on with things regardless of when they're online. 

Key features: 

  • Unlimited tasks, projects, activity log, and file storage 
  • In-app messaging 
  • Automated status updates 
  • Inbox with automatic updates 
  • Configurable notifications 
  • Workflow automation and rules 
  • Forms and templates to standardize requests and processes  
  • Shared team calendar
  • Calendar, timeline, Gantt, or Kanban views 
  • Goals and reportings 
  • 100+ integrations with popular tools  
  • Mobile app 


  • Personal: Free
  • Starter:$10.99/month per user, billed annually 
  • Advanced: $24.99/month per user, billed annually  
  • Enterprise or Enterprise Plus: Custom priced

Best for: 

  • Teams of any size that want a central place to communicate async about work, get visibility into projects, and stay aligned. 

5. Figma: Best for prototyping and design

Design on a mobile view in Figma with discussion thread
Figma lets you bring design and development teams closer together to co-create. Source: Figma

Figma is a versatile no-code 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, and more. You can communicate in context with comments and sticky notes, asking questions or sharing what each team member is working on. You can also provide feedback on designs and invite non-account holders to collaborate or co-create async in a 24-hour window.  

Key features:

  • Drag-and-drop templates 
  • File sharing and editing 
  • Embedded comment threads and @mentions 
  • Reactions with stickers, emojis, and dot vote
  • Kanban boards to organize work 
  • Sticky notes and audio notes 
  • Share links to files 
  • Share or embed prototypes 
  • 24-hour open jam sessions for async co-creation 
  • Version history 
  • Reusable asset libraries 
  • Interactive prototypes with library of pre-made, embeddable videos  
  • Third-party integrations 
  • Mobile app  


  • Starter: Free
  • Professional:$12/month per user, billed annually 
  • Organization: $45/month per user, billed annually 
  • Enterprise: $75/month per user, billed annually 

Best for 

  • Figma is ideal for creative design work, brainstorming, and collaborating in real time or async on digital products.  

6. Lucidchart: Best for creative visual collaboration

Lucidchart diagramming board with comment thread.
Lucidchart lets you collaborate on complex diagrams with your team.  Source: Lucidchart

Lucidchart is a virtual diagramming tool that lets you visually express information or ideas and map out complex processes. For example, your product team can use it to create and edit diagrams, wireframes, and more, either from scratch or by populating them with content from channels like Slack, Google Workspace, or Asana. Communicate async with your team through the in-editor chat or share diagrams via email to get feedback. You can also invite someone to participate in your file anytime you need to hop into a face-to-face meeting to resolve something in real time. 

Key features

  • Whiteboard templates 
  • Mapping and diagramming 
  • Image and GIF library 
  • Mind mapping 
  • Shape-specific comments and in-editor chat
  • @mentions
  • Sticky notes, which can be auto-generated from imported bullet point lists 
  • Labeled cursors to track team member contributions 
  • Export diagrams to various destinations and file types, including PDF, PowerPoint, etc.  
  • Start a new diagram in any integrated tool 
  • Integrations with popular tools like Google Workspace, Slack, etc. 
  • Labeled cursors
  • Document, link, and file sharing, including via email  
  • Embed videos 
  • Mobile app  


  • Free version 
  • Individual: $8/month per user 
  • Team: $9/month per user 
  • Enterprise: Custom priced 

Best for 

  • Teams that need to visualize, collaborate on, and share complex information in real time or async. 

Asynchronous communication tools: Give your team the gift of time 

By the late 19th century, the telegraph seemed like a redundant has-been of an invention, overtaken by real time communication via the telephone. What people didn’t appreciate at the time, however, was that asynchronous communication tools offer you the freedom to respond when you choose. 

In the workplace, that now seems like a luxury. People have so many distractions from meetings and notifications that it can be hard to get any actual work done. Instead of prioritizing, we lurch from app to app, reacting to “urgent” notifications—and getting very little actual work done. 

In this post, we covered several async communication tools that let you do more on your own schedule: Gmail, Notion, Figma, Lucidchart, and Asana. When choosing tools like these, think about how scalable, usable, and customizable they are. Also, how well they fit your team’s working and communication styles and integrate with other apps. Keeping these points in mind helps you sign up for the right tools–rather than every tool out there–and avoid tool bloat, notification overload, context switching, and burnout. 

When you use Switchboard as the base of your tech stack, you can open all the browser-based tools you need in persistent rooms that save your work and make everything multiplayer. That means you don’t need to be online at the same time as everyone else to find what you need, communicate in context, and move projects forward. 

Get more done—without the meetings. 
Switchboard’s persistent rooms keep everything organized by project, so you can stay aligned on your own schedule. 
Sign up free

Frequently asked questions about asynchronous communication tools 

What are asynchronous communication tools? 

Asynchronous communication tools are ones that allow you to leave messages for people without the expectation of an immediate response. For example, sending an email, leaving a comment on a task in your project management platform, or a recording in your persistent Switchboard room. In all these cases, team members can get up to speed, streamline communication, and respond in their own time. 

By contrast, instant messaging tools like Slack don’t count as asynchronous communication tools. This is because they create a sense of urgency that makes you feel like you have to deal with messages now.

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Get more done—without the meetings.

Switchboard’s persistent rooms keep everything organized by project, so you can stay aligned on your own schedule.