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Asynchronous work: in these companies, employees work when they want

When Aude Gueneau wants to pick up her children from school, she stops working in the middle of the afternoon. If necessary, the co-founder of the start-up Plume, which is developing an application for the autonomy of children’s written expression, gets back to work at the end of the day, when her toddlers are in bed. His partner Thomas Cailhol, a great fan of surfing, organizes his working days according to the tide times.

“We co-founded our company in 2018 in our free time, when we both had jobs, rewinds the entrepreneur. Thomas was in Australia, I in France, and we realized that working when it suited us worked very well. » They kept this asynchronous mode of operation over time. Their 17 employees (developers, sales manager, operations director, product designer, etc.) are also free to choose their schedules.

The result rather than the hours

Like them, Aurélie Lamy-Ducasse organizes her days day by day, according to her constraints, desires and habits. ” I’m not a morning person. My colleagues know that I never start my day before 10 am”smiles this head of recruitment and HR development at AssessFirst, a company created in 2002 that develops HR software.

The SME has embraced asynchronous work since the pandemic. “We already had a lot of flexibility before, with the possibility of telecommuting, but overall we had classic office hours, remembers Aurélie Lamy-Ducasse. The health crisis has changed things. » The company has returned its premises and employees have gone into full telework with the authorization to work from wherever they want, even in different time zones. “We quickly saw that the schedules did not matter, as long as the objectives were achieved”, she continues. From now on, the 102 employees of the company can work on classic or staggered schedules, according to their preferences.

For Eric Gras, labor market specialist at the Indeed France platform, asynchronous work is only in its infancy. “It is not anchored because we still have in France a strong culture of presenteeism, even from a distance, with managers who have difficulty letting go of schedules”he observes.

He notes that this working method is more common in Anglo-Saxon countries. Samuel Durand, specialist in new ways of working and author of the “Work in progress” documentaries, confirms: “In the United States, companies have implemented an asynchronous working mode since the 2010s, at the time of the development of the cloud and online project management tools allowing teamwork, remotely and in time real. »

In France, companies that have adopted asynchronous work are more start-ups or SMEs, according to Samuel Durand. “With the pandemic, large groups have switched to a hybrid working mode between teleworking and face-to-face, with classic schedules, he notes. But many companies are not ready to adopt asynchronous work, even though this is the real revolution of teleworking! »

Some companies that have taken the plunge, however, have hundreds of employees. This is the case of Alan, the tricolor unicorn of health insurance founded in 2016, which employs some 500 employees at the start of 2022. “The tour de force of its founders is to have succeeded in maintaining asynchronous work with an increasing workforce”estimates Anna Gombin, documentalist and internal professor at Alan.

Written communication

Inevitably, when some employees work at dawn, others during the day, evening or night, this requires a certain organization. Employees of Plume, AssessFirst and Alan communicate a lot in writing, through online messaging like Slack. When they are absent, they indicate it in their diary or on their messaging system, specifying when they will return.

Whether decisions are made, employees move forward on a project or meet with clients, everything is recorded on a platform. “This allows, when you have a question, to consult it at any time and generally find an answer”, explains Anna Gombin. If the answer is not there, the collaborators can ask the question by specifying within what period they expect an answer. To coordinate, the teams of these companies generally organize a weekly point (or more) during which the collaborators must all be connected. The rest of the time, they avoid meetings as much as possible.

Offering this flexible way of working allows companies to be more attractive, according to Eric Gras. “All sectors of activity are in extreme tension. Asynchronous work can be a differentiating argument to attract a collaborator in search of a good work-life balance, and to retain him.underlines the labor market specialist.

Asynchronous work has its limits, however. It is reserved for teleworkable positions and depends on the time constraints inherent in the mission. For example, if a salesperson can carry out his mission remotely, he must still be available when the customers/prospects are. And this way of working is rather reserved for executives, who have contracts with day rather than hourly packages, and are therefore paid on the basis of a number of days worked annually, without counting working time.

For those who can claim it, this system is the future, according to Samuel Durand. Why ? “Because it allows you to organize your work according to your life and no longer the reverse. »

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