Asana today unveiled a host of new features for its work management platform, with the aim of eliminating distractions and increasing the concentration of workers, with an emphasis on asynchronous video communication.
“The rapid shift to distributed work has fueled the distraction and destruction of 1.5 billion information workers, with messaging and meetings at an all-time high,” said Alex Hood, Asana’s chief product officer, emphasizing that New functions align better worker care with intention.
Asana video messaging, for example, is designed to help users reduce meetings and minimize video fatigue; With My Smart Tasks, workers can better prioritize tasks; And with a smart calendar assistant, users can better focus on what they are doing.
“Focused work has fallen by the wayside and in our own UK information worker surveys, 80% of people tell us that they actually work from their inbox and have their communication apps open all the time. , while 75% feel pressure to multitask. “Hood said.” Seven out of 10, and I’m surprised it’s not more frankly, have experienced burnout in 2020. “
Wayne Kurtzman, research director for social media and collaboration at IDC, said that by focusing on communications and workflows, Asana can help customers get a better idea of who is doing what and when, while also reinforcing the ease of use of the platform.
“These features enhance the work experience for all users and that helps the hybrid workforce. Based on the speed of Asana features, there is much more to come, ”he said.
The promise of asynchronous communication
With today’s announcement, Asana is driving the benefits of asynchronous communication. Hood argued that a lot of lost work time comes from things like Zoom calls, which can turn what would have been a five-minute conversation in the office kitchen into a half-hour video chat.
“This is how the software works, it creates these calendar spaces,” he said. “So we have created a new version of video communication in this new world, which is asynchronous video communication.”
The video messaging feature offers live video participation while reducing the need for more meetings. By working with Vimeo, video messaging “turns communication into responsibility and action, with the ability to share updates and show work to teammates, anytime, anywhere,” the company said.
Video messaging allows users to record short videos of themselves and / or their screen directly in Asana to help document important initiatives across teams and time zones. Automated video transcripts are found in Asana’s proprietary Work Graph data model, allowing users to find and share audio transcripts, better convey context, and exchange ideas.
Hood acknowledged that video fatigue has been a real problem in the last year, as reflected in a study from Stanford University – which is what video messaging matters. “So that [burnout] it is one of the problems that we are solving here ”, he said.
“By introducing asynchronous video to Asana customers, we will reduce the total amount of video consumption required to do their job,” explains Hood. “In three minutes, people can explain themselves and the complete transmission of what they want to communicate, without having to call a 30-minute meeting.”
It will also allow people to better understand what the plan is and who is doing what by when, which means that users do not have to take notes or have a follow-up meeting.
Kurtzman said Asana is soon on the market with the asynchronous communications effort, and while it might be a love or hate feature for some people, he expects its use to grow over time, with rival platforms rushing to do the same.
“Some people will need to get used to synchronized and asynchronous communications, but in the long run, it enables the right tool for the moment and potentially saves meetings and emails. And it feeds into the Asana Work Chart, as each one is part of the team record, ”said Kurtzman. Performative exhaustion (aka video fatigue) is real. But when we have control of our own camera, as in selfies, it is not so bad. There is something to be said about it. “
Other Asana Productivity Tools
Hood said My Tasks is a personal prioritization system that combines users’ to-do lists with their overall team’s work. Asama clients can organize their work in Kanban, lists, and calendar versions of their personal tasks to focus their attention while using automation to stay on track. For example, automation rules can organize users’ tasks based on a due date or alert them when a teammate has completed a job that unlocks a dependent task.
The new smart calendar assistant integration aims to reduce conflicts between concentrated work time and demanding activities such as meetings and video calls. Asana now integrates with Clockwise, a leading smart calendar assistant, to easily schedule tasks at focus time without leaving Asana.
By entering a time of day and the amount of time required to complete a task, Clockwise will automatically reserve focus time. Once it’s scheduled, customers will see the calendar event directly in their Google Calendar.
As for the introduction of an Asana desktop app, it came after a lot of interest from customers.
Hood called it “the No.” I requested the client feature “and said it should help users block distractions from other programs and avoid having to switch between multiple tabs.
Asana also rolled out a new Dark Mode feature on desktops, mobile devices, and the web to help reduce eyestrain, making it easier to focus on work.