Ask Doist: Our Team Answers Questions on Remote Work, Async Communication, and Teamwork

Thoughts on everything from extroverts working remotely to the logistics of operating a distributed company

Illustration by Margarida Mouta

Ask Doist is a regular column answering real readers’ questions about work and life, from the philosophical to the practical. Got a question? Email us at

This week’s advice column is a bit different. During Ask Doist Week, we reached out to our readers on social media and asked for everyone’s top questions on remote teams, productivity, teamwork, and anything else on their minds. We received a range of questions that Doist team members answered on video and through writing!

Any tips for extroverts who typically get their energy from being with other people, who are now working remotely? – Josh J.

Remote work can be a great opportunity to be more intentional about connecting with people around you. Simple things like coffee chats with coworkers or a phone call or meal with a loved one can go a long way to energize you.  – Andrew G.

Do you see async communication as a good option for organizations that aren’t remote, and aren’t in IT? Or would the costs outweigh the benefits? (Ref)

Co-located teams can benefit from async communication just as much as remote teams. It really depends on the nature of the work and the willingness to challenge the status quo when it comes to work. Async communication is an important factor in productivity because it actively counteracts the drain on attention, time, and energy that often exist in “always on” org cultures. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. A simple starting point could be to consider where there are existing synchronous communication norms, like some meetings, that could be replaced by an email. – Andrew G.

What may be the role for asynchronous communication in organizations that aren’t distributed?

Whenever you are making transparent and democratic decisions, want to involve multiple people in a discussion or want to document ideas I think asynchronous communication benefits everyone. – Alex M.

Do you think that in the future these times will be remembered as “the times we learned a new way to work and live” or “the times we were forced to work from home”? (Ref)

The first one sounds more positive and optimistic, so I prefer that. I think our current situation showed many people and companies that remote work is possible and has many benefits. Even if people might feel forced to work from home at first, in the end companies will see new opportunities to work. – Alex M.

Does Doist have a team activity that always leaves the team smiling? :) (Ref)

We do a variety of little things to add some joy to our day-to-day work. Our monthly casual hangouts, in particular, tend to be a fun highlight because they get Doisters connected across the company for a fun chat. Sometimes these lead to Doisters meeting for the first time, discovering new things about each other, or connecting over a mutual interest. – Andrew G.

How do you deal with foreign tax/payroll/HR compliance for all the different countries?

Currently, we use an independent contractor employment model which simplifies this in many ways since each employee handles their own compliance. Of course, there are multiple ways to approach this and many solutions out there that handle international compliance as well. – Andrew G.

📬 Need advice about remote work? Teamwork? Leadership? Productivity? Careers? Life? Send us an email at