Voice as a communication tool has long been reserved to synchronous tools, while we reserve texts for all things async. With voice messages gaining popularity across many networks, chats and industries, one company is aiming to bring voice to the async age of remote work.
Enabling async voice communication
In remote teams today, voice is often used as a synchronous – or face-to-face – tool to bring teams closer together or conduct a discussion. That's not always practical for remote teams, where people could be working from noisy places, with low bandwidth or simply in a different timezone. That's why remote-first teams often revert to text as the go-to form of async communication – with the downside that nuance and emotion in communication are often lost.
While async voice messages have been a staple in social communication for a long time, it hasn't broken into the workplace so far. Yac is looking to change that, and they have built a powerful workplace tool that is doing just that, bringing async voice to the remote workplace.
The concept is quite simple, but powerful and brings voice notes that have been common on iMessage, WhatsApp & co. for a while now, into the workplace. Their product comes as an application that creates floating bubbles on your work device. Each of your team members appears as one of those circles, and messages are announced with a very small and discreet notification sign. It's clear that this product is built to be async – there is no pressure to listen right away.
"Like Snapchat, but for voice"
Setting up Yac was incredibly easy. I was invited to their beta program – the app is not fully and openly released yet but can be accessed through the beta program. It is clear that this product is built with teams in mind, and inviting new members is incredibly easy through their platform.
Each team member receives an invite to download the tool, after which the team members are being shown on the work device as floating bubbles that stay on top of all other windows. From there, you can either send Yac messages (either audio-only or screen recordings) by pressing on one of the circles or by displaying fellow team members on the menubar dropdown.
One thing I really liked was the discreet and small notification sings. One issue with most communication tools is that they encourage users to check messages quickly by displaying the default red notification bubbles. Yac has gone around this issue and is displaying new messages with a more muted and smaller blue bubble, and is, therefore, encouraging users to listen to those messages according to their own schedule.
Finally, the member view with all visible circles can also be hidden, leaving only the floating Yac logo for even more focus time – there are no notifications or popups in that view, making this a great functionality for any kind of focus or deep work time.
"The average executive spends 23 hours per week in meetings"
"Startups are booming outside of the valley. States such as Texas and Florida leading the way with many companies building towards the future of work." says CEO and Cofounder Justin Mitchell, "We couldn’t be happier to have top tier investors from all over the US participate in our round."
"Just look at any city and you’ll see people are no longer working in cubicles, they’re on the move, in coffee shops, and multitasking. That’s the power of building for remote first instead of office workers", Yac Cofounder and CMO, Hunter McKinley adds, "when the average executive loses 23 hours per week to meetings, you know there’s something fundamentally broken in the system. Entire 30-60 minute meetings can be broken down to merely minutes through Snapchat-like voice messages", Jordan Walker, Yac Cofounder and COO adds.
Yac seems to be at the right place at the right time. Remote teams and remote workers are looking for new solutions for async communication. Right now, it is a place where E-Mail, Slack or remote-specific tools like Twist are at the front. It is interesting to look at the more innovative products there – things like async video messages, standups, screencasts or audio messages to see what the future will bring.
Yac in all cases seems like a well-crafted and reliable tool for team communication, and the future will show if they can establish themselves in the future remote workplace.