Chat for work: 10 best practices and apps

Sara Ana Cemazar
October 2, 2023
min read

Work chat apps help streamline internal collaboration and external interaction. Whether it is an emerging startup, a mid-level company or an established enterprise, choosing the correct chat for work is essential, as it can make or break the agility and effectiveness of your daily business operation and communication.   

In this blog, we have curated the 10 best chat apps for work and listed the best practices you must follow to leverage their features to drive business benefits. 

What is work chat?

Work chat refers to the instant messaging tools and applications business teams use to communicate with their counterparts, clients, and other stakeholders. 

These chat for work apps come with sophisticated features like video conferencing, threaded conversations, search functionality, file sharing, and more, that help businesses enhance team communication effectiveness and collaboration. 

7 tips to use work chat the right way

As chat apps are relatively newer tools in the workplace, naturally, there is little awareness about how to put them to the best use.

Here, we have listed the fundamental etiquette that you must follow: 

1. Respond to messages

Though it can be hard to respond instantly, acknowledging that you have seen the message and responding that you will get back soon adds a professional appeal and warmth to the conversation. So, as soon as you open and see the message, you should acknowledge the same. 

2. Praise publicly and criticize privately

While you engage in threaded conversations or public channels, refrain from criticizing your colleagues. Public channels and forums are excellent platforms to seek updates, assign tasks, and make announcements. When it comes to feedback or criticism, always use private channels. 

3. Don’t abuse @mentions

Most work chat apps come with ‘mentions’ feature that lets the sender highlight and draw attention to important messages. Most of the apps push email notifications whenever they are mentioned. 

When you use the feature frequently for irrelevant subjects, there are chances that people may lose interest and stop paying attention with time. So, use mentions only when you need to draw attention to an important message. 

4. Write concise messages

With work chat apps, we tend to reproduce how we think, unlike emails, where we spend time bringing shape and structure to our thoughts. When you send messages in different blocs, the receiver is notified every time and this could be annoying as they have to revise their response with each bloc.

So, always send concise messages with complete information so the receiver is notified only once and gets to respond in a structured manner. 

5. Learn how to follow internal communication guidelines

Different organizations have different communication guidelines in the workplace. Ensure that you follow the etiquette and maintain professionalism in the workplace. 

6. Do not edit your message after getting a response 

A good thing about chat apps is that they allow users to edit the message after sending it. But, editing them after receiving a response can be confusing. The best way is to rewrite the message and inform the receiver to disregard the previous message. 

7. Respect the ‘Do Not Disturb’ status

A ‘Do Not Disturb’ means the team member is busy or unavailable. Whenever you endeavor to message someone, pause for a second and check their status. Send messages only if your team members are available. The same applies when you are reaching out to people over the weekend or beyond their office hours. 

* Most chat apps have this feature developed in a way that receiver can block notifications outside work hours or while on vacation. Make sure you check if your internal employee communication tool has this key feature!

8. Don’t overuse emojis and GIFs

While emojis and GIFs help keep the conversation real and lively, do not overuse them, as they can be annoying and unprofessional at times. Not using text and substituting them with emojis can be treated as a sign of your laziness. So, it is important to restrict emojis and GIFs whenever you use a business chat platform for communication.  

Best chat apps for the workplace

There are many chat apps in the marketplace, and you must evaluate them closely and choose one with the features and functionalities needed for your business. 

Let us explore the 10 best chat apps along with their key features.

1. Rocket.Chat

chat for work

Rocket.Chat is an open-source platform for business communication and collaboration. It has advanced features and extensive integration abilities that make it a robust collaboration tool. 

As a platform focusing on airtight security and privacy, Rocket.Chat offers end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and access controls, making it a reliable tool for businesses in regulated industries. 

Rocket.Chat can be deployed on-premises or cloud, depending on the organization's security needs. It is an open-source app, so you can customize the features and functionalities to meet your business needs as you scale. 

Key features

  • Self-hosted and cloud deployment
  • A high degree of customization and scalability due to open-source APIs
  • End-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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2. Slack

chat for work

Slack remains one of the most robust messaging platforms supporting chat for work. The tool helps businesses streamline internal communication and foster seamless project collaboration. Slack has channels that help teams lead project-centric discussions and foster collaboration. 

The cloud-based platform helps team members share files, images, and videos. It has advanced features like search filtering, DND scheduling, reminders and notifications, and more. Employees can tag others using mentions and draw their attention to important messages. 

Key Features

  • Shared channels across teams 
  • Pinning messages in channels
  • Document tracking and search modifiers.

3. MS Teams

chat for work

Designed and developed by Microsoft, MS Teams has evolved to be a popular work chat app and video conferencing platform for businesses. It lets businesses host meetings with internal team members and external clients. You can share files, and this works well with Microsoft Office products, including PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and more. 

MS Teams allows businesses to communicate via text, video, and audio calls. With extensive communication abilities, MS Teams helps businesses bring collaboration among the remote workforce. You can also access the files on OneDrive and SharePoint.

Key Features

  • Integration compatibility with MS Office 365
  • Manage calendar appointments and set access controls
  • Advanced search and project-specific threads

4. Pumble

chat for work

Pumble is a popular, free chat for work that helps businesses streamline their communication within and outside the team. On Pumble, you can have a private, one-on-one or group conversation. You can also communicate across private and public channels. 

The best thing about Pumble is that it supports on-premises deployment and goes well with organizations concerned about sharing the data to the cloud. 

Pumble allows teams to communicate through threads, which in turn helps keep the channel clutter-free. It supports file sharing with a simple drag-and-drop functionality. 

Key Features

  • Supports on-premises deployment
  • Desktop and mobile app for iOS and Android
  • Personalize access roles and permissions

5. Mattermost

chat for work

Mattermost is one of the most efficient tools to chat for work. It is a secure platform that helps automate project management tasks and business workflows. 

Mattermost has private and public channels that support 1:1 messaging and group conversations. It has a desktop and mobile app, connecting you to remote teams and a distributed workforce. 

Mattermost supports unlimited channels and access to message history. It is an open-source messaging platform, so everything can be customized, from communication flow to user permissions and access controls. 

Key Features

  • Granular access and admin controls
  • Unlimited message history
  • APIs that allow a high degree of customization

6. Discord

chat for work

What started as a communication tool for gamers has changed into a chat for work platform. Discord is appropriate for online communities and lets people communicate through text, video, voice, etc. You can also create private servers with Discord and add team members so you can converse with them. 

A notable feature of Discord is its voice communication abilities. It allows team members to have a side conversation with their counterparts, making it an appropriate tool for the remote workforce. 

Key Features

  • Send voice messages on the go
  • Text, video, and voice communication
  • Two-factor authentication. 

➡️ Before you make a decision, check out the pros and cons of Discord as your work chat app and consider its alternatives.

7. Google Hangouts

chat for work

Rebranded as Google Chats, Google Hangouts allows one-on-one, private chat as well as group conversation. It is a great option to chat for work if you have subscribed to Google Workspace. It allows you to initiate threads for project-related conversations. Google Hangouts also offers advanced search and filtering options. 

You can invite team members by tagging an employee and creating a Google Meet invite or share Google Docs by pasting the link in the chat box. It syncs up with Google Calendar; whenever you create a new task, it automatically gets added to the calendar. 

Key Features

  • Google Workspace integration
  • Advanced search functionality
  • Promotes threaded, channel-based conversations

8. Chanty

chat for work

Chanty is a robust chat-for-work tool that allows business teams to communicate via text, voice, and video. It has excellent integration abilities and goes well with Trello, GitHub, and more. 

On Chanty, you can initiate a thread and lead project-related conversations. It allows you to share YouTube videos and GIFs, and helps team members access the content without juggling multiple apps. 

Chanty helps access message history and recall important messages whenever needed. You can also draw attention by pinning a message or using @mentions. 

Key Features

  • Unlimited conversations and message history
  • Team @mentions and pins for important messages
  • File preview and in-app player

9. Facebook Workplace

chat for work

Facebook Workplace is one of the popular business communication platforms developed by Meta. It allows team members to communicate with each other on the go. 

You can broadcast live videos, add captions, or bring the teams together by hosting virtual events. What started as a tool to facilitate communication between friends and families evolved to support co-worker interactions. 

It has the features of Facebook, including live, reactions, comments, share option, news feed, and more. It also has analytics and a dashboard that allows businesses to track their business functioning. 

Key Features

  • Calendar management and task collaboration
  • Discussion boards and presentation tools
  • Multi-user collaboration and dashboards

10. Ryver

chat for work

Ryver is one of the most sought-after chat and messaging apps by business teams as it helps foster seamless communication between them. It has forums that allow open discussion between the employees, one-on-one, private conversations, as well as groups and teams. 

Ryver supports topic-focused conversations and lets team members communicate through voice and video calls. It also allows screen sharing. 

Key Features

  • Topic-based conversations
  • File sharing and quick chat
  • Integration with 1000+ project management tools

How chat apps for work benefit the workplace?

From bringing about collaboration between the distributed workforce to sharing files in just a few clicks, chat apps for work offer a plethora of benefits to businesses. 

1. Streamlining communication

A Forbes study shows that around 85% of employees feel motivated to work when they receive updates from their leaders. 

Chat apps for work help businesses streamline the communication flow and let team members discuss projects, seek updates, share ideas, and offer feedback even from remote places. Business leaders can use the platform to send updates and announcements to the team. 

2. Connecting distributed workforce

According to a Buffer study, 20% of remote employees quoted communication as a barrier to productivity. Extensive features of work chat apps like file sharing and threaded conversations allow faster team communication. 

Also, when compared to traditional platforms like emails, chat has a quicker response time. It must be noted that the average response time for chat is 6-15 seconds, while that for emails is 4-24 hours. 

3. Project alignment

The emerging workspace requires deeper alignment and collaboration between project teams. As they help group conversations by threads, it is easy for business teams to lead context-based conversations, track projects, seek updates, manage deadlines, and more. 

Which chat app for work should you choose?

If that's the question you've been asking, here are several factors to consider:

  • your company size
  • the industry you operate in
  • type of workforce (dispersed, deskless, hybrid)
  • industrial and regional data privacy regulations
  • business and customer data sensitivity

... and others.

If you're looking for a secure team chat to increase efficiency of your versatile workforce while making sure your customer data stays protected, reach out to our team at Rocket.Chat.

Frequently asked questions about <anything>

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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