Work chat apps are much more than just communication tools. They are remarkable solutions that have helped businesses connect team members spread across countries, departments, and even continents. Studies suggest that teams that communicate effectively are 25% more productive. Using work chat helps manage the remote workforce effectively and streamlines the entire business communication.
In this article, we explore the best work chat apps in 2023 to help you choose one that aligns with your business requirements.
Why should you invest in a work chat?
Work chat apps help manage team communication and streamline other collaborative activities like allocating tasks, monitoring progress, offering feedback, sharing files, and more.
We have listed the benefits of investing in a reliable team chat app below:
Manage remote workforce
12% of today’s workforce is remote, and around 28% work in a hybrid model. As remote working has become normalized, businesses use various tools for collaboration and communication. Team chats are the most effective as they help communicate quickly and ensure the entire team is on the same page, even if they are not in the same place.
Most work chat apps allow team members to seek information and respond from anywhere, anytime, and so they help manage the remote workforce effectively.
Organize and track conversations
Work chat apps help bring all the conversations under a single roof. You can categorize conversations into labels and threads, making it easy to track discussions later. This is unlike emails, where you are flooded with information and it is hard to retrieve later.
According to our study, 82% of all employees want their communication to be streamlined through a single app.
Easy to use and adapt
Team chat apps mimic social and personal messaging apps. For instance, you can call out and mention a specific employee by adding ‘@’ to the prefix or add smileys and emojis to react to a message.
You can also check the availability status of your team members. As these features are similar to what we use on personal messaging apps, it is easy for employees to use work chat applications.
Viable replacement for emails
Communication over chat is faster as team members tend to reply instantly, as it is more casual, and they don’t have to invest extra efforts into formatting and wording the content right.
Also, with emails, you don’t know if the recipient has received or viewed your message, making it hard for instant communication.
Team chat apps are a faster, leaner, and more intuitive replacement for emails.
Chat applications can be integrated with existing collaboration tools like project management apps, calendar applications, and file-sharing platforms. You can integrate chat apps without disrupting the daily workflow of the organization. As you can integrate the chat apps into the existing tech stack, you don’t have to switch between multiple applications.
11 best work chats for businesses
There are a lot of customizable work chat applications on the market. They differ by features, functionalities, and pricing, and it is important to know them before you choose one for your business.
To cut through the noise, we have curated the key features and pricing of the 11 best work chat apps for easy business instant messaging. Explore them and choose one that works for your business.
Rocket. Chat is a robust, open-source communication platform and ranks among the most secure collaboration tools. It offers end-end encryption, and businesses can customize user controls and permissions. As it has open-source code, you can scale the application and customize its features to meet the requirements of your business. You can also build your own private chat server using Rocket. Chat API.
Rocket.Chat is available for on-premises as well as cloud deployment. It works best for organizations that function in highly-regulated industries as they can opt for full-controlled deployment and store critical business data within their servers.
Rocket.Chat supports file and media sharing, audio and video conferencing, and group messaging.
- Self-hosted or cloud deployment
- End-to-end encrypted, Authentication and other security features
- Extremely flexible due to open APIs and open source
Security-conscious teams and businesses working in highly-regulated industries like healthcare, defense, government, and finances.
Slack is one of the most sought-after instant messaging platforms. A pioneer in instant messaging at work, Slack features great UI/UX and is often a go-to solution for lean, agile teams in IT industry.
It helps streamline organizational communication and lets business teams coordinate from wherever they are. So, it has become very popular in remotely based and distributed teams in small and large institutions.
Using Slack, you can share files, images, and videos, and seek the attention of your teammates by mentioning them individually or as a group. Its UI is intuitive and also offers organizations establish control over who can access the conversations.
- Integrates with 2400+ third-party apps
- Custom DND (Do-Not-Disturb) schedules
- Data protection at every layer.
Medium-sized companies and large enterprises with a dynamic workspace that requires continuous collaboration and frequent communication.
3. MS Teams
Developed by Microsoft, MS Teams is one of the popular digital collaboration platforms and is commonly used as a video platform to host virtual meetings. Beyond that, it is also used to share files and promotes seamless collaboration between different teams in an organization. You can access and share files and documents on OneDrive and SharePoint.
MS Teams is available on Android, Windows, and iOS and allows business teams to communicate using voice, text, or video.
- Seamless integration with Office 365
- Document storage in SharePoint
- Chat with self where one can store media and notes for later.
Educational institutions, small and large scale businesses that have workplace operations integrated with Office 365.
Hive is an efficient, cloud-based project management tool and has a built-in messaging platform. Team members can send direct messages, initiate group conversations, attach files, manage projects, set their status, etc. The Hive app is available on iOS, Android, and desktop.
With Hive, you can interact with your team in video, voice, and text forms, so it is appropriate to manage a distributed workforce. Hive offers integration support with third-party apps like Microsoft Teams, Google Workspace, Dropbox, Jira, and more.
- End-end project management
- Allows external collaboration with clients
- Video chat abilities
Creative agencies, marketing firms, startups, and NGOs with dynamic communication needs.
Chanty is a popular team communication tool that helps businesses communicate over text, voice, and video calls. It offers communication, project management, and automation capabilities in one go. It lets you integrate messaging functionalities with Google Drive, Trello, GitHub, Jira, and more.
Using Chanty, you can initiate a task-focused conversation and create a thread to discuss a specific task. You can save important messages with pins and highlight a message by using mentions. You can also share YouTube, GIFs, and other content on Chanty so team members can view the content without switching between apps.
- All-in-one tool for remote work communication and project management
- Threads for task-based discussions
- Set roles and access controls
Businesses in coaching, education, IT, logistic companies, property management, restaurants, and more.
Pumble is a free business messaging app that helps businesses organize internal and external conversations. You can collaborate and discuss with your internal team members as well as handle customer conversations.
On Pumble, you can create private and public channels and initiate topic-specific conversations.
Beyond messages, you can make voice calls, video conferences and share data, files and code blocks. You can also pin and spotlight important messages. Pumble also makes it easy to grant access and permissions and manage user roles.
- Unlimited chat history and 10GB storage per workspace
- Available on Windows, iOS, Linux, and web.
- Industry-specific, customizable chat solutions
Appropriate for startups and small businesses as its free version has advanced features.
7. Google Chat
Previously known as the Google Hangouts Chat, Google Chat helps facilitate 1:1 conversations as well as group chats. You can share and view files, documents, and tasks on Google Chats if your organization has subscribed to Google Workspace solutions. You can create chat rooms and threads if you wish to lead a task-centric conversation.
On Google Chat, you can check the status of availability of your team members. It also provides predictive options in order to automate responses. For video calls, you can schedule a meeting and share a clickable link across Google Chat.
- Robust search functionality
- Enables topic-based conversations
- Security-by-design infrastructure and so ensures data protection
Businesses and teams that use Google Workspace.
RingCentral is a popular cloud-based communication service that offers messaging, video conferencing, and voice calling abilities in one go. Team members can initiate a one-one conversation or lead a group chat. Apart from chat, you can share files, documents, images, links, videos, and more. Managers can assign and manage tasks through the RingCentral platform.
Team members can set their presence status, categorize conversations, and label them following criteria. It has an advanced search option that lets you find documents and messages by contacts, dates, groups, and other criteria. Even though RingCentral features asynchronous messaging, it's primary use is live, synchronous communication in a form of video or audio calls.
- Build custom workflows using RingCentral APIs
- End-to-end encrypted with 7 layers of security
- A powerful search feature that lets you search messages by date, contact, or group.
Small and medium-scale businesses in retail, consulting, professional services, high-tech, and automotive industries that involve internal and external communication
From a gaming app, Discord upgraded itself to becoming a communication and messaging platform for online communities. Users can exchange conversations through text, video, image, and voice. Discord users can create private communication servers, invite team members, and initiate conversations.
While, you can also take up conversations by team, task, or project. Commonly called the ‘Slack for gamers,’ Discord is appropriate for gaming businesses where gamers can converse with other players through voice. You can leverage the voice feature for your team to initiate a side conversation with colleagues or seek help whenever needed.
- Always on audio feature makes it a robust voice channel
- Easy to set up and free
- Secure IP with two-factor authentication
Gaming businesses and communities to communicate through the voice channel.
Mattermost is an open-source work chat app that enables instant messaging, audio and screen sharing, workflow automation, project management, and more. It is a self-hosted app, and you can deploy it across private cloud or on-premises. So, if you are dealing with sensitive data and do not prefer cloud-based services, Mattermost is appropriate for you.
As Mattermost is an open-source platform, the features, functionalities, and workflow can be customized and scaled as per the business requirements. It's often used as a DevOps collaboration tool due to its technically advanced features.
- Self-host deployment on private cloud or on-premises
- Customizable admin and access control
- Advanced search and filter by user, channel, or date
Government, financial services, healthcare, and other businesses function in a well-regulated scape.
Flock is a popular work chat app that promotes communication and collaboration through instant messaging, online chat, and project management abilities. On Flock, you can translate discussions and messages into tasks and automate the communication flow.
While using Flock, users can initiate polls in a channel, send voice messages, and perform advanced searches to retrieve conversations later. When you sign in with your office email ID, the app automatically syncs your office contact list.
- Has topic or task-focused channel
- 20 GB of storage per user
- Access to the unlimited chat history
Small and medium-scale businesses that require private channels for communication.
What are the benefits you can expect from work chat apps?
Work chat apps are a great way to share information and promote collaboration between team members. The following are some benefits you can derive by investing in a robust work chat app.
1. Increased productivity
One of the important benefits of using work chat apps is that they help weed out distractions. A McKinsey report shows that team chat apps boost employee productivity by 25%. Using multiple applications and tools for collaboration and juggling between them can distort your team’s focus.
As the entire business communication happens through the team chat app, they don’t have to look for social platforms or other messaging tools. This helps weed out distractions from activities that are not related to the work.
2. Effective communication
Work chat apps promote effective communication between team members in an organization. They are quicker than emails and phone calls. Most team chat apps promote group chats so you can converse with many people simultaneously. This is very important when you have to engage with multiple stakeholders while working on a project.
3. Task and project alignment
Most of the work chat apps listed in the above section allow team members to create task-based channels and threads. You can delegate tasks, track progress, and offer feedback to ensure that the task is completed within the stipulated time. You can also pin important messages and retrieve project-related conversations later.
In other words, work chat apps enable streamlined and effective workplace collaboration.
#1 work chat for teams in highly-regulated industries
Rocket.Chat is a popular enterprise communication platform built with a focus on serving business teams functioning in highly-regulated industries like healthcare, education, defense, or finances. Deemed as the open source Slack, it is extremely flexible and customizable, a key feature for organizations with complex infrastructures.
This work chat app is end-to-end encrypted, so your conversations are safe and secure. Rocket.Chat also has a message audit panel that monitors the sensitive information shared within the app, which helps mitigate insider threats. You can also manage the devices connected to your workspace and customize user roles and permissions based on your organization’s needs.
Accessing the app requires two-factor authentication. Other advanced security measures can e set up to prevent unauthorized access. Also, Rocket.Chat supports on-premises as well as cloud deployment, and this makes it appropriate for organizations in regulated business environments that are conscious about sensitive customer and business data.
Reach out to our team to see how you can streamline your work communication without sacrificing security.
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