Technology

7 Workplace Chat Apps to Keep Your Team in Sync

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By Jack Flanagan

In office communication is key. However, these conversations can take many different forms: people talk in person, over email or text, or online through AIM or Facebook. What’s an office to do to keep all these conversations in one place?

Enter the office chat app, aka the “enterprise social network”. These apps allow teams to both collaborate in open forums or just casually talk or catch up in private messages, taking away the need for time-killing ‘catch-up’ meetings. These apps are also great at keeping global teams in touch.

Here are the best chat apps to keep your office in sync.

Facebook at work

Amid much fanfare, the Facebook for Work app was released at the beginning of this year for both iOS and Android devices. It is hoped to combat the pandemic of people using Facebook at work. It’s still early days for the app, which has not set a firm policy on either pricing or privacy, yet. What it does do which a lot of other apps don’t is give you detailed profiles for each employee with the idea being that a manager can use the app to find the right person for the job; or they can post about it on what amounts to a business’ personal Facebook feed. The apps also provides a simple messaging feature as well à la the usual Facebook.

Slack

Slack claims to be changing the way teams communicate, and looking at  testimonials, it appears to do just that.  The desktop and mobile allows teams to chat in channels with conversations divided by subjects, and you can chat and share photos, videos and music. So it’s a bit like having an ongoing meeting which you can dip in and out of. Slack is free to download, with Standard, Plus and Enterprise ($49-99/month) options with enhanced features, like Google apps integration and usage stats.

Voxer

Arguably one of the best features of chat champion Whatsapp is that it allows you to conduct conversations using your voice – in easy-to-make recordings – rather than just texting. The mobile app Voxer brings that feature to the office. It describes this as a “push-to-talk” feature, which is then stored in delivered and stored in the cloud. It allows you call colleagues with a tap of their icon on the app, as well as selling walkie-talkies (I know, remember those?) for when you need it hands-free. It syncs across devices and is available in all apps stores. Some users have flagged up possible issues, like being a battery killer.

Instantbird

Although not pretty or pumped full of features, Instantbird is easy-to-use and customizable. It works as an add-on to Mozilla’s firefox. The real beauty of Instantbird is its customizability, like themes, emoticons, plus those on the Add-on website, with which you can set the app in just the way you like it. This might be a little more work than you intended, and positive reviews of the app have been skewed toward the technophile side. This app…

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