Best team chat apps for your company

07 Feb 2020
Kate, copywriter
The group chat app is an easy-to-reach meeting room. Workers can get there in no time by unlocking the phone and clicking on the messenger icon.
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Group Chat Apps` Features

First impressions about group chats at work

I remember the first day in the office. The first thing after greeting and welcoming was that our HR added me to all group chats. At first, it seemed overwhelming. I mean, there were separate group chats for everything: for the whole team, for my copywriting project, for an Instagram project, even for food ordering. The thing is that I become awkward when there is a need to communicate with more than 1 person at a time. However, while working I understand that even for me, chat groups are a relief. Every time I get the message, I find out more about the company, about their traditions and rules. When you read people’s messages, the jokes they send and the videos they share, you get the idea of their personality. I understand everything faster because I can just reach anyone via Telegram and get the answer in no time.

@jackson, how long will it take to make 4 pictures for the article?
@jane, 1-2 hours and they are ready.
@jackson, send them to the group so that everyone could say if they like it. It’s for their portfolio.
@jane, sure!

Done!

Reasons to use team chat software

The group chat app is an easy-to-reach meeting room. Workers can get there in no time by unlocking the phone and clicking on the messenger icon. Group chat on work is not just another possibility today. It is a must considering all the advantages it gives:

  • give questions and get instant answers;
  • share company’s news, updates, and issues;
  • all team members participate in a decision-making process at once;
  • a better organization – different groups for different projects and teams;
  • plan parties, birthdays, events;
  • collaborate with remote workers;
  • discuss things not related to the job, hence improve the atmosphere in the company (we are not robots, remember?)

These advantages are the reasons to implement the tradition of using chats for enhancing the work. However, group chat includes a lot of people at once, which can be overwhelming, like it was in the beginning for me.

The main problems people have while using working chats

  • For some people writing in a chat with many people is overwhelming. Yes, introverts exist. No, they don’t pretend to be tired of constant human-interaction;
  • PM writing critiques in a chat is not pleasant. It feels even worse than the usual negative remark because you know that other people are reading it, too;
  • Instant message – instant destruction. If you forget to mute, say goodbye to your productivity;
  • Some important docs and messages can be lost, if the messenger has no convenient storage and search;
  • Data is at risk. Facebook data leak proved that our info is vulnerable.

Messengers are implementing new features that resolve these problems. Here’s what you should look for when choosing a chat software.

Features for a team collaboration tool

  • security;
  • muted notifications;
  • convenient files search;
  • search for messages by keywords;
  • voice and video calls;
  • online conference tool available;
  • tagging and referring to a co-worker by @;
  • ability to save important messages (with a like or a star);
  • synchronization with other productivity-boosting apps (Trello, Google Docs);
  • availability of group chats as well as private conversations;
  • plugins for groups participation (polls, message reactions);
  • stickers, gifs, memes to enlive the group.
Telegram for work chat

Top 5 best group chat software for the workplace

Telegram

It suits the companies that require high security and the intuitive, easy-to-use interface. It’s the best free team chat software.

First release: August 2013
Written in: C++
Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows NT, Linux, Web platform
Languages: 14
Price: free
Apple Store: 4,3 (79.8k ratings)
Google Play: 4.5 (4.5m ratings)

What makes Telegram so special?

  • chats can be personal, group and in a form of channels. You can have separate conversations with Jack, his team and also read his blog;
  • secret chat. It uses end-to-end encryption and leaves no trace on servers. You can’t forward and screen here. The chat self-destructs when the conversation is over;
  • self-destructing timer for photos;
  • scheduled messages;
  • global message deletion. Delete the whole conversation not only from your device but also from the smartphone of the person you texted with;
  • file weight limit – up to 1.5 GB. In other apps, like WhatsApp, the limit is 100MB;
    chatbots;
  • drafts. Write a message now, and leave the chat. The message will be saved as a draft;
  • conveniently shared media – divided by photos/videos, docs, links and audio, separated by months;
  • block of the view of your status;
  • profile photo block view from those who are not in your contacts;
  • change of the style and appearance;
  • anonymous polls, stickers, and location.

What does Telegram lack?

  • video calls. Although you can send video-messages, there is no possibility of a video call. There is no way to conduct an online conference or video meeting;
  • differentiation between personal and working chats. It’s a distraction that they are all at once;
  • contacts security. It always notifies when new users from your contacts use Telegram.
Slack team chat software

Slack

Originally office chat program and the app for the community as a workspace. It fits the companies that value good organization.

First release: August 2013
Written in: Electron
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Languages: 5
Price: free, or from 6,67 to 12,50 USD, depending on a plan
Apple Store: 4.3 (79.8k ratings)
Google Play: 4.4 (‎70k ratings)

What makes Slack so special? 

  • for organizing work only. When you’re in, nothing distracts you;
  • flexible notifications. You can mute messages for a specific time. Also, you can add the feature, where the notification is working when someone mentions some keyword. “If someone writes “consumerism” send me the notification”;
  • synchronizes with other services, like Asana, Trello, GitHub, Zoom, Google Drive, Gmail, Dropbox…. there are so many of them. Slack is a leader in synchronization;
  • “E-mail me a magic link” feature which ads all your workplaces at once with your e-mail;
    you can set a status (in a meeting, commuting, off sick, on holiday, working remotely);
  • “Do not disturb’ feature;
  • starred items – save important files and messages;
  • has chatbot for standups, where people write reports about the work they’ve done.

What does Slack lack?

  • no notifications, when you had to receive them. Looks like it some kind of a bug;
  • you can be added to the system only by e-mail;
  • no variety of stickers;
  • no encrypted chats;
  • message search for a free plan is only available for 10000 messages.
Micrisoft Teams chatting software

Microsoft Teams

It’s a corporate chat software for companies that have a lot of remote workers and require numerous business calls.

First release: March 2019
Written in: Angular and TypeScript
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Windows Phone
Languages: 26
Price: free, or from 5 to 12.5$ per user/month. Plans are available for a 30-day free trial
Apple Store: 4.8 (263,9k ratings)
Google Play: 4,6 (‎213k ratings)

What’s so special about Microsoft Teams?

  • best video group chat software. Voice/video calls with up to 80 people in a meeting. There is such feature in Telegram and Slack;
    synchronization with 180+ app;
  • for users of Office 365, the app is free, and it synchronizes with all Microsoft apps easily;
  • emoticons, gifs, and stickers (no such thing in Slack);
  • audio and videos screen sharing (you can record the meeting and send to those who weren’t there);
  • multiple accounts ;
  • reaction to messages (you can add emojis to each message and show your opinion);
  • admins can send praise to workers;
  • you can view your activity (everything you wrote or sent in one section, separated from other chats);
  • conveniently filtered messages (unread, mentions, replies, following, reactions, apps, missed calls, voicemails, suggested, trending);

What does Microsoft Teams lack?

  • it doesn’t show if the person is typing;
  • it doesn’t have end-to-end encryption.
Signal secure chat software

Signal

First release: July 2014
Written in: Java, C, Objective-C
Platforms: Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, macOS
Languages: 6
Price: free, but they enable their users to donate
Apple Store: 4.8 (275,9k ratings)
Google Play: 4,5 (405k ratings)

What’s so special about Signal?

  • end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages (not only photos, like with Telegram);
  • doesn’t store any data on your contacts;
  • customized style and appearance;
  • a convenient search of messages by keywords;
  • ability to add different sounds to the notifications;
  • you can clean conversation history. Not all chat one by one manually, but all together at the same time.

What does Slack lack?

  • to use it you have to necessarily be subscribed to Google services;
  • doesn’t support bots;
  • small file size available to send;
  • you cannot assign roles to the members of the chat;
  • online working meetings are not available.
hangouts for chatting at work

Hangouts

Google communication software.

First release: May 15, 2013
Platforms: Android, Chrome OS, Google Chrome, Web Platform, iOS
Price: free
Apple Store: 4.3 (34,3k ratings)
Google Play: 4,1 ‎(4,3M ratings)

What’s so special about Hangouts?

  • HD Video Calls;
  • HD Group Conferencing;
  • free messages even to friends who don’t use Hangouts. It will appear as the usual iPhone or Android message;
  • group voice chat – it’s like you talk on the phone with more than 1 person;
  • invitations to the online conference to Gmail. It automatically synchronizes it with your Google calendar.

What does Hangouts lack?

  • security features;
  • apps synchronization;
  • chatbots;
  • customized notifications;
  • flexible and intuitive design.

Tips for choosing. What app does SapientPro use?

  • If you need chat programs for the business that requires good organization, no distractions while working and the ability to conduct online meetings, then go for Slack, Hangouts or Microsoft Teams.
  • If your project requires security – go for Telegram and Signal.

SapientPro uses Telegram for our purposes. It is convenient, fast and intuitive. Also, we value security. However, if our clients want to use other chats for their projects – we are open to everything new!

Chose app? Now read main rules for chat communication as a bonus

To avoid people feeling a strong desire to leave a group or mute it forever, there are some simple rules to follow. They are quite suitable for the usual offline conversation as well. However, everything you can say in real-time seems worse in chat, because you can re-read, share and use it as proof for forthcoming conversations. What is on the Internet, stays on the Internet forever.

1) Be respectful of everyone. Other people see your attitude about Jack and may adopt it. Jack will feel pressured.

2) Write down the info coherently in one message. Send one single chunk of text instead of ten separate.
”It gets people annoyed”
”when you send separate messages”
”because they are busy”
“and have no time”
“for thousands of notifications”.

3) Use keywords when you send files, photos, links. In the future, it will be easier to find the info. If you send the photo with new requirements, write: “Here’s a pic with new requirements from the client K”.

4) Do not send voicemails if you can write it down. Mostly, it is not convenient for your colleagues to listen to them. If you do not have a choice – send the voicemail with at least one keyword, so that you can find the info later.

5) Do not spam. There are two types of team’s group – the one to share memes, and discuss recent events and the one where there are only necessary and important info is. Do not confuse them.

6) Stay on topics. Do not confuse your co-workers with the immediate change of “You have a deadline to meet, Paul” and “Have you heard of a new documentary series, btw?”.

7) Use it only when you need the answer FAST. No matter how convenient the messengers are, they will never truly replace face-to-face communication.

9) Exclude nuanced or hard conversations. They are not for chats and not for everyone to see. In fact, they are only to talk about in person.

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