2021’s Best Free Team Chat Tools
by Amanda Krueger
No matter what business you’re in, communication is vital. Do you own a small business with only a few staff members? Part of a big company? Maybe somewhere in the middle? No matter what work looks like for you, you need to make sure everyone is on the same page if you want to remain efficient and profitable.
That’s why this month, I’d like to share some of the very best free team chat tools you can use in-house to collaborate:
For the ultimate in ease, Slack features a simple, approachable interface. Most new users report feeling comfortable jumping right in and sending messages. Including many customizable channels, both small and large companies can take advantage of threads custom-fit to each department as well as one-on-one conversations. With many efficient integrations, users can create a poll, start a Zoom meeting, create a Google Calendar event and more, directly from Slack.
One caveat however: it can seem a bit daunting to catch up on many missed Slacks after a period of vacation or if workers are on different shifts.
As a Microsoft product, Teams is a great choice for those businesses committed to Office365. Users will find convenient integrations with Excel, Word, Outlook, Sharepoint, OneNote, SurveyMonkey and more. It is incredibly flexible across industries and can be tweaked to meet the requirements of your specific team.
However, if “free” is really the key in your search for the best communication tool, be aware: users do need an Office 365 license for any external collaborators. Teams also has a set maximum of 300 users for the free version and lacks some customization and scalability you find with other options.
Running a business with a technology focus? Mattermost might be the best fit. This chat tool can be run on your own server – meaning it comes with the added protection of your own firewall. Not only does this open source tool have all the basic communication features and chat functions that you may require, but it also includes unlimited search history, unlimited integrations, and full customization.
One con? Setup is a bit more complicated than other options, so small businesses might find Mattermost to be more than they need.
We all know communication is key. If you want your business to remain profitable, prioritize clear team communication – ensuring that your message reaches the ears (and eyes) of everyone on your team. Why not get started with a free, internal chat tool to help ensure everyone’s on the same page at your workplace? There’s no pressure to stick with one choice long term and if you decide you love it and want to upgrade, most chat tools also offer a stepped-up version with all the bells and whistles for just that very situation.