Instant messaging apps are the foundation of effective team collaboration and business communication strategy.

They allow employees to communicate in real-time, share and edit files, tag each other in comments, and create group channels — often eliminating the need to send an email.

It’s no wonder then, that over 90% of businesses are using more than one chat app to improve business communication and collaboration.

With 65% of chat app users reporting that they use Slack, it’s easily the most popular and well-known instant messaging tool. However, it’s far from your only option.

This list of the best Slack alternatives will introduce you to messaging platforms that may be more effective instant messaging apps for your business, allowing you to either replace Slack altogether or use one of these tools alongside it.

Table of Contents: 

 

 

Why Consider Slack Alternatives?

 

Given Slack’s undeniably enormous user base, it’s clear that the tool isn’t all bad.

It’s known for being incredibly user-friendly, it offers a free version, and it’s accessible on mobile and desktop devices — with automatically synched messages no matter where you access the app.

Additionally, Slack integrations let users work with many popular third-party business tools within the Slack interface. It also provides a searchable conversation history and makes it easy to communicate with both internal teams and external clients or vendors in a central space.

However, there are some downsides.

Common Slack problems include:

 

  • Little access to native task and project management tools
  • Clogged channels mean that important information gets buried
  • Constant messaging is a distraction/decreases productivity
  • An inefficient notification system means that users must read all missed chat messages to ensure they haven’t missed key information
  • Limited conference calling/video calling features
  • The free version is limited, allowing only 10 integrations with third-party apps and up to 10,000 stored messages
  • Lack of interface customization

 

Essential Instant Chat Messaging Features

 

When evaluating Slack alternatives, make sure they have essential chat and team collaboration features — otherwise, they’ll likely be even less effective than Slack was for your team.

Key features to look for include:

 

  • Ability to tag/mention users
  • Direct message replies
  • Ability to pin/flag important messages
  • Custom notification reminders
  • Message editing
  • Slash commands
  • Integration with your preferred third-party business tools
  • Task automation
  • Public/private channel creation
  • Sub-topics in larger channels
  • Calendar/scheduling tools
  • In-app file creation, editing, and sharing
  • Strong native audio and video calling functionality (meeting recording, call reminders, screen sharing, etc.)
  • Saved and searchable chat history
  • Task management and project management features
  • Analytics and reporting

 

The Top 15 Slack Alternatives

 

Below, we’ll examine the top 15 Slack alternatives, cover their top features and available free/paid plans, and explore which styles of small businesses or startups would benefit the most from each specific tool.

 

Provider Microsoft Teams Google Chat Cisco Jabber Flock Discord Mattermost  Chanty Zulip Yammer Flowdock Rocket.Chat Fleep Twist Troop Ryver
Pricing Free version, Paid plans from $5.00-$20.00/user per month Free version, paid plans from $6.00-$18.00/user per month Free, included with paid WebEx plans ($13.50-$26.95/user per month) Free version, paid plan from $4.50/user per month Free version, paid plans from $4.99/user per month to $99.00/user per year Free plan, pai plans from $10.00/user per month Free plan, one paid plan for $3.00/user per month Free plan, one paid plan for $6.67/user per month Included in Microsoft 365 plans from $5.00-$20.00/user per month Free plan, paid plans from $3.00-$9.00/user per month Free plan, paid plan from $3.00/user per month Free plan, paid plans from $5.00/user per month Free plan, paid plan for $5.00/user per month 3 paid plans from $5.00-$25.00/user per month 3 paid plans from $49.00-$149.00/user per month
Top Feature Microsoft Task project management app Read receipts and Team Leaders for each room Advanced chatbots Smart Channels Livestreaming Custom DevOps and ChatOps Team Book interface Streams Community Groups Color coding, Flows Social network Login Conversation history organized by user Conversation Threads Burnout feature for private conversations, Spalsboard interface Channels broken up into topics, create tasks from chat messages
Best For SMBs working within the Microsoft 365 space (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) SMBs working within Google Workspace (Docs, Slides, Sheets, etc.) Mobile-first users, WebEx users needing additional messaging space In-office companies, HR teams Companies looking for a casual meeting space Teams needing a customized collaboration/chat tool Short-term task-focused small teams  Companies needing a comprehensive free team chat tool Larger companies that want to increase company-wide, non-hierarchical collaboration Small/new businesses that need a basic team chat solution with native task management tools Companies that communicate over social media messaging apps or those that need a scalable solution Teams with frequent external communication Teams that use chat messaging occasionally, not daily Teams with a large amount of external collaboration, as well as teams that often discuss highly sensitive information SMBs that need a single app for task management, video and voice calls, and chat messaging

 

 

 

 

Microsoft TeamsMicrosoft Teams

 

Microsoft Teams is easily Slack’s biggest competitor — especially since Teams is now the default replacement for Skype for Business.

Mio Workplace Messaging Report found that while 59% of companies use Teams in their workplace (alone or in addition to another chat app) 61% of companies also use Skype for Business. This means that by July 31, 2021 — Skype for Business’s end of life date — Microsoft Teams could take over Slack as the most popular chat messaging tool.

Teams lets users chat, make audio and video calls, and collaborate in real-time, all within the same interface and without a need for third-party integrations. Additionally, it offers robust native project management features Slack does not. It’s truly a collaborative environment, not just a chat tool.

Top features include:

 

  • 24-hour meeting durations for up to 10,000 attendees
  • Screen sharing and custom backgrounds
  • Meeting recording
  • 500,000 chat messaging users
  • Unlimited chat messages and file attachments
  • 1 TB of storage per organization and 10 GB per license
  • Over 250 integrations
  • Real-time collaboration in Microsoft 355 apps
  • Microsoft Task app for project management, to-do lists, task assignment, and more

 

Microsoft Teams is free, and users can opt to purchase the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan for $5.00/user per month, the Office 365 Business Standard plan for $12.50/user per month, and the Office 365 E3 plan for $20.00/user per month. All paid plans include Microsoft Teams.

For more details, check out our Slack vs. Microsoft Teams comparison.

 

Best For: Microsoft Teams is best for SMBs that need advanced task management tools within their chat workspace as well as companies that operate within the Microsoft 365 workspace and want a seamless flow between Teams and apps like PowerPoint, Excel, and Word. It’s also ideal for companies that need a comprehensive free chat tool.

 

Google ChatGoogle Chat

 

Google Chat (the newer/more advanced version of Google Hangouts) is a team collaboration platform that can be used directly within Gmail or as a part of the Google Workspace.

Instead of “channels,” Google Chat has dedicated virtual rooms for projects and/or departments for better organization. Given that Chat supports up to 8,000 members per room, it’s easy to have both team-based chats and organization-wide conversations over messaging or audio and video calling.

Its integration with Google Workspace means users can collaborate on Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides in real-time with automatic synching.

Additional features include:

 

  • Message threading
  • Team leaders
  • Group task assignment
  • Typing indicators and read receipts
  • Mobile data and WiFi messaging
  • Dark mode
  • Voice and video calling
  • Screen sharing
  • Custom notifications
  • User tagging
  • Built-in automation bots for scheduling meetings, tracking to-do lists, and more
  • Google calendar integration

 

Note that Google Chat requires users to have a Google Workspace, GSuite, or a free Gmail account. Basic chat features are still available in classic Google Hangouts, and Hangouts conversations can be easily migrated to Google Chat.

There are four paid Google Workspace plans and a 14-day free trial. Chat is available for free with Gmail. Paid versions range in price from $6.00/user per month to $18.00/user per month and above.

 

Best For: Google Chat is best for companies that primarily use Google Workspace tools like Sheets, Slides, Forms, and Docs to create and co-edit files, but that also need to have team chat capabilities within their Google Workspaces. Users should likely also use another team chat app in conjunction with Google Chat, as it has limited features.

Cisco JabberCisco Jabber

 

Cisco Jabber is a unified communication app that allows for chat messaging, video calling, audio calling, and advanced team collaboration.

Users can have private one-to-one chats or spaces made up of several team members working on related projects. Jabber works within the WebEx cloud-based business communication software in addition to the WebEx Teams feature but is not exclusive for WebEx users.

One of its top features is its chatbots tool, which allows users to set up triggers to send or receive automated messages. For example, team members could get alerts whenever a sale was made on the company website, when someone requests the company handbook, or when they need to schedule a meeting. Users can also create their own automated chatbots, and manually add them to users’ contact lists or automatically add these new bots to the entire space.

It also lets users create persistent chatrooms, which is a permanent, always-available chatroom that every user can access and add to at any time.

Additional features include:

 

  • User presence/status updates (in a meeting, on a call, presenting, out of the office, active, do not disturb, etc.)
  • Meeting recording
  • User tagging
  • Custom notifications
  • Whiteboarding
  • File sharing and file previews
  • Message broadcasting
  • Inactivity automatic logouts
  • Searchable spaces, files, or messages, and filter messages by type and status
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Dark mode
  • Automatic syncing with WebEx Teams
  • Screen sharing

 

Jabber is free to download, and WebEx pricing can be found in our Cisco WebEx review.

 

Best For: Jabber is especially known for mobile-first users, as it’s well-known for its highly developed iOS and Android mobile applications. It’s also a good fit for current Cisco WebEx users looking for a cleaner chat interface in addition to WebEx Teams — one that focuses more on chat messaging as opposed to video communication.

 

FlockFlock chat

 

Flock is a real-time messaging solution offering chat messaging, video calls, audio conferencing, and team collaboration features.

It’s designed to cut down on the distraction of app-switching by providing a singular interface for all your communication, collaboration, and task management tools updates and files.

One of its top features is its reminder tool, which lets users set their reminder notifications for themselves or other users in 15-minute, 30-minute, and 1-hour increments. Users can also set reminders for a specific time of day.

It is also known for its suite of productivity tools, which include team polling, to-do lists, live project updates, due dates, and even the ability to turn messages into tasks.

Additional features include:

 

  • Smart Channels for pre-defined criteria to automatically add members to certain channels
  • In-app sharable notes
  • Channel muting
  • File sharing
  • Process automation for custom workflows, onboarding, reimbursement claims, etc.
  • Code snippet sharing
  • Dark mode
  • Chat pinning
  • One-click video calling
  • Chat search
  • One-way announcement channels
  • Company directory
  • Polls
  • Pre-installed and available integrations
  • Bookmark messages

 

Flock has one free plan and one paid plan from $4.50/user per month.

 

Best For: Flock is best for small to medium-sized businesses that need a unified communications app with basic task management capabilities — but who primarily still work in-office, not remotely. Think of Flock as a supplement to face-to-face communication, and not a replacement for it. It’s especially popular among HR reps and hiring managers that need a single interface to manage onboarding or even interviewing employees.

 

DiscordDiscord chat

 

Discord is a casual online space that lets users create invitation-only workspaces, called servers, that are organized according to topic-based channels.

Discord also offers voice channels, which are a sort of virtual hangout space that lets users have voice and video conversations as needed throughout the day. Other server members can see that you’re online and initiate voice/video conversations with you.

Hosts can assign other members “Roles” such as moderators, members of specific working groups, administrators, and more.

Additional features include:

 

  • Screen sharing
  • API customization
  • Customizable emojis
  • Customizable tags
  • Custom status
  • Livestreaming
  • Spellcheck
  • User search

 

Though Discord is free to use, the Discord Nitro versions are paid plans from $4.99/month to $99.00/year offering extra storage space, allows for bigger file uploads, HD video, and personal profiles.

 

Best For: Discord is best for companies that need an informal chat messaging platform where they can engage with their target market/current product users. It will help them to get to know their market on a more personal level and get honest feedback on products/services.

 

MattermostMattermost

 

Mattermost is an open-source team collaboration and chat messaging tool created for developers to build a customized communication system.

DevOps can use Mattermost’s dedicated incident-only channels to ensure that bugs and security breaches are solved quickly, while managers can visit corresponding retrospectives channels to review any resolved incidents and implement necessary process changes.

Users can collaborate on code snippets, test solutions to bugs/outages in real-time, and visit the notifications hub to ensure they are on the same page with the rest of their teams.  Integration with tools like JIRA in ChatOps lets users create, assign, and notify others about support tickets, and even assigns priority statuses to each task.

Additional features include:

 

  • Status update timelines
  • Automated reminders and notifications
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Custom branding
  • Multi-language translation
  • Searchable chat history
  • Guest accounts
  • User mentions
  • Voice, video, and screen sharing integrations
  • File, image, and link sharing
  • Meeting scheduling/reminders
  • Unlimited slash commands

 

Mattermost offers a free plan and paid plans from $10.00/user per month. Teams can opt for a cloud-based or self-hosted option.

 

Best For: Mattermost is best for development teams that need an open-source chat and collaboration tool that allows for unlimited integrations and a completely customizable solution. It is also ideal for companies with strict compliance regulations.

 

ChantyChanty app

 

Chanty is based around its “TeamBook” interface, which is a hub for messages, shared content, tasks, and more.

Instead of simply dividing up conversations in different channels, Chanty’s TeamBook organizes lists/channels according to tasks, team members, public/private direct messages, calls, shared files, pinned messages, shared links, and searchable message history.

Other features include:

 

  • “To-do” lists that your entire team or specific employees can view/manage
  • Assign, monitor, and adjust deadlines for specific tasks to team members
  • Pin important messages/links for easy access
  • Kanban board view
  • Archive important past conversations
  • Video conferencing
  • Team activity feed
  • Integration with Asana, Mailchimp, Trello, Basecamp, Google Drive, and more

 

Chanty offers one free plan and 1 paid plan for $3.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Chanty is best for smaller teams that are more task-focused than long-term project focused, and those that need an affordable paid plan that still provides them with essential features Slack doesn’t.

 

ZulipZulip app

 

Zulip calls itself “the world’s most productive team chat,” and is an excellent choice for those who are looking to eliminate the “clutter” of chatter that buries relevant information in Slack. With Zulip, team members subscribe to specific chat channels (“Streams.”)

Zulip offers a high level of organization within each unique Stream by dividing them up into even smaller topics. For example, if you and your team were tasked with organizing an event, your Stream might be labeled, “Year-End Holiday Party.” Sub-topics like “budget,” “entertainment,” “guest list,” and “catering” would all be listed as more specific chats underneath your main Stream of “Year-End Holiday Party.”

Other competitive features of Zulip include:

 

  • The free version includes 10,000 searchable messages and 5GB of storage, no limits on the number of users
  • 90 native integrations
  • Prioritization of asynchronous communication
  • Ability to create bulleted lists in Zulip
  • Markdown code blocks for Mac, Android, and Linux developers
  • Message editing
  • Push notifications including notifications for chosen “alert words”
  • “Star” messages and create a channel exclusively for starred messages
  • Import Slack, Mattermost, and other team collaboration tools your Zulip workspace

 

Zulip has one free plan, a standard paid plan for $6.67/user per month, and two on-premises solutions.

 

Best For: Zulip is best for medium to large-scale businesses and organizations with highly-detailed, niche conversations and teams that often struggle with essential information getting buried in larger group chats. It’s also a good fit for companies looking for a more comprehensive free plan than Slack offers.

 

YammerYammer chat

 

Yammer is a team conversation tool designed to work alongside Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Outlook, and other Microsoft 365 business tools.

Its main purpose is to connect all employees across a company in a less hierarchical way than other chat/collaboration tools. Think of it as a company-wide notification, feedback, and update platform.

The tool divides chat channels into groups called Communities, which allow for one-way and two-way messaging between team members, managers, developers, and more.

It’s especially useful for collecting team member and customer feedback, recognizing employees through the “Praise” feature, and developing workplace guidelines and new products collaboratively.

Users can pin important documents to the permanent Community sidebar for easy access, create detailed user profiles to encourage connections, and add notes, comments, and topics to files and more.

Each employee and manager gets a birds-eye view of organization-wide activity, which makes it easy to monitor department-wide, company-wide, and project/task progress in one interface.

Additional features include:

 

  • Read/reply to conversations in Outlook and Teams
  • Verified and Global Admins
  • Townhall video meetings
  • Custom or branded Community interface
  • Featured conversations
  • Favorite/pinned Communities in user sidebar
  • Posting restrictions in All Company (company-wide) Channel
  • Pinned posts
  • User mentions
  • Live Events
  • Upload files directly from OneDrive and SharePoint
  • File storage and editing
  • Close completed conversations
  • Home activity feed

 

Yammer is available as a part of any Microsoft 365, but not Microsoft Teams, plan. Microsoft 365 plans range in price from $5.00/user per month to $20.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Yammer is best for medium to large-scale businesses operating within the Microsoft 365 universe that want to improve communication between team members and upper management through both one-way and two-way conversations.

 

FlowdockFlowdock chat

 

Flowdock is a team chat messaging and collaboration app made up of public and private chat channels, called Flows.

Users can also create projects out of conversation in Flows, then assign project owners and collaborators, set due dates, summarize the goals of the projects, and update the “Flow State” (project progress.) Threaded messaging and conversations can take place in specific flow channels, or within the task management interface for an individual project.

Users can transition to a video chat with screen sharing or an audio call at any time within the message interface. To keep flows organized, all topics and flows are color-coded.

Additional features include:

 

  • Threaded conversations
  • User tagging
  • Inbox for integrations
  • Chatbots
  • File sharing
  • Unlimited integrations
  • Unlimited flows
  • Custom notification settings
  • Slash commands

 

Flowdock has one free plan and paid plans from $3.00/user per month to $9.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Flowdock is best for teams that need more of a basic team communication chat, as well as for those who don’t want the chat interface to get overcrowded by constant integration updates.

 

Rocket.ChatRocket chat

 

Rocket.Chat is an open-source centralized communication and collaboration app for employees, customers, vendors, and business partners.

It offers free audio and video conferencing, screen sharing and file sharing, guest access, direct messaging, private groups, and public channels.

Rocket.Chat is unique in that it brings multiple chat messaging tools — internal and external — into a single, scalable tool. This means users can access chats on social media channels and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, and more.

Admins can even create chatbots in both internal and external messaging systems to automate routine tasks, collect feedback, and receive task updates.

Additional features include:

 

  • Unlimited integrations
  • Searchable chat history
  • User mentions
  • Push notifications
  • Voice messaging
  • End-to-end encryption
  • SMS messaging and CRM integrations
  • Chatbots
  • Priority assignment
  • Chat tags
  • Online ticket creation

 

Rocket.Chat has one free plan and one paid plan for $3.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Rocket.Chat is best for teams seeking a highly scalable collaboration and messaging platform, as well as for development teams and customer engagement. It’s also a good fit for companies that want to connect multiple social media messaging channels within one app.

 

FleepFleep chat

 

Fleep is a social collaboration tool offering network-based external communication.

Users can communicate with anyone, from any company, who has a Fleep account or invite external users to chat — and they only need to provide their email address to get connected with you on Fleep.

Additionally, Fleep sorts conversations according to people, not according to channels/topics. (Traditional “Team” channels are available with Fleep.) On Fleep, the user will view their entire conversation history with a specific person, like Jim from accounting or Susan at the non-profit your company supports. The entire chat history with an individual is in one channel only, not spread across multiple ones like in Slack.

Fleep also features:

 

  • A “pinboard” for every conversation channel to highlight the most important information
  • An in-conversation “Taskboard” that allows you to assign and monitor tasks
  • “File Drawer” that stores every file you’ve ever uploaded/shared within a complete conversation history
  • Read receipts and writing indicators
  • Presence and status updates
  • Integration with Whereby, allowing for audio and video calling
  • Integrations with Zapier, Slack, Trello, Google Drive, JIRA, and more
  • A free plan offering unlimited 1-on-1 conversations, integration with native apps, complete message history, 10 GB of storage, and a maximum of three “team” channel conversations

 

Fleep offers one free plan and two paid plans, one for $5.00/user per month and a quote-based Enterprise plan.

 

Best For: Fleep is best for teams of any size that require frequent external communication, as well as those that need to be able to search conversation histories according to the user, not only by topic.

 

TwistTwist chat

 

Twist is a messaging tool focused on the idea of “threads” as opposed to endless strings of individual messages that may not always be relevant to the ones above them.

These threads are preserved for as long as your company chooses to use Twist — unlike Slack, which routinely deletes older chats and messages. You can then prioritize the list of threads displayed in your screen’s center, meaning that the most relevant information for you/your daily tasks never gets buried.

Many also love the fact that Twist doesn’t offer any kind of online presence alert — meaning that no one else on your team will be able to know when you are or aren’t online.

Other features include:

 

  • Free plan with 1 month of conversation history/5 integrations
  • Special discounts for Nonprofits and companies in the education sector
  • Integration with Zapier for audio/video calls
  • The “Time Off” feature to limit availability when needed
  • The “Ada bot” for in-app help navigating Twist
  • Filtered search options, including by date or channel

 

Twist has one free plan and one paid plan for $5.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Twist is best for small to medium-sized teams that don’t need many third-party integrations and those that only use messaging tools a few times a week for special projects and occasional communication, not every day. It’s also a good free plan for managers needing a chat tool for communication with remote contract workers.

 

TroopTroop chat

 

Troop Messenger is a comprehensive messaging app with instant messaging, audio calling/voice messaging, video calling, and the ability to share files.

It’s designed to manage all of your office communication and collaboration needs within a single platform while still prioritizing overall ease of use. It is particularly helpful in replicating the in-office experience with remote teams.

Top chat features include a recall (unsend) tool, instant single or full-conversation message copying, and real-time delivery and read receipts and updates. Users can also forward messages and attachments to other users in current or other channels and create unlimited groups.

The Burnout feature is especially popular, as it automatically creates and deletes private chats within a set time period, allowing for superior security and privacy. The dashboard interface lets users instantly transition from messaging to a video call with screen sharing and remote screen control, or audio conference/one-on-one calls.

Admins can also designate “Orange Members,” which are external vendors, clients, and contractors that are invited to collaborate in your workspace.

Additional features include:

 

  • User profiles
  • Message broadcasting
  • Live location tracking
  • Messaging editing
  • Respond later reminders
  • Message flagging
  • Glocal search to filter by group, topic, user, keywords, or time/date range
  • Search by video, file, location, or images
  • Unread message filter
  • Mute conversations
  • Custom wallpapers and font

 

Troop offers 3 paid plans, but no free version, ranging in price from $5.00/user per month to $25.00/user per month.

 

Best For: Troop is best for remote teams that often switch between multiple methods of communication per day, frequently collaborate with external users, and discuss highly sensitive information often.

 

RyverRyver chat

 

Ryver is a team collaboration app providing group messaging with unlimited file sharing, unlimited users, topics and chats, task management, and voice/video calls.

Ryver lets users take advantage of unlimited tasks, guests, and file sharing, and even live news streaming from selected news websites.

One of the most unique things about Ryver is that it divides each channel up into specific topics, and allows users to assign/update tasks within topics and channels. This makes it easier for smaller teams within departments to keep track of daily responsibilities for projects and upcoming meetings while also benefiting from a department-wide birds-eye-view.

Users can create tasks directly from chat messages and attach files, set reminders/due dates, create checklists, add tags, and even set locations per task.

It integrates with popular tools like Salesforce, Zapier, Github, Asan, MailChimp. Evernote, and Dropbox.

Additional features include:

 

  • Kanban board view for apps
  • Company-wide forum chats (feedback, announcements, files, etc.)
  • File sharing
  • Single Sign-On
  • Advanced third-party integrations
  • SSL and 265-bit RSA encryption
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Custom voice/audio/messaging invite links

 

Ryver has three paid plans, but no free plan, from $49.00/user per month to $149.99/user per month.

 

Best For: Ryver is best for teams that need to condense their task management tools, audio and video calls, and chat messaging into a single platform. It also works with teams that frequently work on multiple projects within the same department at a time, and will therefore need specific conversation topics within channels.

 

Additional Information on Popular Team Collaboration Tools

 

Whether you decide to completely replace your business’s instant messaging platform from Slack to an app on this list, or if you’d like to use any of these apps in conjunction with Slack, the options listed here will streamline internal and external communication while allowing for more effective team collaboration.

Curious to learn more about the tools listed here, as well as other options?

Check out our breakdown and an interactive table of the best team collaboration tools to learn more.

 

FAQ About Instant Messaging Platforms

Below, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about instant chat messaging and team collaboration tools.

 

 

Frequently asked questions

Though for the most part, chat apps reasonably protect a user’s right to privacy, there are a few instances in which an employer may be able to access a team member’s private channels or direct messages.

If an employee is a part of a lawsuit, managers can submit a formal request to the chat platform to view the messages. However, in most cases, the employee must give consent in order for these apps to give employers access to their private messages.

Note that analytics and reporting tools may show the number of messages employees have sent in private channels/chats -- but not the content of the messages themselves.

If you move to a different department, position, or leave your current company, you’ll be able to transfer the ownership of your chat to another user. In other words -- the entire chat application won’t disappear just because the current owner is leaving the workspace.

Each application usually has a specific ownership transfer process.

Though exact costs will vary based on the provider chosen and the specific features and plan you need, the good news is that most of the chat apps mentioned here offer a free version. Paid team collaboration tools usually cost anywhere from $8.00-$10.00/user per month.

As with any business communication tool, your specific compliance requirements will vary based on your industry, company, country, and provider SLAs.

Note that there are many HIPAA-compliant chat tools created specifically for the medical industry, like MedChat and Well.

To ensure you’re ready for compliance audits and help to keep messages secure, you may wish to disable message history, enable two-factor authentication, and frequently change your password. Above all, be clear with team members about what kind of sensitive data can and cannot be discussed over chat messaging.