Managers all over the world constantly look for ways to improve their teams’ coordination, communication, and productivity. There are tons of tools that provide services to help teams collaborate more effectively, but today I’m going to talk about the one tool (or rather, the one type of tool) each team needs.

The Chat App

Gone are the days of AIM and MSN, but instant messengers are still useful in everyday life. We can chat with our hometown friends on Facebook messenger or keep in touch with people across the globe via Skype. More importantly, though, is the instant messenger for the office.

My personal favorite is Slack. This platform allows you to create different “channels” (groups) for different situations. The best part is you can name them appropriately, which helps in organization and switching your mindset quickly. You also have the ability to search for a specific topic within each channel, and the options for integrating tools like Google Docs and Trello are nearly endless.

However, Slack is not alone in pursuit of better office communication. Many companies understand that a well-connected staff is a well-functioning staff, and Google is one of them. Google Hangouts is a simpler app that harkens back to the early days of instant messaging, but truthfully, that is all you really need. If you have Google Chrome, you can install the Hangouts extension, which will pop up a notification each time you get a message. The notifications stay indefinitely until you close them, although you do have the option to turn off notifications. If your office needs an easy way to communicate, Google Hangouts may be your best option.

So, who should utilize a messaging app? The honest answer is: everyone. These apps are designed to replace the unimportant emails of yesteryear, leaving that platform clutter-free. In my opinion, email should be used for official correspondence (think HR or client interactions) in order to keep a paper trail. Large amounts of important information should be handles in meetings, while the everyday collaborative conversations and office chatter should be limited to messenger apps.

Although it can be stressful to continually implement new tools in your office, adding a messenger to the mix will have a positive impact. Your team will have a great space for communicating about group projects, and they will also have easy access to anyone they need to contact. Rather than stuffing an inbox full of one-sentence emails, download Slack, Google Hangouts, or another messenger and allow the communication to flow.