Everyone knows good communication among colleagues is key to a healthy office environment. Beyond email, there are so many tools out there to increase efficiency and productivity or simplify processes.

Today’s communication tools can help solve internal business communication problems and assist companies achieve their goals.

What are some of the solutions people are using out there? Here are 5 easy-to-use work communication tools to boost productivity and more:

Slack

Online collaboration apps come and go but Slack has stuck. With its real-time messaging capabilities, Slack certainly cuts down on the need for back and forth emails. But Slack is much more than an instant messaging tool.

You can create public “channels” for specific projects, topics and departments, or private channels when you don’t need every employee involved in the conversation.

Some would consider it a must-have for growing companies. Every company uses it differently, but Slack isn’t supposed to pull you into more conversations than email did.

“It’s supposed to make sure the right people have access to the right conversations whenever they need it,” says Sarah Lang of Ticketleap, who wrote tips on how to use Slack.

All files—images, PDFs, Google docs—can be dropped into Slack and shared with anyone you want. If you use services like Google Drive, Dropbox or Box, simply paste the link and the document is immediately in sync and searchable.

Asana

There’s nothing more annoying than when responsibilities aren’t clear and information is scattered in various places. Asana is a project management tool that cuts through the chaos of micromanagement and multiple meetings.

Everyday workflow can be tracked efficiently using Asana. There’s no mystery as to who’s responsible for what. Asana helps manage tasks, duties and flow. It’s also free for teams of 15 people or less.

Trello

Another free project management tool and competitor to Asana is Trello. Think of it as a giant and endless bulletin board where tasks, ideas and notes can be organized in columns.

“Okay, I’ll admit: not so sexy. But Trello has the power to change the way you think about your projects. Promise,” writes Justin Cone on his blog.

Realizing that complex projects are not linear, Trello helps manage teams, or you can even use it to manage your life.

Basecamp

Many web and design agencies use the popular Basecamp because it helps them collaborate directly with their clients. It also has a friendly UI.

All tasks are organized in to-do lists, with due ranges and dates, and assigned employees to avoid confusion. You can prioritize and reorder tasks, and tailor the system to work for your company’s needs.

At the end of every operation, Basecamp summarizes accomplishments, and lets you generate automated reports and save even more time. There are many project management software competitors to Basecamp, though, including Wrike and Teamwork.

GoToMeeting

For web conferencing, GoToMeeting is a favorite for many small business. It has one-click screen share and can record meeting sessions. It also has multi-national toll-free numbers, which is good for companies with satellite offices.

There are many, many more project management tools out there for teams, companies and even individual use. “Solopreneurs” juggle many different roles, so there are others sets of tools and apps out there to help streamline your daily tasks and keep tabs on your finances.

Before jumping into any software, apps, and tools, be sure they are practical and intuitive for your company, and have the qualities and reliability you need. Information can’t all be kept in email threads and spreadsheets, so use modern technology to remain productive and manage your time wisely with all the awesome apps available today.

melissa-davidsonAuthorMelissa Davidson is a freelance writer with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Montana. She’s a former newspaper reporter who now frequently writes about women in business, social issues, mental health and the occasional pop culture story. Follow Melissa on Twitter @madtris

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