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Five apps that upgrade coworker communication

Communication forms rise and fall. Handwritten letters are novelties, landlines are now mostly decorative, and carrier pigeons have been perpetually out of work for centuries. For professional communications, the email has been king for quite some time, and the existence of fascinating, valuable subscription newsletters ensures that the email shall not perish. However, more seamless, collaborative communication apps are gaining serious workplace traction. Here are a few apps that are either improving email communication or offering an attractive alternative.


Google’s new Inbox app takes the most universal frustration with email – its unavoidable chaos – and lets you, well, avoid it. Customizable bundles organize your emails into categories like “Promos” and “Purchases”, and let you glance at the essential details of an email without actually opening it. And for those emails you just don’t have the mental energy or time to open when they first pop up in your inbox, you can hit “Snooze” and set a reminder to view later so they aren’t lost in forgotten email never-land. The app is currently invite-only, though you can request an invite here.


Though lacking that Google edge, iOS app Envelope boasts similar functions and first hit the market six months ago. Filtering and clustering are also available on Envelope, and no-response tracking lets you know what important emails you’ve sent have gone ignored. Envelope users can also attach voice memos and freehand sign or draw on the message. So if taking on the man (and scribbling) is your thing, download Envelope here.


Stressed out over all the emails, texts, and shouts across the room from your coworkers? Cut yourself some Slack. The centralized communication system enables coworkers to create custom channels for particular groups to interact, automatically integrates with Dropbox, Soundcloud, and numerous other content hosts, and can be accessed via desktop or mobile phone. Slack’s not the first centralized communication system to make waves, but its long list of integrations is especially impressive. Download it here.


Convo’s collaboration software features a handful of cool tweaks on the format, including employee profiles, content annotation capabilities, and milestones for those in need of a good ole electronic pat on the back. Convo boasts a “freemium” pricing model, meaning its basic service is free but more capable model are not – Premium costs $9 per month per user, whereas Enterprise costs $19. Get started here.


Do the above listed options not jive with your needs? Maybe Jive will. Jive’s trademarked WorkType Finder indicates whether you’re a coach, connector, energizer, expert, explorer, optimizer, planner, or producer, allowing coworkers to collaborate with those who best suit their needs. Jive is also loaded with social analytic capabilities and pre-built integrations here.

Now go forth (and send it).