WhatsApp: great for friends, not so great for work

WhatsApp: great for friends, not so great for work

Portrait of Jessica Lark's Author
Portrait of Jessica Lark's Author

Jessica O

February 10, 2023


Feb 10, 2023


6 min read

WhatsApp may be the go-to choice for personal messaging, but it falls short when it comes to professional communication. Don't get us wrong - the app's user-friendly interface, cross-platform availability, and free price tag make it a popular choice. But regarding business needs, WhatsApp is like a hammer. It's useful for a specific task but not as versatile and adaptable to keep up with the demands of a business.

Here are 6 reasons that make WhatsApp great for friends and not so great for work ↓

A leaky message is a recipe for disaster

Source: Forbes

Using WhatsApp for business communication can be risky because you have no way of knowing who might be reading your messages. While WhatsApp does use encryption to protect your messages, this does not guarantee that they are secure from prying eyes.

Losing or having your mobile device stolen can also be risky. It may result in all of your data being lost without a security layer in place. This lack of security can be a problem for businesses that need to protect sensitive information.

As a tool designed for personal use, WhatsApp may not have the privacy and security features that are standard in professional employee communication apps. This can be a problem for businesses that are subject to data protection regulations and need to ensure that their communication is secure.

It is important to carefully consider the risks and benefits of using WhatsApp or any other tool for business communication. While it may be convenient, it may not always be the most secure or appropriate choice.

Lark meets international legal and regulatory requirements and relevant industry standards to protect the privacy of its users. Lark has also secured several internationally recognized certifications in security and privacy compliance, demonstrating our commitment to security compliance and privacy protection.

The onboarding and offboarding nightmare


Using WhatsApp for business communication can be time-consuming and cumbersome, especially when adding new employees to group chats.

To get started, you need to:

  • Obtain each employee's phone number

  • Add them as contacts

  • Manually add them to all relevant group chats.

Depending on the size of the organization and the number of groups, this process can take a lot of time and effort.

Even if employees can join groups using an invitation link, you still need to locate the group admin for each group to add them. These steps can be tedious and make it difficult to quickly onboard new team members onto the platform.


Removing an employee from group chats or revoking their access to company systems can be a lengthy process. Especially if the employee was a member of multiple groups or had access to multiple systems. It is easy to miss someone or forget to revoke their access, which can pose a security risk.

Ex-employees who still have access to business information can pose a security risk too. They may be able to access sensitive or confidential information that they should no longer have access to. This can compromise the security of the business and put the company at risk of data breaches or other security incidents.

These factors highlight the limitations of using WhatsApp for business communication and the importance of having a robust user management feature.

Automatic, easy & organized user onboarding & offboarding with Lark

With Lark, onboarding new employees is a breeze. When a new team member joins the organization, they get automatically added to the relevant department and company-wide chat groups. This removes the need for manual intervention. Lark's Organizational Chat feature also clearly displays which team each employee is a part of. This makes it easier for employees to find the right group and communicate with the right people.

When an employee leaves your organization, Lark's Admin Console makes it easy to offboard them. Simply set their status as "Resigned," and they will lose access to all chat history and data. However, current employees will still be able to access previous chats with the departed employee, providing a record of the communication for reference.

Can it handle your business's large files?

Using WhatsApp as a tool for business communication may not be the best choice for companies that need to send and store large files. WhatsApp limits documents to 100 MB and video to 16 MB, which may not be enough for businesses that frequently send large files.

For example, a graphic design firm that often sends high-resolution images and design files may find that WhatsApp is not suitable for their needs.

Additionally, WhatsApp does not offer a lot of storage space for media, so users may have to frequently delete files to make room for new ones. This can be inconvenient and may not be suitable for businesses that need to store and access a large amount of media.

Maximize your file-sending capabilities with Lark - Lark makes it easy for you to send and store large files - up to 100GB in size! You can also send videos directly in chat if they're shorter than five minutes and smaller than 300 MB. If your videos are longer or larger, no problem - you can still send them as an attachment in the chat.

Where did those messages go?

On WhatsApp, all messages appear in one long string. There are no separate threads or categories for different types of content (email, chat), making it difficult to find and reference important information. Additionally, juggling multiple group chats on WhatsApp can be confusing, especially for larger teams. If your team uses this app as their primary form of communication—which they probably do—you'll have no way of searching through old conversations. Important details like contract terms and other documentation could be buried in these chats.

Find exactly what you need with Lark's powerful search function - You can do a quick search or search for historical messages, events, emails, and more in specific locations such as Messages, Docs, or Email.

The lone ranger

While WhatsApp is available on desktop and mobile, it doesn't integrate with other business tools like video conferencing or calendar software. While WhatsApp does allow for video calls with up to five people, this may not be enough for businesses that need to hold meetings with larger groups. Additionally, WhatsApp does not have a way to share your screen during a video call, which can be a crucial feature for presentations or demonstrations.

As a result, businesses that need to conduct larger meetings or share screens may still need to use additional software like Zoom. Additionally, you might need to use a separate tool like Google Docs to review documents and a calendar app to schedule the meeting.

With all these different apps, it would be difficult to keep everything organized and integrated. In this scenario, WhatsApp is not a one-stop solution for business communication and collaboration.

Did you also know that excessive app-switching can negatively impact productivity and focus? Research has shown that it can increase the production of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) in the brain and lead to decreased efficiency.

The Lark experience: cohesive & elegant user experience across all devices

Oops! I meant to send that to my spouse, not my boss!

Aside from its lack of integration with other tools, WhatsApp can make it hard to tell when someone is messaging you about work versus just hanging out—or vice versa!

On WhatsApp, your personal and professional communication is all mixed. This can make it difficult to separate work from personal life and lead to a lack of work-life balance.

For example, on weekends, you may feel obligated to check your WhatsApp notifications, not knowing if they are from your boss or family. This constant connectivity can affect your quality of life and interfere with your ability to disconnect from work.

"My WhatsApp… it's really 91% work-related chats and it's bugging me even on weekends… it's mixed into my personal life and I hate it…." @Andrew Risley

To maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life, it's important to have separate channels for business communication and personal conversations.

The Lark experience: powerful yet balanced work-life experience

Using Lark for your organization's business communication can keep all work-related conversations in one place, saving WhatsApp for personal communication only. This separation of work and personal life can help you maintain a healthy balance and focus on the task. When taking a break from work, simply turn on the "do not disturb" feature on Lark to disconnect and recharge.

If you're a business owner, you know that efficient communication is key to success. While WhatsApp may be a quick and easy choice for personal messaging, it's not always the best option for professional communication. Its limited storage, lack of security, and lack of organization and integration can all hold your business back. Choose email or an all-in-one collaboration app like Lark for your team's smooth, productive communications.

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