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Workplace By Facebook - What We Know So Far
by Startacus Admin
Workplace By Facebook - What We Know So Far
According to Facebook’s Newsroom - did you know they had a newsroom? - the company has been using its own internal version of the social network for years to keep employees connected. For more than a year, they have been testing a version of this service specifically for the workplace with businesses all over the world. With over 1,000 businesses already using Workplace, Facebook is now, as of 10 October, launching the platform for any business that wants it
Because Workplace will be ad-free, which is normally the way they get revenue, it won’t be free. Facebook says, naturally, that the pricing is competitive and the cost after the free 3-month trial does seem to be priced decently. In fact, it costs half of what some other similar services charge.
Facebook already has some features that are useful to business, such as paid ads, groups and group messaging, and Facebook Live, but what else has Facebook added to Workplace to entice companies to take it up as a central platform to help run their business? In short...not a lot actually. But it’s the alterations and shift in focus that will make it so useful.
Having groups specific to your business so that internal teams can easily keep in touch, chat, and communicate problems and so on is of great value, and Workplace is adding more to this feature. The first useful addition is that group chats now include an option for audio or video calling. Another is Multi-Company Groups, where employees from different companies will be able to collaborate. This will be hugely beneficial to teams outsourcing to or partnered with other companies and needing to communicate easily and quickly.
As Facebook themselves say, businesses are stronger when everyone comes together - when employees aren’t segregated according to their titles. This is the future of the workplace, and it won’t be easy for older businesses with the traditional ‘I can’t be seen with you because I have a better office’ state of mind, but the kind of internal chat that these Workplace groups will encourage strides in the right direction.
With the ability for all employees to record video and post to Workplace’s news feed, anyone can create instructional videos or record meetings, for example, and share with ease without concerning themselves with the same considerations they would take into account were they emailing videos (e.g. the video format or hosting platform, whether the recipient will be able to play it, etc.). With the integration of Facebook Live, bosses can broadcast important announcements company-wide, no matter how spread across the country or the world employees are.
Workplace has inbuilt analytics, allowing bosses to see data on their employees’ activities such as the messages they send and posts they make. Personal Facebook accounts are separate to Workplace accounts, ensuring an employee’s personal life is kept apart and private.
The dashboard displaying these analytics also provides single sign-in integrations with your existing tools, and identity providers that allow businesses to integrate Workplace with their existing IT systems.
Visually, Workplace is very similar to your existing Facebook account, except shaded grey rather than the company’s trademark blue. In the centre is the news feed, on the right is the chat panel, and on the left are the links to the feed, messages, groups, events, etc. that you would normally expect to see. Under these links you’ll also see the business-centric stuff like announcements, open discussions, and teams/projects.
Rather than ‘friending’ people, employees can be followed to ensure their posts appear in your news feed. The downside to the feed is, as with the personal Facebook, that it (mistakenly) believes itself capable of discerning what is relevant and important to you, rather than just showing everything in order.
Setting up and using Workplace should be simple enough, as you only have to visit [CompanyName].facebook.com to access it, or use the app on your mobile devices.
And that’s about all there is to know about Workplace by Facebook; for the moment at least.
Facebook has tried in the past to muscle in on services that others are already providing, and it will be interesting to see how they fare in direct competition with the likes of Slack. They aren’t going it alone entirely, however, with some other companies like Microsoft and Box partnering with them to offer integrated services.
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