It seems like every time a company comes up with a new concept online, Facebook steals the idea. One of the latest in this trend is Facebook Workplace, a tool very much like Slack. Workplace uses the social media platform to bring companies all the same capabilities as Slack, meaning you now have a valid excuse for being on social media at work.
What Is Workplace?
Workplace began as Facebook at Work and was originally just for the employees at the Facebook company. By 2015, Facebook had begun testing the tool with other companies, using its findings to develop Workplace.
Running on both desktop and mobile, Workplace offering a newsfeed, a messenger service (called Work Chat), and most of the other features you find on Facebook. The difference is that your contacts in Workplace are limited to those in your organization.
Why You Need Workplace
If you are skeptical about the necessity of Workplace for your own business, consider that more than 14,000 organizations across the continent are already using the tool, according to TechRepublic. Stop struggling to manage numerous apps and work-related messages — Workplace will offers almost everything you need in one place.
Although many features on Workplace are on Facebook, there are a few that are unique to the platform, such as:
- Admin tools and analytics. If you are the administrator of your company account, you can receive data about how employees are using Workplace.
- Integrations with IT systems.
- Multi-Company Groups. Sometimes, you need to collaborate with employees at other businesses. Multi-Company Groups allow inter-company collaboration for professional purposes.
This April, Facebook announced it was adding new features to improve the value of Workplace for businesses. These include:
- Integration with collaboration tools. Some examples are Microsoft, Dropbox, Salesforce, and G Suite. Workplace is combining this with new interfaces for browsing files. Now, users will see a thumbnail, rather than just a link, which they can click to access a file for editing or commenting.
- Support for third-party chatbots. This was necessary to maintain a competitive edge, as Slack has long been offering this feature. Bots acknowledge a request, seek a qualified person to handle the issue, and message the original user with information about who is taking care of the issue. Such a system is faster and more convenient than relying on humans.
- Partnership with identity, compliance, and security providers. Some companies may have been hesitant to trust Workplace before now, due to concerns for security and compliance. To solve the issue, Facebook is partnering with compliance providers including CSDisco, Skyhigh, and Netskope and with identity providers including Okta, Microsoft Azure, and OneLogin.
- Workplace Live API. This is built on the Facebook Live API, meaning it is ready to use with several video encoders.
Another reason why you should sign up for Workplace is its usability. Beyond the fact that the Facebook platform is intuitive, everyone already knows how to use it — Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform out there. Workplace is exactly the same as Facebook for both desktop and mobile, meaning employees will require no training to start using the tool.
Facebook Live has been hugely popular, and such a feature is just as beneficial in a work setting. If you need to make an announcement you want everyone in your company to see, Live Video is the ideal tool. You can trust it to work reliably, and you will be able to see how coworkers react in real time.
Groups allow employees to work in teams, such as for specific projects. Within groups, coworkers can discuss ideas, share documents, and keep everyone up to date. Conversations from your groups appear your newsfeed along with updates about any coworkers you are following.
How to Use It
You need to apply for a Workplace account using your business name. The name will appear in a link followed by facebook.com. Set up the account as you wish and invite your coworkers or employees to join. Although users can link their Workplace profiles to their personal profiles, no one outside the company will be able to see the Workplace profiles.
Paying for Workplace
Companies pay for Workplace according to how many profiles they create. You will pay $3 per profile for the first 1,000 users, $2 for the next 9,000 users, and $1 for any additional profiles. The two exceptions are non-profits and educational organizations, for which the service is completely free. Facebook is releasing a free version for everyone later in the year, but it will offer no access to administrative tools and integrations with other services.
All the profiles in a Workplace account belong to the corporation rather than the user. This means if employees leaves the company, they will no longer have access to their profiles.
Simple to use, inexpensive, and effective, there is really no reason not to use Workplace. Whatever the size of your business, you and your employees can benefit from this tool.