Continuing to enhance users’ online experience and dominating the internet, Facebook is releasing Facebook at work, this October, to facilitate a more connected workplace for companies. The application is built to look like a version of Facebook, but as a social network used by companies.
As it launches the new app, Facebook aims to make employees use Facebook at work as their main tool for workplace communication. However, entering this new market, puts Facebook in a fierce competition with some of the fastest-growing business applications like: Slack and Microsoft’s Yammer. So how it plans to succeed in this field?
Facebook first started building the application back in 2014. By the beginning of 2015, the company announced starting the early tests as a part of a pilot program. In that program, some international companies were chosen to adopt Facebook at Work as their main workplace-communication tool. Now, Facebook is preparing to launch the application publicly for the first time.
What Would Help “Facebook at Work” Succeed?
Launching “Facebook at Work” means going into a direct competition with other dominant apps in the enterprise market. Nevertheless, here are some of its unique characteristics that might help granting success to the application.
- Facebook’s Popularity
First of all, Facebook is the world's largest social media platform. This reflects its huge numbers of users, as well as people’s familiarity using it. While Facebook at Work has the same look and usage as Facebook, employees shouldn’t find it difficult to adapt. This feature will encourage employees and minimize their fear from joining a new platform.
Facebook has been testing this application for, at least, ten years, and collecting feedback from about 1 billion active users. At first, Facebook used the application internally, before it asked other companies to participate in the early trials. All of that qualifies Facebook at Work to be more convenient and satisfying for companies, when it gets officially launched.
Moreover, some of the companies that participated in the pilot program, expressed positive feedback and pleasant feelings regarding their experience. They also said that their employees got more connected and productive since they started using Facebook at Work.
- Doesn’t connect to FB Personal account
Some employers ban their employees from browsing Facebook during work hours. Nevertheless, Facebook at Work is a separate platform that doesn’t require connecting to personal Facebook accounts. This gives it more formal and professional sense. Furthermore, the lack of ads on the application and its grey color-scheme separates it from the fun Facebook network. As a result, it supports Facebook at Work mission of proving that it can increase employers’ productivity.
How Facebook at Work Works?
Similar to the Facebook application, Facebook at Work combines various communication methods to keep different stakeholders within a company connected. These methods include:
Organizes the company’s different teams and keep them connected. Using these groups, they can make decisions together and stay updated with everything that's going on. It also helps employees keep track of projects. Groups also allows different companies to communicate, as long as they are all using the same application.
- Live Video and Video Calls:
Employees can choose to post a live video, of an event or a meeting, for the whole company to watch, or they can call and video-call each other at any time.
- Work Chat and Messaging:
Facebook at Work facilitates one-on-one work chat, as well as group messaging.
- Notifications and News Feeds:
Employees can select the most relevant work news and updates are most, and choose to get notified about them. Moreover, news feed is tailored to fit every employer’s needs by showing the trending and important conversations from across the company.
Employees can stay updated with the company’s events, discuss them with each other and have the option to create new ones.
Facebook at Work Features
Facebook at Work will be available for IOS and Android systems, in addition to a website version that's accessible through the main site of Facebook. Unlike other business communication apps, Facebook at Work has some unique features that makes it stand out:
- Include visual aids:
Because people, usually, respond better and interact more when they are communicated with visuals, Facebook at Work is facilitating more visual aids to help employers get employees’ attention, quicker than only using text.
- Built-in analytics
Using this feature will help employers detect if their posts are reaching the employees or not. It also helps them identify the company’s “influencers” based on the number of posts the employees write or share, and the comments and likes they get.
checking out #workplacebyfacebook So much potential. Consumer tech is always a leading indicator for business tech is executed well...
— Angus Norton (@NortonAngus) November 2, 2016
- More social business-friendly experience
The application provides an advanced and user-friendly communication platform for all employees to stay connected. More importantly, it allows them to get to know each other, and familiarize themselves with the different teams as they see the profile photos.
- Auto-translate capabilities
Having Facebook’s auto-translate feature is significantly useful, especially for multinational companies. That's because it connects employees from different countries, and ease their communication even when done using different languages.
- Employees don’t need to be always connected during the whole workday
One of the biggest features of Facebook at work, according to some of the CEOs of the participating companies, is that employees don’t need to have the app’s tab open all day. In other words, they can only check few times during the day to stay updated and read the messages. This helps employers reduce the number of emails they send daily. It also frees them from the burden of staring at the app all day, which distracts their attention.
Facebook at Work Critiques
- Privacy Issues: Facebook at Work facilitates communication and sharing info within companies. However, the problem here is that some CEOs think that it is too easy to share data and information. This made companies concerned for exposing details about their businesses on Facebook. Furthermore, it's important not to forget that Facebook monitors users’ data and sometimes uses it for commercial purposes. Although Facebook promised not to collect any data or information on corporate users, some companies still don’t trust it enough to allow the application to carry all their workplace communications.
TIL "Facebook at Work" exists
Makes sense for FB to try this ($$$ and data), but I'd be worried about privacy & confidentiality of my work.
— Amul Kalia (@amullionaire) October 3, 2016
- Switching between accounts: Although employees don’t need to use their personal accounts when they join Facebook at Work, there is an option for them to add it to their work account. So, employees can switch between both accounts from the same tab, using the same password and username. This feature raises suspicions regarding how the two accounts might be linked. As a result, companies will worry about who can see the employees’ professional posts.
- Facebook’s Reputation: Unfortunately, one of Facebook’s biggest enemies is its own reputation, which is building a huge obstacle in the way to success of Facebook at Work. It is more of a stigma attached to Facebook for that people, usually, use it for fun in their free time. As a result, most managers and employees don’t believe that it can help them achieve their tasks. In this sense, Facebook must exert extra effort to prove that Facebook at work can actually improve employees’ productivity and not kill it.
As Facebook hasn't yet announced the date and details of the launch of its new enterprise application, other prominent competing platforms will keep waiting for the big news. How Facebook will manage this launch, customers' feedback and demands, will determine not only the future of Facebook at Work, but also the future of Facebook in the workplace communication field.
Feature Image By: Freepik