More and more workplaces today are realizing the importance of good collaboration to accomplish goals efficiently. And with decentralization, the use of software is a must. There’s one caveat, though: collaborative tools in the workplace don’t like anything that you often use in your personal life.
And what good timing for Facebook. The social media giant some years ago launched Workplace by Facebook, which is essentially Facebook for the enterprise. It’s a smart move, given over two billion use the platform daily. People know how it works and the way it behaves. So yes, why not leverage an already familiar tool for enterprise purposes?
Workplace by Facebook: What Is It?
Imagine a variant of Facebook where tiny teams are siloed from each other and there are extra collaboration features—that’s the simple gist of Facebook’s Workplace. There are profiles, news feeds, friends, groups, and other consumer-facing aspects of Facebook, but they’re all limited to users who use the email domain name of your company and serve features like Slack and Microsoft Teams, such as file sharing, video conferencing, and chat.
Registration for a Workplace account is entirely different from your current Facebook profile and is completed using your job email address. When you register, Workplace will notify you whether there are any users from your domain on the site, and you will be matched with them once you verify your email address.
There’s no overlap between personal Facebook profiles and Workspace accounts, so there’s no reason to panic about crossovers or managers having access to awkward college photos.
Workplace is available on three levels: Enterprise, Advanced, and Essential. Premium offers access to integrations and other enterprise-level functionality, including single sign-on, APIs, and IT management tools; the free Essential level excludes all of these customization features.
When Was Workplace by Facebook Released?
Facebook launched Workplace in October 2016, and the same announcement confirmed that over 1,000 businesses had already used it for testing. Since then, Facebook has added two kinds to the premium service. Advanced, which is $4 per user per month, and Enterprise, which is $8 per user per month.
A free Essential iteration of Workplace with fewer features has been released in April 2017 and is now available. It lacks some of the more robust functionality of the enterprise, such as platform integrations and API access, and is more built to be used out of the box. If what you need is a free collaborative platform for a team or a small company, the Essential edition is for you.
Why Workplace by Facebook Is a Need for Businesses With WFH Employees?
Facebook has billions of engaged daily users all around the globe. It has become the most ubiquitous social networking network in the world—from teenagers to the aged, and even dogs have pages.
Facebook is familiar, user-friendly, and built to cater to users with differing technical ability levels. With Facebook turning the familiarity to the corporate environment, who wouldn’t choose to use a network they’re already acquainted with instead of discovering something new?
At launch, Workplace was integrated with cloud services like Box, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Salesforce, which placed it in a strong position to disassemble some of the major players in the enterprise collaboration tools space. Workplace has also made smartphone applications available.
During F8 2018, Facebook gave further evidence that Workplace is setting the top spot in the business communication tools space by announcing more than 50 new integrations with popular tools like SurveyMonkey, Atlassian, and SharePoint. You can see if your must-have tools are usable in Workplace by searching their Integrations Directory.
Business professionals who use custom integrations on their collaboration platform are not left out: Premium Workplace users can use APIs to create any custom integrations they need.
Facebook has brought Facebook Live to Workplace, making it super easy for workers and team members to broadcast. In 2020 Facebook introduced a new platform called Live Producer to its live broadcast tools, which adds automated closed captioning, real-time translation, and in-video Q and A.
If Facebook gets the functionality of Workplace right, it has the ability to capture a lot of customers from other collaboration platforms, particularly from companies with less tech-savvy workers. That’s why Workplace matters—it may not be a big advancement in technology, but it’s a perfect use of a popular interface.
Who benefits from Workplace by Facebook?
Two large groups would be impacted by Workspace: remote workers that need to communicate online, and collaboration software companies.
Many of the collaboration we engage in at work is achieved by email, chat, phone calls, or video conferencing. New technology has made it possible for companies to operate in a million different living rooms, which eventually ensures that teams can be dispersed around the country, or even across the world.
What Facebook is promising with Workplace is easy and appealing: work together in a number of synchronous and asynchronous ways through a network familiar to billions of users. It’s hard to see how it might lose.
Workplace has a Slack-like chat, file sharing, team channels, live video, reporting, and a number of other features that exist on other platforms. The difference. The all-in-one Facebook interface.
In July 2018, Workplace by Facebook revealed the addition of Workplace Profiles, which offer people the opportunity to share more detail about their employment and their personal life to their Workplace page. Added profiles provide support for various phone numbers/extensions, division and association fields to help describe job responsibilities, and a biography field for (optional) personal information.
When Workplace first introduced its big selling point, it was the interface of the biggest social network in the world, but it’s not just experience with Workplace anymore. Its advanced versions have much of the same capabilities as other corporate social collaboration platforms, at a cheaper price than its rivals.
For users who just want a simple way to stay in touch on a business day, Workplace has you covered as well: Essential is free and comes with productivity features such as smartphone app, video chat, instant messaging, unrestricted file storage space, screen updates (Windows only) and file storage integration services such as Google Drive.
If you are a business, you can sign up at the Workplace website to get started. The Workplace by Facebook app is available for both Android and iOS devices.