What Impact Will Facebook’s Workplace Have On the Brick and Mortar Office?
For many industries, social technology has changed the way we work. The likes of Slack, LinkedIn and the recent Microsoft acquisition, Yammer have been setting the pace and now Facebook have hopped on board with Zuckerberg’s Workplace innovation.
Facebook is firmly established in workplaces all over the world, just not in the way it wants to be. Now the all-conquering social network is keen to reposition itself as a means of doing business rather avoiding it by looking at GIFs all day.
More than 1,000 organizations around the world now use Workplace. People have created nearly 100,000 groups, and the top five countries using it are India, the US, Norway, the UK and France. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s taking off, but is it likely to have any long term impact on business and its workforce?
What is Workplace by Facebook?
Workplace is essentially a social network for business and it’s been bubbling away for a while now. Initially known as Facebook for Work, it’s been trialled with a few organizations for the last year. Facebook have had an internal version of the Workplace app to help run their own company for many years. They’ve now made it available to any company or organization that wants to use it, for a small fee.
Designed to help business of all sizes in all sectors, but particularly those who do their business on the go, Workplace features some pretty handy tools that streamline communication. Facebook gives a couple of practical examples – a shipping company that now connects with their ship crews via Live video, and a bank now using Workplace instead of fax machines and newsletters to share updates with its distributed branch network.
Other useful features include:
- Unlimited file, photo, and video storage
- Unlimited team and project groups
- Facebook Live video streaming
- Monitoring tools for IT teams
- Single-sign on (SSO) support
- Integration with G Suite, Okta, OneLogin, Ping and Windows Azure AD
- Multi-Company Groups – shared spaces enabling employees from different organizations to work together, to extend collaboration beyond your company in a safe and secure way
While many of these services are already likely in place for most companies, the chances are they’re paying a hefty price tag for these services. Whether or not companies are ready and willing to trust Workplace to supply these handy services for less, remains to be seen.
According to Facebook, the likes of Danone, Starbucks, Booking.com, Oxfam, YES Bank in India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore already do.
With Workplace, companies only pay for people who are actively using the product, and it’s pretty cheap. Less than 1,000 active users and you’ll pay US$3 a month; $2 for the next 1,001-10,000; and $1 for any more than that. There’s a 3-month free trial too.
What’s the Likely impact?
While there are benefits via the sheer efficiency of information flow, the levels of connectivity, and the ability to make connections, there are some pitfalls too.
Research shows that Facebook can contribute to unhappiness and social divisions, and alongside email, is part of the decline in ‘in person’ interactions within the brick and mortar office. So there’s a chance that the office could become even more impersonal. There’s also the potential for sharing private information in error.
Is it worth it for your business?
As Facebook puts it:
The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department or geography. Organizations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.
Workplace is all about collaboration, which is great for businesses that want or need to collaborate, but not all businesses work that way.
For Workplace to be worth it, a business needs to figure out how much the potential for additional collaboration is actually going to help. Will it mean better results and outcomes for your business, will it improve delivery to your customers? If so, great. If not, you might not want to let Facebook swallow up as much of your workplace time as it already does your personal life.
Marc is a Director of The Talent Hive and leads our IT recruitment practice. Originally from the UK, Marc has been living in Christchurch, New Zealand for ten years and working in the recruitment sector for just as long. Marc has worked as an in-house recruiter and within multinational recruitment consultancies and independent recruitment businesses.
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Categorised as: Facebook, Social Technology