For a fee businesses large and small can use Workplace by Facebook as an office collaboration and communication tool. It puts all of Facebook's features, such as workplace discussions, internet voice and video calls and a company news feed, behind the corporate intranet wall. It's totally private and intended only for employees of the business, not the general Facebook world.
Facebook says that they have used an internal version of this app for themselves and their roughly 15,000 employees for years. Last year, when the app was called Facebook for Work, they started testing it with a few other businesses and they now have over 1,000 organizations using Workplace by Facebook.
They say that people have created nearly 100,000 groups and the top five countries using Workplace are India, the US, Norway, UK and France.
"We’re excited by the progress we’ve made and the level of adoption and engagement we’re seeing," says Facebook in their announcement. "We’ve been amazed by the breadth of organizations who’ve embraced Workplace — from a shipping company that can now connect with their ship crews using Live video, to a bank that now uses Workplace instead of fax machines and newsletters to share updates with its distributed bank branches."
"Large multinational companies like Danone, Starbucks and Booking.com, international nonprofits such as Oxfam, and regional leaders such as YES Bank in India and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore have all embraced Workplace. People work in different ways, around the world, and Workplace’s mission is to help them stay connected," they said.
Includes Some New Features
Most of the features of Facebook are available within the workplace version, such as posting to a News Feed, creating Groups for niche collaboration as well as Facebook Live video to all employees or just to certain group.
They've also added some additional features and are working on more. One new tool that businesses will like is an overall corporate dashboard that includes analytics and tools for integrating Workplace with IT systems.
Facebook also announced Multi-Company Groups, which enables companies to collaborate with Groups from other companies on the platform, while still remaining private to only the employees of the two groups. For instance, in a B2B scenario a company that designs and manufacturers furniture for a retailer, could form a Workplace collaboration and communication Group so that the retailer can be more connected to the entire creative and building process.
Businesses retain the ownership of the data their employees post into Workplace, and have mechanisms to export and manage all data added to the platform.
What Businesses Are Saying
Facebook says that the platform offers these specific benefits to businesses:
- Companies find that they can eliminate or drastically reduce their need for internal collaboration tools such as their intranet, telephony systems, video conferencing and distribution lists.
- Many companies find Workplace helps them do more than just simplify communications — it inspires all levels of the company to embrace digital and mobile.
- In addition, Workplace is easy to use because it’s based on familiar Facebook features like News Feed, Groups and Messages. There’s no training required.
They've also provided some stats and quotes of various businesses that are already using the platform.
"Workplace helps our employees connect and visually showcases our global teams," says Richelle Luther, SVP & Chief Human Resources Officer of Portland, Oregon based Columbia Sportswear. "We’re breaking down silos, communicating across functions and driving engagement, especially amongst our remote employee populations. It has definitely ignited our spirit of fun." She says that Workplace has helped them reduce internal emails by a third.
"Workplace allows our most important asset — our people — to be effective and productive," says Sunil Kanchi, CIO of UST Global. "Within the first week, a post in the 6,000 member "Innovation" group shared information on a new technology under development in the field. This eliminated the need to complete a pending acquisition of a similar technology."
“Workplace has helped our business grow and improved efficiency by reducing unnecessary email. It helps our employees communicate across countries and has brought us closer together," said Sebastián Fernández Silva, VP of Human Resources at MercadoLibre, a Latin America based ecommerce platform. "Several business units grew significantly simply because people found it easier to meet deadlines and get work done."