Facebook Workplace available ‘to anyone who wants it’

Social networks may have been the scourge of productivity in some companies for years, but Facebook Workplace is set to turn that on its head, with an intranet platform based on the social network that is now available to organisations all over the world.

Facebook’s own offices run an internal version of the platform as a productivity and connectivity tool, allowing co-workers to contact one another using a workplace-specific version of the site’s familiar messaging tools.

Over 1,000 organisations worldwide now use the platform, formerly known as Facebook at Work, but more recently simply Facebook Workplace; the UK is among the top five, along with the US, France,

India and Norway, and together nearly 100,000 groups have been created. Facebook have now opened up the platform to businesses anywhere in the world, with a particular view towards enabling better connectivity for employees who spend most or all of their day on the move, an ever-increasing hallmark of the flexible working arrangements enjoyed by many Millennials.

Whether that means travelling between meetings, out in the field or on the road, Workplace aims to ensure those individuals can be in continual communication, including via live video and text updates from head office.

“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,” Facebook said. “People work in different ways, around the world, and Workplace’s mission is to help them stay connected.”

What’s in Workplace?

The features of Facebook Workplace include some that would be familiar to any user of the social network, along with others that have been added specifically to facilitate business use.

News Feed, Groups and Chat are all retained, along with real-time data transformation tools like Trending, Reactions, and the integrated Search function – all of which enables real-time collaboration with colleagues all over the world.

On top of this, there are features unique to Workplace, for example integration with single sign-on and identity providers that allow the platform to work within existing IT systems; there is also a powerful

dashboard with analytical tools built in. Recent announcements include Groups that multiple companies can participate in, effectively building a secure software bridge to enable collaboration between employees of different organisations, whether within the same parent group, or for partnerships between completely separate entities.

All of this seems to underpin more modern ways of doing business, including the more relaxed internal environment in many modern offices, a slightly more casual approach to collaboration between departments, but also an outward-looking view on working with others in your industry – who may be viewed as partners in the 21st century, when they would have been rivals in the 20th.

What does it cost?

Facebook Workplace is charged on an active-user basis, which means organisations only pay a fee per person who is actually using the software, and Facebook have promised that it will be priced competitively, both of which should enable good scalability when new employees are recruited too.

“The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department or geography,” the company said. “Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”

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