Magazine Social Media

Facebook’s Workplace: Colleague connection or desktop distraction?

Written by the Editorial Team

How do you run your internal communications? Do you use email, a chat system or good old fashioned face-to-face meetings?

Now, you may have to introduce an entirely new concept to your business, as this one has the world talking already.

In October, Facebook announced that its internal app, formerly known as Facebook at Work, would become available to everyone. Now named Workplace, its aim is to connect co-workers in the same way it now connects friends and family.

Having been tested by a thousand organisations across the globe over the past year, the app is optimised for mobile and can be a network for several companies, not just employees within the same business.

So will it take off?

Possibly. Used by over a billion people, Facebook is familiar to everyone, and Workplace is based around all the same facets. It has a newsfeed, a chat feature and groups. It’s easy to use and is simpler than a number of internal communication options, not to mention exceptionally more modern.

Additionally, Workplace could open up a whole new avenue for employee bonding, which ultimately creates stronger working relationships and boosts morale.

There is a cost to the app, which Facebook works out by only charging for users who ‘actively use the product’. As they frame it, Workplace would be a paid benefit for workers that could enable them to communicate quickly and effectively, whilst creating a much more ‘social’ employee network.

However, in a world where we’re ever more stuck to our phones, could Workplace end up being more of a hindrance than a help? Admittedly, the app has potential to encourage workplace distraction and provide employees with an excuse to shirk their responsibilities.

In fact, author Cal Newport went as far as to say that “using Facebook Workplace is not working. It’s talking about work… The single biggest impact Facebook could have on workplace productivity would be to go out of business”.

Facebook claims that this will not happen, and Workplace will have, essentially, the complete opposite effect: “The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department or geography. Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”

We all use Facebook. For many of us, it’s the first port of call for getting news, for sharing our own news and for discussing any hot topics. Could this thirst for information and conversation translate into our jobs?

In the U.K, we seem to think so – we ranked in the top 5 when it came to testing out the app. For now, it’s a waiting game. Here’s hoping if it does take off, it brings companies together instead of causing a productivity breakdown.