This blog was originally published on Medium.
“Facebook for work? That is the last thing I want my employees distracted with.” That was the initial reaction from one of my peers in the industry when I shared that we were considering adopting Workplace for our globally distributed team. We are a growing digital consulting services company with over 200 coworkers operating from 10 different cities globally. After trying many different platforms like Google+ and Slack, there is something about Workplace that clicked with our community. After over a year of being on this platform, this post is a reflection on the possible reasons for this high engagement, sharing some best practices that have emerged and the transformation that is still underway. We were so convinced of the potential that we recently signed up as a Workplace Partner to help companies deploy this for their teams.
What is Workplace?
It is a private online community of all coworkers inside an organization. It can also be extended to other organizations through multi-company groups. It shares the same technology infrastructure but is completely separate from the consumer Facebook and Messenger products. If deployed correctly, it has the potential to replace most email for internal communications, distribution lists, intranet websites, video conferencing tools but most important of all create a fun, positive and engaging workplace. Facebook themselves have been using a version of this platform internally for years. There are many companies of different sizes, countries and industries now on this platform — Walmart, Starbucks, Financial Times to name a few.
Connecting everyone in your company
With over 2 billion people in the Facebook global community, there is a very high chance that people who get on Workplace for the first time already know the product. Facebook has become a daily habit for many. Embracing this, instead of pushing unfamiliar enterprise software that struggles to achieve high adoption, is called the consumerization of Information Technology. Organizations now understand the power of adopting platforms that people are already familiar with as consumers. Gmail does that really well with G Suite and now Facebook with Workplace. Beyond this familiarity and the habit of posting, commenting, liking and sharing, there are some important guidelines for using this platform to get work done. Workplace is not just a company’s social network. It is a place where work gets done in a highly collaborative, fun and familiar place — Workplace.
Workplace is a mobile-first solution, which means you can get almost all of your work done instantly on your mobile device. Because it is built on the underlying Facebook global backbone, it provides the scale, security and high availability that organizations demand. In many industries like retail and manufacturing, not everyone is a knowledge worker with an office desk and a computer with a large screen monitor. Workplace brings the power to connect literally everyone together across the organization — probably for the first time — using a familiar interface even on lower power mobile devices. This dramatically improves the quality of conversations, the opportunities this creates and the ability for an organization to listen to each other instead of just communicating one way through large distribution lists. No wonder Starbucks now has over 80% of their store managers using Workplace on a weekly basis.