In the COVID-era, many businesses have pivoted towards a full-time flexible working arrangement. Working from home has gone from progressive to encouraged. With such an expedited shift in work culture, teams are exploring tools to enable this shift. It’s with this that we’re exploring Workplace from Facebook.
Station Five recently conducted a study of with clients where we assessed how their staff were feeling whilst work from home. We interviewed a variety of stakeholders of varying seniorities ranging startups through large corporates. While the feedback from managers was generally quite strong due to heightened productivity, their staff shared their perspective of an emotionally draining work culture. They suggested more work was being completed, but the lack of personal contact prevented them from understanding whether tasks were being completed to standard. In short, the feedback loop was lost, with both positive sentiment and constructive criticism both lacking.
Pros of Remote Work
The pros of remote work as reported during the study are:
- Higher degree of productivity
- Reduced fixed costs such as rent
- Reduced staff amenity expenditure
Cons of Remote Work
The cons of remote work as reported during the study are:
- Reduced visibility / oversight of team
- Reduced effectiveness of positive sentiment to work
- Reduced learning via constructive criticism (or other, e.g. induction)
I can’t stress the importance of resolving these cons. As mentioned by one interviewee:
“I’m not sure if what I’m doing is effective enough. Am I going to get fired? Is the work up to scratch?”
This is where systems like Workplace from Facebook provide a potential resolution.
Benefits of Workplace from Facebook
The benefits of Workplace from Facebook (as marketed by Facebook) are constant communication and a feedback loop to ensure employee wellbeing. But HOW does it enable this?
In short, Workplace from Facebook is a mini version of Facebook setup for your organisation. It offers features such as:
- News Feed
- Groups (and Inter Company Groups)
- Live Video
- Video Conferencing
- Live Chat
- Knowledge Base
It’s very similar to Facebook except it’s secluded to your workplace, and naturally resembles the same appearance as the Facebook we’re already familiar with (minus some slight modifications).
And not one to miss an opportunity, Facebook has unleashed new features in the wake of COVID-19, which include:
- Knowledge Library: A searchable and shareable area for company documents like company policies, employee handbooks, and benefit information.
- Safety Alerts: A new way for company leadership, through their Workplace admins to send notifications to people in a crisis. Find them, contact them, and help them.
- Q&A Posts: A new type of post that enables everyone to add and vote up questions to ensure everyone has a voice and companies know what’s important. By a company posting in Workplace and asking employees how they’re feeling, you’re preventing people from entering the mindset as the aforementioned employee who was fearful of his job security.
- Drafts for Executives: Staff can write and create a draft for review and send it to executives, where they’ll then get a notification. It’s akin to sharing a google doc, however, it’s collaboration all in the one place.
These aforementioned features are free for 3 months, then you either pay, or revert to Facebook’s standard version with basic features.
Integration with Other Systems
As a software company, we’re always considering how a new system can be incorporated with other tools in your business. Thankfully, Facebook has built a number of standard integrations out of the box (see here). Facebook has also created an API, which allows for their platform to be integrated with other third party solutions they haven’t supported. If you’d like to explore a custom integration, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us here.
Costs of Workplace from Facebook
Testing a new software solution shouldn’t be an expensive process, particularly given the amount of time and effort that goes into even assessing its viability within your company. Facebook offers three main packages for uptake:
- Standard Version: Anyone can set it up and use it for free (featyres include News Feed, Groups, Chat, and Live Video).
- Premium Version: Free 3 month trial for companies. Then it’s $3 per user per month for companies with less than 1,000 active users (or $1 per user per month for companies with over 10,000 users).
- Non-Profits and Educational Institutions: Workplace is completely free. It’s ad free, too.
If Facebook Workplace sounds like something that you think would benefit you and your team, then visit workplace.fb.com and click the “apply” button, to begin setting up Workplace for your team as an admin.
Should I Use It?
The platform is currently being utilised by Nestle, Walmart, Spotify, Starbucks, and Heineken, so it has certainly been given the tick of approval from large companies. It may not be the right fit for you though, so ensure you give it a three month trial and ask for detailed team feedback before making the commitment.
The key problems the platform should address are not only team communication, but an inadequate feedback loop that leads to feelings of anxiety amongst staff.