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Here's why your boss might ask you to use Facebook on the job soon

Millennials are already on Facebook at work, so the social networking service created a collaboration tool like Slack.

Here's why your boss might ask you to use Facebook on the job soon

Workplace communication is changing faster than ever with the rise of messaging apps like Slack and HipChat. Now we can add another collaboration tool to the ring: Facebook at Work.

You use Facebook when you’re at work already, so why not make a collaborative tool out of the social channel? This was what Facebook’s leadership team was undoubtedly thinking—that, and the fact that Slack is pursuing a $4 billion valuation, and HipChat’s parent software company, Atlassian, was recently valued at $5.8 billion. It all adds up to irrefutable evidence that workplace messaging apps are taking off.

Tough competition? You bet. But it’s great news for users—many of whom are millennials beginning their careers and learning these new systems of collaboration.

What are Facebook at Work’s perks?

Like your personal Facebook, Facebook at Work has a news feed, the ability to “like” others’ posts, create events and chat with others—there’s even voice and video calling. And just like Slack and HipChat, Facebook at Work allows you to create groups—say, Marketing Team or Sales Team—to communicate efficiently with people with whom you work closely.

You can also quickly search past conversations for a file or digital asset you might need, a handy feature for companies with large digital presences (that is, most companies in 2016).

And all of this can be done on mobile. Simply put, Facebook at Work intends to make work faster, more collaborative and easier to stay connected on the go.

What does Facebook at Work solve?

Facebook at Work

Photo credit: Facebook

More efficient collaboration is a big incentive for companies to use Facebook at Work. Another main reason they’ve signed up? Cost savings.

As stated on Facebook at Work’s site, “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.”

While this statement is obviously biased, it makes a lot of sense. If brands can consolidate their paid means of communication, they can cut expenses and reduce training time to one platform. In turn, they can reallocate those cost savings to other critical areas of the budget, like recruitment and human resources.

Who is using Facebook at Work? What’s the feedback so far?

Adoption has been limited thus far to a number companies that have been accepted into Facebook’s early adopter program (and don’t pay a cent as part of the beta version). The Facebook at Work site is filled with testimonials from higher-ups about how much they love the service.

“It’s incredibly intuitive, and people are already very familiar with how to use Facebook. No special instructions required,” says Tara Rush, senior vice president and corporate relations officer for Heineken USA. Randy Bragdon, regional marketing director for Coldwell Banker Residential Mortgage, notes, “It’s become our virtual water cooler in some instances.”

For Mark Tuchscherer, co-founder and president of Geeks Chicago, a web development and design firm based in Schaumburg, Illinois, who has been using Facebook at Work for about six months, the platform has been a solution for employees who are worried about exposing their personal account activity to the company. “We've instituted it so that people can interact with it in a way that they feel comfortable with,” Tuchscherer told Monster.

Marcus Adaktusson, vice president of communications for Asia for Telenor Group, a Norwegian multinational telecommunications company, says his brand recently started using Facebook at Work and he found the platform has had a positive impact on internal communications. “A large number of groups on various topics have already been created and people are sharing content from all across the globe,” he says. “As usage picks up, we will know more about how we can leverage this as an organization.”

What do millennials have to say?

Many millennials are logging on to their personal Facebook accounts at work anyway, so it makes sense for companies with young employees to express interest.

For Maggie McCombs, 26, her company, Creative Lodging Solutions, a travel services company based in Lexington, Kentucky, decided last year to start allowing employees to go on Facebook during work. In her opinion, companies don’t need the platform—they just need to start trusting their employees more.

“Using the real, original Facebook, instead of a product designed for work, shows your employees that you trust them, want their involvement and see them as the true sales/marketing tour de force of your company,” McCombs says.

Carl Forrest, a millennial and director of growth analytics of DoStuff Media, a national network of media properties in cities throughout the U.S., has his doubts about the platform as well.

“While I think it's fantastic that Facebook has entered the competition in this space, I have reservations about the Facebook at Work's stickiness—largely because most millennials and employers don't see Facebook as a productivity tool but rather as a time sink or a leisure app.”

It’s easy to imagine Facebook at Work dominating our digital social lives at work, just as Facebook has taken over our digital personal lives in the past 12 years. What will be even more interesting is to monitor the many more inevitable Slack-like enterprise social networks and collaboration tools that will spring up in the coming years.

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