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Can Facebook really be the new internal company system?

Posted by Emma Sandham on 4th October 2016

Facebook as a tool at work? Somehow I can’t imagine the day-to-day status updates, posting pictures of Saturday night antics and sharing hilariously inappropriate videos in the online presence of your most senior work colleagues.

As addictive as Facebook is, how would productivity fair if it was introduced at work? Well, it won’t quite be the same social platform we know and love (or hate?). ‘Facebook at Work’ is a slightly more refined proposition, set to launch next month as an enterprise communication and collaboration network for companies.

Set to compete with rivals such as Slack, Convo and Microsoft’s Yammer, the main principle for Facebook at Work is to provide a ‘Work Feed’ for the exchanges of ideas, opinions, visions and task-related communications. It will offer the usual features of other collaboration tools such as messenger and the likes of Slack, whereby you can directly message colleagues and set up sub-sector groups, with conference calling and video features built in.

The idea of posting your messages as a Facebook ‘status’ is the unique feature, as important posts such as announcements and tasks can be pinned and will remain in the Facebook feed without getting buried in thousands of messages.

Facebook at Work requires you to make a new profile, this one being the ‘professional’ version of your personal account, keeping all of your content separate and avoiding anyone seeing your embarrassing photos from five years ago.

The professional profile works in a similar way to LinkedIn, by which you become part of a global professional network. The notion of having both your personal and professional profiles in the same software is appealing, however it could struggle to catch on when there is already so many popular platforms in place.

Facebook is renowned as an addictive space where almost anything goes and you can publish whatever nonsense you wish to the newsfeed. With plenty of other internal network software options readily available to implement into organisations, it is difficult to see how Facebook could be of greater benefit.

Not to mention, with the general consensus of Facebook as the main ‘social’ media platform, and a potential productivity killer and means of procrastination, questions have to be raised as to whether professional companies will take the software seriously. Are users more likely to stray from their work profiles onto their personal accounts, halting productivity at work?

Only time will tell whether Facebook at Work will be a success or if it will just be the same glorified platform for people to share the status of their animal’s welfare, or even what they had for supper, with a new audience.

Emma Sandham