Could Facebook go from time-waster to productivity booster?
If Mark Zuckerberg has his way, then you could be using Facebook in the office just as much as you would at home.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook at Work is a new segment of the company targeting enterprise institutions and their communication methods. In other words, Facebook is attempting to be the go-to service for talking to co-workers.
The service launched with a select few companies in a pilot program, and your personal and professional profiles are kept completely separate, so you won’t have to worry about embarrassing Christmas party photos showing up on your personal feed.
Facebook at Work doesn’t feature any ads, and doesn’t collect any information on its users, which allows it to skirt what would result in potential privacy violations if it tracked any employees’ activities.
While the Facebook at Work apps are available in the App Store for iOS and Android, you won’t be able to download them and set up your own company just yet.
There’s been no announcement concerning pricing or availability, but you can apply to enroll your company in Facebook at Work here.
On average, the company had over 864 million active users in September, so its position as a social networking powerhouse is undisputed. But in the workplace, that’s a different story. Facebook is classically associated with slacking off at work, and is considered a timesink by most.
According to a study done by Professor of Psychology at California State University Larry Rosen, Ph.D., groups of students checking Facebook only once were found to be less productive during studying periods.
Facebook isn’t the only company trying to shake up the way businesses communicate internally. Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield’s hit workplace app Slack is the rage among startups, and even entrenched companies like eBay, Adobe, and Dell. So far the company has raised over $60 million in venture capital funding, according to WIRED.
Google’s own enterprise software, Google Apps, offers both competing and dissimilar services, making it an alternative to using something like Facebook at Work.
Microsoft’s Outlook, the email client synonymous with corporate environments, could be the one most threatened by the recent uptick in alternatives to workplace email. Slack, Facebook at Work, and other services hell-bent on destroying the archaic email are cropping up and gaining traction in corporate environments.
Microsoft and its Office 365 platform are available on multiple devices to compete with the competition, but only time will tell if it’s enough to stop the onslaught.