Facebook Workplace: Genuinely Connecting Teams or Another Social Distraction?

Given our use and nigh on obsession with social media, it’s of no surprise that multiple media giants and technology vendors have attempted to migrate this method of communication into the workplace. The justification is that it’s quick, familiar and prompts internal problem solving and praising of achievements across businesses. Plus the providers could likely charge for it; what’s not to like?!

We’ve seen Microsoft try it by acquiring Yammer a few years back (thoughts on its success on the back of a postcard). Now Facebook, the standard bearer in social networking is dipping its size nines into the pool with Workplace. Facebook presents Workplace as, “Change the way you work. Connect everyone in your company and turn ideas into action”. All for as little as $1 per user, per month.

The notion of an ‘enterprise social network’ for use by colleagues is a slightly strange one to me. Use of normal social media platforms are viewed as inappropriate during work time as it’s a distraction. Employees may well be often talking to friends and colleagues when they should be working. Social media is a facilitator for distraction. Much as people previously used emails or the good old fashioned water cooler. Is Workplace going to be another forum for people to not be working and talking to others?

Some supporters of Workplace say it saves the communication mish-mash of firing dozens of emails between groups. Why not sit down with a coffee and have a good old-fashioned meeting? Despite being an increasingly digital business, we never underestimate the value of sitting down and talking through things. It’s where our best campaigns and concepts are born.

At the end of the day, why do people like social media? Is it the ease of use, the convenience? No, it’s the fact their friends are there and they see fun, interesting content. And Workplace will never have that, as it will always (in theory) be about work. People don’t like talking about work, they like cat videos and selfies. And for me, this will ultimately be Workplace’s downfall. Nice try Facebook, but the phrase square peg round hole comes to mind.

Written by Conor Bant, Digital Communications Manager

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