Everyone uses Facebook to connect with friends and family, even at work when one is typically supposed to be working. Now a new program may allow people to legitimately use Facebook for work purposes. The company is looking to introduce a new office version of the highly popular social media platform in an effort to compete with other business centered sites such as LinkedIn and Google.
The new office version of the social media platform is being called Facebook at Work and the program will offer users the same functionality of the current site but with additional capabilities as well. The current features that will be present in the office edition include the newsfeed, the ability to send messages and group pages. The additional features that will be offered include collaborative tools that allow workers to jointly work on a project. This new Facebook will give businesses the ability to have their employees work on documents together from anywhere. Another feature of the work edition is that it will be completely separate from the personal accounts. An individual will therefore have a personal page as well as professional page.
There is currently a pilot program of Facebook at Work which is being used and tested in London. At this time the current edition of the program does not have advertising hosting as part of the platform. For many workers, Facebook is already a major part of their work life. Facebook employees currently use the social media platform to connect with other coworkers internally. By using groups and other current features employees are able to get answers to questions from the correct department in an expedited manner.
Mike Rognlien is Facebook’s chief of learning and development. When he discussed the new option to offer a social media platform for the office one thing that he found to be extremely valuable was the connection that coworkers develop. Rognlien believes that having employees that get to know each other on a more personal level allows for a better level of communication. His belief is that this interaction will reduce potential friction in the workplace.
For companies that discourage the use of social media, there are still signs that by using sites such as Facebook, employees that connect form better relationships with each other. Research which was conducted by VitalSmarts, shows that many businesses are not tapping into the potential of social media sites. The use of these platforms allows employees all over the world to interact with each other and stay connected. The hope is that by bringing an office edition of social media, management will see that productivity is actually increased by using the program.
With the addition of Facebook for work, the company is continuing to expand their offerings to the public. An office edition of social media is just one more step designed to propel the company into the future and keep people interested and active on the platform. This is only one new addition for the company which is also hoping to add a buy button to the site to help people make purchases directly from whatever page they are currently viewing.
Opinion by Kimberley Spinney
Photo by Maurizio Pesce – Flickr License