Workplace by Facebook: First Impressions

Workplace by Facebook

If there’s an industry that is drowning in tools, it’s ours. From the ad management platforms themselves, to “advanced” bid management, analytics, social media, programmatic, CRM tools … the digital marketing industry is buried in often overpriced & over-hyped tools. That being said, there’s absolutely no denying the need to have some system in place to keep track of all the projects & tasks we sift thru on a daily basis. Furthermore, communicating with co-workers & teams on projects in an efficient manner can often be an immense challenge, which is why tools like Basecamp & Slack have been booming. Now we have another, and IMO, very interesting newcomer to the “collaborate & let’s get things done more efficiently” market:

Workplace by Facebook.

So what is it exactly? Yes, it is basically Facebook for work, but …

Change the way you work.

Connect everyone in your company and turn ideas into action. Through group discussion, a personalised News Feed, and voice and video calling, work together and get more done.

Workplace is an ad-free space, separate from your personal Facebook account.

As an agency we’ve relied mostly on Basecamp to help manage projects, tasks & to-dos, internally but also with clients. I don’t think there’s a single person here who is in love with it. But the fact of the matter is, once you start using these tools with some level of consistency and understand what it’s good for and not, it’s really difficult to move on to something else. Herein lies the #1 reason Workplace by Facebook may stick: there’s basically no learning curve. Almost every single one of us knows Facebook and for the most part, Workplace by Facebook emulates that experience.

So, does Workplace have a legitimate shot at replacing the likes of Basecamp and Slack? Based on my very short time using it, I would say yes, but only with a few small, but very important updates.

Pros and Cons: 

  • It’s Facebook. Whether we like how the newsfeed functions or not, we know it how it works. Like I already mentioned, the learning curve here is basically non-existent which makes on-boarding new users really a non-issue.
  • Groups: again, not new in the Facebook world, but on Workplace they are the reason it works. There are four basic group types, all pretty self-explanatory.
    • Teams & Projects
    • Open Discussions
    • Announcements
    • Social & More

Workplace by Facebook groups

Currently there are no ways to create sub-groups within larger groups, which I find unfortunate, but maybe that will change.

What’s pretty slick is that you can quickly post to any group directly from newsfeed by simply selecting one of the groups you belong to … there’s no need to navigate into a group first.

  • Search. It’s fast and works. Search for groups, documents, notes, users, whatever.
  • Chat. Again, tried and true. If you’re already using Skype (as we are) or some other chat platform, it may be hard to justify the switch, but I’m guessing a desktop version for Workplace will come out soon as the current, browser-based solution isn’t enough to warrant the switch
  • Calendar. Yes, you can create events, but the current solution is, IMO, not conducive to the work world and was basically copied from Facebook. There’s no easy way to create reminders or tasks (and assign those tasks to others). For organizations that put on a large number of events, this is probably just fine
  • Saving files & creating simple documents. By no means is it going to replace Word, but you can quickly jot down (with some basic formatting) meeting notes, tasks, etc that will appear in the feed and in turn be easily searchable. You can also attached files to posts, but you’re limited to 100MB.
  • Company dashboard. This is where admins have almost complete control over access levels, who’s active (or not) on the platform and a slew of other reports

Will Workplace by Facebook take down the likes of Basecamp or Slack? It’s unlikely in its current iteration, but I also don’t know if that’s its purpose. The way Groups works is fantastic. The benefits for any company, large ones especially, to easily and QUICKLY share updates across the organization and collect feedback from employees pretty much instantly are very obvious.

I’m excited to see where this goes and so for the next three months we’ll try and get as much out of our free trial as possible. After that … we’ll have to determine if the price tag is worth it:

  • $3 per user up to 1k ACTIVE users (how many actually used it that month)
  • $2 for 1001 – 10k users
  • $1 for 10k+ users

Are you on Workplace by Facebook? If so, let us know what you think of it.






Ian Mackie About the author
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