Desktop computer showing facebook workplace on screen

Since its launch more than a decade ago, company bosses have had mixed emotions when it comes to the use of Facebook in the workplace. Early debates were mostly centred around the validity of using the platform as a marketing tool … but now the conversation has entered a new era. What about using Facebook as an internal comms tool?

Introducing Workplace, a private replica of the public site, which has been re-coded to make it secure for business. Although the data is managed differently, the core user experience remains exactly the same – news feeds, messenger, groups, events. It’s hoped that familiarity for the platform will result in Workplace being a successful internal comms tool.

Sounds good, but what are the challenges? If you’re used to communicating internally via an intranet or email newsletter, going ‘social’ is a whole new ballgame …. and the platform alone won’t solve your internal communications challenges – you’re going to need a plan. What communication do you want to foster? What information do you want shared? How will you encourage even the most apathetic to participate? How will you manage inappropriate activities?

Social media is faster, open, responsive and significantly more measurable. Apply that to a business setting and what can we expect? At best, interaction – good and bad – from across the business that demonstrates interest, enthusiasm, debate and commitment to the brand. At worst … disengagement, or a black hole of silence! 

It feels like an exciting idea but it raises interesting questions about the etiquette of being ‘social’ in the workplace. If the hope is that people will engage because it’s familiar then that could bring its own problems. Where are the boundaries? What makes social communication great is also what makes it tedious and infuriating – the opportunity to instantly share everything anywhere, anytime. Do we want to bring this into the business context? Your boss will see you’ve read their message but not replied, comments about a projects’ failure will live forever and that picture from the office party that you probably shouldn’t have posted was instantly seen by the entire business … so much to consider.