Facebook is finally giving everyone an excuse to use Facebook at work all day.
The social network announced on Monday that any business can now sign up for its Workplace enterprise tool, which was previously called Facebook at Work.
Workplace is Facebook’s first serious foray to the lucrative enterprise market, and it’s a direct competitor to services like HipChat and Slack.
More than 1,000 businesses already use Workplace, which is essentially a stripped down version of Facebook for work colleagues, as part of the private beta program Facebook launched about a year ago.
Now Facebook has opened up Workplace for any company to use, revealed its tiered pricing model, and announced some new features.
How it works
The easiest way to understand Workplace is that it’s identical to how Facebook already works, expect that you can only communicate with the people at your company.
The ad-free website and mobile app has all of the main components of Facebook, including an algorithm-driven News Feed, events, groups, and messages. Employees can login separately from their personal Facebook account to see what’s happening within their teams or across the entire organisation, poll their colleagues, comment and like posts, and message people directly.
You don’t “friend” people on Workplace like the normal version of Facebook. You can instead follow them to see what they post.
Facebook created this work version of its social network after using it internally for years, Facebook HR chief Lori Goler told Business Insider during a recent interview.
“What we found is that as people really want to have a lot more visibility and transparency in the organisation, Facebook is a great way to do that,” she said.
On Monday Facebook announced a number of new features for Workplace that will be available in the coming weeks:
- Businesses on Workplace can now create multi-company groups. These allow employees from different organisations to easily communicate on shared projects.
- Any employee can shoot a live video for others to watch in their Workplace. Facebook said it created this feature after hearing that company leaders wanted any easy way to broadcast to their employees.
- The messaging component of Workplace now supports audio and video calling.
- You can see the most talked about, trending posts within your Workplace.
As previously rumoured, Facebook has a tiered, monthly pricing model for Workplace that’s based on monthly active users. It works so that a businesses pays less as more employees use Workplace every month.
- $3 per first 1,000 monthly active users
- $2 per 1,001 — 10,000 monthly active users
- $1 per 10,000+ monthly active users
Nonprofits and educational institutions will be able to use Workplace for free.
Partners and competition
Facebook also announced the Workplace Partners Program on Monday, which includes companies like Deloitte and Microsoft that are committed to integrating their software and services with Workplace.
Cloud storage provider Box is also part of Facebook’s Partners Program and will let people host and share files in Workplace with its service in the coming months.
In a recent interview with Business Insider, Box CEO Aaron Levie said that he doesn’t see Workplace as a direct competitor to enterprise chat tools like Slack, but rather a complimentary service that “organisations have long sought out.”
“I think that there’s broader experience around being able to communicate and connect with an enterprise, and that’s the experience they’re going after,” Levie said of Facebook. “I think there’s a much wider service area than just the real time communication space.”
“All of this is momentum building for a new era of enterprise software and technology, which is incredibly exciting to see,” he said.