With many businesses set to re-align their processes around remote working, even in the wake of the pandemic, Facebook Workplace has seen a significant boost in growth, with millions of paid users now signed on to use the Facebook-for-business model in order to maintain connection with colleagues.
And today, Facebook has announced some new enhancements for its professional platform, including an updated Safety Check feature to keep tabs on employee safety, and live video enhancements to facilitate more presenters in a stream.
First off, on Safety Check - as explained by Facebook's Alexandru Voica:
"Safety Center is an evolution of Safety Check that will provide increased functionality and a new UX to help organizations check on employee safety, manage communications during incidents or issue Travel Advisories to employees during the pandemic."
As you can see in these examples, the new Safety Check will provide a quick, easy way for employees to check in during a crisis - which could become increasingly important when you have various staff working in different locations.
The responses are then displayed on the Workplace platform, providing more transparency over the impacts.
That could also make it easier to track employee availability in different regions as impacted by the various lockdowns and COVID-19 mitigation efforts, eliminating downtime in waiting for email response.
In addition to this, Workplace users will now also be able to run live video streams with multiple presenters:
"Enabling companies to share information and easily bring together different voices and internal or external speakers in one broadcast."
Workplace added video Rooms and the capacity to broadcast from desktop PCs, or even your home TV set (via Portal) last May, while it also added a new Q & A post option to help improve internal communications - including up and downvotes on comments - back in May (you can see the up and downvotes on the comment below the video panel in the example above).
Streaming with multiple presenters on the main platform adds to these elements, providing another way to connect and collaborate from multiple remote work stations.
As noted, Workplace saw significant growth last year, and looks set to get even bigger in 2021, especially with Facebook removing its free plan for users back in December. That will mean that a lot of organizations that are already using Workplace will be forced to switch across, which should see its paid usage numbers rise significantly from the 5 million that the company reported in May last year.
Will the lack of a free trial option slow Workplace's momentum?
It seems that, with the increasing WFH shift, and the familiarity of Facebook tools for internal collaboration, it should see sustained growth. And as more companies come on board, it could become a more significant enterprise player, providing a simple, easy to use option for internal connection and productivity.