With more people switching to working from home amid the COVID-19 lockdowns, Facebook is adding some new features to its professional Workplace platform, catering to both rising demand and usage trends.
First off, Facebook is adding a new Knowledge Library where businesses will be able to keep company resources on the platform.
As explained by Facebook:
"Knowledge Library is a single place to create, store and share static content, like working from home advice or HR and expenses policies, so employees can discover and easily access the information they need at home or on the go."
Facebook says that the average employee wastes over nine hours per week searching for critical company information "like health and safety guidance or benefits information". The Knowledge Library aims to provide a solution for this, making it easy to access key documentation as required.
Facebook's also adding a new 'Draft for' option that will enable employees to draft posts on behalf of executives, which they can subsequently review, approve and publish from the Workplace platform.
Facebook says that this addresses a core problem with remote working - while drafting and reviewing documents is easier in a physical office, where you can discuss changes face-to-face as you make them, being in separate locations adds a level of complexity to the process. Draft for aims to streamline this process.
Facebook's also adding a new 'Campaigns' messaging analytics tool for internal communications, which will include stats on reach, engagement and sentiment for internal company updates.
The idea is to help internal communicators better focus their messaging:
"For instance, with Campaigns you can publish multiple posts on COVID-19 or ‘working from home’ then look at the impact on employee morale to ensure you’re providing the most relevant information. Campaigns will be available in May."
The addition of sentiment analysis is interesting, potentially helping to better guide internal messaging, though measuring such is always a difficult proposition.
Facebook's also adding a new Safety Alerts feature to Workplace to communicate relevant incidents without requiring a response, while its also rolling out a new Q & A post option to help improve internal communications.
The most notable addition in this post format is the up and downvote option on comments, which is designed to help ensure the most important concerns among employees are being raised in relevant sessions.
Facebook tested similar on its main platform back in 2018, but it was quickly scrapped. The usage of an upvote option makes a little more sense in this specific application, but the addition of such could also indicate that Facebook is still considering the idea for broader usage - which would also gain more weight if the function sees a lot of use on Workplace posts.
And lastly, Facebook is also adding its new 'Care' Reaction into Workplace for use on internal updates, while it's also adding new profile frames, enabling users to share support for COVID-19 related causes.
These are some interesting additions, and with Workplace usage rising, they'll no doubt see significant use, helping to guide Facebook's future development of the platform.
And with most people now working from home, no doubt more businesses are also considering Workplace as a potential option to help keep their teams connected. Last October, Facebook reported that Facebook Workplace has reached 3 million paying business subscribers worldwide, with more than a third of those being added in 2019 alone.
If anything, the COVID-19 shutdowns will accelerate the broader shift to remote working, which will provide more opportunity for platforms like Workplace to build a bigger presence, using the social tools we're already familiar with to keep us aligned on workplace tasks.
The new Workplace Q&A posts are available from today, while the Care Reaction and Profile Frames will be available next month. Workplace Safety Alerts will be rolling out in June.