With more people working from home, internal networking platforms have seen a big rise in usage, and a beneficiary of that growth has been Facebook Workplace, its enclosed, enterprise network system which provides familiar Facebook tools for internal collaboration.
Indeed, Workplace went from three million paid users in October last year to five million in May, with new features like video chat rooms, groups, and connection with Portal home devices providing beneficial options for collaboration when managing remote teams.
And Facebook is clearly happy with that growth, as today, The Social Network has announced that it's removing its free access option, which it offered, initially, to help boost Workplace take-up.
As explained by Facebook:
"In order to maintain the high quality product experience people expect from Workplace, we have decided to retire our free plan, Workplace Essential, from February 10, 2021."
Facebook will now push all businesses on the Essential plan to move over to its paid options, which could see Workplace add a lot more subscribers very fast. I mean, if you've already come to rely on the platform, you're probably not likely to switch it off, unless the pricing is way beyond your reach.
For those businesses that do up their plan, Facebook says that it will offer additional features:
"Such as Insights and single sign-on (SSO), as well as access to live chat support."
For those that don't want to make the switch, Facebook will provide tools to help system admins download their Workplace data to keep their internal information secure.
As noted, Workplace has seen significant growth in 2020, and with the WFH trend opening many organizations' eyes to the possibility of remote teams, many are predicting that this will be the future of work, at least in some form. That will likely see Workplace continue to expand - and if it can add more paid subscribers, and demonstrate its growth, that could also help to boost its prospects.
Facebook says it's also working on new features for Workplace, including employee wellbeing tools, improved live video options and more.
It seems like a good time to make the switch, and capitalize on the WFH shift. And that could help Facebook build another key element within its ever-expanding empire.