Facebook at Work is Facebook's answer to work communications apps and services like Slack and Yammer. The basic level of service on Facebook at Work will be free for companies to use, but the addition of options like analytics, apps, and customer support will require payment. The service is scheduled to be rolled out in early 2016.
Christopher Heine of AdWeek has a very interesting interview with Adam Clyne, head of digital for EMEA of Weber Shandwick, the first global marketing agency to try out Facebook at Work. The company partnered with Facebook to be one of the first beta testers of the service.
While the interview is mostly boilerplate talk about team integration with the new service and the importance of collaboration (you've probably heard your IT guy use similar language at some point or another) some interesting facts about how the new service works can be gleaned.
For one thing, the most important aspect is the familiarity of the general Facebook format. Because almost everybody uses Facebook, the learning curve to mastering the new system won't be difficult for employees to overcome. If you're thinking of implementing a workplace chat/communication system like Slack for your company, but are wary about wasting tons of time in meetings and training to get everyone up to speed, Facebook at Work might be the solution.
Furthermore, the service is completely separate from a user's personal Facebook account, which is probably a relief to those who don't want to mix their business and personal lives.
Lastly, the new service, according to Clyne, is designed to be "inherently mobile." Considering how quickly the web is turning toward mobile, basing Facebook at Work in the mobile world is a forward thinking choice by Facebook.
And of course, if Facebook can further crowd out Google from the ad revenue market by getting people to use Facebook at Work instead of Gmail to communicate with their coworkers, that's all the better for them.
Facebook at work is one of many professional services and apps that the social media behemoth has been developing, testing, and releasing as of late in its quest to compete with every internet company that could possibly rival it. Now, with Facebook at Work, yet another aspect of our daily lives, online work chat, could end up being run through Facebook.
Expect more reports about what works, and what doesn't, about Facebook at Work as it is released in the coming year.