Facebook at Work

HR Consulting, Employment Advice, Business Training, The People Effect

Written by:
Steve Punter


Facebook. Love it or hate it, 2.3 billion people – a third of the world’s population- now use it.

In the same way that Facebook has been largely responsible for a change in the way many of us communicate in our personal lives, now it seems that Facebook is going to create a similar change in the way we communicate within our organisations. Beta testing of ‘Facebook at Work’ is complete and many enterprises are now experimenting with what it can do for their employee teams for internal communications purposes. The recent acquisition of ‘Wit.Ai’ and ‘QuickFire’ – speech recognition and video creation respectively –  by Facebook for inclusion and integration into Facebook At Work, gives the app a full range of communication tools for employees to use, within the office and across the company’s network – including internationally.

For those concerned about misuse or time-wasting, it’s not ‘connected’ to Facebook itself – it’s ‘enterprise-only’, enterprise-specific. Employees cannot access their personal Facebook account through Facebook At Work.

Then there’s the Cloud in all its different variations and versions. For some of us used to local systems and hard drives that you could actually see and touch, it’s a bit scary to think about having your work residing on a server in some other part of the world. For even single users like myself, Microsoft and Apple and Google now make it possible either for free or at minimal cost to have all files ‘in the cloud’. (Office 365 is $16 per month for up to 5 devices and access to the latest versions of all the usual Office programs).

It’s not uncommon for (in our case) an HR Manager to have a desktop computer in the office, an iPad or similar that goes with them everywhere in the building and home, and a smart phone.  To be able to access an employee file or start a report on the desktop, then sit in a cafe having a coffee while working on the same file on the iPad, subsequently emailing that document from your smartphone while on the train going home – that kind of mobility is appealing. What used to be solid markers delineating working hours and place of work are fading away. Technology is changing the meaning of ‘workplace’.

It makes telecommuting, and/or flexible working hours so much more do-able when the operation is not confined to a desktop computer in an office. Trade Me Jobs and Seek make it easier to advertise and then screen applicants all on-line. You can list a vacancy and be screening initial applications (from anywhere in the world) within hours. GPS tracking of vehicles, buses and trains, to know where those vehicles (and the employees) are, to be able to measure the effectiveness of time and travel and employee hours – these are all useful metrics in the drive for ‘effectiveness’ rather than ‘efficiency’.

In learning & development, on-line learning systems are not new, but they are changing at a terrific pace. Just before Xmas, I put together a short video-based training session for one of my clients using Prezi, Screenflow and Vimeo, hosted it on Vimeo’s site, and within 24 hours all the target staff had logged on at their convenience, watched it, and were discussing it in the forum. Last but certainly not least, ‘podcasting’ – apparently, 2015 was ‘The Year of the Podcast’. I suspect it has only increased in usage. I have my toe in the water, experimentally. What about you?


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