Facebook has been working on a version of its platform for use as an intranet. Known as Facebook at Work. But what is it like? Pretty good says one digital comms officer.
by Dave Thackeray
Wellbeing charity Inspiring healthy lifestyles this week rolled out Facebook at Work. The organisation's web and social media officer Dave Thackeray posted this update on a work in progress...
As a health charity with fingers in plenty of nutritious pies, we have to be many different things to many different people.
On any given day we're running dozens of different wellbeing activities, operating lots of fitness facilities and discussing ways to improve the nation's health with our local authority partners.
There are few jobs so satisfying as helping someone see the benefit of focusing on health, not only to themselves but their families.
And with so many teams devoted to reducing community dependency on the NHS, it's hugely important that we all have a handle on what everyone else is doing so we can be as efficient and productive as possible.
Historically the challenge has always been staying up-to-date with every Inspiring healthy lifestyles project across the country. You can't expect everyone to be on the end of a phone when you need them, and despite technology improving all the time, we hadn't found a system making it easy for us to share ideas and develop new initiatives despite having a team of incredibly talented and passionate people.
I say hadn't, because I think we have.
A long time ago I was chatting with one of my close contacts at Facebook. They were building a corporate edition of the world's favourite social network.
It was a long way away, I was told, but it was something that would definitely improve productivity and collaboration. Everyone knew how to use Facebook, she said. Getting people involved would be a cinch.
We've all heard how challenging it is to build an internal communications platform that works. Of course you can BUILD one. But getting it embedded in people's daily lives? Good luck with that.
Let's cut to the chase. On Monday, we launched Facebook at Work, the culmination of years of development for an enterprise audience.
I'm led to believe we're the first charity in the north of England lucky enough to test drive Facebook at Work. There are 500 organisations worldwide designated early adopters.
I've worked for Inspiring healthy lifestyles for more than three years. We've launched some amazing facilities, and helped thousands of people enjoy happier, healthier lives. But digitally, I think this has the potential to be the most transformative initiative of my tenure.
In those four days since we launched, 75% of the team at our Greater Manchester headquarters have signed up. 1 in 3 have downloaded the mobile app. And the conversation has been both deep and light, featuring some hugely insightful discussion on pretty meaty topics as well as sharing the fun of hosting our annual National Play Day event at Haigh Woodland Park which this year welcomed more than 5,000 families through the gates.
Our values are innovation, collaboration and enrichment. Facebook at Work reinforces those values by opening team members' minds to the gamut of services and activities we offer.
One of our partners is Wigan Council - widely regarded, and justifiably so, as one of the country's most progressive local authorities. With a trophy cabinet loaded down with digital awards, this council has been a huge inspiration in helping us get much more technologically savvy and Facebook at Work gave us the opportunity to demonstrate not only our modern approach to internal communications but also how staff across the charity could work more closely together for the betterment of its communities without considering our geographical diversity an obstacle to progress.
Facebook at Work is very similar in functionality to the vanilla version offered to almost 1.7 billion people across the world. Everyone has a news feed which is populated by posts from those you follow and groups you belong. You can chat to your colleagues, set up your own groups, and the same technology powering Facebook makes searching for information a cinch.
We're rolling out Facebook at Work across the entire charity in the next few weeks. We launched at HQ since here we have a representation of all service areas and this strategy gives us a chance to kick the tyres and have the platform locked and loaded for the rest of our team.
In a nutshell, Facebook at Work is for Inspiring healthy lifestyles fast becoming a perfect hybrid of social collaboration and employee communication. Take the best bits of staff newsletters and your neglected intranet, give them a modern makeover with mobile apps baked in for that 'Martini' magic of being available anywhere, anytime, any place, and you have Facebook at Work.
You can find out much more about Facebook at Work at the official website: https://work.fb.com/
I also wrote my thoughts about launching Facebook at Work on my LinkedIn profile. You can check out that article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-were-launching-facebook-work-dave-thackeray
I'd love to chat if you're considering Facebook at Work. Find me @davethackeray on Twitter.
Dave Thackeray is web and social media officer at the Inspiring Healthy Livestyles charity.
Picture credit: Nasa / Flickr