I’ve been in Dubai for a few days, working from the creative co-working space at Alserkal Avenue, and soaking up the kind of sun you just can’t get in London.
And the whole time I’ve been here, I couldn’t stop thinking about what’s next for companies on Workplace by Facebook.
Perhaps the sun has been going to my head. Visiting Dubai in October when you live in London will do that, right?
Or perhaps it’s the many discussions I’ve had lately with existing and prospective customers of Workplace.
They tend to start something like this:
“So we’re on Workplace, and we love it. But…”
And they end with either:
“We’ve seen excellent engagement, but we think we could do more with it – how can you help?’
Or “For this reason, we need to revive our Workplace community – how do we do that?’
At Coolr, we like to think of a Workplace launch as the start – not the end.
You wouldn’t bring everyone in for a meeting without an agenda.
So why would you bring everyone onto a collaborative comms platform without a plan?
Just like any other enterprise platform, Workplace is what you make of it.
The launch is day one. There’s so much more to come, and you’ll need a plan if you want to make it work.
So how do we break it down?
Well, we think of a post-launch Workplace journey in terms of 3 simple stages:
Communication, Collaboration, and Configuration.
And if you can get them right, you’ll see exactly how much Workplace can do for your company.
One of the main use cases for Workplace in any organisation is to streamline communication across the business.
Broadcasting those business-critical messages out to your workforce.
But also getting that valuable bottom-up feedback on those messages.
Think about that recent all-company email. Would you reply-all to share what you think about the content of that message?
Not likely. You like your job, and you want to keep it, thank-you-very-much.
If you want your people to dive straight into Workplace, you need to bring them all together and make them feel comfortable communicating from the very beginning.
You need a place where the whole company can have a single dialogue. Where everyone can have a voice, and hear as many voices as possible.
As a bare minimum, you can do this by creating a company-wide group as a baseline. Next level up (or down, as the case may be) is department-level groups with focused comms for those specific audiences.
Think of it is as the ice-breaker. The casual mixer moment at the start of a training course.
Some people might be happy to announce themselves. Some people might be happy just listening.
But what’s important is that they’re all there. Together. Communicating.
This is an excellent place to start with Workplace. And you’re able to see value from day one.
This is where we really get people working together.
Whether the discussion is structured by department, project, client, or purpose – whatever your optimal way of working as a company is, it’s where work gets done.
It’s where teams – in the same office or in different countries – work on projects, share methods and results, and get to know each other better.
It’s where colleagues welcome new joiners.
It’s where previously disconnected hourly workers organise their shifts.
It’s where things happen that wouldn’t happen before. Or at least not as fluidly.
People can share updates and obstacles, get fast responses to pressing questions, and keep all the important information in one common space – so any late additions to these groups can quickly catch up.
This is the next step along in the Workplace journey. And it’s such a valuable one.
With your people communicating and collaborating, the final step is to get some of Workplace’s more advanced features working for your company.
This is the configuration stage, where you can set up and tweak your Workplace community to match how your company uses it.
There are two main ways of getting Workplace to do the hard work for you: Integration and Automatio
Integration might sound like a technical term – but the concept is simple. It’s about getting the apps and software your company uses linked up to Workplace.
Let’s take file sharing as an example:
You’re probably already using something like SharePoint, OneDrive, Google Drive, or DropBox – or maybe even all of them at once.
And if you’ve got different teams using different file-sharing platforms, things can get messy when they’re trying to collaborate.
But once you link these platforms to your Workplace, your team won’t have to mess around with switching software or pasting external links. They’ll be able to browse and share content and live previews directly within Workplace itself.
The next stage is Automation – which just means getting a piece of software to carry out the repetitive tasks that are eating into your people’s time.
With automated chat bots (that’s short for ‘robot’ – but it’s nothing scary), Workplace can produce data and answer questions on demand, freeing up more of your employees’ time so they can focus on their high-level tasks.
Let’s take HR as an example:
HR teams can sometimes spend all day fielding payroll and holiday queries from other employees.
It’s not much fun, and it’s a big waste of their time.
But with a Workplace Chat Bot that’s linked to your HR software, employees can get alerted each time their payslip is ready. They’ll get infographics on their monthly deductions, and access to their holiday balance – and your HR team can now spend their time on what’s really important.
Workplace currently has around 50 off-the-shelf solutions – from file sharing and surveys to project management and HR tools.
And that list is growing by the week.
These advanced configurations aren’t just about technical shortcuts.
They’re about keeping everyone in the conversation. On a single, intuitive platform.
They’re about streamlining your company’s workflows. Eliminating repetitive tasks. Enabling your best people to do their best work.
Getting Workplace to work for your company doesn’t have to be difficult.
But it does have to be done right.
If you’re ready to see how these three stages can disrupt and revolutionise the way your people work, then you’re in luck: