Workplace by Facebook boasts three million users in three years

Facebook’s business collaboration platform gains traction and announces software updates

Facebook's business communication platform Workplace has grown by one million users since February, bringing its subscriber total up to three million, the company announced at its annual Workplace-focused Flow conference.

The company's quickly-expanding user base reflects that Workplace is learning how to compete with other business collaboration software providers, including Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Workplace is also rolling out updates that better target frontline employees (those who are often in the field and without email addresses), gauge worker sentiment, and make video collaboration easier, proving that the company is learning to cater to and anticipate the needs of businesses.

Workplace has been segmented off from its corporate parent, so Facebook's public relations, data, and regulatory challenges won't necessarily transfer over. The platform also gives companies full control, doesn't take corporate data, and ticks certification boxes for security and data management.

There are currently three different tiers of Workplace software available: a free subscription, an advanced subscription for $4 per person per month, and an enterprise plan for $8 per person per month. A $1.50 plan for frontline workers is forthcoming.

At Flow, the Workplace team detailed a handful of upgrades to its software, including a Workplace app for Facebook's Portal smart video screen, through which Workplace users can make audio and video calls using Portal's smart camera to make collaboration more natural.

Updates also include an AI and machine learning tool that will facilitate automatic captioning on Workplace videos and generate transcripts.

Workplace sets itself apart from other collaboration tools with its employee engagement and experience software, Insights, which can gauge sentiment through functions such as 'like' buttons and emojis, much like a social media platform. Based on this, Workplace can provide analytics on how workers feel and help improve employee engagement, which can boost productivity, lower rates of employee turnover, and improve customer service.

Frontline workers in particular stand to benefit from corporate collaboration via Workplace. These employees make up 80% of all staff, according to head of Americas at Workplace Christine Trodella, but are typically left out of company discourse due to their lack of an email address. Workplace, which is accessible even without email, opens a route for those employees to join the conversation and connect without training costs.

"The C suite needs to connect everyone, not just knowledge workers," said Facebook vice president and head of Workplace, Karandeep Anand.

Anand sees augmented and virtual reality tools becoming a part of Workplace in the future, but the company's immediate next steps are to expand its customer success teams and enterprise sales infrastructure. Workplace also aims to continue upgrading its video conferencing tools to provide the most accessible, connective services possible and solidify its place in the crowded landscape of business collaboration software.

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