Facebook at work. That might sound like an oxymoron to you, but it could become a reality soon.
A new feature, creatively named Facebook at Work, is reportedly set to launch next January and aims to increase collaboration within businesses. Employees may rejoice and their bosses may wince, but according to the Financial Times, Facebook at Work profiles would be completely separate from regular Facebook profiles.
Though there isn’t lots of information available about the feature at the moment, from what we’ve learned the service could end up as a direct competitor to LinkedIn, Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive. If the feature gets the go ahead, Facebook will have unprecedented access to both our personal and professional lives – invaluable information for any media company.
Of course, one of the main concerns regarding this tool is productivity. There is considerable evidence that social networks could, in fact, increase worker productivity. McKinsey found that social technologies increased productivity by up to 25% and according to Ipsos & Microsoft, 34% of workers surveyed from 32 countries believed that their company’s management underestimated social tools’ ability to increase productivity.
Even though the two types of profiles would be separate, would we be able to work effectively and efficiently on a site which so closely resembles what we use to communicate with our friends and family? Considering that many large companies ban or restrict the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, it would be difficult to allow Facebook at Work but not access to regular Facebook. As a result, some employees could end up not only distracted by their personal accounts but their professional accounts too. On the other hand, workers’ familiarity with the platform could be an asset and very little training would be required.
The service is set to be released in January, so until then we can only speculate. Regardless of whether or not it is a success, it will be interesting to see how Facebook blends our personal and professional lives.