Today, Facebook has announced a series of product and business updates – spanning Facebook, Workplace, Portal and Oculus – related to its vision for the future of work and how Facebook’s technology will help companies work flexibly.
– Workplace business update: Workplace will announce it has more than 5 million paid users, up from 3M in October 2019. For context, Workplace began charging customers in October 2017 and has seen an incredible growth trajectory in only three years, less than half the time of other enterprise collaboration tools.
– Workplace Rooms: A new way for coworkers and teams to stay connected, hangout and get things done when they cannot be together in person. Rooms is an easy way to host both planned and spontaneous video calls from your desktop, mobile or the Workplace app on Portal. Anyone can join, even if they don’t have a Workplace account or the app installed.
– Workplace Live video improvements: Including Live Producer, a new way to go live on Workplace from your desktop with better production value, control and interactivity; automatic live captioning in 6 languages; automatic caption translations and editing; and the ability to add a Q&A to a Live video.
– Workplace on Portal updates: Including the ability to use Portal TV for Workplace video calls, Workplace Rooms on Portal and Workplace Live on Portal – allowing our remote working customers to work more efficiently while creating meaningful work.
– Oculus for Business: An enterprise platform solution designed to streamline the deployment of virtual reality for productivity and collaboration in the workplace, is out of closed beta and now generally available. More information and insights from customers can be found here.
– Facebook Work Groups: A Facebook Group type to help people connect with their coworkers more easily, for lightweight tasks like shift swapping. There are now more than 20 million active monthly users across 170,000 active Work Groups on Facebook.
Says Will Easton, managing director, Facebook Australia and New Zealand: “The nature of work as we know it has been challenged more than ever in recent months. As Australian businesses re-emerge from the COVID crisis, high on the agenda for all business leaders is considering when and what their return to office pathway looks like. Whether it’s a staggered return or delayed until later in the year, Australian companies will want to ensure employees working from an office, the shop front, or at home remain connected. Our investments in remote presence, video technology and Facebook Workplace are squarely aimed at supporting companies and organisations to be successful in the future of remote and flexible work.
“Over the last 12 months we have seen an increasing adoption of Facebook Workplace across some of Australia’s most well known brands, including Bunnings, NAB, NIB Health, Taronga Zoo and Ambulance Victoria. We have also built a dedicated team of industry experts to help companies of all sizes.”
Says Vicky Skipp, head of growth ANZ, Workplace from Facebook: “The nature of work as we know it has been challenged more than ever in recent months. Many companies have snapped to remote working with success, by bringing employee wellbeing to the forefront and prioritising internal communication. Others haven’t made the transition as smoothly, and as a result their employees are feeling stressed and are struggling to receive critical comms from their employer. This disconnect is impacting employee wellbeing, retention and by extension, productivity and growth.
“Digital tools like Workplace from Facebook can help and are now critical for businesses who are trying to connect their entire workforces – from the C-suite to the frontlines. We know that tools like chat and video are imperative tools for leaders who need to check-in on their teams and ensure they feel connected when they are physically apart. That’s why we’re announcing features like Workplace Rooms and shipping improvements to our Portal devices, which will help connect disparate workforces.
“Today’s announcement reflects our continued focus on ensuring that Australian businesses – from established corporations to community-led non-profits – are equipped with the communication tools they need to thrive during these challenging times and for many years to come.”
Says Mike Schneider, managing director, Bunnings: “We’ve seen a significant increase in engagement and activity on Workplace during this time and it’s provided a hugely valuable platform to regularly update team often in real time. It’s also given our 45,000+ team members a voice to express their concerns and share their experiences back with us. Through constant moderation we’ve been able to gauge the concerns and common issues facing our team which importantly has helped us be able to identify and address any areas of concern for team and customers.”
Lastly, Facebook also gave a glimpse at progress toward the next computing platform and its vision for the future of work with augmented and virtual reality technologies.