Though much to the chagrin of employers, it is hardly a secret that many of us check in on Facebook happenings while at work. The social network, however, would really like to get those employers onboard with the idea of their employees using Facebook at workâ€”for work. Earlier this year Facebook announced its intentions to launch Facebook at Work, an enterprise based version of the popular online social destination. Rather than showing off pictures of the latest vacation or keeping tabs on old friends, Facebook at Work aims to put its services and features to use in the office allowing members of a company to easily and efficiently connect and collaborate online. Now Facebook has announced a new feature, a version of the company’s popular Messenger client made specifically for the Facebook at Work initiative, called Work Chat.
Facebook for Work is designed for internal use by a company. What an employee shares to their Facebook at Work account, is only seen by members of that company. Work Chat now gives employees of companies using the platform the abilities to send VoIP or text messages to co-workers individually or in group chats, as well as share multimedia like photos or videos. The Work Chat app can be downloaded from the Google Play store now, and an iOS version of the app is expected to be available soon. Work Chat is only available to those already using Facebook at Work.
The market for online work collaboration platforms is already a competitive field with big names like Microsoft and Salesforce offering products, and, of course, the darling startup Slack which has taken the productivity space by storm in recent years. While other products have had time to mature, Facebook is counting on the familiarity that practically every person on the planet already has with their social network. For most, the learning curve will be negligible because much of the Facebook at Work features mirror those that people are already proficient at using. Currently, there are some 300 companies testing Facebook at Work. Originally the freemium model product was announced to be officially released by the end of this year, but along with the launch of Work Chat, the company has pushed the expected release to sometime within the next twelve months.