Being Social At Work

What erstwhile ate into your employees’ work hours as their ‘break’ from work, would that incentivize them now to become more productive? The early adopters, particularly Indian startups of Workplace – Facebook’s clone for businesses – shares their firsthand experience with the platform.

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In the 18-month beta program, Workplace has already garnered more than 1,000 businesses as its users, with close to one lakh groups created in Workplace. India is the world’s top country using Workplace, followed by the US. The prime reason for businesses for adopting it is because of its easy to use features with negligible learning curve, thanks to Facebook’s large user base. The Workplace looks similar to the original platform, with few minor tweaks.

Among the Indian technology companies using Workplace, includes Paytm, Practo, Zomato, Delhivery, KartRocket, BookMyShow, Ibibo, Urban Ladder, GirnarSoft, Edureka etc. Workplace is separate from the personal Facebook account and hence, the information cannot be shared among the two profiles.

“Workplace has a great similarity with its parent platform, in terms of its interface and features. Hence, it is much easy to adopt. We make announcements on Workplace to celebrate successes, highlight achievements etc., at Practo,” says Shashank ND, Founder and CEO, Practo – Bengaluru-based health tech start-up, launched in 2008.

Enamored by its familiarity with Facebook, Amit Jain, CEO and Cofounder of auto portal CarDekho, also adopted Workplace around 10 months back to send updates on various activities in the company. “We wanted to get every one of our very distributed workforce across India on one common platform to interact. Workplace is perfect for this,” says Jain.

The common features in Workplace taken from Facebook, include News Feed, group chat, Live, Search Reactions, Trending posts. The new features introduced are dashboard with analytics and integrations with single sign-on, in addition to identity providers, that allow companies to more easily integrate Workplace with their existing IT systems, informs a Facebook release. Companies can also work with other companies via shared groups.

The Rise of a Goliath Given the high usability factor, Facebook foray into enterprise productivity space has sent jitters to other platforms primarily Slack and Yammer from Microsoft. The aim is also to take a slice of messaging pie from WhatsApp and even leave emails redundant.

“Slack is too technical for 60 per cent of my company’s non-technical workforce. Yammer was paid and being a startup, we were not willing to pay for it,” says Saahil Goel, Co-founder and CEO, KartRocket – a Delhi-based e-commerce enabler for small businesses.

Since the adoption of Workplace globally is still nascent, it is tough for businesses to clearly quantify how productive Workplace has been for them in terms of revenue, time efficiency etc. Nonetheless, the impact is certainly there.

“Many times it is tough to locate a particular email among other emails in the inbox. With specific groups in Workplace, it becomes productive. Hence, we have been able to save a lot of time on doing unnecessary meetings since discussions can be asynchronous. For e.g., to brainstorm on a new product launch, it is a bit of a task to inform everyone about it, and then sit and discuss,” says Lovleen Bhatia, Co-founder and CEO, Edureka – Bengaluru-based online learning platform.

Currently, Workplace is available free for three-month trial period and whether start-ups will continue using it depends on the added features and usability if offered by Facebook.