The chat application Slack, which is being used in workplaces all over the country as a communication and collaboration tool, has been a huge success. Facebook plans to try and enter that market by launching a chat service called Facebook at Work.
However, there are some large differences between Slack and Facebook at Work, not the least of which is that Facebook at Work is just like standard Facebook, except it looks more serious because it has a gray interface.
Facebook at Work offers functionality similar to regular Facebook as well: A user posts a status update and colleagues comment and/or like the post.
Slack, on the other hand, is much more like a chat room. Conversations happen quickly and can be geared to an entire workplace or specific channels for different teams.
Facebook launched a beta of Facebook at Work in 2015, and more than 450 companies are currently trying it out. More than 60,000 companies are already on its wait list.
Unlike the standard Facebook, Facebook at Work has no ads. Users don’t use their own personal Facebook accounts in Facebook at Work; they get a separate account for their work use. Users can toggle between Facebook at Work and the personal version of Facebook.
So far, the primary challenge companies have faced with Facebook at Work is getting users to use it like a chat application and break out of the behavior common in the personal version.
“The biggest challenge for us is taking it from the social ‘fun’ experience to doing actually work on it,” says Ben Sand, VP of global operations at Kenshoo, a company that has been using Facebook at Work for about a year. “I would be lying if I said that we were not struggling with that even today.”
Facebook is planning to charge for Facebook at Work, but it hasn’t said how much it will charge at this time. According to Business Insider, companies have been quoted between $1 and $5 per user. Slack charges $6.67 a month for its standard package and $12.50 per month for a Plus version.
Will Facebook at Work take off like Slack has, or will it fall prey to expectations of Facebook as a social network rather than a work chat application? Please share your thoughts in the comments.