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Workplace Chat App and Workplace Groups

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Why There are Two Workplace by Facebook Apps

Workplace by Facebook is a relative newcomer to the workplace collaboration category, but with marque customers like Walmart and Starbucks its gaining ground quickly on Slack and Microsoft Teams. The Workplace platform very similar in look and feel to Facebook’s original social media platform — but without ads and with organizations retaining full ownership and control of their data. Workplace accounts are not connected to the user’s Facebook account, enabling Workplace users to keep their business and personal interactions separated.

There’s a lot to like about Workplace by Facebook, but one of the top points of confusion is the presence of two different clients — the Workplace Chat App and Workplace Groups. Since Workplace Chat is both a communication option within certain Workplace Groups and also a standalone app, users are sometimes confused about how to use the two Workplace by Facebook apps. Is the Workplace Chat app strictly for mobile use? Can you do it all with Workplace Groups? Let’s take a look.

Workplace Groups: The Main Hub

workplace groups

Workplace Groups is the central communication hub for Workplace, in much the same way as Facebook’s user feed is the hub for its social media platform. From both an admin and user perspective, Workplace Groups works similarly to Facebook’s social media groups. Groups can be open, where members can join without approval; or closed, with new members being approved by an administrator.

Groups vary somewhat in configuration depending on the purpose. Organizations have the option of setting up Groups for Teams and Projects, Discussion, Announcements, Social, and Multi-company communication. The central form of communication within Groups is posting. Determining who can post, whether posts must be approved, who can comment, and whose comments need approval, are all admin-controlled settings.

The Workplace Chat App: The Enterprise Equivalent to Messenger

workplace chat app

Workplace Chat is a separate communication platform from the traditional, consumer Facebook Messenger app. Workplace Chat can be used for one-to-one communication, communication in groups, voice and video calling, and file sharing. Conversations also can be encrypted, giving Workplace Chat the security and privacy necessary for business use.

Workplace Chat can be downloaded as an Android or iOS mobile app, and also as a PC or Mac desktop application. In addition, it is built into Team and Project Groups, with a 250-member cap. Beyond 250 members, Facebook has determined that Chat becomes unwieldy and communication is more efficient when restricted to posts.

To Chat or to Group…That is the Question

There are several reasons why the dual Workplace by Facebook client situation exists and why users may need to bounce between the Workplace by Facebook apps including:

  • Different Groups: Workplace offers a myriad of options when it comes to setting up a Workplace Group. While they all offer slightly different functionality, two key ones we’ll want to pay attention to are Team and Project groups. Both of these groups offer chat functionality as part of the group (other groups do not enable this). It’s likely that an organization using Workplace will have members involved in other types of groups beyond Team and Project Groups — in which case they would need to have the Chat app on any devices they use for Workplace interaction.
  • Fluid Group status: Workplace, like most business communication platforms, is quite fluid in terms of how and to what degree it is used. Groups are not always permanent, with Teams and Projects being a good example of a Groups temporary in nature. Groups and group members come and go, so having permanent chat functionality through the standalone app gives users uninterrupted use regardless of their Workplace involvement at any given time.
  • Outside Groups: Finally, having the Workplace Chat app enables you to initiate or join chats with other Workplace users, outside of the Groups environment. Chat is an excellent way to handle conversations that deal with immediate issues and need not be searchable or retrievable weeks or months later.

If you’d like to discuss the pros, cons, and options for integrating Workplace by Facebook into your organization’s workstream collaboration platform strategy, Unify Square can help! Please contact us today to learn more about laying the groundwork for successful collaboration.

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