Many of us use Facebook at work during our lunch hour or take a peek during breaks. But for some companies, it's all a part of the job.
Facebook said Sunday that employees at the Royal Bank of Scotland will use Facebook At Work, the largest company to date to use the separate version of the popular social network for business collaboration and communication. The feature will allow RBS workers to create groups, post photos and events, and send private messages to their colleagues while at their desk or on their Android or iOS mobile devices.
Many businesses and organizations use Facebook for promotional purposes but frown on employees accessing the social netwok while on the job. Facebook At Work is Facebook's attempt to show that its social network can also be used as a legitimate business tool. Unveiled in January, the service is now used by nearly 300 businesses, Facebook said.
With Facebook At Work, the Menlo Park, California, Internet giant positions itself in competition with other social networks designed specifically for the enterprise crowd. Other services include Microsoft's Yammer, Salesforce's Chatter, SAP's Jam and IBM's Connections, as well as LinkedIn, Convo and Slack.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is the first bank to use Facebook At Work as well as the largest company by number of employees to put it to use, the social network said. The renowned UK-based financial services company began piloting Facebook At Work in July to great response, said Simon McNamara, RBS's chief administrative officer.
The bank believes Facebook At Work, which is still in a test mode, helps its workers exchange information and ideas faster, McNamara said. Facebook At Work will be rolled out to 30,000 of the bank's employees by March 2016 and then to the company's remaining 70,000 workers by the end of next year, he added. McNamara said it didn't take much persuasion for RBS employees to begin using it.
"The fact that people are already familiar with Facebook in their personal lives, they actually think it's a pretty neat capability," McNamara said. "There was a lot of excitement about it."
The workplace tool comes as 1.5 billion people, roughly one-fifth of the world's population, use Facebook to interact with family and friends through random thoughts, photos, its signature Like button and even spend more than 46 minutes per day perusing the social network, its Messenger chat program or Instagram photo-sharing app.. Facebook users typically
The Royal Bank of Scotland joins other companies using the Facebook work tool, including brewer Heineken, boutique jeweler Stella and Dot, and real estate company Century 21, said Facebook spokeswoman Vanessa Chan.