Email is great, except when it’s not. In those times email isn’t great, it’s really not great. Not much about email has changed since it first emerged in the mid ’90s. Sure, we can attach images and embed links, but the basic concept is still the same.
Our inboxes are too full, our need to communicate in the open too great, and the pace of the modern workplace is too fast to rely on only one communications channel.
At Carpool, we still use email, but minimally. Carpool is a social place—really social. Our informal conversations take place over a collaborative network and very little, if any communicating is relegated to email (emailing within Carpool can result in lashings, depending on the egregiousness of the offense). So when we had the unique opportunity to try out Facebook at Work, we jumped at it.
There was no transitional period, no prep work. We just did it. One day we weren’t using Facebook at Work, the next day we were on Facebook … at work. There was no pain and, generally, the Carpool team made the switch with ease. Soon enough, we found that Facebook at Work enables us to do so much more than we could with email alone.
Facebook at Work has proven to be a fantastic way for us to collaborate out in the open and work out loud to quickly find solutions to problems, share information across our network, and generate new ideas by crowd-sourcing questions to rely on the collective IQ of our people. It supports and encourages the principles of communication that we use to run our company.
In the modern world, there are a myriad tools that can quickly become overwhelming without a proper strategy behind them. We apply the philosophy of compartmentalization to handle our internal communications, placing different levels of communication into different buckets for our informal (conversations), formal (top-down articles published to the Carpool team site), and tasks (the work that emerges from our conversations). Fortunately, Facebook at Work allows companies to apply this same philosophy using groups.
Facebook at Work pushes people to funnel their communications into the appropriate group where they will have the greatest impact. For example, we catalog our communications into “Business Development,” “Strategy,” “Marketing,” and other targeted groups.
Everyone has full visibility of the groups, but they can subscribe to specific groups and get notifications when new information has been posted, but they won’t be spammed with information that isn’t relevant to their role.
On top of that, trending allows the most active conversations to float to the top and the search function allows you to track down information whether you were part of the conversation or not. It’s like having a dynamic, transparent, and intelligent archival system for everything that happens within our company.
We work out loud, but the embedded chat also provides an opportunity to trade quick, urgent messages without pushing them out to the whole company.
Carpool employees have commented that the Facebook at Work app was familiar and so easy to use that they check the work app as often—if not more so—than their personal accounts.
Perhaps the best use case came from our Director of Strategy, Chris Slemp, who discovered organically that Facebook at Work has an integrated call feature without the need to save someone’s phone number. Just after he started the job, Chris realized he needed some help from HR but he didn’t yet have anyone’s number.
“At a stop light, I sent a quick chat message asking for the info I needed. Ten minutes later, I got what sounded like a phone call,” he wrote of the experience. “Picking it up on Bluetooth, I realized I was picking up a Facebook at Work audio call. I didn’t even know the feature existed and I was using it seamlessly. I now believe the recent predictions that phone numbers are destined for the dustbin of history right next to fax numbers. Good riddance!”
This is a new feature for us, but a welcome one.
At Carpool, we’re finding that video offers a bevy of new ways to streamline our internal processes and move information more quickly and efficiently. For instance, we’ve been able to broadcast reports back from client meetings, share new business opportunities, and even live-stream our own internal conversations about new strategies and ideas.
We think video is the future of workplace interactions through asynchronous meetings. Facebook at Work video—whether it’s live and archived or filmed in our car before we head home for the night—provides a massive opportunity to find even more ways to do work better.
To better understand how Facebook at Work helps remote employees, what better place to turn than one of our own remote employees, Account Lead Katie Stout, based in the Bay Area, more than 1,000 miles and two state borders away from our headquarter in Bellevue, Wash.
“As a remote employee, one of my favorite benefits of Facebook at Work is that I can absorb the culture of my company and the personalities of my coworkers in real-time, despite the fact that I’m located 1,000 miles away from the office,” according to Katie. “It is an amazing tool to bridge geographies. It also gives a voice to employees who may not be social in the real world, but find their place in online groups and forums. Facebook at Work give us the forum to be bold risk-takers, ask questions, be playful, and find acceptance. I honestly feel it can make companies better and more aware. It is the ultimate mirror of the company culture, and for the senior executives who want to listen, they’d be hard pressed to find a better tool to tap the heart and the pulse of their company.”
We know that it can be difficult to transition into a new tool and modernize the way people work, but we’re here to help.
If you have any questions about Facebook at Work or other ways of creating a collaborative network in your workplace, drop us a line. You can connect with us via carpoolagency.com, or hit us up on Facebook or @CarpoolAgency.