PARK, Calif. — What’s taboo in some workplaces is
just business for Stella & Dot employees, who use
Facebook to connect with thousands of stylists selling
the company’s jewelry and fashion accessories.
when Facebook approached the California company this
year about testing a separate version of the social
network, called "Facebook at Work," Stella
& Dot jumped on board, joining more than 100 other
isn’t really a strict line for us between social media
in the workplace versus social media out there in the
world. We blur the identity quite a bit," said
Meera Bhatia, Stella & Dot’s vice president of
where 1.5 billion people share wedding photos, vacation
selfies and random thoughts, is making its way into the
office and plans to launch a work version of the site in
several months. But as the world’s most popular social
network tries to shed its image as a website meant only
for personal time, Facebook will also have to convince a
variety of businesses that the work version can foster
collaboration more than procrastination, experts say.
all seen the five seconds when a boss walks by and
somebody clicks out of Facebook," said Rebecca
Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, an
information technology research firm in Boston.
social media giant isn’t the first tech firm to offer
a social tool to help employees communicate with their
co-workers, Wettemann noted; Salesforce’s Chatter,
Microsoft’s Yammer, SAP’s Jam, IBM’s Connections,
LinkedIn and Slack are just some of the other options
on those sites shows they can make employees more
productive. For example, Nucleus Research found in 2011
that users of Salesforce’s Chatter experienced a 12.5
percent bump in productivity because of fewer emails and
a more rapid access to work information.
see social collaboration driving productivity when it’s
linked to giving employees better information to do
their jobs. Facebook’s challenge is breaking its
perception of ‘social not working’ to show how they
can really provide value in the workplace,"
88 percent of employees surveyed by law firm Proskauer
Rose in 2013 and 2014 revealed they harnessed the power
of social media for business, up from 76 percent in
the survey also showed that many employees are using
social media in ways companies might disapprove —
goofing off at work, leaking confidential information,
posting disparaging remarks or harassing co-workers.
36 percent of employers worldwide still block access to
social media, the survey found. State workers in South
Carolina, for example, have been barred from using
social media sites since July unless it’s part of
their jobs. Investment banking firms, which are required
to keep records of business communication on any device
or website that their employees use, are also known for
blocking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at
though Facebook at Work looks identical to a person’s
personal Facebook, it’s meant solely for communicating
with co-workers, which could make users think twice
about what they’re posting.
will be more careful about what they post because they
know it’s going to be surveilled. There’s also
probably a fear by some people that you don’t want to
use Facebook too much in the workplace because you’ll
be perceived as not doing your job," said Gloria
Mark, an informatics professor at the University of
far, Facebook says that businesses testing the work
version of the site are giving it a thumbs-up. Employees
are making faster decisions, gathering information
quicker, learning about co-workers in other offices,
sharing updates on projects and getting recognized in
real time for their accomplishments, the company said.
is based on the value and feeling of being connected,
which in the workplace results in a more productive
environment," said Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s
director of global platform partnerships, who oversees
Facebook at Work.
Menlo Park tech firm is expected to offer a free version
of Facebook at Work and then charge for extra features.
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with the original Facebook, it’s all going to be about
adoption, growth and engagement. We want as many users
as possible, obviously, but we want people to use it as
much as possible," Codorniou said.
40 executives at Heineken USA started testing Facebook
at Work in the spring and now the beer company is
rolling it out to more than 500 employees. To gear up
for the expansion, the company started forming groups
for industry news, women in leadership and more on the
were looking for an interactive space for our employees
to share and reconnect. We really liked the fact it
separated people’s personal Facebook account and they
had a designated ‘at work’ account," said
Jacqueline Leahy, Heineken USA’s employee
Stella & Dot, about 250 employees have been using
Facebook at Work for more than a month, posting about
awards, sharing photos of celebrities spotted wearing
its jewelry, thanking co-workers, providing meeting
updates and expressing excitement with the occasional
there hope Facebook at Work will stick around.
built a community feel within the company in a pretty
short time that I don’t feel like we had before,"
said Christy Dinges, Stella & Dot’s vice president
of people, who oversees human resources at the company.