How much does Workplace by Facebook cost and why buy it?

Written by Nicola

29th November 2018

What is Workplace by Facebook

Workplace by Facebook is Facebook’s enterprise solution. Completely separate from the consumer version we all know and love. It brings the best elements of Facebook – newsfeed, groups, live video etc. to the world of work, connecting people and creating communities in a safe, secure environment.

Workplace by Facebook Costs

Workplace comes in two flavours, standard which is free and premium which is priced at a flat rate of $3 per active user per month. The feature comparison is below but fundamentally to enable control and management of the data and access to admin and analytics, enterprise customers should always choose premium.

The monthly active user billing is an important differentiator, you don’t commit to a licence and hope your employees use it, you pay only when your people claim their accounts and continually use them. This model not only feels fair and transparent but speaks to the confidence of Facebook in the product. On the flip side, this can make it challenging when determining the typical annual outlay.

When we want to communicate with our people today we tend to want the same core things; we want to have quick and easy one to one conversation. We want to have effective one-to-many channels, so we can reach all of our people in a simple authentic way. We want to create community spaces which foster feedback, collaboration, and belonging. We want simple and we want fast. Workplace by Facebook can deliver all of this and more.

Free alternatives to Workplace by Facebook

In every organisation there can be a multitude of shadow IT, as we move towards a more digital workplace people tend to bring into work the technologies they use at home. These tend to be the apps people are most familiar with and ironically are members of the Facebook family. The lines between personal and work life appear to be ever more blurred.

Commercial Facebook Groups

Just take a scroll through your Facebook news feed today and you will see companies and businesses using Facebook groups in a number of ways – from marketing to customer engagement, so why not for your internal engagement and communications? There are lots of “why not’s”, here are just a few:

1. Data security Facebook groups do offer a private space to communicate but, in a world, where protecting our data is increasingly important isn’t it important that you control and own this data too? Workplace by Facebook Premium allows the company to own and control their own data. Even with Workplace Standard (free), your employees own the data they post although Facebook is still the controller.

2. Analytics and learning You’ll want to learn from the conversations and content with analytics and dashboards. You simply can’t do that easily in any of these platforms. A thriving employee community can function as a live temperature check for your organisation. You can understand how your people feel at any given time.

3. Membership control With no possible links to active directories or authentication, managing a Facebook group membership of scale is a challenge, can you be sure your employees would be removed from the groups when they left your company? or can you ensure you haven’t excluded people or accepted someone into the group who isn’t an employee? The simple answer is, you can’t

4. Employee safety and wellbeing This one is the decider for me. As employers, we don’t have the right to expect our people to adopt a very public social networking platform. By choosing Facebook groups we could actively exclude those who make the personal choice not to rather than create a true community. Even if they are using Facebook or WhatsApp in their personal lives, is it really in their best interests to invade that space? Is creating a culture of ‘always on’ the best way to support your people?

What about Whatsapp?

Every. Single. One of the organisations we talk to are using or have used Whatsapp, whether it’s for quick group updates or one on one conversations there is no doubt it’s happening in your business. So why has it become so prevalent?

1. ‘Most’ people use it in their personal lives so see it as a regular way to communicate with colleagues.

2. Those ‘ticks’ – there is a huge benefit to knowing that a colleague or employee saw your message.

3. It’s easy to go from text to gifs to images to video.. to call, group call and video chat – functions that enhance and enable life and work.

49% of employees say that Instant messaging tools in the workplace help increase team collaboration 

Let’s think about the ‘cons’ to those ‘pros’

1. As with Facebook groups and all other commercial tools, we can’t demand people use them or exclude them if they don’t. Whatsapp brings a new challenge here too in that you must share your phone number. A definite privacy and exposure concern.

2. The ‘ticks’ and current status could be seen as employee tracking, how do we protect work-life balance here? If you’re online for your friends and family does that mean you’re also online for your boss? The lines couldn’t be more blurred! And that’s before we explore the ‘shared in the wrong chat’ risk!

3. Actually, no ‘con’ for this one, the function of Whatsapp is excellent and why wouldn’t we want all of that great stuff but did you know Workplace Chat does ALL of that too – without any exchange of phone numbers.

Workplace by Facebook standard vs premium


Workplace Standard

Workplace Premium

Product Features

Workplace Standard has all the features you can expect from Workplace such as News Feed, groups, chat and live video.

In addition to features including News Feed, groups, chat and live video, Workplace Premium has administrative features including analytics, an Admin Panel and integration with identity providers.

Content Moderation

Facebook’s Community Standards apply.

Content is reviewed by your community admins.

Account Creation and Account Deletion

You’re responsible for creating and deleting your own account.

Community admins can provision and delete accounts directly.

Data Ownership

Facebook is the data controller, but employees own the content they post and share, and Facebook’s Community Standards apply.

A community admin manages the community and the company owns and controls the data. The community admin can modify, delete or export your data at any time.

Post Visibility

Content you post is visible only to you, people in the groups you post in or people outside of the groups you post in, if the group is an open group.

Content you post is visible to you, people in the groups you post in or people outside of the groups you post in, if the group is an open group. In addition, community admins can also see any data that you post, even in secret groups.


Workplace Standard is a free service.

Workplace Premium customers enjoy a 90-day free trial period. After the free trial period, Workplace Premium is chargeable.

Is Workplace by Facebook premium a good investment?

93% of Gen Yers cite up-to-date technology as one of the most important aspects of a modern workplace

The fact is that we are right to want consumer grade tools for our people and that’s why paying for Workplace premium is a sound investment. We know people like the community and collaborative aspects of Facebook groups.  We know people prefer to use messaging apps for group chats, calls gifs and memes. And we CAN give it all whilst making sure we safeguard that all-important wellbeing and security.  For $3 a month we think its worth it!

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