It used to be the case that companies would prefer their employees not to spend their workdays on Facebook, but with the launch of the social network’s new service Workplace, it’s about to become actively encouraged.

If you’re a business owner, or even an employee that thinks communication could use a boost, Facebook’s new product might be of interest. It’s been available to select companies over the last year, but it looks like Facebook is now happy with the service and has opened it up to any company wishing to use it. The idea is Workplace creates a social network, just for employees. It’s not dissimilar in concept to the ‘Networks’ you used to be able to join and communicate within in the earlier years of the social network.

Workplace – previously known as ‘Facebook at Work’ – is aimed directly at the competitive space currently taken up by the likes of Slack or Hipchat. Those platforms allow team members to send private messages, share files, and set up new hashtags and feeds for specific topics. So, with Facebook coming so late to the game, will they be able to compete?

Familiarity

The simple answer is yes, it’s likely Facebook’s business communications tool will quickly rise to the top because of its familiarity. With over a billion people across the globe highly familiar with the interface and user experience it easily becomes a preferred solution which requires little training.

Furthermore, Facebook has been smart and created a very competitive pricing model: just $1 per month, per user. Considering Slack’s standard plan is $6.67 per month, per user, that’s a pretty sweet deal for businesses.

Workplace uses the same kind of interface already familiar to many users

Workplace uses the same kind of interface already familiar to many users

Of course, that’s not the end of it – Slack’s popularity is down to its openness, allowing businesses to plug other services directly into its product, whereas Facebook keeps a much tighter grip on its ecosystem.

The key features behind Workplace are geared towards separation between work and play – it’s not tied to your personal account. It’s also ad-free and personalized towards the business. As with regular Facebook, voice and video calls are also included.

There’s also some interesting collaboration features. For agencies and clients, or smaller businesses that frequently work together this will be a major draw. If both companies use Workplace, then it’s possible to set up Groups that both businesses can access to discuss and run projects.

Of course, Facebook Workplace comes with its own iOS app – take a look at the app on the App Store now.

Read more: For regular everyday users – Facebook has just rolled out end-to-end encryption in Messenger. Keep your conversations private by enabling it – here’s how.