Facebook recently announced a completely new service for businesses looking to improve their communications, Facebook Workplace. It looks great, and it has some big names already using it to boost productivity and communicate better. However, it isn't free and, although Facebook's personal platform is well-established and proven, Facebook Workplace is a new player to the marketplace.
If you're considering Facebook Workplace, but aren't sure, or would like to see some other options, then we've got 5 powerful Facebook Workplace alternatives to explore.
Productivity and communication is paramount
For any team or business to work like a well-oiled machine, there has to be a set of systems in place to keep everyone on the same page and to see, at a glance, what state projects are in and how they're progressing. We've covered some great team productivity apps before that can help you out with this.
If you're struggling to keep on top of things using paper-based memos or notes, emailing everything and anything (here's why you really should move away from using email as a primary communication tool) or passing spreadsheets around on a shared network drive, maybe it's time to move to the cloud and a centralised way of sharing information with colleagues.
At CreatedRed Media, we've tried a few different approaches before we settled on a system that worked for us, and remember, it is a personal preference. With that in mind, here are our top picks for a good alternative to Facebook Workplace.
1. Teamwork Projects
Teamwork have a number of helpful products, Projects being their flagship project management tool. Aimed at companies who want to run projects with as simple or as complex a set of needs as the require, Projects is a powerful tool in the collaborative software space.
Each project has a set of features that can be turned on or off as needed. Want to invite clients to the chat area on this project? Done. Don't need milestones or a project calendar for the next one? Great, just disable the feature and you're good to go.
We used Teamwork Projects for some time to great success. One of the best features was being able to bring clients on board and share with them progress and work happening on their projects, even get their feedback and comments.
Complementing the rich feature set is a supporting suite of apps for your favourite phones, tablets or computers. Add in integration with services such as Google Drive and Teamwork's other products (e.g. Desk, their helpdesk platform) and you've got a business-ready project tool that really works.
- URL: https://www.teamwork.com/project-management-software
- Pricing: Teamwork starts at $49 per month but also has a free forever plan for smaller needs
We love Asana! It's by far one of the most straightforward and beautiful-looking tools out there today and offers a powerful set of features mixed with a user experience that is simple and clear (can you tell we really love using Asana?!).
Asana started life as a todo list on steroids. Nowadays, much like Trello or Basecamp, Asana has grown to offer a full-featured set of project management and collaboration tools that replace the cumbersome and stressful methods that companies traditionally used. Emails, messaging, shared drives and files and progress meetings can all be moved into Asana and productivity increased no-end.
Centering around the simple premise of tasks, projects and conversations, Asana empowers teams to move work forward from start to finish. One of the most compelling features is Inbox, Asana's take on a traditional email inbox. Instead of tiresome emails, your Inbox is filled with a stream of positive updates that can be acted upon or assigned as needed to keep you on track with goals and upcoming work.
- URL: https://asana.com
- Pricing: Asana is free for teams of 15 or fewer. Over this, or if you need even more pro features, you're looking at $8 per active user per month.
Basecamp is one of the heroes amongst project management and collaborative software systems. Now on its third iteration, Basecamp makes it easy to join your workforce together in one place and get stuff done.
We've used Basecamp in the past whilst collaborating with HubSpot and it offers a simple means to keep track of projects. You can read more on how it works here, but in essence it replaces a number of disparate services:
- Email becomes Basecamp's Message Board
- Campfire replaces chat software
- Spread out company calendars become Schedule
- Post-it notes and bits of paper can fit into the To-dos
- and Docs & Files offer a centralised area to keep project-related files and documents
Once you've made the move to a centralised, collaborative space, you'll wonder how you managed before. It's great to be able to start a chat about a particular idea or part of the project and have logged, searchable records of brainstorms and updates, rather than flicking through messy emails and scattered files on company drives.
- URL: https://basecamp.com/
- Pricing: a little more expensive then others, Basecamp is $99 per month, with no user cap. It's perhaps one for larger teams, but everything is unlimited for this flat monthly rate
Slack's motto is 'be less busy' and it has grown very rapidly from a US-based start-up, into one of the most popular inter-team communication tools out there today.
A grand simplification would be to say that it's a bit like MSN Messenger for companies. With a nod to the chat rooms of the early days of the Internet, Slack allows teams to create Channels - effectively, chat rooms - for whatever topics they need, as well as allowing direct private messaging between colleagues.
Slack is a great tool for quick fire updates, progress catch-ups, file sharing and more, freeing up emails and allowing powerful collaboration between remote teams. We've used Slack internally here for a couple of years and it's cut down on emails dramatically, especially because of it's powerful search capabilities and lack of fussy set ups for filtering which plague email platforms.
One of the best features is Slack's integrations. If you use other tools, such as Asana mentioned above, you can rig up a connection between the two. With Asana, for example, we can create tasks right from the Slack chat window, should a discussion require some follow up work to be carried out.
- URL: https://slack.com/
- Pricing: FREE, yay! If you'd like more features then pricing starts at a mere $6 per active user
Trello is another office favourite and we've used it for years. It's a digitised version of the good old cork-boards you had as a kid, or in the offices of days gone by.
Information is organised into boards and each board has multiple columns where you keep cards. There really is no structure other than this to constrain you and it has an almost limitless set of possibilities and configurations.
Cards can be thought of as large tasks, but they run a little deeper than that. Cards can be assigned to team members and tagged with categories. You can attach relevant files and documents, and even add task-lists and todos.
We've used Trello to organise and run everything from web development projects and marketing plans, to parties and looking after staff holidays.
If you need to get organised, but hate complicated systems then give Trello a go.
- URL: https://trello.com
- Pricing: Trello is completely free, but the business version of Trello starts at $9.99 per user per month
The key is consistency
It doesn't really matter what you use so long as you keep consistent and get everyone on board. After all, a system is usually only as good as the team using it.
Facebook Workplace is a great system and looks to have bags of potential, but there is bound to be a period of uncertainty as it establishes itself. Give some of these Facebook Workplace alternatives a try and see which is a better fit for your business.