Meta’s Workplace touts upcoming WhatsApp integration for frontline workers

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Workplace by Meta has announced intentions to integrate with WhatsApp later this year to better help frontline employees whose technological requirements are frequently neglected by their employers.

In 2020, when the epidemic struck, many businesses found it challenging to communicate with their frontline employees because they lacked established communication channels throughout their more giant corporation. A study conducted in seven countries, Deskless Not Voiceless: The 2021 Frontline Barometer, found that just 55 percent of frontline employees asked felt linked to the company’s headquarters. The study also included 1,350 C-suite executives. In addition, 75% of those who answered the survey stated they did not trust their companies to be forthcoming about corporate news and developments.

Ujjwal Singh, the CEO of Workplace by Meta, said that most frontline employees do not get an email account or a laptop when they begin working for a firm, making phone-based messaging applications their primary means of keeping in touch with coworkers.

“If a company does not offer a strong collaboration and community platform, employees will find their ways to interact, feel connected, and increase productivity,” said Wayne Kurtzman, research director of social and collaboration solutions at IDC. In particular, WhatsApp has been identified as a regularly used solution, particularly by frontline employees.

According to the findings of the Workplace survey, 84 percent of frontline employees feel that access to communication technology should be regular, with 56 percent stating that they want to switch to another frontline position to have better tools to assist their day-to-day job. Meanwhile, 92 percent of IT and business executives believe they must prioritize frontline technology in the same way they have prioritized office and desk-based technology in the past.

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Additionally, Singh said that 61 percent of frontline employees expressed a desire to access different technologies to help them stay better connected with the rest of the business and exchange information and data.

The intended integration of the workplace intends to do just that. The ability to share postings from their Workplace environment straight into WhatsApp will help enterprises provide relevant information to frontline employees who may not have the opportunity to sift through several posts to discover relevant information.

According to Singh, “we think that by connecting frontline workers and equipping them with knowledge, organizations can help increase their capacity to interact with these persons, resulting in happier employees and, ultimately, better service to customers.” The WhatsApp connection is so crucial because we already know frontline employees in many nations across the globe use WhatsApp, which makes this integration even more critical. We need to meet employees where they are currently at, using the tools that they are already familiar with.”

Since a consumer product, WhatsApp is well-known and widely utilized; yet, during the epidemic, many IT specialists cautioned that WhatsApp is not an appropriate backup alternative when official collaboration platforms go down, as it is seldom consistent with administrative regulations.

Singh said that these concerns are being addressed. On a fundamental level, he said, “we want to offer organizations control over the information and control over how they utilize this specific integration.” It’s still in the early stages of development. “A lot of the functionality you’re talking about — control over what gets out to WhatsApp, how people access that information — is still in the early stages of development.”

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The integration will be completed in the first half of the year and implemented in phases afterward. According to Singh, “It’s not something that we are rushing out and doing because we want to do this thoughtfully, given some of the limits of… utilizing consumer technologies that are now available.”

Also mentioned was WhatsApp, which Kurtzman stated is something that frontline employees are already used to using, particularly in situations where no strong community or collaboration software has been offered. As a result, he thinks that when the new interface is made available, IT will have an easier time matching their compliance and governance requirements to it inside Workplace.

He said people would be able to communicate with one another over WhatsApp. “Workplace will meet workers where they are currently,” he added. Integration with the well-known WhatsApp product will aid in driving adoption via the simplicity of use while also keeping critical conversations inside the confines of corporate governance and security,” says the author.

According to IDC data, Kurtzman said that 55 percent of all collaborative apps begin as an unapproved application in the beginning. “The requirement to be able to operate from any location encouraged many of them to use company-approved solutions. However, this has not always been the case for front-line personnel, according to him.”

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