The great distractors make the best workers


Good news employers: The workplace is still for working. Sounds obvious, but given the suffusion of mobile devices throughout the workplace, some are still worried otherwise.

Social media, made all the more accessible by mobile devices, often gets pegged as “The Great Distractor” but with the most recent launches of Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace, companies seem to realize specialized social and collaboration tools for the workplace, like the ones I am about to list, can actually boost productivity while protecting secure information.


What started as an in house IRC application for collaboration between game developers, Slack has since turned into a product that is described as “a single workspace for your small to medium-sized company or team.” As of June 2016, Slack had 3 million daily active users and 930K paid seats. Slack features:

  • Persistent chat channels, organizable by subject matter
  • Private groups and direct messaging between users
  • File sharing
  • Over 150 app integrations (Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, etc.)
  • Deep contextual searches

Slack has helped many companies across the board reduce internal email by 48%; increase productivity by 32%; and reduce meetings by 25%.

Google +

The popularity of Google Plus is driven by the level of flexibility it offers in terms of engagement, control and useful features, some of which are outlined below. It offers the ability to filter out irritating background ‘noise’ that is often an unavoidable aspect of platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Google Plus integrates neatly with other Google products facilitating smooth navigation between them, and those who are a part of the G Suite will also find enhanced features that cater to businesses such as:

  • The ability to share content internally with all users in your organization’s domain
  • Use profile labels to easily recognize other Google+ users in your domain
  • Restricted posts only accessible to your organization’s domain

MS Teams

Newly released this year as a part of the O365 suite, Microsoft Teams is designed to gather all content, tools, people, and conversations into a single workspace, each of which can be tailored by a team to include content and features such as:

  • Tabs for quick access to documents, conversations, and cloud services
  • Bots to allow quick actions
  • Connectors for third party tools and services

Teams also comes with the same security you would expect from O365, including:

  • Broad compliance standards support
  • Data encryption at all times, at-rest and in-transit
  • Multi-factor authentication for enhanced identity protection


Much like Slack, Yammer began as an internal communication system and launched later as an independent product in 2008, though Microsoft would eventually buy up the company. As such, it comes with the ability to integrate with many of O365’s rich capabilities on top of its own features.

On its own, Yammer offers the ability to bring others outside of the company in for collaborative projects, as well as the Discovery feed to help keep track of what’s happening across your company that may be relevant to you. Access to a Yammer network is determined by a user’s Internet domain so that only individuals with approved email addresses may join their respective networks.


While it is presented by Facebook, the service comes separate from your Facebook account and offers companies an ad-free space with much the same features as the consumer version of Facebook such as being able to create specific groups and news feeds and to easily search through them.

Since it is based on familiar Facebook features, Workplace requires little to no training to use and is built on Facebook’s powerful systems that keep more than a billion people’s information secure. Workplace can also be integrated with identity providers (IdPs) for user authentication allowing ease of access with Single Sign On (SSO) credentials.

A League of Their Own

With emphasis placed on collaboration, security, and targeted communications, these applications seem to have evolved outside of traditional consumer-based social media with their own answers to each enterprise issue. In the end, however, an app is only as good as people’s willingness to adopt it. So have you had any experience with these apps before? How did they work for you? Perhaps your workplace is already using one of these apps.

Rich OwenRich Owen works at DXC  in the Mobility and Productivity Practice. With a career in IT spanning 27 years, Rich focuses on cloud technologies, social media in the modern enterprise, Office 365, and organizational analytics.








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