Facebook is phasing out Workplace Essential

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Facebook will sunset the free service and ask users to upgrade to a paid plan.

Facebook has announced that it plans to “retire” Workplace Essential, the free tier version of its Workplace Enterprise social network platform. The free version product will cease to be available from February 10, 2021.

Workplace is a corporate collaboration platform that has been adopted by major brands such as Walmart, Nestlé, and Telefonica, Farfetch, Spotify, and Grab. On addition, non-profit organisations like like WWF, United Way, and Save the Children use Workplace to facilitate communication and collaboration among work groups.

Karandeep Anand, Head of Workplace, announced the move in a blog post.

“Since launching in 2016, Workplace has brought the power of community to millions of people in organizations around the world,” he writes. “We’ve helped businesses drive increases in productivity and engagement, as well as employee sentiment and retention.”

Claiming that maintaining a platform such as Workplace “requires focus and prioritization,” Anand explains that the company needs to drop its free offering “in order to maintain the high quality product experience people expect from Workplace.”

Facebook introduced the Workplace Essential tier in 2019, when the company restructured its pricing. The Essential tier offers limited functionality and storage space. Special features such as single sign on and analytics available in the paid Advanced and Enterprise editions.

Making the transition

Facebook is encouraging Essential users to keep their access to Workplace by upgrading to a paid plan. With a paid plan, users will be able top access additional new features such as Knowledge Library and Live Producer.

In disclosing the retirement of Essential, Anand also promised future enhancements to the paid versions. “As businesses continue to evolve to new working practices and hybrid workforces we’ll be doubling down on productivity and collaboration, as well as expanding our reach in our current areas of strength. Next year you’ll see us focus on remote presence, employee wellbeing, Live video and empowering SMBs to connect their organizations.”

For Essential customers that choose not to continue using Workplace, Facebook will help system admins download their Workplace data.