At Virgin Atlantic, Facebook Workplace evolves into a key productivity tool

    As Virgin Atlantic restarts operations following the industry-wide airline shut-down brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook’s Workplace is offering employees with the sources required as they work to get extra passengers again within the skies.  When Virgin Atlantic deployed the social community to attach its workforce 4 years in the past,  the transfer was a right away hit with staff, most of whom are in frontline roles reminiscent of its cabin crew and pilot groups. While the main focus was on group constructing and communications, the applying has increasinglybecome an info portal for the airline’s 6,000 employees, delivering entry to sources reminiscent of worker studying and improvement info.The sources provided embrace a list of necessary coaching programs for plane employees and thought management articles in a purpose-built space inside Workplace together with nthe not too long ago launched Shift Cover function frontline employees use to coordinate shift swaps. There are additionally plans emigrate employees rostering info from Virgin Atlantic’s intranet to Workplace. Virgin Atlantic
    Megan Buck, channels and social supervisor at Virgin Atlantic.
    “We’re looking at Workplace moving from a connectivity platform to a productivity tool,” mentioned Megan Buck, channels and social supervisor at Virgin Atlantic. “When it first came in, it was amazing for connecting people across the business, from around the world, and creating that two-way conversation.“The strategy that we see for Workplace going forward will be an enabling tool to let people do their jobs better.”Changes in how Virgin Atlantic makes use of Workplace replicate a wider evolution amongst enterprise social community purposes, mentioned Raul Castanon, a senior analysis analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence’s 451 Research. That  development has seen numerous enterprise social instruments, from Slack to Microsoft’s Teams and Viva, widen their scope and transfer from a predominantly top-down communication medium to change into “comprehensive digital employee experience platforms” that present entry to a wide range of firm sources and purposes.“The experience of Virgin Atlantic reflects a more mature deployment,” Castanon mentioned.A spike in use through the pandemicAs with different airways, Virgin Atlantic’s enterprise operations have been laborious hit by journey restrictions through the pandemic, with as a lot 85% of its workforce furloughed and a wave of redundancies as flights have been grounded. Virgin Atlantic did what different firms world wide have been pressured to do in 2020 — closed places of work, despatched employees house, saved them up to date with vital info, and labored to maintain enterprise transferring ahead.During the fast-changing early phases of the disaster, there was a surge in demand for firm updates, which translated to a 96% weekly energetic person fee on Workplace among the many 6,000 staff. (The weekly energetic person fee  earlier than the pandmic was 76%.) As issues across the pandemic have subsided, utilization has dropped again to the sooner ranges, although nearly half of employees stay on full-time or “flexi” furlough. Virgin Atlantic
    Virgin Atlantic staff turned to Facebook Workplace through the pandemic for firm updates and recommendation on staying wholesome.
    “We had this hypothesis that uncertainty drives Workplace usage,” mentioned Buck. “When there’s a big government announcement or general uncertainty in the market, people go to Workplace to see what the leadership team is saying, or what information the comms team [is] sharing, or cabin crew groups, for example.“Our usage rates were absolutely through the roof, especially at the [height] the pandemic,” she said.Castanon described the surge in use at Virgin Atlantic as “high, although not entirely surprising when we consider the unprecedented surge in demand experienced across all digital channels – including video collaboration and chat applications – during the COVID-19 lockdown.“Enterprise social network application such as Workplace emerged as a critical element for business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he mentioned.One key cause for the spike was entry to a microsite created on Workplace’s Knowledge Library. This gave staff a “one-stop-shop” for updates associated to the pandemic, furlough choices, and suggestions how one can maintain secure. All employees have been in a position to entry FAQs as wanted, decreasing the pressure on the skeleton staff nonetheless working.“We did our best to make people feel like they were fully informed and engaged with what was going on across the business, and without being too intrusive,” mentioned Buck. “It’s a gentle balance of making people at ease, informed, engaged without being too overbearing. Sending constant email updates is a bit of a barrage for people who may not be checking in with their emails.”More not too long ago there’s been details about the return to the workplace for furloughed employees. “We’ve reduced from two offices to one, so there’s lots of people who have never worked in our main head office…. It’s about giving them guidance and making them feel a bit more at-ease about the return to work,” mentioned Buck.Video additionally performed an vital function in connecting employees. Virgin CEO Shai Weiss did weekly broadcasts that summarized occasions throughout the corporate as enterprise unit leaders provided up their very own movies. In addition, in-person “team huddles” that have been frequent pre-Covid turned on-line city halls or Workplace Live occasions, mentioned Buck.“A huge amount of our leaders, and even people further down the food chain have adopted video as a core platform that they need to be using to update their team,” she mentioned.Workplace, whereas vital, stays only one a part of Virgin Atlantic’s communication efforts. Microsoft Teams can be used, although typically for extra direct collaboration inside smaller teams, reminiscent of instantaneous messaging and file internet hosting.“Microsoft Teams is a more collaborative tool for the day-to-day check-ins with the team,” mentioned Buck. “We’ve tried not to be too prescriptive about how the individual user needs to access both platforms,” she said. “As a comms team, Workplace is the big broadcast platform; if we’re sending out big messages or there’s a big announcement, Workplace will absolutely be the number one place we go to.”

    Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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