All public servants to use workplace version of Facebook by next year

November 11, 201610:53 am808 views

Public servants in Singapore will soon have legitimate reasons to use Facebook during office hours — that is, the enterprise version called Workplace.

Head of Civil Service Peter Ong said all 143,000 public servants here will be on the platform by the end of March next year — the first public service in the world to do so.

Workplace is identical to how Facebook works, albeit restricted to an organisation’s employees. Users can access the platform via a website or their personal mobile devices to see updates or posts from colleagues on their News Feed, organise themselves into groups, and send direct messages.

Announcing the move at the PS21 ExCEL Awards ceremony yesterday, Mr Ong said: “Wouldn’t it be amazing that 143,000 people can form sub-groups (and) go onto one, whole-of-government platform to share ideas, collaborate and find out about one another?”

It is not the first time the public service here has had a “social intranet”. In 2013, Cube was launched to let officers get to know one another, interact and share ideas, but Mr Ong said the platform “did not quite take off as expected”.

He added: “Among others, there was feedback that the lack of a mobile app prevented easy access and limitations in use … Technical issues, such as the unfamiliar interface and slow loading times, were also factors.”

Early results from the more-than- 5,300 public officers from 15 agencies who have been on Workplace since last month have been promising, Mr Ong said. The number of internal emails has dropped, with major announcements being posted on Workplace. Senior leaders are also engaging with their staff more, and there is “an explosion of activity” across groups.

This represents “clear proof that unless we dare to try, we will not be able to ride the new waves of technology of the future”, Mr Ong said, as he urged the public service not to hold back from trying new ideas no one else in the world has tried.

In June, it was reported that public servants here would not be able to access the Internet on their work computers by May next year so as to minimise data theft and leaks, amid higher cyber security risks.


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