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

As Virgin Atlantic restarts operations following the industry-wide airline shut-down attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fb’s Office 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 direct hit with workers, most of whom are in frontline roles comparable to its cabin crew and pilot groups. Whereas the main target was on neighborhood constructing and communications, the appliance has increasinglybecome an info portal for the airline’s 6,000 staff, delivering entry to sources comparable to worker studying and improvement info.

The sources provided embody a listing of necessary coaching programs for plane employees and thought management articles in a purpose-built space inside Office together with nthe lately launched Shift Cowl characteristic frontline employees use to coordinate shift swaps. There are additionally plans emigrate employees rostering info from Virgin Atlantic’s intranet to Office.

Megan Buck, Virgin Atlantic Virgin Atlantic

Megan Buck, channels and social supervisor at Virgin Atlantic.

“We’re Office transferring from a connectivity platform to a productiveness instrument,” mentioned Megan Buck, channels and social supervisor at Virgin Atlantic. “When it first got here in, it was wonderful for connecting folks throughout the enterprise, from all over the world, and creating that two-way dialog.

“The technique that we see for Office going ahead might be an enabling instrument to let folks do their jobs higher.”

Modifications in how Virgin Atlantic makes use of Office mirror a wider evolution amongst enterprise social community purposes, mentioned Raul Castanon, a senior analysis analyst at S&P International Market Intelligence’s 451 Analysis. That  development has seen varied enterprise social instruments, from Slack to Microsoft’s Groups and Viva, widen their scope and transfer from a predominantly top-down communication medium to grow to be “complete digital worker expertise platforms” that present entry to quite a lot of firm sources and purposes.

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“The expertise of Virgin Atlantic displays a extra mature deployment,” Castanon mentioned.

A spike in use through the pandemic

As with different airways, Virgin Atlantic’s enterprise operations have been arduous 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 all over the world have been compelled to do in 2020 — closed places of work, despatched staff dwelling, stored them up to date with essential info, and labored to maintain enterprise transferring ahead.

Through 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 Office among the many 6,000 workers. (The weekly energetic person fee  earlier than the pandmic was 76%.) As considerations across the pandemic have subsided, utilization has dropped again to the sooner ranges, despite the fact that virtually half of staff stay on full-time or “flexi” furlough.

virgin atlantic workplace app Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic workers turned to Fb Office through the pandemic for firm updates and recommendation on staying wholesome.

“We had this speculation that uncertainty drives Office utilization,” mentioned Buck. “When there’s a giant authorities announcement or basic uncertainty out there, folks go to Office to see what the management crew is saying, or what info the comms crew [is] sharing, or cabin crew teams, for instance.

“Our utilization charges have been completely by way of the roof, particularly on the [height] the pandemic,” she mentioned.

Castanon described the surge in use at Virgin Atlantic as “excessive, though not completely stunning after we think about the unprecedented surge in demand skilled throughout all digital channels – together with video collaboration and chat purposes – through the COVID-19 lockdown.

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“Enterprise social community utility comparable to Office emerged as a essential aspect for enterprise continuity through the COVID-19 pandemic,” he mentioned.

One key motive for the spike was entry to a microsite created on Office’s Information Library. This gave workers a “one-stop-shop” for updates associated to the pandemic, furlough choices, and ideas the way to hold protected. All staff have been capable of entry FAQs as wanted, lowering the pressure on the skeleton crew nonetheless working.

“We did our greatest to make folks really feel like they have been absolutely knowledgeable and engaged with what was occurring throughout the enterprise, and with out being too intrusive,” mentioned Buck. “It is a light stability of creating folks comfy, knowledgeable, engaged with out being too overbearing. Sending fixed electronic mail updates is a little bit of a barrage for individuals who might not be checking in with their emails.”

Extra lately there’s been details about the return to the workplace for furloughed employees. “We have decreased from two places of work to at least one, so there’s tons of people that have by no means labored in our important head workplace…. It’s about giving them steering and making them really feel a bit extra at-ease concerning the return to work,” mentioned Buck.

Video additionally performed an necessary function in connecting staff. Virgin CEO Shai Weiss did weekly broadcasts that summarized occasions throughout the corporate as enterprise unit leaders provided up their very own movies. As well as, in-person “crew huddles” that have been widespread pre-Covid turned on-line city halls or Office Dwell occasions, mentioned Buck.

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“An enormous quantity of our leaders, and even folks additional down the meals chain have adopted video as a core platform that they must be utilizing to replace their crew,” she mentioned.

Office, whereas essential, stays only one a part of Virgin Atlantic’s communication efforts. Microsoft Groups can also be used, although typically for extra direct collaboration inside smaller teams, comparable to immediate messaging and file internet hosting.

“Microsoft Groups is a extra collaborative instrument for the day-to-day check-ins with the crew,” mentioned Buck.

 “We have tried to not be too prescriptive about how the person person must entry each platforms,” she mentioned. “As a comms crew, Office is the large broadcast platform; if we’re sending out massive messages or there is a massive announcement, Office will completely be the primary place we go to.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.