by Michele Nachum
Published on 26 March 2012
Ahhh, we have so many ways to communicate these days and you would think in this day and age the ability to miscommunicate is not possible. But it is of course - as we are human beings - the ability to miscommunicate is usually the likely scenario if the tools you are using are not effective.
So that is what I loved when I reviewed ThisClick's "When I Work" an employee scheduling app. For small businesses that have several employees all working various shifts - scheduling at different times of the day/week/month and then communicating said schedule to all of your employees can be a nightmare or at least very time-consuming.
But if you have a simple app to help you and your co-workers know when they are working and who to call if someone calls in sick it's a blessing for shift-oriented businesses like restaurants, hospitals and more. So put down the whiteboard and trash the Excel docs - you have everything you need in the When I Work application.
Chad Halvorson of ThisClicks says that many people who work in shifts often have to call in several times or go on their day off to work to view the schedule on a white board. When I Work offers employees and managers the ability to view their schedules online at a scheduling URL, via Facebook, email, or text message a mobile device - thus solving a lot of angst for a lot employees. And if you are not convinced, then ask When I Work powerhouse customers such as Subway or Walgreens how effective the solution is.
ThisClicks has two different products at their disposal - When I Work scheduling app and another section for developers. For the sake of this review, I am going to focus on the When I Work application.
What Does It Look Like?
When I Work is absolutely elegant in its simplicity. It took me all of three minutes to sign up for the 30-day Free Trial and type in some employees and schedule them. The interface is clean and friendly and easy to navigate. When I Work guides you every step of the way and once you schedule employees you can click on the "publish" button and boom - you will be alerted via email or text meessage to employees that their new schedule is ready to view. When I Work supports both Android and iOS so anyone can use their iPhones/iPads and/or Android devices to look up their schedules.
As a manager (or owner), once you sign up with When I Work, you can create a scheduling website that you and your employees can refer to at any time and from anywhere so long as there is an Internet connection. The solution will take you through the steps to create your URL and website, and then it help you add in employees and create their shifts and ultimately schedule them. Each shift and employee can be color-coded for easy viewing. When I Work allows you to add in your employees' contact information, and then once they are in the system, you can create various shift titles (like day-shift, night-shift, etc.) before you start populating the shift calendar.
As mentioned earlier, When I Work is available on just about every platform so if you have a smart phone or just a phone - employees can view their schedules no matter where they are.
You can set it up so employees can view their schedules via Twitter, email or Facebook. This is quite a coup - especially for serial Facebookers since you don't have to sign into the scheduling website - you can do everything on Facebook.
As a manager, you can also alert employees when you have revised or created a new schedule via Twitter, text message and email. People using "non-smart" mobile phones can recieve a text message that their schedule is ready and by typing in the word "Tomorrow" for instance, they can get their shift hours ASAP so they don't necessarily have to run to the nearest PC to view it.
This is a fantastic part of the solution. Let's say you run a restaurant and your hostess calls in sick two hours before the shift begins. No problem - you can go online from your PC or smart phone and the system will show you those workers who are "off duty" so you can tap them in an emergency. Since scenarios like this happen all the time, the ability to have this feature spelled out for you (versus keeping everyone's schedule in your head) will save much angst.
Is this for You?
When I Work is an application that works best for businesses that need to schedule three or more employees at various shifts or intervals. So this may not be right for a business where everyone works 9 to 5 - but if you run a department in a hospital, manage a retail operation or restaurant - When I Work is gloriously easy to use. Chad told me the response has been phenomenal especially from employees who are not dependent in calling in or going to their place of work to learn what shifts they are working.
Ratings: ease of use 5/5, features 5/5, value 5/5 and ease of deployment 5/5