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When I Work Review

Laura Handrick
Laura Handrick
  • When I Work is an ideal time and attendance system for small businesses that employ shift workers, such as restaurants and retail stores.
  • When I Work has tools to reduce time theft and buddy punching, including a clock-in option that takes a photo of the employee.
  • The starting price for When I Work is $2 per employee per month.
  • This review is for small businesses that are considering When I Work as their time and attendance system.

We chose When I Work as the best time and attendance system for small businesses that have shift workers, such as restaurants and retail shops. When I Work includes a free scheduling tool, an affordable timeclock and plenty of add-ons, such as recruiting tools, team messaging, an HR tool kit and employee-of-the-month certificates. The software works on browsers (including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge) and mobile devices (iOS and Android).

When I Work

When I Work

The Verdict

When I Work is our pick as the best time and attendance solution for restaurants, cafes, and retail stores that manage employees doing shift work. It includes employee scheduling software and tracks the time the employee worked against his or her schedule

When I Work provides an easy-to-set-up, all-in-one time and attendance system that is well suited for businesses with shift workers.


With When I Work, you can choose to pay for just the scheduling software or for both the scheduling software and the time and attendance tools. The scheduling tools start at $2 per employee per month, and the time and attendance functionality costs an extra $2 per employee per month.

For $4 per employee per month, you receive team scheduling, team member availability, team communication, remote job sites, multiple team scheduling, auto-scheduling, task management, clock in and out reminders, overtime alerts, early-clock-in prevention, geofencing and labor reports.

Customer price quotes are available for businesses with more than 100 employees.

When I Work doesn't require you to sign a contract. You pay as you go, either month to month or annually, and you can cancel at any time. You can try When I Work free for 30 days.

Key takeaway: When I Work offers time and attendance and scheduling tools for $4 per employee per month.

Best Features

When I Work offers tools to reduce time theft and buddy punching (when someone clocks in for someone else), such as a photo clock-in option. Your employees will get clock-in and clock-out reminders, and you'll have a customizable timesheet export. Your employees can download the When I Work app for free.

When I Work also compares your shift schedule with actual labor costs so that you can see how to adjust staffing. You can control costs with pay rules and schedule requirements. It also provides numerous reports that you can customize and automate, such as attendance notices and a timesheet export.

You can set up early-clock-in prevention and overtime alerts, as well as auto-deduct unpaid breaks, track attendance and manage employees' time off.

When I Work offers a feature called WorkChat that lets managers leave messages, including  documents and links, for team members, and team members can share feedback after each shift. You can send broadcast messages, group messages or one-on-one texts, and receive instant notifications on your smartphone.

For an additional $50 per month, When I Work gives you an applicant tracking system to post jobs and find candidates to fill your open shifts. It publishes jobs to Google, Indeed and Facebook, and lets you add custom screening questions to ensure the candidates you hire meet your requirements.

Key takeaway: When I Work gives you mobile and web-based tools to manage your employees' time and attendance, and helps you hire, communicate with and schedule those employees.

Pros and Cons


Having your time and attendance tracking system built on a shift-scheduling platform allows your employees to manage, bid on and swap shifts. You can set limits, such as how many hours or how much overtime you'll allow an employee to work. And based on the timesheet, you can save the prior work hours to build your next schedule.

Workers can use a variety of devices – including laptops, tablets and smartphones – to clock in and out once they're on-site. There's no syncing data to a server; it's processed in real time.

You can also set up pay rates for different job roles, such as waitstaff and shift supervisors.

When I Work offers standard integrations with many popular payroll providers, including ADP Run, Gusto, Paychex and QuickBooks. It also integrates with Square POS, and by using Zapier and API, you can connect it to numerous other business applications.

To further streamline workforce management, When I Work provides free HR tools, including an employee handbook template, employee information forms, reference letter documents, and sample policies for attendance and dress code. There are also sample job interview questions, application forms, an onboarding checklist, performance management templates and more.

When I Work offers an add-on hiring platform for job posting and applicant tracking. Once you hire an employee, you can immediately add them to the work schedule. That saves a lot of time and prevents you from having to set up job boards and recruiting software in addition to your timekeeping system. However, the hiring application requires a monthly add-on subscription.


One downside is that if you need technical help, you have to log in to the system. In addition, there is no support on the weekends, when many retail and restaurant establishments are open. However, the support team is available by email and live chat.

Key takeaway: When I Work provides a simple, affordable attendance and scheduling platform for businesses with restaurant employees, retail staff and other shift workers. At this price, you'll sacrifice personalized service, but there are helpful videos and documentation online.

Customer Support

When I Work provides support through the cloud-based software application, and you must log in to chat or submit a ticket. Online chat is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Customer reviews on third-party review sites consistently rate When I Work around 4.5 out of 5 stars.

In addition, When I Work gives you a training center with resources and live webinars. You will find easy-to-follow documentation – complete with screenshots – for setting up your account, scheduling, hiring and using the mobile time clock.

Key takeaway: When I Work provides great online support and self-paced instructions, but there is no phone support on weekends.

Image Credit: cookie_cutter / Getty Images
When I Work

When I Work

The Verdict

When I Work is our pick as the best time and attendance solution for restaurants, cafes, and retail stores that manage employees doing shift work. It includes employee scheduling software and tracks the time the employee worked against his or her schedule

Laura Handrick
Laura Handrick
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Laura Handrick, MA, SPHR, is a professional with more than 30 years experience in HR, training, organizational development, and innovation management give her insight into business management, technology best practices, and labor law compliance. Having served at the executive level in Fortune 100 firms and international franchise organizations, Laura is passionate about helping businesses grow and scale. She has written over 100 long-form articles on topics ranging from software selection to performance management and shared her expertise in over 75 publications including the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. Laura has a master's degree in instructional technology, is certified as an international franchise executive through the IFA, and as a senior professional in human resources through SHRM.