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When I Work Review

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale Contributing Writer
Updated Dec 09, 2022

The ideal time and attendance system for a small or midsize business in the restaurant, retail or hospitality industry is both cost-effective and includes advanced features that make it easy for employees to manage their schedules, swap shifts, clock in and out securely, and ensure that every hour worked is tracked accurately. When I Work Time Clock & Attendance is an incredibly effective tool for employees and managers alike, thanks to features such as photo clock-in, a time clock app with GPS tracking for accurate records across devices and helpful clock-in-and-out reminders. After implementing this software, businesses can save up to 15 hours each week in building and adjusting schedules for hourly employees, according to When I Work.

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When I Work

The Verdict

When I Work Time Clock & Attendance is a simple and effective time and attendance system that supports complex scheduling for shift workers in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries and has a long list of basic and advanced features.

When I Work Time Clock & Attendance Editor’s Score: 9.6/10

Ease of use9.5/10
Customer service9.4/10

Why We Chose When I Work Time Clock & Attendance for Restaurants and Retail

Restaurants and retail businesses face unique employee scheduling challenges. Businesses in these industries often build new schedules every week, and these schedules need to accommodate employees’ varying availability, hourly rates and last-minute shift swaps while ensuring that the correct employees clock in and out at their expected times. When I Work fulfills these needs, making it our choice for the best time and attendance software for restaurants and retail. The software is easy to use from a computer or mobile device, with mobile apps that include GPS functionality for accurate clocking in and out on any device. When I Work also stands out in a competitive field with an incredibly attractive starting price of just $2 per employee per month for scheduling and messaging services, plus $2 for the time and attendance services.

FYIFYI: With When I Work, time and attendance service is considered an add-on feature that costs an additional $2 per employee per month.

When I Work
This view shows When I Work’s drag-and-drop scheduler.

What We Like About When I Work Time Clock & Attendance

  • Employees can use the app to swap shifts, saving managers time and energy.
  • Easy-to-use mobile apps provide employees and managers the flexibility and convenience to stay on track with their schedules and hours worked.
  • You get time and attendance plus scheduling for just $4 per employee per month.

What We Don’t Like About When I Work Time Clock & Attendance

  • The lack of phone customer support, combined with limited hours for online ticketing and live chat, could make it challenging to resolve technical issues.
  • There’s no way to effectively track the type of work each employee is doing on an hourly basis. (Other time and attendance systems, such as QuickBooks Time, do allow you to do this. Learn more in our review of QuickBooks Time.)

Ease of Use

When I Work offers a smooth and user-friendly experience for both managers and employees. Tasks such as checking schedules, swapping shifts and approving proposed changes can be accomplished easily from a mobile device or web browser.

The system includes communication features to notify teams about changes, communicate one-on-one and establish a group or team chat room that you can use to ask for extra help when the register gets busy.

Another timesaving feature, auto-scheduling, can check your team’s eligibility and availability to build an effective schedule with just one click. When I Work also integrates with highly rated payroll service providers — including ADP, Gusto and Paychex — for an effortless and accurate payment experience.

TipTip: Learn more about payroll services in our ADP review, our review of Gusto and our Paychex review.


When I Work has several basic and advanced features for managers and employees to build and share schedules, trade shifts, clock in and out securely, prevent surprise overtime hours, manage breaks, simplify payroll and much more from the convenience of almost any internet-connected device.

When I Work
When I Work’s mobile clock-in dashboard features scheduling, requests, work chat and more.

Multidevice Support

With When I Work, you and your employees can turn any internet-connected device into a fully integrated time clock. Employees can use company-owned computers and iPads, as well as personal mobile devices and laptops, to clock in and out for reliable and hassle-free time tracking and attendance. If the devices you’ve approved for use include a camera, you can also have your employees snap a photo when clocking in to ensure the right person has arrived for their shift on time. We like this option because it can help prevent buddy punching.

When I Work
When I Work’s timesheets include overtime warnings.

Overtime Management

Tracking the number of hours an employee has worked can be an ongoing challenge, especially with flexible schedules that may be swapped midweek. When I Work’s tools can help you spot overtime before it happens and correct it as needed, thus helping you control labor costs.

When I Work
When I Work’s team messenger allows for live communication.


With old-fashioned scheduling methods, employees were often given little choice in their shifts or managers had to spend an exorbitant amount of time communicating back and forth with numerous team members to find something that worked well for everyone each week. That problem doesn’t exist with When I Work. The WorkChat feature enables managers to communicate with their staff through a straightforward platform and lets employees share feedback after each shift and request extra help during a shift when needed. Participants can share documents and links and receive notifications to make sure everyone at the business is always on the same page.


When I Work is one of the most cost-effective solutions we’ve seen for time and attendance tracking as well as scheduling. The company’s small business plan, which can support up to 100 employees, starts at only $2 per user per month for scheduling and messaging services. Time and attendance services are considered an add-on to the basic plan; those services cost an additional $2 per month for each employee. Unlike more robust HR systems, like BambooHR, When I Work is focused strictly on scheduling and time clock services, allowing the company to keep its prices low. Standout features in the small business plan include overtime visibility, open shift requests, mobile clock-in with GPS enforcement, early-clock-in prevention, overtime alerts, auto-deduct unpaid breaks, clock-in-and-out reminders, and integrations with Gusto, Paychex and more.

For businesses with more than 100 employees, When I Work offers an enterprise-level plan with custom pricing and additional features designed for larger organizations. Enterprise subscribers can enjoy custom integrations with around-the-clock monitoring, implementation in as little as one week, support across multiple locations for teams of any size, assisted contact tracing and contactless apps.

Pricing terms for When I Work are flexible, with month-to-month options and annual payment options. You can cancel your service at any time, and you’ll be billed only for the current month. Payments are limited to Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

When I Work offers a 14-day free trial. As with most business software and services, we highly recommend taking advantage of this test period to make sure you’re satisfied before spending money.

FYIFYI: If you cancel your subscription at any time, you’ll pay only for the current month’s service.


Getting your small business up and running with When I Work will likely take hours or days, not weeks. The straightforward process includes adding your employees to your new database one at a time or importing your list of employees via CSV and Excel files. From there, you create your company’s roles (e.g., host, server, sous chef, line cook, dishwasher, bartender) for each job site. If you operate multiple locations or serve clients at their homes, a map to the job site will always be included with your team’s schedules to ensure everyone knows exactly where they’re supposed to be working during their upcoming shifts.

Once you define your teams, a drag-and-drop system makes it easy to fill all of the roles you’ll need on any given day, week or month. Managers also have access to schedule templates that they can reuse each week for set shifts or modify slightly to ensure they don’t have to build them from scratch each week.

Customer Support

Customer support is limited to online communication via chat or ticket submissions; there is no option for phone support. To reach a customer support specialist, you will need to be logged in to your When I Work account. Online chat support is available from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m ET on weekends and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m ET on holidays.

When I Work also has a comprehensive self-help training center with learning tools for managers and employees, including live webinars, video training modules and resource guides. These resources can help you learn how to complete tasks such as navigating the web app, getting your schedule via text and editing timesheets.

Bottom LineBottom Line: Although there is no phone support, When I Work offers chat support and many self-help resources.


The lack of phone support could be a significant drawback for some businesses. However, given the incredibly low cost of the service, it’s not totally surprising that When I Work does not have a fully staffed call center to assist with technical issues. Online chat support is available during business hours and beyond on weekdays and limited hours on weekends and holidays. If phone support is a priority for you, you may want to consider a service that offers that level of support. Our review of TimeClock Plus found that phone support is available to all users Monday through Friday.

For businesses in healthcare and assisted living, it can be valuable to know what type of work each employee is performing at a client’s location on a daily or hourly basis. Unfortunately, When I Work does not have the type of detailed job- or task-tracking features required to support granular oversight. While this may not be a significant limitation for restaurants and retail businesses, many other shift-driven industries with employees who work at various locations may want to explore other time and attendance options, such as BambooHR. Learn more in our review of BambooHR.

What Is Time and Attendance Software?

Time and attendance software provides a fast, accurate and easy way for employees to record their hours worked using a computer or mobile device. These robust systems replace wall-mounted punch clocks, paper timesheets and unreliable spreadsheets for in-house and remote employees. Beyond the ability to accurately record billable hours with detailed information on the work accomplished, all modern time and attendance systems feature native support or integrations with popular payment software and tools to automatically handle payroll and even help file taxes in some cases.


Our editorial team spent weeks researching and testing a number of highly rated time and attendance systems. We tried out each platform using the widely available free trial accounts, paying special attention to each system’s ease of use, features, integrations, pricing and customer service. In the end, we found nine worthwhile time and attendance systems for businesses of all sizes to consider and identified providers for a wide range of use cases, such as for automation, hybrid teams, employee productivity and scaling businesses. For restaurants and retail businesses, we focused our research on time and attendance systems that made scheduling a core component.


How secure is When I Work?

When I Work leverages the security and flexibility of Amazon Web Services. The company utilizes mobile two-step verification, enforces transport layer security (TLS) on web and mobile access, and transmits and stores data securely with daily backups. When I Work also undergoes regular audits, has 24/7 monitoring and provides more than 99.99% uptime for its customers.

How many businesses use When I Work?

More than 150,000 workplaces around the world use When I Work.

Does When I Work offer a free version of its software?

You can try When I Work free of charge for 14 days with a trial account before having to purchase a plan starting at $2 per employee per month. It is important to note that the time and attendance services cost an additional $2 per employee per month.

Bottom Line

We recommend When I Work Time Clock & Attendance for …

  • Restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops that have hourly employees with irregular shifts.
  • Small businesses that need to track their employees’ time worked across multiple locations.
  • Businesses that are looking for a cost-effective solution to manage time and attendance or scheduling.

We don’t recommend When I Work Time Clock & Attendance for …

  • Businesses that need customer support by phone.
  • Businesses that want to keep detailed records of the type of work being completed by each employee at a given time.
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When I Work

The Verdict

When I Work Time Clock & Attendance is a simple and effective time and attendance system that supports complex scheduling for shift workers in the restaurant, retail and hospitality industries and has a long list of basic and advanced features.

Jeff Hale
Jeff Hale Contributing Writer
Jeff Hale is a writer and editor based in San Diego with a background in business development and marketing. He has identified new market opportunities for Fortune 500 companies and developed communications strategies and digital branding for tech startups and small businesses. Jeff covers emerging technologies and business solutions with a focus on efficiency and growth. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California, Irvine, and an MBA from Chapman University.