This article is part of a larger series on Time & Attendance.
When I Work is an employee scheduling software that offers time and attendance features as an add-on. It has user-friendly desktop and mobile apps that make shift management and time tracking easier and features per-user pricing, making it best for growing businesses with multiple locations. However, When I Work’s lack of a free plan and limited customer support may prompt businesses to find other options.
We looked at several providers to find the best When I Work alternatives for your small business:
- Homebase: Best overall When I Work alternative
- Deputy: Best for retailers needing forecasting tools
- Buddy Punch: Best for businesses with multiple departments
- 7shifts: Best for restaurants and businesses that hire minors
- ZoomShift: Best for agricultural, construction, and tourist industries
- Sling: Best for very small businesses on a small budget
- SocialSchedules: Best for highly regulated industries and locations
When I Work Alternatives Compared
$0–$99.95 per location
Only for paid plans
POS, Payroll, Job boards, Business tools
Phone, chat, email, knowledge base, tutorials
$2.50–$4.50 per employee* (paid plans require $10 minimum)
24/7 phone, live chat, and help menu
$29.99–$49.99 (up to four employees)
Chat, email, knowledge base, video tutorials
$0–$76.99 per location*
Only for the Enterprise (Gourmet) plan
Live support via ticket, videos
$2.50–$5 per member*
Live support via ticket, videos
$0–$4 per user
Only for the highest-tier plan
Only for paid plans
$0–$39.99 per location*
Only for paid plans
Available as kiosk; mobile time tracking only for most expensive plan
Accounting, Payroll, POS
Live chat, Knowledge base
$4-$8 per user
Included in Essentials and Complete plans
POS, Payroll, HR
Live chat; how-to guides
* Has custom-priced plans.
Read our When I Work review if you’d like to learn more about its features and pricing.
Homebase: Best When I Work Alternative
Homebase ranked No. 1 in our free employee scheduling software and best employee scheduling software guides because of its comprehensive scheduling, time tracking, and payroll features that small business owners find convenient and affordable. Employers can quickly and easily build their workers’ schedules in just a few clicks and share them with the team in minutes using the Homebase mobile app.
What makes Homebase different from When I Work is its free unlimited scheduling plan for businesses with a single location and its HR/hiring tools such as job recruiting, payroll, and applicant screening.
- Basic plan: Free
- Covers businesses with one location and unlimited employees
- Includes: Tools for creating, managing, and publishing staff schedules online, with automated time sheets, PTO requests, shift swaps, job postings, applicant tracking, onboarding, reports, and time clock apps for computers
- Essentials tier: $19.95 per location monthly ($14/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: All Basic features plus geofencing, auto-scheduling, late employee alerts, manager approvals, and automated employee reminders
- Plus option: $49.95 per location monthly ($35/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: Additional tools for managing PTO policies and balances, budgets and labor cost forecasts, and advance labor cost
- All-in-One package: $99.95 per location monthly ($70/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: Premium features like API access, online onboarding, employee documents, and an electronic signature tool, and expert advice from HR professionals
- Add-on services: HR Pro advisors and resources ($99 per month); promote job postings on ZipRecruiter and Craigslist (starts at $79 per post)
- Unlimited scheduling: Unlike When I Work (as well as Deputy, ZoomShift, and Sling on this list), Homebase doesn’t charge per employee. You can create as many work shifts as you want for as many employees as you have. Further, if you grow your workforce, you don’t need to worry about paying extra for additional user seats—provided your employees all work in the same business location.
- Feature-rich free tier: Homebase’ Basic plan comes with a comprehensive set of free-to-use online tools. Aside from employee time tracking and scheduling, it includes hiring, job posting, onboarding, and team messaging solutions. None of the other software in this list have hiring and onboarding tools.
- Robust labor and schedule reporting: In addition to its drag-and-drop online scheduler builder, shift swaps requests, auto-scheduler tool, automated alerts, and mobile apps, Homebase has a wide range of customizable reports that can help you gain insight into work shifts, labor expenses and percentages, attendance-related performance, and sales (if synced with a POS). This is unlike When I Work, which has limited custom report options.
- Compliance tools: With Homebase, you automatically get the standard breaks and overtime settings for the state where your business operates. The software also captures and stores schedule edit histories, including previously run time sheets and reports, for either 90 days or four years (Deputy and 7shifts don’t offer long-term cloud storage for these). This makes it easy for you to comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and recordkeeping requirements.
Deputy: Best for Retailers Needing Forecasting Tools
Deputy is a good scheduling option for retailers or other businesses with shared hourly and shift workers across different locations. You can either manually create shifts that assign employees to different work sites and departments or use its AI-powered scheduler to build demand-based and labor-optimized work shifts. Further, if your employees request to swap shifts online, the system automatically transfers their department and worksite data after the requests have been approved.
While it offers a free trial for up to a month, Deputy no longer offers a free plan and its paid tiers require a minimum monthly spend of $10 per invoice. However, many users still find the system convenient to use with plans that are reasonably priced.
- Standalone packages:
- Scheduling plan – $2.50 per employee monthly. Includes access to an online schedule builder with auto-scheduling and shift swapping functionalities.
- Time and Attendance – $2.50 per employee monthly. Includes: time sheets, payroll integrations, and time clock apps (for iOS and Android).
*Both come with PTO management, meal and rest break planning, POS integrations, unlimited 24/7 support, and a news feed. Does not include reporting tools.
- Premium: $4.50 per employee monthly; includes both Scheduling and Time and Attendance plans
- Enterprise: Custom-priced and designed for businesses with more than 250 employees and customized configuration needs. It includes everything in the Premium plan plus custom implementation, advanced demand planning, advanced reporting and analytics, custom organization structure, dedicated enterprise support, training matrix, and location and department level procedures.
- Flexi Weekly: $2 per active employee and 50 cents per inactive user weekly. It includes all Premium’s features and is designed for businesses that schedule less than half of their total employees weekly.
NOTE: Scheduling, Time and Attendance, and Premium tiers require a minimum monthly spend of $10 per invoice.
Deputy Standout Features
- Affordable employee scheduling: Deputy offers an affordable solution for creating, managing, and sharing employee work shifts through its mobile apps. You can simply drag-and-drop shifts or use its AI-powered scheduler to build demand-based work shifts with a single click. Note also that of the providers on this list, only Deputy offers separate plans for scheduling and time tracking. You can also get both features in the Flexi Weekly or Premium plans.
- Forecasting: Deputy provides tools that let you predict staffing needs based on trends in sales, deliveries, appointments/reservations, and other signals you can set. It can analyze the information and let you set rules so that you can be sure you have the minimum staffing needed and alert you if you may be scheduling too many people. It can also use the forecasting tools when automatically creating a schedule; most software just give you an analysis.
- Employee communications: You can share messages and announcements on the newsfeed and get notified when they are read. Everyone can send updates, make comments, and collaborate on the mobile app. Workers can trade shifts with qualified teammates. Like 7Shifts, Deputy can record video announcements to post on the newsfeed.
- Labor compliance tools: Deputy has smart wage and hour compliance tools made to help keep you compliant with labor laws and protect your business from potential risks. Like SocialSchedules, Deputy helps businesses in Fair Work Week jurisdictions stay compliant by recording schedule amendments, calculating the required predictability pay, and capturing employee consents to change. Its features include meal and rest breaks settings, schedule notifications, and compliance alerts.
- Flexible time tracking: In addition to scheduling solutions, you get time clock apps that allow you to track employee attendance and manage your workforce from any mobile device, including the Apple Watch, an option that’s not available in other providers in this guide. Its apps for tablets even support touchless clock-ins, enabling your employees to start and end their shifts through facial recognition and voice commands.
Buddy Punch: Best for Businesses With Multiple Departments
Buddy Punch is a cloud-based time tracking software designed to streamline how you monitor employee time and attendance. Its scheduling tool allows users to specify locations, positions, and job codes to employee shifts, making it a good option for businesses with multiple departments. It also features an online time clock with apps that work on web browsers and mobile devices. Like When I Work, it doesn’t have a free plan but its paid tiers are affordably priced with fees that start at $29.99 per month for up to four active employees.
Buddy Punch earned a spot on our list of the best time tracking software due to its robust controls and efficient tools that make monitoring time easy for both employees and managers.
Buddy Punch Pricing
- Time and Attendance: Starts at $29.99 for up to four active employees per month. Includes the following features:
- Unlimited administrations
- Time, job, and PTO tracking
- Mobile app with GPS features
- Timecard approvals
- Alerts and reminders
- Integration options
- Time and Attendance plus Scheduling: Starts at $39.99. Includes everything in Time and Attendance plan plus drag-and-drop scheduler.
- Enterprise: Starts at $49.99. Includes everything in Time and Attendance plus Scheduling, as well as API and SSO access.
Buddy Punch also offers customized pricing for those who have 200 and more employees. It doesn’t charge setup or termination fees in case you decide to cancel your subscription. If you exceed your plan’s user seat limits, you can upgrade to a higher option at any time and Buddy Punch will prorate your monthly fee.
Buddy Punch Standout Features
- Employee scheduling: Buddy Punch has a drag-and-drop scheduler like When I Work that lets you create, edit, assign, and share work shifts with employees. The scheduler even works on mobile devices, allowing you to easy employee management even while on the go. In addition to specifying the exact time range, you can add specific locations, positions, and job codes to employee shifts. It also has an automatic punch-out feature that automatically clock-outs employees when their schedules end.
- Multiple clock-in/out options: In addition to PIN code and facial recognition scans, Buddy Punch supports QR code and username with password clock-ins/outs. Buddy Punch is the only software in this list that can handle these two time entry types.
- Flexible time tracking: With its mobile apps for iOS and Android devices, you can turn tablets and smartphones into an online time clock. Given that its platform is web-based, you can also access its time tracker on computer browsers—although Buddy Punch recommends Google Chrome for a better user experience.
- Time tracking controls: Buddy Punch has punch-limiting features that allow you to set up specific timeframes when employees are allowed to clock in/out —a feature that’s not found in other providers in this list. It even lets you specify the exact time per day—instead of only the number of minutes—that your staff can clock in/out before and after their shift. This is useful if your employees have different work shifts but you didn’t get Buddy Punch’s plan with scheduling tools. Further, Buddy Punch has geofencing and geolocation tracking, including device and IP address locks if you want to restrict where your staff can clock in/out from.
- Time entry duration tool: Buddy Punch may not have an online timer for tracking hours on projects, but it has a “duration entry” feature that allows your salaried employees to log in the total hours they spend on clients (such as meetings or client support).
7shifts: Best for Restaurants & Businesses That Hire Minors
7shifts is cloud-based scheduling software that is designed specifically for restaurants, but its features make it a good choice for a wide range of industries including businesses that hire minors. You can use 7shifts for rules-based scheduling, i.e., templates, manager log books, group communications, and shift swapping. It also has features for setting work-hour limitations that’s beneficial when dealing with minors, who may have more work-hour restrictions than other employees.
Its higher plans also allow auto-scheduling and forecasting. Unlike When I Work, it offers a free plan, and paid options start at $19.99 per month, per location. However, similar to When I Work, it doesn’t offer phone support and even if you upgrade to a paid tier, you only get email and live chat support. While it has an auto-scheduler, like When I Work, and can integrate with a wide range of payroll and POS systems, you have to subscribe to its higher tiers in order to access these functionalities.
- Comp plan: Free for one business location with up to 10 employees.
- Includes: Basic scheduling and time tracking tools, PTO requests, staff availability, shift swaps, schedule notifications, basic reporting, team messaging, mobile apps (for iOS and Android devices), and a simple online time clock.
- Appetizer tier: $19.99 per location monthly, with an employee limit of 20 ($17.99/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: All of Comp’s features plus POS integrations, customized employee health checks, and SMS notifications.
- Entrée option: $43.99 per location monthly for up to 30 employees ($39.99/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: All of Appetizer’s features plus create schedules and track actual work hours, schedule templates, mobile clock-ins/outs, basic compliance tools, advanced reporting, and events management to help keep staff and managers informed of restaurant events.
- The Works package: $76.99 per location monthly for unlimited employees ($69.99/monthly for the annual plan)
- Includes all of Entrée’s features plus advanced time clocks and compliance controls, geofencing and photo verifications while clocking in, payroll software integration, audit logs, shift feedback, and labor forecasting tools.
- Gourmet plan: Custom-priced
- Includes: Robust scheduling, time tracking, compliance and reporting features, machine-learning auto-scheduler, access to training support, best-in-class enterprise system security, and a dedicated account manager.
- Add-on services: Account setup assistance ($150 one-time fee), sales data imported directly into 7shifts ($100 one-time fee), detailed task lists included in employee shifts ($12.99 per location monthly), and tracking of multiple restaurants’ sales, labor, and employee engagement performances ($6.99 per location monthly).
7shifts Standout Features
- Smart employee scheduling: Included in 7shifts’s Gourmet tier, its machine-learning employee scheduling tool automatically creates work shifts based on your business’ workforce demands, labor cost and sales forecasts, and overtime compliance requirements, including your employees’ skills, schedule availability, and approved PTO.
- Restaurant-friendly tools: In addition to tip reporting, 7shifts has real-time labor reports and restaurant performance dashboards that provide a birds-eye view of your entire business operations (via the Enterprise Dashboard), including how all the restaurants are performing and which locations may need extra attention (through the Location Overview). Other software in this list either don’t have this type of reporting or the restaurant-specific reports aren’t as extensive.
- Efficient task management: While this feature is a paid add-on, it can help improve employee productivity since this lets you add work tasks that your staff needs to do during a shift. Similar to When I Work, you can create recurring and one-time tasks, set completion timelines, schedule when these will appear for applicable employees, and track who completed the tasks.
- Robust POS integrations: While 7shifts integrates with more than 20 POS solutions like Aloha, Micros, Dinerware, Square POS, Revel, POSitouch, Squirrel Systems, and Heartland Restaurant POS.
- Compliance tools: Along with audit logs, automated alerts, break and overtime settings, and early clock-in prevention, 7shifts can also help you to avoid assigning “clopen” shifts. This ensures that employees get ample rest between schedules instead of working a closing shift and then an opening shift immediately the following day.
ZoomShift: Best for Agricultural, Construction & Tourist Industries
ZoomShift is a scheduling and time tracking software that is great for small businesses in the agricultural, construction, and tourist industries, which have seasonal highs and lows. It allows you to plan shifts for weeks or months ahead to make sure you have everything covered during peak or low seasons. Starting at $2.50 per employee, per month, it’s economical, especially for those with only a few staff but multiple locations.
Its flexible by-employee pricing is similar to When I Work, providing a mobile time clock and great tools for shift scheduling.
- Starter: Priced at $2.50 monthly per active user and includes the following features:
- Time off and availability
- Shift swap
- Time clock
- Time sheets
- Payroll report
- Calendar app sync
- Premium: $5 monthly per active user and additional features:
- Overtime warnings
- Shift rules
- Enterprise: Custom; designed for large businesses or franchises needing customized solutions. Includes all Premium features plus the following:
- Priority support
- API access
- Sub account management
ZoomShift Standout Features
- Scheduling: The tools are basic: You can copy schedules or save schedules as a template, as many as you like. You can sync the schedule with Google Calendar, iCal, and Outlook. The time tracker is integrated, making time sheets easy, as well as enabling you to set clock-in/out rules and set up geofencing. You can track missed shifts, late arrivals, and more.
- Employee communications: Like other providers in this list (except Buddy Punch), ZoomShift lets you send schedules to workers, offer open shifts, and allow employees to trade shifts. It alerts managers about overtime and breaks of shift rules (like clocking in early) and has event announcements, group chats, and direct messages.
- Restaurant features: You can set requirements for picking up a shift so that the right people are doing the right job. The seasonal planning and ease of use make it a good choice for restaurants with high staff turnover or staff that only works at certain times of the year, like the college student that serves tables over the summer.
- HR and payroll functions and integrations: You can set rules to restrict hours and get alerts when an employee is approaching overtime. In addition, you can approve time sheets and create payroll reports, which you can download as CSV or XLS for putting into a payroll program. You can build other reports, but it doesn’t have many customizable ones. It also lacks integrations into other software.
- Plan holds and active member pricing: If your restaurant has long-term slowdowns or times when you close for a month or a season, then ZoomShift is a great choice. Like Sling, it charges only for active users. However, it also lets you put your plan on hold when you don’t need it without losing your information, something no other scheduler offered.
Sling: Best for Very Small Businesses on a Budget
Sling is a scheduling and time clock software with strong communication and tasking features. Sling didn’t make our list of the best overall employee scheduling software but it did earn a high rating in our best restaurant scheduling software due to its great pricing, strong tasking features, and competitive scheduling rules and communications tools.
Like Homebase, Sling offers a free plan with basic scheduling tools, making it an excellent option for very small businesses on limited budgets. What’s good about Sling’s free plan is that it can be used for unlimited locations, employees, and managers unlike that of Homebase, which is limited to just one location. Its paid plans are based on the number of users, like When I Work, ZoomShift, and Deputy.
- Free: $0; includes basic scheduling tools such as
- Shift scheduling
- Open shifts
- Time off requests
- Long-term scheduling
- Premium: $2 per user; includes everything in the free plan plus:
- Mobile time clock
- Time sheets
- Prevent early clock-ins
- Swap shifts
- Private and group messaging
- Google calendar sync
- Business: $4 per user; includes everything in its Premium plan plus:
- Auto assign shifts
- Track PTO, no-shows, sick callouts, and late arrivals
- Task features: Openings, closings, deep cleans, and inspection preps all work better when the staff knows exactly what to do. Just like When I Work, Sling offers a robust tasking function that lets you assign tasks to individuals or teams, create and save task templates for recurring duties, and provide manager feedback.
- Scheduling: You’ll find most of the tools on Sling in other providers in this guide, but we especially liked how it tracked unavailability and time off because you can use it for compliance as well—for example, create unavailability rules for minor workers so that you don’t schedule them during school hours. The Business plan lets the software automatically assign shifts based on availability and qualifications, which is also offered by When I Work. The time clock lets you set limits on when early employees can clock in and will automatically clock them out at the end of the shift.
- Employee communications: Like Deputy and 7shifts, Sling offers both messaging and an interactive news feed, so you can keep your employees up to date on the latest news, whether it’s a new policy or a reminder. Employees can use the app to request shift swaps and get reminders about shifts and clocking in.
- HR & payroll functions and integrations: It’s easy to tackle payroll by approving time sheets on desktop or mobile and exporting them to your payroll processor or as an XLS or CSV. Like When I Work, it integrates with popular restaurant POS systems like Toast, Square, and Restaurant Manager, as well as Gusto for payroll. Out of all providers in this guide, Sling offers the fewest third-party integrations.
SocialSchedules: Best for Highly Regulated Industries
SocialSchedules (formerly OpenSimSim) is an employee scheduling software with tools designed to reduce compliance risks for highly regulated businesses. It allows you to create compliance rules that will guide your scheduling options and help you avoid penalties. It even sends notifications and mobile alerts for overtime and breaks that don’t comply with state and local labor laws and allows you to store schedule histories and reports for up to seven years.
Its free tier includes employee scheduling and allows you to post open shifts and get time off and shift replacement requests via its mobile app. While it can handle multilocation and unlimited employee scheduling, including overtime reporting, you have to subscribe to its paid plans to access these functionalities.
- Basic plan: Free for up to 10 employees who work in the same department and in one business location.
- Includes: Basic scheduling and labor law compliance tools, PTO requests, shift availability, digital timecards, in-app messaging, and a time clock kiosk (through its iOS and Android apps for tablets).
- Starter tier: $15.99 per location monthly with unlimited employees who work in two departments in the same location ($12.99/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: Basic’s tools, shift confirmations, daily and weekly overtime compliance settings, overtime reports, and the capabilities to view candidate profiles and block workdays from PTO requests.
- Premium option: $39.99 per location monthly ($33.99/monthly on the annual plan)
- Includes: POS integrations, auto-break allocations, advanced reporting, and mobile time clock apps with GPS functionality.
- Enterprise plan: Custom-priced with unlimited employees, departments, and locations.
- Includes: All Premium features plus dedicated support, API access, custom reports, and up to three free recruiting credits.
- Add-ons: $49.99 for additional recruiting credits. Note that you have to subscribe to a paid plan in order to purchase this add-on.
SocialSchedules Standout Features
- Smart shift management: SocialSchedules lets your employees drop shifts (along with requesting shift swaps) if they need to. However, your managers can lock important workdays to prevent schedules from being swapped and dropped.
- Strong labor laws compliance: SocialSchedules automatically allocates paid/unpaid breaks based on actual worked hours, applies penalties for missed meal breaks, and stops the send-outs of schedules with compliance breaches. It also provides cloud storage for edit histories and reports for up to seven years. Only SocialSchedules allows you to add certification-related scheduling and time-tracking rules, enabling you to enforce work shifts that require employees with specific certifications.
- Multiple employee availability sets: SocialSchedules allows your employees to create multiple availability sets that show when they are available and unavailable to work. Each set contains start and end dates and can be repeated on a weekly or biweekly basis.
- Certification management: No other software in this list but SocialSchedules offers a certification management module. While available only in its higher tiers, this helps you track the training sessions that employees need to attend and the expiration dates of certification programs (if applicable).
How We Evaluated the Top When I Work Alternatives
Since When I Work is mainly an employee scheduling software with optional time and attendance features, we considered software that offers similar functionalities. We also looked at software that competes on pricing and ease of use.
When I Work is a great tool for managers and business owners to make employee scheduling fast and easy. Depending on your budget and functionality requirements, there are other software to choose from. The alternatives we presented here can let you create schedules, communicate with employees, track time, and make payday hassle-free.
We found Homebase to be the best alternative as it has robust time tracking and employee scheduling features as When I Work. Homebase offers a free plan. Its per-location pricing may also benefit growing or large businesses. While When I Work has responsive chat support, Homebase offers phone support during business hours on weekdays that’s helpful for those needing immediate technical support.