Time clocks will soon have gone the way of the buggy whip (although as specialty retailers, we realize there is probably still niche market somewhere even for those).  Now that all of our employees have smart phones, the modern way of scheduling and tracking employees seems to be through a mobile app, sometimes combined with a POS system’s payroll component.

There are a number of staff management programs on the market – some are free, and others charge a monthly fee. Here are a few examples that have been used by stores in our area:

  • When I Work
  • HomeBase
  • WhenToWork
  • Sling (getsling.com)

When I Work, which is the top-rated app in the list of Employee Scheduling Software reviewed on Capterra, offers a template that you can populate with open shifts and then share with your staff. The app also has a Time Clock and Attendance option. Their section on setting up an account for a small retail store reflects an understanding of the different roles that need to be filled whenever the store is open.

Some of the other programs, such as Homebase, include a hiring component with recruiting software. Before deciding which one has the features you need – at a cost that works for you – you’ll want to explore the programs carefully. It’s also a good idea to get feedback from others using them.

Whatever system you use, the goal is to help your employees feel in control of their schedules, at the same time that you have adequate staffing for your store at all times. And of course you want accurate input into your payroll system so that you can make sure that employees are paid for the time worked – and are present for the hours they’re scheduled for.

Happy Retailing,


Carol “Orange” Schroeder

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