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When I Work, a job scheduling and timesheet platform, today announced that it secured $200 million in a majority growth investment from Bain Capital Tech Opportunities with participation from Arthur Ventures. The company says that the strategic funding — which brings its total raised to $224 million — will enable When I Work to expand its product suite as it pursues new merger and acquisition opportunities.
There were more than 10 million open jobs in the U.S. in August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — but 5 million fewer people working than before the pandemic. Beyond a lack of benefits and difficult customers, as well as low pay and potential exposure to the coronavirus, former members of the workforce tell surveyors that they desire greater workplace flexibility. According to a recent MyWorkChoice study, 18% of hourly workers reported that a lack of flexible scheduling is the reason they quit their jobs.
Founded in 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by Chad Halvorson and Daniel Olfelt, When I Work provides shift-based workforce management software that handles scheduling, communication, and tracking the time employees take to complete jobs. Halvorson previously served as a managing partner at Meditech Communications, a marketing agency for the medical device industry, while Olfelt was the senior lead engineer at Meditech.
“The idea for When I Work grew out of founder Chad Halvorson’s frustrations with the tedious paper scheduling system at his high school grocery store job,” CEO Martin Hartshorne told VentureBeat via email. “The company was created to build a workforce management software specifically aimed at shift-based workplaces and focused on making employee scheduling easier and more streamlined for both employers and employees alike … With When I Work, employees get flexibility and more control over their schedules, resulting in happier, more productive teams while employers gain agility and a means to attract and retain workers. 85% of employees using When I Work engage with the app weekly.”
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When I Work lets admins manage time off, switch shifts, and message with or view the availability for a single team and location — or across hundreds. The platform, which integrates with payroll providers like ADP, can automatically match shifts with employee qualifications and availability and prevent overtime with alerts, thresholds, and shift limits. A time clock app with GPS capabilities facilitates clocking in and clocking out across devices, and employers can also create an employee clock on an iPad, computer, or mobile device so that remote or offsite workers can clock in and out from their devices.
“When the scheduling and attendance software are used together, [if employees are] late or forget to clock out, both the manager and employee are notified with a mobile alert. You can also get mobile alerts if employees clock in at the wrong job site by using the built-in GPS location services,” When I Work explains on its website. “By enabling GPS clock in [and live maps], companies can ensure that employees are punching in at their workplace or job site address based on GPS location on their phones.”
While When I Work customers cite the need for protection against time theft — according to one source, employers lose about 4.5 hours per week per employee to time theft — some workers might feel differently about the platform’s location-tracking capabilities. Privacy experts worry that workplace tracking tools will normalize greater levels of surveillance, capturing data about workers’ movements and empowering managers to punish employees perceived as unproductive.
As a piece in The Atlantic points out, there’s no federal privacy law to keep businesses from tracking their employees with GPS — and only a handful of states impose restrictions on it. Each state has its own surveillance laws, but most give wide discretion to employers as long as any equipment and software they use to track employees is plainly visible.
A recent survey by ExpressVPN found that that surveillance of employees has increased during the pandemic, with 78% of the companies surveyed reporting that they’re now using monitoring software. In a separate survey, only 5% of workers said that they completely agree with the practice of employee activity and productivity monitoring, and more than half said that they didn’t know if their employer was monitoring them or not.
For its part, When I Work says it only records an employee’s location upon clock in and clock out if location restrictions are enabled. Employees’ locations aren’t gathered throughout their shift, and employees aren’t clocked in and out automatically when they’re at or leave a scheduled location. (They must clock in and out using one centralized time clock.)
“When I Work is a unique software platform that solves a very real pain point for hourly employees and their employers,” Bain Capital Tech Ventures managing director Phil Meicler said in a press release. “It was built to suit the needs of today’s workforce by elegantly automating a time-consuming and manual process, generating real productivity gains and offering a solution that is beloved by the employees who use it daily.”
Despite competition from companies such as Deputy, QuickBooks Time, Hubstaff, and Timely, When I Work added customers across health care, retail, and manufacturing this year, bringing the number of workplaces that use its platform to more than 200,000. Name-brand clients include Dunkin’, Ace Hardware, Ben & Jerry’s, and Kenneth Cole, some of which uses When I Work’s ancillary services like labor reports and analytics.
“Since the company’s founding in 2010, more than 10 million employees have worked more than 100 million shifts on the platform … When I Work aims to triple the value of the company in the next few years,” Hartshorne said. “This investment will enable When I Work to deepen and expand its suite of employee-first software solutions, pursue opportunistic acquisitions and enhance its category-defining position. Our number priority is to use these funds to help support additional research and development, so our platform can keep providing our customers with increased breadth and depth of functionality for their business needs.”
The global time-tracking software market was valued at $425.32 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $1.78 trillion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 22.36%.
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