Business
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July 20, 2021
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6
min read

Best When I Work Alternative for Growing Teams in 2021

Mariya Ivanova
Digital Strategist, Soon

Soon as a WhenIWork Alternative

If you’re looking for a WhenIWork alternative, there are plenty of options out there. So many, in fact, that it can be hard to know what to pick. We’d like to give a shout out to our product, Soon. Created by a team based in the Netherlands, it is a cost-effective alternative to some of the sector’s bigger names.

WhenIWork Alternative - Soon



Soon is an employee scheduling app that helps businesses manage their employee schedules in a more streamlined and decluttered manner. Companies use Soon to scale up their hiring without having to spend excessive amounts of time working on staff schedules. 

Its automated smart person picker allows managers to fill their rotas at the click of a button, while its event-based scheduling allows employees and management alike to see changes on the dashboard in real-time. 

Some of its clients include KVK (the Dutch Chamber of Commerce), investment banking corporation Robeco, and Dutch bank Knab.

It is also one of the cheaper solutions on the market, offering a flat rate of $9 per month for full access to the platform.

Start your Soon free trial today.

When I Work

When I Work offers a full mobile scheduling solution, allowing both management and employees to schedule and manage shift work quickly and efficiently. When I Work is trusted by Ben & Jerry’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Comfort Inn.

What are the similarities between Soon and WhenIWork?

Since Soon and WhenIWork broadly carry out the same function, there are a number of features that they share. 

Free trial offered

Both When I Work and Soon offer a free trial. Soon offer a 30-day free trial, whereas When I Work offer a 14-day free trial. Both free trials offer access to the full paid product, the only difference being that Soon’s free trial is longer, giving you more time to assess whether or not the product is right for you.

Real time scheduling

Whichever application you choose, you’ll be able to schedule your employees’ shifts in real-time. Your employees will also be able to respond in real-time by submitting leave requests, asking to swap shifts and more. The only real difference is that the dashboard for each app looks different. 

When I Work’s dashboard shows shifts in a calendar format:

Whereas Soon’s dashboard shows workload management in a more visual way:

Team Messaging

Team messaging is offered as standard across the industry and is a key feature that makes shift scheduling software so effective. 

By allowing staff and management to directly message one another in-app, it removes the need to use email or text message for scheduling enquiries, decluttering the personal inboxes of staff and management. 

Both Soon and When I Work offer the ability to message others individually, and in groups, allowing staff to communicate without sharing personal contact details. 

Timesheet function

The timesheet or time clock functionality is another common feature in the sector, and both Soon and When I work offer this. On both apps, employee hours worked and wages earned are calculated automatically. Timesheets can then be easily exported from both apps and sent to the accounts department, saving the management team time.

In When I Work, the timesheets page looks like this:

Whereas Soon’s timesheets page offers a more visual overview of the people working during a certain time period: 

As you can see, Soon’s timesheets layout is much cleaner and more user-friendly.

Multi-location scheduling

Both tools allow managers to coordinate their staff across multiple locations, making sure that they know where they need to be and when. This is particularly useful if you are managing staff for a number of different sites from a central office.

Staff can manage their own shifts in-app

When I Work and Soon both offer staff the ability to take control of their own working hours. Shifts can be swapped between staff without management needing to get involved, while managers can put empty shifts up for employees to fill. Whether you choose When I Work or Soon, you’ll get this feature as standard.

What are the differences?

Despite all of the similarities between When I Work and Soon, there are certainly some differences. Both apps have a number of unique features that set them apart from the other.

Soon Unique features

Unlike When I Work, Soon’s suite of features are more suited for customer service teams and within a corporate setting. 

Automated smart person picker

Soon’s smart person picker allows you to create rotas at the click of a button. It takes a number of factors - such as employee roles, skills, availability, conflicts and contracted hours to come up with an automated schedule in seconds. This allows management to save time coming up with rotas, which can typically take a number of hours across any given month.

Employee Groups

Soon allows you to divide your workforce up into different groups so that you can manage, filter and target different teams for different rotas and projects. This allows you to make schedules more quickly by having your staff organised for their specific skills and expertise.

Zoomed timelines

This highly visual feature allows you to view your team’s schedule on a day, week or month timeline view. This allows you to easily switch between planning the rota on a monthly basis, checking your staff’s schedule for the week, or see who’s coming into the office on any given day. This kind of flexibility gives you a dynamic view of your workforce and allows you to make changes quickly and easily.

Advanced leave management

Soon’s leave management system is more in-depth than When I Work’s, allowing staff to input different kinds of leave - such as sick leave, holiday, and training. Management is also able to view and review employees’ leave requests quickly and easily.

When I Work - Unique Features

When I Work is typically used by clients in the hospitality and service sector, and this shows with regards to its unique features, including preventing overtime and managing employee breaks.

Two-tap leave management

When I Work allows managers to accept or reject a leave request with just two taps. When a leave request comes in, a notification comes up on the manager’s phone. They have to tap that, then are taken to a screen with details of the leave request, with the option to accept or reject the request. 

This allows managers and staff to plan leave quickly and reactively, to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the hospitality and service sectors.

Overtime prevention

In When I Work, you can set maximum hours for each of your employees so that none of them end up working more hours than you expect, helping you cut payroll costs. For example, if an employee tries to fill an empty shift, but it would take them over their allocated number of hours for the week, the app automatically stops them from being able to accept the new shift.

Employee break management

You can use When I Work’s dashboard overview to slot in paid or unpaid breaks into your employees’ schedules. Organizing this ahead of time creates clarity, and minimises time taken up discussing break times while on the shop floor.

Pricing and value for money

When I Work pricing

When I Work shouts loudly about its pricing in its marketing materials, however, this can be a bit misleading. The price for the Small Business package listed on its website is $2 per user per month, which sounds good on the face of it, but it can rack up quite quickly. If you have 100 members of staff to keep track of, the price balloons from $2 to $200.

When I Work also offers an Enterprise version, suitable for up to 10,000 employees. While they don’t provide a price for this upfront, inviting you to get in touch for a quote, it’s fair to assume that this package will be more expensive than the Small Business package.

Soon pricing

Soon, on the other hand, offers a much more competitive rate. It costs just $9 per month to get access to all of Soon’s features for an unlimited number of users. When I Work is only cheaper if you have four users or less, and if that’s the case you can probably keep track of them without the need for any paid software. 

Soon, therefore, offers the vast majority of the same features that When I Work does - along with a few unique features of its own - for a fraction of the price. If you have an especially big team, you can save a lot of money by choosing Soon over When I Work.

Key takeaways - Soon vs When I Work

Both platforms are highly powerful, and the differences between them are fairly minor. The deciding factor between the two is likely to be either the industry you work in or the price point.

  • When I Work is a slick, powerful tool that allows you to keep a handle on staff scheduling, while allowing them to swap and fill shifts in the app. It’s best suited to large companies who are looking to manage hundreds or even thousands of employees across multiple locations such as fast-food chains. However, it can get expensive very quickly if you have a large workforce, so a healthy budget is required.
  • Soon is a tool that’s just as useful for startups as it is for large corporations and customer service teams. It offers a complete shift scheduling solution for a fraction of the price of its competitors without skimping on features. Additionally, its unique features make it highly suitable for use in a corporate environment.

Start your Soon free trial today

Looking for a better way to manage your team’s schedule? Get in touch with Soon for a free trial today.

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