HotSchedules, Slack’s clunky older cousin, is having a moment

Why the ’90s company leaped to the top of the App Store charts.


September 22, 2020

If you’ve worked in retail this century, the word “HotSchedules” might give you, well, hot flashes.

The shift-scheduling app has been helping hourly workers trade shifts since 1999.

While most ’90s tech has long since been phased out, HotSchedules is bigger than ever: It’s currently one of the top 10 paid apps on Apple’s App Store charts, and it’s used at ~35k places of business across the country.

Why is HotSchedules so hot right now?

There’s one big reason: Tons of retailers require their workers to fill out a health checklist each day before they show up to work.

Most of those checklists are on HotSchedules. But as the pandemic keeps messing with scheduling, workers are swapping shifts like crazy.

HotSchedules’ messaging tool — which looks more like an email account, circa 2008 — is also suddenly all the rage.

It’s starting to look like a social platform 

This past spring, workers took to HotSchedules to swap tips about navigating the unemployment system, while employers sent out updates on how to pick up checks.

In some darker cases, workers only found out they’d been laid off after discovering they were locked out of HotSchedules.

More recently, the sheer uncertainty of work during the pandemic has started to shape HotSchedules into something of a Slack rival — an old-school, distraction-free alternative to all of those corporate #pets channels.

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