Shift work is difficult in many different ways. It always feels like you never really get into any sort of work or sleep pattern. As an air traffic controller here in Chicago, I’ve experienced the “joys” of shift work for the past 17 years and it hasn’t gotten any easier—at all. No matter how many times I try to explain my work schedule to family members, they still have a hard time understanding any aspect of my schedule. To add insult to injury, it’s very cumbersome when it comes to entering my ever changing work schedule on my iPhone or iPad. Recently I discovered Shifts in the App Store and one aspect of shift work is getting easier.
Until I discovered Shifts, putting my work schedule into the Calendar app was rather time consuming. Now with Shifts I can create different shift types which I can quickly and easily enter into Shifts calendar. As soon as a new schedule is posted, I can open Shifts and in a few minutes the next two weeks of my schedule is now on my iPhone ready to view and share.
One of the many things I like about Shifts is the icons you’re able to select for specific shifts. With Shifts, you can even change the color of an icon to annotate different shift start times. This allows you to quickly glance at the calendar to identify what your shift is on any given day. Although I’d like to see more icons, the numerous color options available lets you customize and duplicate icons which best describe a shift. For example, I use different colors on the same icon for later afternoon shifts to help me easily identify a specific time. Now I don’t have to select the date to view times; a simple glance is all I need.
Another feature I enjoy is the alerts you can setup for your schedule. With all the changing shift start times I work, it’s easy for me to forget when I’m supposed to report to work on the very next day. Armed with Shifts, I now setup alerts to remind me before each and every shift. I’ve setup my reminders to tell me 24 hours before my shift starts to remind me what I work tomorrow. This is super handy when going from a evening shift to a day shift and I’m constantly reaching for my schedule to decipher tomorrows shift start time.
Shifts even lets you input your hourly wage so you can track earnings. This is a great feature to use if you like keeping track of your wages. On payday you can easily compare your information to what your pay stub shows. If you receive night differential pay, you might forgo using this feature since Shifts doesn’t let you adjust this information during certain work hours. I would use this feature if night differential pay information could be tracked.
Not being able to use this feature isn’t a show stopper for me though. I just won’t use it since the information will always be incorrect when compared to my pay stub.
Thus far it would appear that I’m head over heels in love with Shifts. For the most part I am. There’s one glaring deficiency which must be addressed—cloud syncing. From a fundamentals standpoint, certain apps must have cloud syncing. Any app dealing with productivity simply must sync across all my devices.
I reached out to Snowman about calendar cloud syncing and they responded by stating there is a plan to update Shifts to allow syncing with the iOS calendar. Once syncing is available, Shifts will be damn near perfect.
There are times I’m using my iPad, especially in the evening, and I need to know what I work in the morning. If Shifts synced across all my iOS devices I could quickly and easily discover what I work the next day. Instead, I must track down my iPhone 6 Plus to discover what dreadful early morning hour I must set my alarm for.
Syncing aside, Shifts is an extremely solid app to input and review your schedule. Sharing could use a little work since those you share your schedule with can only see the icon selected for each day and not the actual shift start time, which probably leaves them wondering if you’ve lost your mind since it doesn’t make any sense. Sharing your schedule from the list view only resulted in an image being sent with the month header and no actual times were displayed at all.
Shifts is currently available in the App Store for only $4.99, which is 60 percent off the normal price of $9.99. Use Shifts on your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
Review Score: (4.5 / 5) Shift work schedules just got a hell of a lot easier to track!!