Toronto-Born Mobile App Lets Employees Swap Shifts

A team from Toronto, including two U of T grads, have developed a mobile app that’s truly a game-changer in certain lines of work.

Shyft allows employees to instantly communicate with colleagues to switch shifts, giving workers more control of their schedules. Making everyone’s lives easier, switching shifts is no longer such a nightmare for you or for management.

Seriously, where was this in my university waitressing days?

Anyway, major retailers across North America have adopted the app, which was the product of 3,500 interviews with retail workers across the GTA.

“I think right now what’s really cool when we started not everyone agreed there was a problem. And now more and more we’re finding every day that it’s undeniable there is a problem around workplace scheduling,” CEO and co-founder Brett Patrontasch told the Toronto Star.

The app works by sending push notifications to fellow employees when you need a shift covered or swapped. Responses work on a first come, first serve basis.


The free app has been available for a year and has attracted companies like Old Navy, Starbucks and McDonald’s.

There are already 35,000 registered users in these major companies.

According to the Star, Patrontasch says Shyft complements North American social movements that focus on secure and predictable work schedules.

“(Secure scheduling) is becoming the new minimum wage movement,” said Patrontasch. “The amount of hours is an equal determinant of my income – which is why people are starting to wake up to this, and governments are saying we need to add regulations around this just like we did with minimum wage.”

Some may be surprised to know that workers in Ontario currently don’t have the right to advance notice on schedules.

The good (and overdue) news is that the government is considering changes through a review of employment and labour laws.

The app, however, marks a step in the right direction, resulting in fairer, more efficient schedules. It’s also a positive step in recognizing that everyone has lives outside of the hours clocked at the workplace. Erratic schedules make for erratic employees, in my opinion.

Cover Image: The Toronto Star

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