When I was 17 years old I worked part-time in a small retail store tucked away in the corner of the mall called T-Shirt Stop. I was immediately drawn to working there because of the impressive supply of rock-band t-shirts, and the opportunity to connect with other teenage punk rock fans who perpetually loitered the store.
My coworkers and I, each had the latest and greatest AT&T phones from Nokia. We stayed in touch via SMS if we needed someone to come in early, stay late, or cover a shift for us. Our weekly schedules were obscurely displayed on the back door of a storage room, that required us to navigate around a minefield of half-empty cardboard boxes to view.
Fast-forward a decade and a half.
Not much has changed in the way hourly shift workers communicate with each other, despite a myriad of communication options both personally (Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, Snapchat), and professionally (Slack, Yammer, Asana, Basecamp).
So what do the 600M global shift workers use to communicate? They usually cobble together their own solutions like setting up a Facebook group, or an iMessage/SMS group with coworkers. These tools are great for personal use, but are not optimized for the utility that frontline workers need such as scheduling, trading shifts, work notifications, and privacy.
If they are lucky enough to have Management that uses scheduling software, they can view their schedules easily but it often falls short when it comes to their mobile communication needs. Legacy enterprise scheduling portals do not have the features that employees have come to expect on mobile such as direct messaging, activity feeds, and push notifications.
In short, the existing solutions were not built with the smartphone-equipped shift worker in mind.
That is why we created Branch — to empower shift workers worldwide and to simplify how they get things done at work.
Our first product, Branch Messenger is a mobile and web application that provides a private workplace network for messaging coworkers, trading shifts, viewing schedules and accessing store news. We’ve built the application from the ground up, to address the specific needs of the frontline employee. This means it’s mobile-first, cloud-based, fun to use, extensible, and anyone can get started without Management or Corporate approval.
The application is free for any employee to use. If you work a shift in retail, restaurants, hospitality, healthcare, telecommunications, public service, gaming, or transportation we encourage you to take it for a spin and let us know what you think. We hope you enjoy using Branch as much as we had building it. :)
Co-Founder & CEO