Work camps are very important and unique buildings. Cheap and highly versatile, they can be used to supply workers for both farming and monument building. They are the only buildings that can supply farms and monuments with hard labor, so they are extremely important to be built. Egyptian cities live off the life-giving Nile, taking advantage of the annual inundation with farming. The lack of farming would collapse most cities. This building can even be used to better control your worker pool. Without work camps, the typical advancement of a city is virtually impossible.
Flood plain farming
You should build 1 work camp for every 5 or so flood plain farms, in order to get the most from your harvests. Otherwise, it would take too long for the work camp to train all the workers for 10 or 15 farms, and you would lose a month or two of farm working, because the work camp was swamped with the need to supply 10 farms with workers. If you went the other way, making more work camps, it would just be overkill. You would waste your money that could otherwise be used to add some more housing, or build a shrine(matters what difficulty level you are on).
There are so many precise variables, I won’t even try to determine exacly how many work camps you need for making monuments. But here’s an idea:
If you haven’t stockpiled the goods before you started building a monument, you should have far fewer work camps than if you are producing the supplies yourself. With 1 Storage Yard filled with supplies, there should be a smaller amount of work camps, whereas if you have more than 1 Storage Yard filled, you should have a larger amount of work camps, the number being determined by how many storage yards there are. This is in order to keep from building too few or too many work camps. Too few work camps would mean that monument production would be slower than it could be, due to the fact that the workers would not be able to transport all of the materials. Too many work camps would just be a waste of money and workers, because many of them would just be idle.
The amount of work camps you need fluctuates with the size of the pyramid you are building. The larger the pyramid, the more work camps you need. This is because more workers can work on a single layer than with a smaller one. With the maximum number of workers on the pyramid, its construction will speed up considerably.
Using them to maintain your worker unemployment and lack of workers
The attributes of work camps make them ideal for maintaining your amount of workers. Although somewhat unorthodox, it is possible to do so.
Work camps are excellent when used to lower unemployment. They are cheap, which means you can build more of them. They are small(2×2), which means you can fit more of the in a small space. And they supply 20 people with work. You can just build several work camps, and your unemployment will rocket down.
Lowering the lack of workers
If you have a lack of workers, you can just delete work camps. Since there are so many people working at the work camp, deleting just one will drop the lack of workers by 20. When there are enough workers for your city you can just build them back very easily. They are very cheap, so building them again will not make a dent on your coffers.