Creating employee work schedules is an arduous task.
It requires taking into consideration different parameters such as employee availability, skill sets, days off, vacations, local rules and regulations, and client preferences, which is why employee scheduling software is a must.
It’s like doing a 5,000-piece puzzle where every single piece has to fall into place. But it’s not only every team manager’s nightmare. Poor scheduling affects employees too and brings about stress, conflicts, and reduced productivity at work. This, in turn, translates into higher turnover rates, employee absenteeism, and increased costs.
All the issues mentioned above occur if you’re still creating your employee schedules manually in a spreadsheet or on a piece of paper.
Using employee scheduling software will automate the process, prevent errors, eliminate scheduling conflicts, and help you stay on top of your shift planning while ensuring your employees are happy and productive.
Still, picking the solution for your business can be overwhelming, given that there are so many of them on the market, so we decided to help.
What follows is a roundup of the best scheduling apps based on our tests and research.
Timeero - Powerful Employee Scheduling Software with Time and Mileage Tracking
Timeero is the go-to employee scheduling tool for teams in different industries, due to its ease of use, feature-richness, and uncluttered interface.
First of all, you don’t have to be particularly tech-savvy to start using it, and this applies to both managers and employees. The user interface is intuitive and allows for easy navigation so that managers can create a schedule with a couple of clicks.
Thanks to clean design, the main Dashboard is compact and offers a clear schedule overview at a glance. You can switch between different views, such as day, week, or month, and implement different filters, which will allow you to monitor your schedule and employees.
Last-minute cancellations no longer mean your entire carefully planned roster will fall apart. The “Who’s Working” feature comes to the rescue and prevents the worst-case scenario. By selecting this tab, you’ll see a list of available employees in real time and quickly find a person ready to jump in and cover the shift without having to frantically call your entire team.
Erratic work schedules get to employees - 60% of those who work irregular shifts report stress-correlated physical symptoms while 47% say their sleep is disrupted. Keeping your employees informed about their shifts and schedule changes is crucial. Timeero comes with a convenient push notification feature that will ensure your employees get alerted whenever they’re assigned a shift or when their schedule is changed.
The abundant integrations that Timeero offers will allow you to connect the platform with the most popular payroll and invoicing apps to facilitate and automate the payment procedure. In addition to that, you can streamline your workflow through the Zapier integration with which you can move information between different apps.
Finally, Timeero comeswith powerful and accurate GPS-tracking functionality that, combined with the scheduling feature, ensures that you always know whether your employees are where they should be during their shift. It also comes in handy since you can assign a canceled shift to the employee who’s closest to the location of work.
* Easy schedule creation
* Automation of recurring schedules
* Text and push notification about assigned tasks or schedule changes
* Checking the availability of employees with the Who’s Working feature
* Time and GPS tracking
* Time-off tracking for days, off, vacation time, and sick leave
* Integrations with payroll and accounting apps as well as Zapier
Companies from various industries including construction, food services, home health & hospice, property management, janitorial services, general contractors, and field services can greatly benefit from Timeero’s employee scheduling software.
Time, mileage, and GPS-tracking features make it particularly appealing for managing remote and mobile teams, since managers can be sure that their employees don’t show up late for work or take longer routes on their way to assignments.
Last but not least, the user-friendliness of the platform makes the onboarding process easy so that Timeero can be implemented quickly and easily.
Key selling point
Timeero is so much more than shift scheduling software. Unlike its competitors, Timeero doubles as a reliable and compliant Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) solution, which is why it’s an excellent choice for home health & hospice agencies. Exceptional customer support experience is another factor that makes Timeero customers’ favorite.
The biggest con about Timeero is that it’s not a free service. Customer feedback and suggestions are carefully considered in order to improve the quality of service. The app isn’t free and that’s its biggest shortcoming.
Sling - Workforce Management and Shift Scheduling Software
Sling is a free shift scheduling app with time-tracking, messaging, task management, and reporting capabilities.
The platform itself is organized around four modules: task management, shift management, newsfeed, and messaging. A centralized dashboard and shared calendar make it easy for both managers and employees to organize tasks, fill open shifts, check availability, or request/approve time off.
To save time and avoid doing everything from scratch all over again, managers can save and reuse schedule templates.
One of the biggest scheduling challenges is avoiding double-bookings and overlapping shifts, especially when you’re managing a large team. Sling solves this through its real-time availability and time-off requests.
Setting notifications for to-do tasks and shifts prevents no-shows and arriving late to work. It’s also possible to track job progress and identify potential issues ahead of time.
* Availability and calendar management
* Time and attendance tracking
* Templates for creating recurrent shift schedules
* Built-in messaging, shift reminders, and tracking task progress
* Newsfeed feature keeps everyone on the same page
* Payroll and expense management
* Third-party integrations
Sling was built with retail and restaurant businesses in mind, but its use cases include different industries too, so that hospitality, transportation, construction and other sectors can implement it. As for the business size, small businesses and enterprise organizations alike can streamline their scheduling process.
Attendance tracking, timesheets, shift swapping, budgeting, and team messaging are features available only for the paid plans. Also, the messaging option can be a bit confusing for some users.
Humanity - Shift Planning and Employee Scheduling Software
Humanity is a platform built to help organizations create smarter employee schedules.
Its workforce forecasting and automation capabilities allow for effortless and data-driven scheduling. In other words, organizations that implement Humanity don’t have to worry about being understaffed or overstaffed, therefore keeping their expenses in check.
Humanity insists on employee experience, which is reflected in the platform’s flexible schedule management. Namely, it enables employees to change their schedules on the go, while giving their managers and supervisors full visibility of these changes.
Organizations can control their costs and prevent unnecessary expenses with the help of Humanity’s budgeting tool. With this useful feature, it’s much easier to control and stay within your budget.
Automatic scheduling is another feature worth mentioning as managers don’t have to resort to tedious copy-paste scheduling methods.
Finally, Humanity ensures compliance with labor laws, by keeping an eye on overtime and breaking regulations.
* Data-driven scheduling, budgeting, and staffing
* Predicting scheduling requirements
* Flexible, self-serving schedule management
* Preventing unauthorized overtime
* Tracking employee attendance
Although suitable for different industries including retail, hospitality, or manufacturing, Humanity has distinguished itself as reliable employee scheduling software for medical facilities. Managers can assign shifts based on parameters such as seniority level or other preferences,
Key selling point
A solid feature set paired with affordable pricing is Humanity’s trump card. This scheduling app offers good value for the price although it’s not the most affordable solution on the market.
One of Humanity’s strongest points, a rich feature set, can at the same time be somewhat of a deal-breaker. Namely, having so many options can be a good thing, but users that aren’t tech-savvy might find the dashboard a bit too complex. Some users also complain that the process of trading shifts isn’t smooth and without bugs.
Fourth - Workforce Management, Inventory, and Employee Scheduling Software
Fourth, formerly Hot Schedules, is a part of a comprehensive workforce management suite consisting of Workforce, Inventory, Services, and Analytics. Its target audiences include restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality and retail businesses.
In this line of work, staffing plays an important role, and this data-driven employee scheduling software gives managers valuable insight into some key variables such as weather or peak service times. For example, it’s possible to see how many employees are required for each position throughout the day. This way, managers can control costs and prevent understaffing.
It’s also possible to request, drop, and approve shifts on the go. Shift swapping and splitting is also available, while managers can open a so-called emergency shift in case an employee is absent.
The Time and Attendance solution comes in handy for ensuring punctuality, controlling pay, and preventing buddy-punching. Integrated payroll solutions as well as the “Tips and Troncs” feature make sure employees are paid and tipped properly.
* Staff forecasting
* Controlling labor expenses
* Detailed analytics, workload trends, and staffing needs
* Notifications about upcoming tasks and purchase order approvals
* Kitchen and inventory management
Suitable for both new businesses trying to grow and big organizations trying to optimize their scheduling routines.
Use cases are mostly focused on the hospitality and retail industry, which isn’t exactly a downside as it targets a pretty narrow niche and offers an abundance of specialized tools for improving business operations and performance. However, that leaves out other big industries such as healthcare, construction, or field service. Some users complain that the platform isn’t user-friendly.
In addition to that, there’s no free trial, and pricing plans aren’t provided and are available only upon request.
Google Calendar - Old-School Employee Scheduling Software
When we’re talking about the best scheduling apps, it wouldn’t be fair to skip Google Calendar.
Part of Google’s productivity suite Google Workspace, this employee scheduling software integrates seamlessly with other apps from this tool stack. Since the entire suite is intended to facilitate collaboration and sharing, the Calendar app can be used for employee scheduling purposes since it’s easy to create and distribute an unlimited number of employee schedules.
Although the initial purpose of this tool was to serve as a personal or business calendar, with some tweaks it can double as fairly decent employee scheduling software.
Its appointment-scheduling functionality can be used to create a shift schedule, as it’s possible to add a duration and color-code slots for better visibility. Finally, setting an automated reminder will notify employees that they have an upcoming shift.
Since Google Calendar is integrated with Gmail, there’s also a simple communication tool.
* Event scheduling option with color coding, location, and duration
* Setting automated notifications
* Communication via email
* Sharing and collaboration
* Integration with the entire Workspace Suite toolstack
While it does replace the pen and paper approach, Google Calendar is too clunky and unsophisticated for handling a schedule for more than five people. So, it’s ok for small businesses that are just starting out, but it won’t be helpful when it’s time to scale.
In all honesty, Google Calendar is far from being the best employee scheduling software on the market. Although it’s free (unless you opt for the entire Workspace Suite) and ridiculously easy to use, it leaves much to be desired in terms of advanced scheduling options.
It’s virtually impossible to notice conflicting shifts or keep track of days-off, to begin with, let alone monitor your expenses or handle shift swapping or splitting.
So, what you’ll get is a pretty rudimentary scheduling app that you can use if your budget is limited or until you decide which fully-fledged employee scheduling software works for you.
Skedulo - Employee Scheduling Software for Deskless Workforce
Skedulo is primarily intended for employees who don’t work in a traditional office environment.
This shift scheduling software offers scheduling, communication, and analytics tools, plus integrations.
The interface is clean and easy to use, while the calendar allows for good visibility of tasks. To facilitate the scheduling process, Skedulo automatically matches client needs to the skills of available workers and provides the visualization of tasks, routes, and calendars. Drag-and-drop scheduling eliminates common errors and ensures that every shift is properly covered.
Employees will be notified about the tasks they’re assigned and receive reminders in a timely manner, which will prevent no-show incidents. Also, they will get all the details about the task attached.
In addition to controlling your workforce, with this employee scheduling software you’ll be able to organize tasks based on the proximity, thus reducing travel time and your expenses.
In case of cancellations, you can always offer an available employee to grab a shift and quickly fill it.
* Shift scheduling, time and attendance tracking, workforce optimization
* Drag-and-drop scheduling functionality
* Centralized communication with employees
* SMS and push notification
* Recommendations for reducing travel time
* Automatic scheduling
Skedulo is suitable for different industries, including field service, real estate, residential services, and utilities, to name just a few. It can support small and mid-size companies, and enterprise users alike.
One of the biggest shortcomings of Skedulo is its pricing. Since it’s specifically made for enterprise-level organizations, it’s pretty expensive - we’re talking about hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.
Besides, it doesn’t support monthly billing. Users complain that the app tends to be buggy and difficult to navigate, which can be a problem for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Importing staff, location, and other information is time-consuming and complex unless done via Salesforce.
Google Sheets - Spreadsheet Employee Scheduling Software
Another contender comes from the Google family of productivity and employee scheduling apps. Google Sheets is a cloud-based version of the popular Excel, a tool that used to be a scheduling staple when it was released.
You can resize rows, blocks, cells, add color codes and easily share your documents with your employees and co-workers. As all the other Google Workspace tools, this one was also built to facilitate collaboration.
* Real-time collaboration with your employees
* Schedule visualization and color coding
* Easy to use
* Smart fill
* Seamless integration with other Google apps
Just like it’s the case with Google Calendar, only very small businesses with up to 5 employees can use Google Sheets for scheduling purposes. The more shifts you have to create and employees to organize, the worse the performance of this tool will be.
It lacks notifications, auto scheduling, time tracking, attendance tracking, expense control, and data-driven intelligence. Pretty much all that Google Sheets can serve as is a digital version of pen and paper.
When I Work - Employee Scheduling Software with Time Tracking
Built to facilitate creating and managing schedules on the fly, When I Work comes with a well-designed and intuitive user interface. Being aesthetically pleasing is what many users highlight as a standout factor of this employee scheduling software.
The setup is fairly easy and the app itself is user-friendly.
Besides scheduling, When I Work also helps companies track time, monitor attendance, fill shifts, and alert employees about assigned shifts or schedule updates.
Similarly, managers get a notification when employees request off time or shift changes and can approve these requests online. The app supports custom text messages and a group email service.
The Dashboard also shows the current pay period and gives insight into estimated labor costs.
Employees can also control and participate in shift management by blocking days in the calendar when they’re not available, as well as swapping, dropping, and taking open shifts. The platform is also capable of filling shifts automatically by matching employee availability and qualifications with task requirements.
This employee scheduling software also features push notifications, standard integrations, and a real-time communication option.
* Employee scheduling, time tracking, and team messaging
* Availability blocking
* Scaling across single or multiple locations
* Budgeting tools
* Ensuring compliance with labor regulations
* Schedule templates
Small and medium-sized companies across different industries that need low-cost employee scheduling software. Since the basic plan for companies with up to 100 employees starts at $2 per user per month, businesses with limited budgets can get a decent shifting app for very little money.
Key selling point
According to users, it’s the platform’s affordable pricing paired with some useful features such as allowing employees to pick up or split shifts with their co-workers.
Pricing, although affordable, has a catch - you get only scheduling and messaging for $2 per user per month. If you want time tracking and attendance, then this fee doubles, thus making the key selling point significantly less appealing. Also, some users cite few reports and the lack of direct POS and payroll integrations as a dealbreaker.
So, What Is the Best Employee Scheduling App?
First of all, it’s important to say that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to employee scheduling software. That’s the reason why the answer to this question depends on your needs.
Before making a decision, think about your budget, but factor in the time and resources you have to spend in manual scheduling, and account for the mistakes and scheduling conflicts this approach leads to.
With regards to all functionalities, features, price, ease of use, and a wide range of use cases across different industries, Timeero might be your best bet. Don’t forget that apart from scheduling, you also have to make sure your employees actually show up to work on time as well as that they don’t take longer routes. And you can monitor this too since Timeero is robust and comprehensive employee scheduling software enhanced with time and GPS-tracking tools as well as payroll and invoicing integrations.