Creating employee work schedules is an arduous task.
It requires considering 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 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 manually creating your employee schedules in a spreadsheet or on 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 to fit your business scheduling needs can be overwhelming, given that so many are 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
First, you don’t have to be particularly tech-savvy to start using it, which applies to both managers and employees. The user interface is intuitive and allows for easy navigation both on the desktop and in the iOS and android mobile app so that managers can create a schedule with a couple of clicks.
Thanks to the clean design, the main Dashboard is compact and offers a clear all-in-one schedule overview at a glance. In addition, you can switch between different views, such as day, week, or month, and implement additional filters, which will allow you to monitor your schedule and employees.
Schedule conflicts and 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 someone ready to jump in and cover the employee shift without having to call all your team members frantically.
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. So keeping your employees informed about their shifts and schedule changes is crucial. Timeero comes with a convenient push notification feature that improves team communication. It will ensure your employees get alerted whenever they’re assigned a shift or their schedule changes.
The abundant integrations that Timeero offerswill allow you to connect the platform with the most popular payroll and invoicing software solutions to facilitate and automate the payment procedure. In addition, you can streamline your workflow through the Zapier integration, with which you can move information between different apps.
Besides scheduling, Timeero has other advanced features, such as powerful and accurate GPS-tracking functionality. The easy clock-in and clock-out on desktop and mobile devices ensure that you always know whether your employees are where they should be during their work hours. In addition, since you can assign a canceled shift to the free employee closest to the location of work, Timeero helps you manage employee and human resources more efficiently.
Easy schedule creation
Automation of recurring schedules
Text and push notifications about assigned tasks or schedule changes
Checking the availability of employees with the Who’s Working feature
GPS Time Clock, GPS tracking, and geofencing
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 platform's user-friendliness makes the onboarding process easy, so you can implement Timeero 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 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 is organized around four modules: task management, shift management, newsfeed, and messaging. A centralized dashboard and shared calendar make it easy for 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 managing a large team. Sling’s scheduling feature 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
The newsfeed feature keeps everyone on the same page
Payroll and expense management
Sling was built with retail and restaurant businesses in mind, but its use cases include different industries, so 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 paid plans. Also, the messaging option can be 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, 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. This useful feature makes managing and staying within your budget much easier.
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. This data-driven employee scheduling software solution 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 are also available, while managers can open a so-called emergency shift in case an employee is absent.
The Time and Attendance solution is handy for ensuring punctuality, controlling pay, and preventing buddy-punching. Integrated payroll solutions and the “Tips and Troncs” feature ensure employees are paid and tipped properly.
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 a downside as it targets a 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 solutions, 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. In addition, since the entire suite is intended to facilitate collaboration and sharing, the Calendar app can be used for employee scheduling purposes. Using it, you can easily 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 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 integrates 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 replaces the pen-and-paper approach, Google Calendar is too clunky and unsophisticated to handle a schedule for more than five people. So, it’s okay for small businesses 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, you’ll get 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, analytics tools, and 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 on time, which will prevent no-show incidents. Also, they will get all the details about the job attached.
In addition to controlling your workforce, this employee scheduling software allows you to organize tasks based on proximity, thus reducing travel time and 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
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 most significant 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, and cells, add color codes and easily share your documents with your employees and co-workers. As with 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
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. Instead, 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. In addition, 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 unavailable and swapping, dropping, and taking open shifts. The platform can also fill 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
Scaling across single or multiple locations
Ensuring compliance with labor regulations
Small and medium-sized companies across different industries that need low-cost employee scheduling software. Since the basic plan for companies with starts at $2.5 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 $2.5 per user per month. If you want time tracking and attendance, you need to pay an additional $4 fee, 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, it’s important to say that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for staff scheduling software. That’s why the answer to this question depends on your needs.
Before making a decision, consider 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.
Regarding all functionalities, features, price, ease of use, and a wide range of use cases across different industries, Timeero might be the best bet for your business needs.
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 and payroll and invoicing integrations.
Natasa is a writer specializing in the IT and software industry with 6+ years of experience in content writing and online marketing. During that period, she wrote more than 1,000 articles and several ebooks. She majored in English language and literature and loves cats, sneakers, and candy. When she's not working, she's probably binge-watching Netflix.