Being understaffed or overstaffed is not fun.
A single absence at a small firm may completely turn a day around. It’s considerably more difficult to stay organized in a large company with several sites.
Managers can staff their departments more efficiently thanks to employee scheduling software. They can make a timetable in a matter of minutes, amend it on the fly, and move individuals about as needed.
Plus, having a schedule that is always up to date and accessible from any device can benefit your staff. Reduce miscommunications by having everyone on the same schedule, regardless of location.
What is the best software for employee scheduling? Below are detailed assessments of each of my top recommendations, as well as a quick guide to help you choose the ideal tool for your business.
Just in case you have a time crunch, and you want to grab only the names without going through the long descriptive list, here is what you will find on the list:
- Sage HR
- When I Work
Now, for those of you who possess a big clock with a lot of time (just kidding), it is time to dive in and find out what each of these employee scheduling software programs has to offer.
Ready when you are!
Since I do not run a multinational corporation and I only have a small business, Homebase has become my favorite tool.
Homebase is a small-business-focused employee scheduling application. It’s adaptable enough to meet the needs of a wide range of industries, including retail, beauty and health, restaurants, and service enterprises, among others.
Homebase is used by over 100,000 enterprises, although not all of them pay for it.
Homebase operates on a freemium basis. If you require more sophisticated capabilities, you might consider purchasing one of the subscription packages. However, if all you need is a scheduling system, Homebase has you covered.
You get a stunning interface that employees and supervisors may use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Everyone stays on the same page because the calendar changes in real time.
Benefits & Features of Homebase You Should Know:
- Simple templates for scheduling that can be changed on the fly
- Sharing your calendar with your entire team is simple.
- You’ll be able to predict your labor expenditures.
- Employees can use the smartphone app to get real-time scheduling updates.
- Time-off requests, employee availability, and approvals can all be tracked.
- Remind your employees about forthcoming shifts automatically.
- Manage your shift trading from any location.
- You can calculate overtime and receive notifications when there are scheduling difficulties.
Homebase is a one-stop shop for hiring & onboarding, time clocks, HR, team communication, and compliance, in addition to these powerful scheduling tools.
Integrating sales data from POS systems like Upserve, Clover, Revel, Square, Shopify, Lightspeed, and others can also help you enhance your labor forecasting.
Homebase is also compatible with popular payroll applications such as Gusto and Paychex.
It will save a lot of time for hourly workers if their schedule is linked to payroll.
The free version of Homebase can be used by as many employees as you want. You won’t have access to all of the features, but you will get payroll and POS connectors, time tracking, scheduling, and team messaging.
Pricing of Homebase:
Paid plans for Homebase start at $14 per month per location. This plan is called the Essential Plan. Moving forward, you can upgrade to the Plus Plan which will cost $35 per month per location. The highest plan that they offer is the All-In-One Plan that costs $70 per month per location.
Note that these prices are applicable only when you opt for a yearly pricing model in which you will be charged up front. If you opt for the monthly pricing model, the prices increase to $19.95 for Essential, $49.95 for Plus, and $99.95 for All-In-One.
Deputy is one of the most widely used staff scheduling apps today. Amazon, HubSpot, Peloton, and Nike are just a few of the 200,000+ brands that trust it.
Deputy appeals to me because it is feature-rich while also being affordable.
For about $4 per person each month, you can combine employee scheduling and time tracking software. Alternatively, for $2 per user, you can buy each of these features separately.
Pricing is not the only factor that I like. It has a rich set of features that will help to uncomplicate the complexities of employee scheduling for your business.
Benefits & Features of Deputy You Should Know:
- Staff availability, credentials, and cost make it simple to fill open shifts.
- Share schedules with your colleagues in real time.
- Data on labor costs in real time
- AI-based auto-scheduling skills
- Rest compliance and break planning
- The Android and iOS apps allow you to manage your schedules from anywhere.
- PTO requests, approvals, and tracking
- Automate the wage calculating process.
- Single-click timesheets collection and exporting to payroll.
- In real-time, see who is working, taking a break, or arriving late.
Deputy is ideal for any company looking for a straightforward way to handle time tracking and employee scheduling from a single platform.
Pricing of Deputy:
As I said earlier, Deputy has a very simple pricing plan. If you want only the Scheduling app, you can get it for approximately $2 per month per user. If you want only the time and attendance application, it will also cost approximately $2 per month. You can get their Premium plan that costs approximately $4 per month. They also have an Enterprise plan for which you will get a bespoke pricing.
In case you want to try out their platform before paying, you can use their 31-day free trial. You don’t need to attach your credit card for the trial.
#3. Sage HR
Sage HR was previously known as CakeHR. I prefer the new name. For some reason CakeHR just didn’t sound good.
You’ll find robust capabilities for shift scheduling within Sage HR, which happens to be an all-in-one HR solution.
Overall, Sage HR is an excellent solution for any company looking to automate human resources operations while also enhancing their scheduling process.
Benefits & Features of Deputy You Should Know:
- Shift planning that is interactive and simple to use
- Compatible with both single and multiple sites
- With several shift managers, it’s simple to divide schedules into several groups and various departments
- Employee self-service capabilities that allow them to specify preferred and unavailability times
- Shift management by dragging and dropping
- Reports can be generated every day, every week, and every month
- Data exports in their entirety
- They also provide Android & iOS apps so that people can use it directly from their phones
Pricing of Sage HR:
The pricing depends on the modules you choose. The Core HR & Leave Management module will cost $5.5 per month per user. You can select from the following available modules:
- Shift Scheduling
The Recruitment module starts from $200.
Sage HR throws in a 14-day free trial so that you can understand its capabilities. If you are not happy, you can cancel it anytime.
#4. When I Work
When I Work is used by more than 100,000 enterprises in more than 50 countries to schedule employees.
When I Work is a popular choice to consider for small brands to huge enterprises like Dunkin Donuts, Massage Envy, Cold Stone Creamery, Ben & Jerry’s, Jamba Juice, and Verizon.
When I Work is undoubtedly capable of bespoke app integrations, notably to back office HR or human resources management software. It can also integrate nicely with payroll and point of sale (POS) programs, but that is only when you’re ready to face its API.
Although it lacks some advanced functions, such as forecasting, it has a set of strong core features and a highly appealing user interface that is not just elegant and versatile, but also simple to use.
Benefits & Features of When I Work You Should Know:
- Confirmation and notification of shift coverage
- Labor forecasting
- Labor reports
- One-click scheduling
- Overtime control
- Payroll integration
- Schedule enforcement
- Schedule sharing
Pricing of When I Work:
When I Work comes with one of the simplest pricing structures you will ever encounter. They have a Small Business plan that costs $2 per user per month. It is suitable for companies with up to 200 employees.
The next plan is Enterprises with employee count ranging between 100 and 10,000+. For this plan, you will get a bespoke pricing.
7shifts is a restaurant management system. In reality, 7shifts is used by over 250,000 restaurants throughout the world.
You can save time and money by using this software. Both of these are essential for running a profitable restaurant.
7shifts, like the majority of staff scheduling software I’ve encountered, features a drag-and-drop builder that allows for easy generation of schedules. Regional labor laws, overtime, staff availability, are all factors that the tool can help you with.
Schedules can be accessed via email or a mobile app by your employees.
Employee communication features are included into 7shifts. Group conversations, shift feedback, announcements, and direct messaging, are all available options.
A weekly budget and labor tool, complete reports, an intuitive dashboard, and POS connectivity are all included. All of this aids in the management of your payroll system and bookkeeping.
7shifts is appropriate for both small and large eateries. You can control personnel scheduling at each site with multi-location capability.
Benefits & Features of 7Shifts You Should Know:
- Built-in manager logbook
- Instant notifications regarding overtime
- Instant notifications
- Multi-location support
- POS integrations
- Request Management
- Set labor costs and view them
- Limitless text notifications
Pricing of 7Shifts:
7Shifts offers a free plan with severe limitations. You cannot use it for more than one location, and it will allow only 10 employees. You are free to upgrade to their paid plans anytime you want. The Appetizer Plan is the lowest tier plan that costs $17.99 a month, followed by the Entrée Plan that costs $39.99 a month. Finally, they have the Works Plan that costs $69.99 a month.
Shiftboard is another outstanding labor management tool that focuses on hourly employees’ scheduling. It’s a feature-rich application with a variety of alternative choices for resolving common company scheduling difficulties.
This involves regulatory compliance, employee retention, labor cost management, and fatigue management, among other things.
In fact, Shiftboard offers two distinct scheduling tools: SchedulePro and ScheduleFlex. The Pro edition is intended for industries with strict compliance requirements, such as oil & gas, prisons, and petrochemicals.
Flex is designed for enterprises with dynamic scheduling requirements, such as public safety, staffing, healthcare, distribution & warehouse, call centers, and manufacturing.
Benefits & Features of Shiftboard You Should Know:
- Automated scheduling tools
- Avoid excessive/inadequate staffing
- Communication in real time about schedule changes and newly available shifts
- Employees may trade shifts or take on additional shifts with approvals
- Fill shifts automatically based on no-shows and callouts
- Labor forecasting that is accurate based on demand
- Smartly groups teams based on certifications, employee qualifications, and more
- Staff can effectively confirm last-minute shift requests via the smartphone app.
- Tailored schedules that are customized for specific locations and departments
Shiftboard is used by over 60,000 teams to manage staff scheduling. Additionally, they include time clocks with geofencing and applicant tracking.
Pricing of Shiftboard:
They do not openly provide their pricing structure on their website. You can request a demo and then if you like it, they will talk about the price with you.
#7. ShiftNote Employee Scheduling Software
ShiftNote is one of the simplest employee scheduling applications available today. It is trusted by over 75,000 users across a diverse variety of businesses.
I prefer ShiftNote because they offer solutions tailored to various industries, such as breweries, healthcare, retail, hotels, restaurants, manufacturing, and education.
Overall, ShiftNote significantly accelerates the scheduling process while optimizing schedule efficiency. It’s also a dependable method of communication for your management team and personnel from any location.
Unfortunately, ShiftNote lacks several of the time tracking and HR features available in competing applications. However, if you’re searching for a simple scheduling solution, ShiftNote should be a high priority.
Benefits & Features of ShiftNote You Should Know:
- Application setup and one-to-one training are complimentary.
- Dashboard with many locations
- Employees have the ability to alter their availability. They can even swap shifts.
- Forecasting tools for labor and sales
- Log reports everyday
- Management of time off requests
- No-cost mobile application, no-cost team communications, and no-cost customer support
- Scheduling templates are provided so that managers do not have to start from scratch.
Pricing of ShiftNote:
They do not offer a pricing model on their website. However, they do mention that they have a Standard Plan and an Essential Plan available. You can try them out for free because they have a free 30-day trial available.
#8. HotSchedules Employee Scheduling Software
HotSchedules, which has been acquired by Fourth, is a comprehensive workforce management solution designed exclusively for hospitality and restaurant organizations.
Along with scheduling employees, HotSchedules includes capabilities for onboarding, attendance management, time management, applicant tracking, and manager logbooks. Additionally, they offer solutions for payroll, human resources, and inventory management.
HotSchedules can be as basic or as sophisticated as you like, depending on your requirements. You can use the staff scheduling tools alone or create a full and customized solution for your organization that includes a variety of features and add-ons.
Whichever route you take, HotSchedules is unquestionably one of my top recommendations for restaurants and hospitality enterprises.
Benefits & Features of HotSchedules You Should Know:
- Access your daily roster reports in a matter of seconds
- Errors in scheduling, understaffing, and overages are minimized.
- From any device, approve or decline shift requests.
- Limit unscheduled overtime and maximize staff availability with PTO management.
- Scheduling tool with simple drag-and-drop functionality
- Templates for scheduling already available
- Tools for ensuring compliance with lunch times, breaks, and reasonable work weeks, among others.
Pricing of HotSchedules:
The company website does not provide any pricing details. You can always request a free trial demo if you want. Once the demo is over, they will reveal the price depending on your requirements.
#9. Humanity Employee Scheduling Software
Humanity is one of the most widely used staff scheduling solutions currently available. Large companies such as Safeway, Nike, Kaiser Permanente, Microsoft, Yelp, and Squarespace all use it.
Humanity is best-suited for businesses operating in margin-constrained industries. Using Humanity, you can optimize schedules in the most cost-effective manner possible.
They assist with ensuring compliance with labor regulations at the federal, state, and local levels. Consider the frequency of breaks, the time between shifts and the number of hours worked.
Humanity’s auto-scheduling tool optimizes shifts based on employee preferences, and seniority.
One unique aspect of Humanity is the opportunity for employees to swap shifts. As long as the trade meets your stated criteria, these requests can be accepted automatically with minimal supervisor participation.
Humanity’s mobile app enables you and your workers to manage shift requirements in real time. Managers may easily display open shifts for pickup and promptly fill in for absent employees.
Humanity interacts with the industry’s leading human resources outsourcing tools, including Workday, BambooHR, Namely, and ADP.
Benefits & Features of Humanity You Should Know:
- Analytics & reporting
- Attendance & time
- Auto scheduling
- Geolocation clock-ins and clock-outs
- Real-time budgeting and labor costing
- Secure messaging
Pricing of Humanity:
Humanity offers three pricing plans starting with the Starter Plan that costs $3 per month per user with minimum monthly expenditure floored at $80. However, this pricing is applicable only when you go on an annual billing cycle. Then there is the Classic Plan that costs $4 per user per month with a monthly expenditure flooring of $80. Again, this pricing is also based on an annual cycle. Finally, they have an Enterprise Plan that calls for custom or bespoke pricing. You must call them to get a proper quote based on your needs.
Humanity offers a free plan that you can use for testing the software program’s capabilities before making a purchase.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing an Employee Scheduling Software
Okay, now that the list is over, it is time that I walk you through the key criteria that you should be using for evaluating any employee scheduling software.
Here is what you must look for:
Today, there are a plethora of general-purpose staff scheduling software available. However, if you fall into any specific industry, you should seek out an industry-specific solution.
Restaurants and the hotel industry spring to mind. Numerous pieces of software are targeted toward these kinds of companies due to the more complex scheduling requirements.
If you have the option of using software that is tailored to your unique sector, you should naturally prefer to lean toward that option when making a final choice.
A tiny coffee shop with five employees in one place will have different requirements than a restaurant chain with at least 500 staff spread across a dozen locations.
While some software is designed to scale, others are targeted at small organizations and single locations.
Consider your business’ future as well when analyzing possibilities. While you may have only 40 employees today, imagine how many you will have in six months or twelve months. If your business is growing rapidly, ensure that the software you purchase can scale with you.
Flexibility of Access
Typically, the finest staff scheduling software is available as a cloud-based option accessible through the web. You want to make it as simple as possible for your employees to view their schedules from any location. With desktop applications, this is not feasible.
Additionally, I suggest searching for a staff scheduling system that includes a complimentary mobile app. Then, your employees can basically carry a schedule with them 24/7, complete with real-time changes.
These applications are excellent for features such as team communication and push alerts when schedules alter or shift reminders occur.
If you have workers that operate remotely or operate in the field, mobile-based and browser-based access becomes critical.
Even if everyone is confined to a single office or restaurant, workers are likely to enjoy the opportunity to check the calendar or send a message regardless of their location.
Scheduling and time monitoring are inextricably linked in certain companies. Employees must clock in and clock out and keep track of their time.
For some businesses, time monitoring is less critical. Employees may be present or absent throughout their shift. All you’ll need is a basic attendance function.
If time monitoring is a critical component of how your workers demonstrate their work and are compensated, I strongly suggest investing in employee scheduling software that includes time tracking capabilities.
To begin, you are not needed to purchase a separate time tracking application that may have difficulty integrating with your scheduling application. This simplifies the whole process.
Even better if your staff scheduling software integrates directly with your payroll provider, since this eliminates the need to manually input times. When scheduling, time tracking, and payroll are all integrated, errors that irritate workers and frustrate managers will be reduced.
As previously mentioned, many staff scheduling applications offer much more than just enable managers to publish weekly plans.
Additionally, the finest solutions will include self-service tools for employees, shift shifting, features for team communications, attendance monitoring, labor cost management, human resource management, leave management, overtime control, and time clocks.
Certain addons or modules are unquestionably far more important than the rest depending on the nature of your company and its requirements. Therefore, keep an eye out for these different choices while you purchase.
No one can really say which employee scheduling software will be the best option for you. It all really boils down to your specific needs. You can always trust the names like Homebase, Deputy, Sage HR, 7Shifts, When I Work, and so on. They all have a well-established reputation, and they can scale as your company grows. Choose wisely.