Using a free employee schedule template will save you the time of having to manually create one. You can choose from the templates below, depending on your business hours and scheduling pattern (such as one-day, weekly, 24/7, and shift), and download them for Excel or Google Sheets.
Daily Schedule Template
Weekly Schedule Template
24/7 Schedule Template
Shift Schedule Template
If you’re looking to make employee scheduling easier, we recommend using top-rated scheduling software like Homebase. Its templates help you avoid scheduling overtime and make it easy to see your team’s availability, time off, and scheduling preferences. Also, once you create your schedule, you can replicate it weekly. Homebase offers a free plan for businesses with only one location.
Continue reading for more detailed information on each of our free templates or view our video instructions.
1. Daily Schedule Template for Scheduling Employees
Use this daily schedule when you need to schedule employees day by day with specific information that they’ll need for each hour or shift. This one-day schedule is great for service businesses that assign employees to specific kinds of work throughout the day and want to specify break and lunchtimes. What this daily schedule lacks is a way to show employees which days they’re scheduled to work for the entire week; however, you can add a separate tab in your spreadsheet for each day.
Modifying the Daily Employee Schedule Template
Once you download the template, input the names of your employees and their roles. Then, manually type in their start and end times for each day and indicate what role or work they’ll be doing. You can insert additional rows if you need to schedule more than a dozen employees.
2. Weekly Schedule Template for Standard Work Weeks
Use this weekly employee schedule template if your staff works standard business hours (e.g., a retail or service shop that’s open five to seven days a week). If your business is open Saturday or Sunday, there’s room to input those hours. (Otherwise, you can delete the weekend columns.)
Modifying the Weekly Employee Schedule Template
This template is a bit more complex than the daily schedule template, as it allows you to input each person’s start and end times for an entire week. You’ll be able to see at a glance the total number of hours for which employees are scheduled to work. The weekly employee schedule template helps avoid overtime and ensures that you don’t overschedule or underschedule your part-time workers.
Want to ditch the spreadsheets and automate scheduling at no cost to you? Check out our top picks for free employee scheduling software.
3. 24/7 Schedule Template for Businesses Operating Round-the-Clock
This 24/7 employee schedule can help service businesses like senior care providers, security agencies, or manufacturing firms that operate multiple shifts by keeping track of employees throughout an entire seven-day workweek. It can also ensure that workers aren’t overscheduled and that you have coverage at all times of the day.
Modifying the 24/7 Employee Schedule Template
This template adds the ability to schedule employees around the clock. It contains a week’s schedule on one spreadsheet. This 24/7 employee schedule template provides you with the ability to indicate the job role of each worker using a drop-down menu. Like the other templates, you can add rows and columns to customize it to your operation.
Because this template is a bit more complex, we’ve provided the four steps you’d need to follow in Google Sheets to customize your job roles:
- Select the range of cells you’d like to change.
- Right-click and select “Data validation.”
- Criteria should be on “List of Items.” Add the name of each position to the list (separated by a comma).
- Click Save.
4. Shift Schedule Template for Restaurants & Retail
Most retail and foodservice businesses schedule employees around specific times of the day, or shifts. For example, your restaurant is likely to need more staff during lunch and dinner than midafternoon. Likewise, a small tourist shop may be busier in the middle of the day. This schedule accommodates those shifts easily and allows you to add more people at the times of the day when your business is busier. In addition, you can add details for each employee shift such as job role or assigned workstation.
Modifying the Shift Schedule Template
You can change the names of the job roles by typing in each cell, or you can modify the names of your shifts by replacing the Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner text. You can also customize your colors, add rows for additional employees, and add columns for additional shifts—for instance, scheduling only four hours per shift.
You can build employee schedules in most word processing apps, like MS Word and Google Docs. You’ll simply use the table feature, adding days at the top and employee names on the left-hand side. Here are some MS Word schedule templates to start with.
Employee Scheduling Template Checklist
At a minimum, your employee schedule template should have information on when your workers are scheduled and what position they’ll be working.
Your employee schedule template should include:
- Timeframe: Your schedule should match your workweek. For example, a Monday through Saturday retail operation will likely use a six-day scheduling template.
- Shifts: Workdays are typically divided into shifts such as the morning shift for a restaurant or opening shift for a retail store.
- Hours: Include the start and end times of each employee’s shift.
- Worker Names: Include the name of each employee on the schedule.
- Location: Indicate where each employee will be working. For example, you may have one worker on the register and another who will work in the warehouse.
- Roles: Indicate the role that each worker will be assigned to if work duties change (e.g., an employee who normally works in electronics doing sales but will be scheduled for a four-hour trade show booth).
If you include the information above, you’ll have an employee schedule template that can accommodate the needs of your small businesses in one location with a small team. Once your team grows or you need to schedule workers across multiple locations, you may need scheduling software.
Sharing Your Employee Schedule With Staff
Here’s how to share a work schedule using Google Sheets:
- Click Share in the upper right corner.
- Add the names/email addresses of people who have permission to edit.
- Leave a note informing people when the edit period will end.
- Click Send.
By sharing access to your employee schedule, your team may be happier with their work hours while you maintain control over the final schedule. You’ll do this without the clutter and confusion of printouts, emails, or post-its, and everyone will have access to the schedule from any desktop, tablet, or smartphone. You can also make the schedule editable, allowing your employees to add their names to the shifts they want.
Alternatives to an Employee Scheduling Template
Employee scheduling software and apps are a great alternative to using manual employee scheduling templates. In addition to drag-and-drop scheduling features and pre-built templates, tools like Homebase and When I Work offer basic leave management and employee communication features that keep you and your staff in sync in real time.
You’ll find that many scheduling and timekeeping software tools have free built-in scheduling tools. In addition, most will allow you to customize and save your template so that you don’t have to recreate it from week to week—this is helpful when your team members work regular shifts.
Here are great alternatives to an employee scheduling template:
HR applications such as TriNet Zenefits, are software programs that help manage the many tasks of HR. They can automate processes such as scheduling, payroll, employee onboarding, and benefits management.
TriNet Zenefits, which offers a 14-day free trial, is an HR application that goes well beyond a mere scheduling template. It features employee scheduling tools and employee data management, timekeeping, employee benefits, and payroll. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution starting as low as $10 a month per employee ($8 if you sign up for an annual plan), TriNet Zenefits is a great option. Check out our review of TriNet Zenefits.
Employee Scheduling Software
Employee scheduling tools, like When I Work, are designed to make scheduling easy. They work by having you preload your employee data into the software with relevant information such as job title and email address. You then build and update your schedule online using drag-and-drop tools. Most allow you to publish your employee work schedule via email or an app, and employees are usually able to request changes online.
When I Work offers employee scheduling software, a communication app, time off requests and approvals, plus a manager dashboard. It’s pretty affordable for businesses, with up to 100 employees at $2 per employee, per month. Small businesses using When I Work rate it highly. See for yourself by reading our When I Work review.
Time & Attendance Software
Time and attendance applications like Homebase, act as a virtual time clock for your business. Most provide scheduling tools as well so you can see what your labor costs are going to be or manage your overtime costs. Once the schedule is built, employees use it to clock in and out of each shift, and you can program it to prevent early clock-ins, thereby saving you money.
Homebase provides employee scheduling, employee messaging, shift swapping, and time-off requests. It’s free for one location and includes a feature that lets you save your schedule as a template. It also offers an app with a chat feature that lets you communicate either one-on-one or with the whole team at once. Homebase reviews are pretty solid too.
If you’re using a modern point-of-sale (POS) system like Square, you likely have historical sales records. You can filter these records by week, day, and even shift. With this information available to you, you’ll be able to accurately predict your staffing needs far in advance. Some POS software provides scheduling tools and may even have features such as weather predictions that may affect your staffing needs.
Appointment Scheduling Software
If your business schedules employees based on client appointments (e.g., cleaning services, barbershops, or tattoo parlors), you might find that appointment scheduling software like Square Appointments, works better than spreadsheets. The software can often manage daily scheduling of departments and individual employees, and some even accept client payments.
Square Appointments works better for businesses that schedule their employees based on client work (such as salons, consulting firms, or therapists). What’s nice about it is that it links to the POS system, so once the service is complete, the client can pay through the app. One staff calendar is free, and two to five calendars cost $50 per month. Here’s our complete review of Square Appointments.
Project Management Software
Some newer project management tools, like monday.com, provide pre-built scheduling templates to keep track of your staff and ensure that everyone’s on the same page regarding who’s performing each job in your business. These templates work best for task-based scheduling such as for contractors working at a construction site or designers working on a marketing campaign.
Chart & Diagram Software
Many chart and diagram tools provide pre-built templates, including employee schedules that you can alter with your colors, logo, and images. These may be best when you’re building an event schedule, such as for a conference, and want to be able to share a daily or weekly schedule with attendees while also keeping track of which team members will be where.
For a quick and easy schedule, consider using a shared calendar like Google or Outlook. These allow all users to see who’s working and where. They’re best for office staff or smaller businesses that want everyone to see who’s doing what (such as who’s in meetings, who’s with clients, or who’s attending training). However, when you have multiple workers on the same shift, it can get difficult to view in a calendar format.
There are numerous labor laws to consider when scheduling employees; additionally, there are federal and state labor laws that require you to keep different kinds of payroll documents, including time cards and schedules. While there are no federal predictive scheduling laws currently in place, some states and localities have them. For example, California has very specific labor laws that regulate hours, work schedule notices, and predictive pay.
Employee scheduling is an essential part of running a small business. Our free employee schedule templates will save you the time you’d spend building your schedule from scratch. A well-communicated schedule is likely to help you reduce turnover and absenteeism and improve team productivity.
To make your life easier and take your employee scheduling to the next level, enlist the help of scheduling software like Homebase. It allows you to schedule employees, lets employees clock in, and tracks time on the go with a handy mobile app. If you only have one location, your small business will qualify for the free plan.