Employee scheduling software automates your work schedule planning by providing an online calendar with employee availability. We considered tools that will give your staff mobile access to view schedules, send messages, and shift swap. The best employee scheduling software only costs a few dollars a month per employee, and many offer free versions.
8 Best Employee Scheduling Software for 2020
Employee Scheduling Software
(Best overall) Startups with fewer than 75 employees that want free employee scheduling
One-location brick-and-mortar retail stores that need free scheduling for unlimited employees
Hospitality industries with tight margins that want to control labor costs
Companies that need to manage break and overtime compliance for hourly, entry-level workers
Restaurant operations managing complex employee work shifts
Multilocation entities that share workers across job sites
Union environments and regulated government contractor firms
Service firms that track employee time against prescheduled appointments
How We Evaluated the Best Employee Scheduling Software
To evaluate employee scheduling software, we checked out the best employee scheduling software tools for small businesses across multiple industries. All of these provide cloud-based work schedules and let managers and employees access shared calendars. Most offer time clocks, manager approvals flows, employee communication, and shift swapping. Some also include time and attendance tracking for free.
The criteria we used to evaluate the best employee scheduling software include:
- Price: No-cost or low-cost software that’s affordable for small businesses scheduling
- Ease of use: Multiple scheduling options―daily, weekly, monthly, by employee, or by position―with tools that both managers and employees find intuitive
- Tax & labor law compliance: Compliance with state and local labor laws, like overtime calculation rules and sick leave accrual policies
- Shift swap: Option for staff to request schedule changes or manage shift swaps
- Group scheduling: Important if your employees work as a team on scheduled jobs
- Leave management: Manage time-off requests, paid time off (PTO) and sick leave
- Reporting: Provides reports like hours worked, overtime, labor costing, and more
- Software integration: Interfaces with human resources (HR) software, payroll service, or point-of-sale (POS) systems
- Messaging: Text message, email, or in-app employee communication tools to notify employees about shift changes; some allow you to send reminders and work instructions
- Mobile app: Allows workers to view schedules and request changes from their phones
- Time & attendance tracking: Software that includes add-on timekeeping features
- Billable vs nonbillable hours (optional): Some offer general ledger (GL) integration
We recommend When I Work as the best overall employee scheduling software because it provides most of these features for free if you have fewer than 75 employees. As a bonus, it includes free time tracking with timesheets you can upload to your payroll software.
When I Work: Best Overall Employee Scheduling Software
When I Work is the best employee scheduling software for businesses for any industry due to its intuitive app. Plus, it’s free if you have 75 or fewer employees, letting you schedule one week into the future, track time worked, and export timesheets. Paid tiers offer slick scheduling features like GPS locations and job instructions.
When I Work Pricing
When I Work pricing ranges from free to $2.25 per employee, per month, based on the specific features you want. You can add time and attendance tracking for between $1 and $2 per month, per employee. It also has an enterprise version (not shown below) with volume discounts.
When I Work Pricing Tiers
Number of Employees
Number of Locations
|Time & Attendance|
Reports & Integrations
When I Work Features
In addition to the scheduling tools common to all the programs we reviewed, When I Work employee scheduling software lets you add job site locations and work notes to your employee’s schedules, like entry codes and client instructions. We liked that the mobile app for Apple and Android don’t require extensive training for your employees and it’s free for scheduling up to 75 employees.
When I Work Ease of Use
You can create a schedule from scratch or use a pre-existing schedule template. Its Google-ish interface makes it easy to make changes on the fly. When I Work has an employee database with contact information so that you can push schedule change notices to employees. It also manages group scheduling, such as when you have a team working together.
When I Work Scheduling Process
Like Homebase, When I Work has a drag-and-drop dashboard with color-coding to help you keep track of employees by shift or position. It also lets you request workers to fill open time slots in your schedule and allows you to communicate with employees through an app. You can set it up to enable shift swapping and schedule resources, such as work trucks, cash register, and room assignments.
For instance, its job sites feature is the best we tested, allowing you to set up remote work locations with GPS so employees can view their job sites on a map. You can even restrict employees from signing in to the job unless they are within a specific distance of the work location.
Interfaces & Reports
When I Work integrates with POS vendors like Square and Vend POS as well as payroll providers like QuickBooks, ADP, and Gusto, our recommended payroll provider for small businesses. Limited reporting data is provided in the Toolbox on the managers’ dashboard but, otherwise, there are few standard reports.
With When I Work, you can take advantage of online chat support or send an email seven days a week: Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time, and on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Central time. That makes it great for businesses that have employees working weekends. It also provides training videos you can view online, or you can schedule in-person training for you and your employees at an additional cost.
Other Features of When I Work
When I Work gives you a highly intuitive and free mobile app that supports on-the-go businesses with employees at multiple job sites. It also includes a hiring app and job posting features. A client home service business, construction firm, or retail business that sells from pop-up stores, fairs, or weekend markets would do well with When I Work; its hiring, scheduling, and time tracking app work together seamlessly.
What When I Work Is Missing
The first thing missing from When I Work is phone support—it’s live chat and email only. It’s also not available 24/7. When I Work is also not a good option for those with service workers who need to track time against pre-scheduled appointments, because there’s no appointment management. The last drawback is reporting. When I Work does not have a specific tab for reporting, and its reporting tools are less intuitive than others we tested.
When I Work User Reviews
We found solid When I Work reviews on third party websites. Our readers give it 4.7 out of 5 stars. They like how easy it is to use for restaurants and retail companies. Some users wish it had other features, such as additional reports.
How to Sign Up for When I Work
You may be able to sign up for When I Work through your payroll provider if you’re using ADP, QuickBooks Payroll, or Gusto. Otherwise, you can go to its website and sign up for free with nothing more than your name and email address. Start your free When I Work account today.
Homebase: Best Free Employee Scheduling Software for Brick and Mortar
Homebase is our top pick for small businesses with physical locations, including restaurants and retail stores. That’s because it’s priced based on your business’ physical location, unlike other vendors that charge based on how many employees you have. If you only have one location, Homebase is free with no limit to the number of employees using the system.
And Homebase, (like When I Work) has recently added tools like a managers’ log, labor costing, and enhanced reporting, making its pricing the best overall, even if you were to pay for each location. Homebase also interfaces with HR/payroll software Gusto with just one click. The Gusto-Homebase combination is an affordable and easy way to streamline your operation from recruiting through labor-law compliant payroll.
Homebase ranges in price from free for its Basic plan to $49.95 per site for its Plus plan. It charges by physical worksite location, not by employee, so it’s ideal if you manage workers in an office, restaurant, or store, because your pricing won’t fluctuate as your staffing levels change. It also offers an Enterprise package that includes forecasting, application programming interface (API) plugins that make software integration possible, and other features for $99.95 per month, per location.
Homebase Pricing Tiers for Small Business
Price per location
Number of Employees
Number of Locations
Hiring, Scheduling & Timekeeping
Even if you choose to pay for all the features of the Plus plan, assuming you have more than 10 employees, it would still cost less than the other employee scheduling software providers except When I Work. Like When I Work, the free plan doesn’t require a credit card to sign up.
In addition to the standard scheduling features in all the employee scheduling software programs we reviewed, Homebase lets you set up schedules in minutes using its drag-and-drop interface. It gives employees a free iOS or Android mobile app that they can use to manage their time off, view their work schedules, and communicate with their manager.
If the mobile app is what you choose to use for employee time and attendance instead of an on-site kiosk, laptop, or computer, the Homebase Basic plan is free forever, regardless of how many employees you have.
Homebase Ease of Use
With Homebase, you can set up your first work schedule in less than five minutes. We liked the Homebase drag-and-drop interface and the ability to resize shifts to make them longer or shorter, much like you change appointment times in a Google Calendar, even after the schedule is created. It also has a manager log so managers can share notes across shifts. For example, it allows the daytime manager needs to leave notes for the evening shift lead.
Homebase Scheduling Process
Homebase recognizes your scheduling preferences and even suggests employees for open shifts as you build a new schedule. You can duplicate the prior week’s schedule or use a template. Unlike When I Work’s free scheduling tool, Homebase lets you view employee availability and time off weeks in advance. It also prevents you from scheduling employees who are not qualified for the job role or have a schedule conflict, like being on vacation or already working at another site.
Interfaces & Reports
Homebase Integrates with POS systems like Lightspeed, accounting systems like QuickBooks, payroll systems like Gusto and ADP as well as banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo. In addition to standard timekeeping reports like hours worked and overtime, you can use Homebase to evaluate your labor costs and compare actual vs scheduled hours.
If you’re looking for low-cost payroll software with seamless integration to Homebase’s free timekeeping system, Gusto is our top recommendation. It offers a 30-day free trial and lets you import data from Homebase to save yourself from doing manual payroll data entry while ensuring overtime payments are accurate.
Homebase Customer Support
Even though the scheduling and timekeeping software is free, Homebase provides phone and website support weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central time. Customer service representatives respond to emails within 24 hours or sooner. They also chat online with clients and offer free webinars to help you set up your software.
Other Features of Homebase
Homebase has upgraded features like early clock-in prevention and GPS tracking to ensure your employees are on the job when they clock in. Homebase recently added job board posting features based on the need for small businesses to find hourly employees to fill their schedules. Like the other features, posting a job is free on Homebase. It even gives you sample job descriptions for common hourly jobs to help you get started.
What Homebase Is Missing
Not much is missing from Homebase, except that you have to upgrade to the Plus package if you want the timesheet approvals, early clock-in prevention, or labor costing features. However, if you have more than one physical location and few actual employees, you may be better off with a package that’s priced based on the number of employees, like When I Work, rather than priced based on the number of locations.
The only other drawback we noted is the limited hours of support for Homebase and that, on weekends, you can only get help through email. However, considering how easy the software is to use, you probably won’t be needing much support.
Homebase User Reviews
Most third-party software show solid Homebase reviews. Users love the price, ease of setup, and integrations, and they also appreciate how it lets them keep in touch with employees too. There was a complaint about the mobile app freezing from time to time.
How to Sign Up for Homebase
You can start with Homebase by going to its website and signing up for free with nothing more than your email address. No credit card is required. If you have one business location, the basic software remains free forever. Sign up to Homebase’s free forever plan.
Humanity: Best for Managing Performance and Labor Costs
What makes Humanity a solid choice for employee scheduling is that it provides tools, templates, and reports to manage your labor costs as well as job performance. Salaried staff can control their schedules while you’ll have templates to build shifts for your hourly workers. In addition, you can set up rules to give your team members as much or little schedule control as you want, like shift trading.
Humanity costs $2 to $4 per month, per employee, for the plans most appropriate for small business’ employee scheduling needs. The Starter plan is best for scheduling reams with a centralized administrative dashboard. The Classic and Enterprise plans are more suitable for mid-size and larger businesses, adding API, analytics, and integrations to popular business software.
Humanity Pricing Tiers & Features
$2/month, per user
$4/month, per user
Mobile Employee Scheduling With Time Off Management
Time & Attendance
Geolocation Clock I & Clock Out
Reporting & Analytics
HR & API integrations
Humanity’s starter plan tracks employee time off and lets you build an employee schedule. Auto scheduling, forecasting, and multi-location scheduling all require a paid plan. In addition, if you want time and attendance features, you have to upgrade to a paid plan at twice the cost of the scheduling software alone. In contrast, those features come included (even in the free plans) with When I Work and Homebase.
Ease of Use
Humanity uses a drag-and-drop interface, similar to Homebase. It’s well arranged, organized, and easy on the eyes with muted colors. To help you avoid conflicts, it will alert you automatically if a worker is already scheduled for another shift at that time. Furthermore, the dashboard makes it easy to view your schedule in multiple formats.
Humanity Scheduling Process
To begin scheduling with Humanity, you first add the employee names and job roles. You then assign those employees to shifts. You can edit the scheduled start and stop times in a calendar format and add notes as you’re scheduling—for example, if you want to alert the worker to a delivery arriving during their shift. If you like, you can allow workers to shift trade as well.
Humanity Interfaces & Reports
Humanity can interface with accounting software like QuickBooks, POS software like Square, Project Management software like Workday, and top payroll software providers like ADP and Paychex. As for the reports, if you upgrade to the Classic tier or higher, you can create custom reports to track labor costs, wage costs, attendance, payroll, and more.
Humanity has some of the best support options of all the employee scheduling software we’ve covered thus far. Support agents can assist you and your managers through live chat 24/7, 365 days a year. In addition, its online help center lets you download training resources and participate in community discussions.
Other Features of Humanity
Like When I Work and Homebase, Humanity also offers time and attendance tools. Forecasting is available to maximize your scheduling efficiently. You can also customize your rules to give yourself or your manager warnings for overtime, breaks, or labor law compliance, like sick leave, that varies by state and employer.
What Humanity Is Missing
Humanity doesn’t schedule resources like When I Work does—for example, if your employee needs to be assigned a piece of equipment or a vehicle for their job. Also, Humanity doesn’t have many software integrations for small business apps. Instead, it integrates with pricey enterprise software like Workday and Ceridian. To get any integrations, you have to purchase a plan upgrade.
Humanity User Reviews
We found generally positive Humanity user reviews. Many people commented on the quality of its customer service. However, they’d also like to see additional features and more training provided for users.
How to Sign Up for Humanity
You can start by signing up for a 30-day free trial of Humanity that includes a one-on-one demo. No credit card is required. Just fill in your name, email address, company name, and your position.
Ximble: Best for Businesses Managing Entry-level Workers
Ximble is recommended for businesses seeking employee scheduling software that can support hourly and shift schedules with built-in breaks and lunchtimes to support an hourly workforce. Ximble is priced a bit higher than some of the other scheduling software because it prices time tracking and scheduling separately. However, like When I Work, what you get is a user-friendly app for employees and managers to stay in touch regarding work schedules.
Ximble costs more than the other employee scheduling software presented thus far. It ranges from $3 to $5 a month, per employee, and some of its plans charge a monthly service fee of $15 on top of that. For example, if you want payroll, HR, or POS software integrations or need to manage paid time off, you’d have to choose the Advanced plan as shown in the pricing table below.
Ximble Pricing and Features
$3/month, per user
$5/month, per user
By quote only
Scheduling & Shift Trading
Time & Attendance
Data export only
Ximble offers all the most common small business scheduling tools as well as provides a text chat function like Homebase and When I Work. Small firms with hourly workers may want to use its facial recognition or photo time clock feature to help reduce buddy punching and time theft.
Ximble Ease of Use
With Ximble, it’s easy to create and edit schedules. It also offers automated notifications and shift reminders to ensure your entry-level workers arrive and take breaks on time. Employees can view their schedule through a smartphone and can message you with the team chat features.
Ximble Scheduling Process
With Ximble, there’s no need to create a new schedule for each pay period. You can set up and save templates. You also have flexible schedule views for daily, weekly, and monthly schedules. If you input employee labor cost data, you can even total hours and find out what each shift costs. In addition, if employees request time off, you can approve it right from your smartphone, and they’ll no longer show up as available to work during that time frame.
Ximble Interfaces & Reports
Unlike Humanity, Ximble provides interfaces to the software most commonly used by small businesses, including Gusto, QuickBooks, and Zendesk. Further, it offers more reports than When I Work in all pricing tiers. Reports are built dynamically using drop-down options.
Ximble has a 24-hour customer support center that lets you send concerns and questions to its email address. You may also give them a call Monday through Friday. Telephone support is not available on the weekends.
Other Features of Ximble
Ximble offers some cool features like scheduling forecasting, automated notifications, and real-time team member communication, not unlike the messaging features offered by Homebase and When I Work. You can also customize the software, which is a feature that free tools like When I Work, don’t provide.
What Ximble Is Missing
Ximble isn’t the lowest priced solution, and it doesn’t offer a free plan. It also doesn’t provide customer service by phone on the weekends or help you in resource scheduling. Furthermore, it lacks the cool hiring tools that When I Work and Homebase both offer—even in their free plans.
Ximble User Reviews
We found that Ximble’s online customer reviews are similar to the other employee scheduling software we consider best for small business. What users like is how well it handles breaks, timesheets, and payroll reports. Some users would like to see the addition of bulk actions and an easier way to do manual edits, such as to correct time when someone forgets to clock out during their lunch break.
How to Sign Up for Ximble
The easiest way to get started with Ximble is by creating a free 14-day trial account. You can even take advantage of the customer support during that time. If you like Ximble, you can choose to keep your account and your data, or you can contact customer service to cancel at any time.
7shifts: Best for Restaurants Scheduling Shift Workers
7shifts is best for restaurants as it can manage shift schedules with iOS and Android apps for both employees and managers to use for schedule confirmations and messaging. It includes alerts and notifications as well as automated scheduling, time and attendance tracking, tips, and leave management features. It also includes a virtual time clock.
7shifts ranges in price from free―schedule and time clock for one location―up to $69.99 per month, per location. It’s priced similar to Homebase except that Homebase’s plans have no employee limits. Depending on how many employees you have, and which plan you choose, 7shifts may work out to be less expensive than paid plans of other scheduling software options, charging per worker, per month.
7shifts Pricing & Features Table
Price per Location
Basic + Compliance
Punch audits & more
POS sales & labor
7shifts offers all of the following in all its plans, including the Comp plan, which is free: customer support, mobile apps, time clock staff scheduling and notifications, time off requests, staff availability, and reporting. Paid plans add payroll software integrations, advanced reporting, and cool features like weather and department sales forecasting.
7shifts Ease of Use
7shifts menus are pretty basic with spreadsheet features like drop-down menus and notes. You can create and view your schedule by day, week, month, person, or department. However, you will need to set it up with your company-specific settings and unique state labor law requirements.
7shifts Scheduling Process
With 7shifts, you input all your employees first and then can build the schedule from scratch or by using a template. One of the useful restaurant features is that you can schedule a worker to come in at a certain time, with the caveat to be sent home when business slows down. That’s because, in restaurants, you don’t want more workers on-site than business demands.
Interfaces & Reports
7shifts offers an accounting interface to QuickBooks but doesn’t otherwise have much for payroll interfaces commonly used by small business. Of course, you can print and download timesheets to upload them to your payroll provider. 7Shifts also offers POS integrations for restaurant software like Square and Toast.
What 7shifts Is Missing
7shifts is designed for restaurants and food industry businesses like food trucks and cafes. Therefore, it lacks features that may be needed in a service business, such as group or resource scheduling tools. Also, you may find yourself having to input or upload your timesheets to your payroll provider manually.
7shifts User Reviews
Third-party websites generally have positive 7shifts user reviews. Workers like the features as well as its customer support. They do wish it had more reporting and manager features offered.
How to Sign up for 7shifts
The easiest way to get started with 7shifts is to sign up for a free 14-day trial. It doesn’t require you to provide a credit card, and the software service will even build your first schedule for you. As an alternative, you can request a demo.
Deputy: Best for Businesses Scheduling Across Multiple Locations
We recommend Deputy for businesses with multiple locations who don’t mind paying a bit extra for added features. It’s convenient because you can find employees quickly to fill open shifts and even make shifts available for employees to choose. It’s ideal for businesses with hourly and shift workers who are shared across multiple locations. Deputy supports so many industries we couldn’t list them all: retail, restaurants, hotels and resorts, healthcare, law enforcement, services, tech companies, and nonprofits.
Deputy has cool features that none of the other employee scheduling software packages we reviewed have, like biometric facial recognition. It can also predict how your schedule might need to change due to the impact of weather on sales. Its scheduling has integrated job costing elements so that you can determine your staffing costs based on the pay rates of each employee you schedule.
Pricing for Deputy is $2.50 per employee, per month, all the basic scheduling features. However, Deputy’s $2.50 per employee Scheduling tier doesn’t include a time clock. You have to upgrade to the $4.50 per employee Premium tier to get time-tracking features. The Premium plan is the one you’d need if you want time and attendance features that integrate with your payroll software.
Deputy Pricing Tiers
Number of Employees
Number of Locations
|Time & Attendance|
We recommend the Premium tier for small businesses because it has everything you would need, including a robust set of standard reports as compared to other scheduling software like When I Work that provide few and only basic options. If you want to upgrade to the Enterprise tier so that you can customize your software and reports or have a dedicated support team, you’ll need to contact Deputy to get a quote.
In addition to the standard features available in all the employee scheduling software programs we reviewed like shift scheduling, Deputy employee scheduling software lets you use facial recognition to ensure security, schedules based on the weather, and shares data with many payroll, accounting, and HR applications. However, none of the interfaces are free as they are with Homebase and When I Work.
Deputy Ease of Use
The drag-and-drop interface is easy to add shifts on the fly without creating a new schedule. Deputy provides a dashboard and workflow to simplify approvals and scheduling change requests. Its News Feed feature can improve employee engagement by posting company announcements like upcoming birthdays or weather delays.
Deputy Scheduling Process
Similar to Homebase, Deputy lets you broadcast messages to notify employees of open shifts and get employee replies. You can set up security to use facial recognition if you want to be sure your scheduling and time clock are only being used by the intended employees.
Deputy Interfaces & Reports
What captured our attention were the robust job costing features that aren’t included in some of the competitor’s reporting functions. Reports come into play when you upgrade to the Premium tier. Deputy supports a huge variety of industries and provides HR integration, which most scheduling-only software doesn’t.
Deputy also has numerous POS and other business software integrations:
- POS systems: Including Vend, Square, and Kounta
- Payroll providers: Like ADP, Paychex, and Paylocity
- HR applications: Like Gusto and BambooHR
- Accounting software: Such as QuickBooks and Xero
If you buy the Enterprise version of Deputy, you’ll get 24/7 support via phone or online chat with a dedicated resource. That’s better than what the other best employee scheduling software offer, and important if you run a 24/7 operation. You can also attend training via free live and recorded 30- to 60-minute webinars.
Other Features of Deputy
In addition to employee scheduling, Deputy provides facility scheduling and task management. That’s helpful if you run a business that requires employees to be assigned to a defined workspace, such as the paint room, work truck, or training lab. Deputy is also set up to support businesses operating in multiple geographies and time zones.
What Deputy Is Missing
Deputy supports more than 70 countries so, other than some differences in terminology, for instance, it refers to its system as “workforce management,” and unions as “labor.” It doesn’t have a free version, and its pricing is higher than Homebase and When I Work, which is why it didn’t end up at the top of the list. Other than that, we couldn’t find any functionality missing. If you upgrade to Enterprise, it’s all there.
Deputy User Reviews
Users rate Deputy 4 to 5 out of a 5-star range. However, our small business users tend to be less complimentary. They like the tools, not the price. The price of $5 per month, per employee, is a lot to pay for scheduling and timekeeping when tools like Homebase and When I Work provide free-forever plans.
How to Sign Up for Deputy
It’s best to sign up for a free trial with Deputy before committing to an annual plan that may save you up to 25% off the price. If you’re not sure, try it for a few months. You can cancel the monthly plan anytime.
Shiftboard: Best Employee Scheduling Software for Regulated Industries
We found Shiftboard to be best for regulated or union environments and for jobs requiring employees to be licensed and certified, although priced on the higher end. Shiftboard supports complex scheduling environments and includes data for all United States labor laws. It can help you build schedules based on union or government contracts. Shiftboard supports all industries, including those with hourly and shift workers.
Pricing for Shiftboard ranges from $3 to $7 a month, per employee, and it offers, discounts for nonprofits. However, what’s not shown are the setup and training fees, which require a quote. Therefore, your actual start up-price may be higher than the monthly per-employee prices shown and also higher than most of the other options reviewed thus far.
Shiftboard Pricing Table
Number of Employees
Number of Locations
|Time & Attendance|
In addition to the standard scheduling features common to all the programs we reviewed, using Shiftboard employee scheduling software, you can input rules that let you control who can work which jobs based on their credentials. You can also use the software to manage event staff and volunteers and train them if you upgrade to Enterprise. Similar to Homebase, it includes job posting options with an applicant tracking tool. However, unlike Homebase and When I Work, that’s not free.
Shiftboard Ease of Use
Ease of use is relative because setting up Shiftboard takes more time due to advanced rules, such as blocking workers with expired credentials from being scheduled for a role like a forklift operator or licensed nurse. However, it allows your employees to use interactive voice response (IVR) or quick response (QR) codes to sign in, and the text function helps your employees respond to fill open jobs.
Shiftboard Scheduling Process
Scheduling is done similar to the other software we reviewed, using calendar views and templates. However, when you set up a schedule with Shiftboard, you can also list any required employee credentials, such as an electrician license or nail tech certification, to make sure you only schedule qualified staff for open shifts. If you upgrade to the Enterprise package, you’ll also get compliance alerts.
Interfaces & Reports
Shiftboard Integrates with multiple larger payroll software systems like ADP, QuickBooks, and Paychex. It provides standard reports. However, for automated file exports, like to your third-party HR and payroll software, you will need to upgrade to the Enterprise package.
Shiftboard provides support via phone, email, web, and live online chat Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific time. Training costs extra. However, it provides access to a robust user blog and online self-service support that includes helpful screenshots for free.
Other Features of Shiftboard
If you want applicant tracking and event management tools without having to purchase separate software packages, those options are available. You’ll just have to upgrade to the Enterprise package of Shiftboard for about $3 more per employee per month.
What Shiftboard Is Missing
Shiftboard has no 24/7 live support and received slightly lower user ratings on ease of use. You have to upgrade to Professional to get shift-trading features, whereas software like When I Work and Homebase provides that in basic and free versions. Due to its ability to manage complex scheduling, there’s a bit of a learning curve. And it’s not the best value if you have fewer than 10 employees.
Shiftboard User Reviews
Many Shiftboard users rave about support but comment about the complexity and learning curve, which is understandable as the software does so much. Our small business users rate it 4 out of 5 stars.
How to Sign Up for Shiftboard
While Shiftboard provides pricing and features on its website, there’s no free trial and to sign up, you have to request a demo first. We find that’s code for a required call with a salesperson so that they can help you determine what features you need and potentially sell you on an upgrade.
TSheets: Best Employee Scheduling Software for Service Businesses
TSheets is best for service industries where time needs to be tracked against prescheduled remote jobs like home service contractors and home healthcare workers because it lets you see where workers are at and write detailed notes into pre-booked customer appointments. It’s costlier than the others, but provides web, mobile, and kiosk applications and allows you to add details like directions to the job or garage door codes to get in. It also has GPS tracking, and it offers payroll processing through QuickBooks.
We added TSheets to our list because even though it’s a bit more expensive for small businesses, it receives top ratings and awards from multiple review sites. TSheets is now free for freelancers, consultants, and sole proprietors who are self-employed and have numerous customer accounts and locations.
TSheets is free if you’re an independent contractor with no staff. Otherwise, It charges $5 per user, per month, plus a $20 base fee per month if you have between two and 99 employees, plus $1 per employee, per month, for scheduling, which is $6 per employee, per month, in total.
If you have 100 or more employees, the monthly base fee is $100 plus $5 per user, per month. You can save 20% with an annual subscription, and it sometimes runs specials on its website.
In addition to the standard employee scheduling software features included in all the programs we reviewed, TSheets lets you update schedules and add appointments from your smartphone. Using TSheets, you can not only schedule service appointments with notes but can also track your employees’ locations with GPS throughout the day.
If you add timekeeping, employees can clock in and out via their smartphone, similar to Homebase, and it lets you approve employees’ time from your mobile device.
Ease of Use
Like Deputy, When I Work and Homebase, the drag-and-drop scheduling tool allows you to view your schedules by day, week, or month. Once you publish your schedule, you can send push notifications to your employees. TSheets offers helpful tools like reminders to your employees to clock out via its phone app in case they forget. Even the most non-tech savvy users find TSheets easy to navigate.
TSheets lets you do job and shift scheduling and allows you to put notes into the appointments so that your employees know which client they’re working with, which location they’re working at, and what tools they may need to bring. Shift changes are easy, and you can add an urgent appointment to the schedule on the fly notifying your staff immediately via email or text.
TSheets Interfaces & Reports
TSheets provides multiple other integrations like customer relationship management (CRM), talent management, and accounting and financial reporting software that most other packages do not. Intuit recently acquired TSheets, so if you use QuickBooks, data transfers from TSheets require only one-click. TSheets’ real-time standard reports also give you everything from project job costing to an audit trail.
Some examples of TSheets’ other business integrations include:
- POS: Integrates with Square
- Expense tracking: Integrates with Expensify
- Payroll software: Integrates with Gusto
- Accounting: Integrates with Xero and QuickBooks
You’ll get support from TSheets Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain time by phone, email, or through the website. It also provides weekend support from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain time.
TSheets provides a GPS time tracker, time clock, and mobile app. It also produces payroll-ready timesheets that you can import into your payroll software easily.
What TSheets Is Missing
TSheets pricing is almost double the cost of the other employee scheduling software packages we reviewed. TSheets doesn’t offer any kind of in-person training as some of the other providers do, although you’re likely to need manager and employee training due to its robust features. Otherwise, there’s no functionality missing from TSheets once you purchase the scheduling add-on.
TSheets User Reviews
We found that TSheets earns solid user reviews on third-party reviews sites where it’s rated 4.5 out of 5 stars consistently. Users love the mobile app and QuickBooks integration but also mention that TSheets is a bit complex to set up.
How to Sign Up for TSheets
To sign up for TSheets, choose the “Try Free” option from its website. You won’t need a credit card to sign up and, if you like the software, you can provide your credit card at the end of the trial period and keep all your existing data.
Benefits of Using Employee Scheduling Software
The benefit of using employee scheduling software is that it reduces the time it takes for you to build and distribute your employee work schedule. It also improves team communication and employee engagement by giving employees early access and some control of their time off requests.
Most of the employee scheduling software we reviewed adds communication and messaging features that let you notify your workers about changes; it also lets you know when people are out, need off early, or want to shift swap. Some employees will notify you through the app, and others send messages via email or short message service (SMS) text messaging. The best employee scheduling software provides multiple communication and feedback options.
In a tight labor market, you can’t afford to lose workers due to unstable work schedules. Research shows that predictable schedules can reduce conflicts among peers and work stress. It’s also been proven to improve productivity. Employees with advanced notice of their work shifts and control over their schedules are less likely to call in sick at the last minute.
For businesses concerned about compliance, employee scheduling software tools let you build in business rules. Using an online scheduler instead of a spreadsheet or paper schedule enables you to push your employee work schedule data to a time tracking system―for reminders and alerts―and ultimately to your payroll software, complete with paid breaks and overtime documentation. Employee records are stored online, meeting labor law document retention requirements.
In addition to saving the cost of labor law violations―fines and penalties―online employee work scheduling software often gives you dashboards and tools to calculate and manage your labor costs. Software reports tell you what you’re paying and help you fine-tune your scheduling to reduce your salary line-item expense. They can also interface with POS software to help you align scheduling to customer traffic or even the weather.
Paper schedules and timesheets can’t be uploaded to your payroll software. Online employee scheduling tools can be uploaded in addition to your timesheets, tip reports, and other employee data like leave requests and PTO balances. As an example, Homebase offers job posting, scheduling, messaging, and timekeeping in one app that, with one click, can pass your payroll data to Gusto. Gusto then tracks all employee data, payroll data and tax filings, preventing data entry errors and saving you time.
Alternative Employee Scheduling Software Options
There’s a wide range of employee scheduling tools for small to medium-sized businesses, freelancers, and self-employed workers. We wanted to share additional top-rated work schedule software that we considered. For more information, our online reviews section provides pricing and features for all of the employee scheduling software we’ve reviewed.
10 Employee Scheduling Software Alternatives
Schedule; manage online policies and custom forms (free up to 5 employees)
Cloud-based software featuring customizable reports and integration with third-party programs
Self-hosted solution featuring automated scheduling, employee database, vacation tracking, and more
Workforce management software designed for restaurant, retail, and hospitality scheduling
Online calendar service with standalone calendar, intranet calendar, website calendar, or website plugin
Web-based employee scheduling and communication tool designed for the restaurant industry
Web-based application called Teamwork used for scheduling, time and attendance tracking, forecasting, and more
Customizable solution that offers automated scheduling, employee database, shift scheduling, and time tracking
Includes time punches, human resources, and daily logs for restaurant and hospitality industries
Features automated scheduling, shift scheduling, time tracking, and more
Alternatives to Standalone Employee Scheduling Software
Sometimes, employee scheduling tools are available as part of a larger more-inclusive software package. We provide buyer’s guides on each of these categories to help you choose which software package may work best for your business like all-in-one HR systems that have employee scheduling features.
Alternative Kinds of Software for Employee Scheduling
Service businesses that schedule and confirm client appointments
Businesses with hourly workers that need to know who is on site
Companies to track time worked with features like geolocation
Businesses that want to know what employees are doing in addition to when
Growing firms that want an all-in-one HR solution
Enterprises that manage employee results rather than schedules
Businesses that need one tool for schedules, timecards, and paychecks
Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
Smaller office businesses with few schedule changes
According to Snagajob, 35% of 18- to 25-year-olds left their last job due to inconsistent scheduling. Retaining employees with clear, efficient scheduling can add up to real savings for your small business. It’ll also save you time from going back and forth with workers if you use scheduling software with messaging tools and automated reminders.
When it comes to employee scheduling software, there are a variety of good options out there—both standalone tools and ones that integrate with other business software. When I Work offers the best solution at the best price, which is free if you have 75 or fewer employees. It’s an ideal fit for the majority of small businesses because it manages and provides attendance tracking, messaging, and mobile apps for free as well.