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The Best Employee Scheduling Software of 2023

Updated Jul 25, 2023
Featured Sponsor
  • Build and edit schedules
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Integrates with payroll solutions
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  • Build and edit schedules
  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Integrates with payroll solutions
Best Overall
  • Free and paid plans
  • Payroll and POS integrations
  • Free GPS-enabled timeclock app
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  • Free and paid plans
  • Payroll and POS integrations
  • Free GPS-enabled timeclock app
Budget Booking App
  • Free and paid plans
  • Live booking option
  • Live web chat support
  • Free and paid plans
  • Live booking option
  • Live web chat support
Easiest to Use
  • 30-day free trial
  • Drag-and-drop functions
  • Live web chat support
  • 30-day free trial
  • Drag-and-drop functions
  • Live web chat support
TimeForge Scheduling
  • Real-time insights
  • 60+ different reports
  • Payroll integrations
  • Real-time insights
  • 60+ different reports
  • Payroll integrations

Table of Contents

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Of all the resources that business owners must keep track of, the most finite is time. With an efficiently crafted work schedule for each employee, operations can run smoothly and cost-effectively, boosting productivity and profitability at the same time. The right employee scheduling software makes it easy to create and track your employees’ weekly and daily schedules. If your company needs a simple way for clients to schedule appointments with your staff, you will also need a good piece of appointment scheduling software.

After conducting a deep dive into both the employee scheduling and appointment scheduling software landscapes, we found the following services to be the best for different business needs.

How We Decided

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How We Decided

Our team spends weeks evaluating dozens of business solutions to identify the best options. To stay current, our research is regularly updated.







Compare Our Best Picks

BDC Ribbon
Our Top Picks for 2023
When I Work Software
TimeForge Scheduling
Rating (Out of 10)


Free or $14-$70 per location, per month

Free, $25 per month, or $199 per year

$3-$5 per user, per month ($80-$100 minimum)

$1 per user, per month

Free trial


Yes; a free plan is also available

No, but a free plan is available



iOS and Android apps






Customer support


Phone, email and live chat

Phone and live chat

Phone and live chat

Phone and email

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When I Work Software: Featured Sponsor

Editor's Rating: 9.6/10
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When I Work is an all-in-one app for businesses to schedule and communicate with hourly employees, as well as track their time and attendance. The online platform lets you build schedules, make changes, and track when employees come and go.

When I Work can be accessed via web browsers or iOS and Android devices. The software’s time-tracking tools can help improve accountability, reduce no-shows and manage overtime costs. When I Work integrates with payroll services to quickly and accurately process payroll.

Homebase: Best Employee Scheduling Software

  • Homebase’s plans include unlimited SMS text messages, and there are zero scheduling limits.
  • Homebase plans come with error tracking and labor law compliance features.
  • Homebase has a slightly longer setup time than some of its competitors.
Editor's Rating: 9.5/10
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Out of all the vendors we researched, Homebase is our pick for the best overall employee scheduling software because of its long list of features, simple-to-use interface and numerous integrations with existing business software. Errors on an employee’s timesheet are instantly tracked, as is each paid and unpaid break, allowing you to check ongoing labor costs in real time. In addition, Homebase makes it easy to ensure your scheduling practices comply with existing regulations.

Homebase offers a free tier that lets you try out the service at a single location before committing to a more expansive but still competitively priced package. Combining this with its many other convenient features, Homebase is a strong candidate for any business’s employee scheduling software.

Setmore: Best Budget Booking App

  • Setmore offers a feature-rich appointment scheduling and payments platform.
  • Setmore has a free plan; its paid plan has a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
  • Some of the employee scheduling features are limited.
Editor's Rating: 9.2/10

If you run a medical practice, beauty salon or some other business that requires appointments to be made ahead of time, you may need a form of employee scheduling software that helps your workforce manage client bookings. Setmore is our best pick for a booking platform because we found its appointment scheduling and payments platform to be the most feature-rich and widely compatible one in our research.

Setmore Pricing

Setmore charges a monthly or yearly subscription for its services. If you pay monthly, you have more control over how long you use the service. The yearly plan, however, costs less, but the trade-off is that it’s not as easy to cancel your subscription.

Pricing for Setmore’s solution is based on “per staff,” which is identical to the per-location fee structure charged by some of Setmore’s competitors. The per-employee rate that other employee scheduling software companies charge often is slightly cheaper than this model, depending on the size of your company.

Setmore has three plans: Free, Premium and Pro. Here is a breakdown of the pricing and features in each plan:

  • Free: Companies can access up to four calendars and staff logins, a basic customer list, a booking page for clients, unlimited appointments, 100 email reminders per month, staff profiles, and other basic features on this plan. This option also comes with a free Square integration so your customers can pay for their bookings upfront.
  • Premium: The premium plan version supports one to two users and costs $12 per user per month or $108 per user per year. Pro is for teams of three or more people and costs $9 per user per month or $60 per user per year. Both plans come with unlimited appointments and email reminders, customizable SMS text reminders for each appointment, integration with Square and Stripe for online credit and debit card payments, Zoom integration, and two-way calendar sync.

Setmore says there are no additional charges and that users can downgrade to the free version at any time. It also offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee.


Setmore’s platform is easy to use for small businesses and customers alike. When we signed up for the free tier, we were immediately met with an easy setup process that helped us find certain features.

After setup, we were able to get our hands on the platform’s payment scheduling feature, which helps you create invoices and track payments – an important function for any business. As bookings come in, staff members with logins to the account can view the group calendar with everyone’s schedules and appointments. This transparency between employees makes overbooking and double booking less frequent.

When a customer books an appointment, the software sends confirmation emails to the customer and the employee, as well as follow-up emails and SMS reminders. It’s easy to reschedule appointments or make them recurring with the platform’s drag-and-drop function. Staff can also view a client’s history, which shows how long they’ve been coming to your office, their past payments, and how many times they’ve rescheduled or missed appointments. You can integrate this data with your CRM software to better manage customer information.

Setmore also offers several website and business application features that bolster its functionality. You can add booking widgets directly to your business’s website, whether it’s a self-hosted page or constructed with the help of platforms like WordPress, Wix or Drupal. Your customers can use those widgets to book appointments without picking up a phone. If social media is important to your business, Setmore can also integrate its booking features with your company’s Facebook or Instagram pages or the company Slack.

Setmore can integrate with other major business applications, like Salesforce, Mailchimp, QuickBooks and Zendesk. It also has an iOS and Android app that your employees and customers can use to set appointments, sync data and receive push notifications for upcoming appointments.

Additional Considerations

In addition to its regular service tiers, Setmore offers a live booking service for companies in the U.S. and Canada. For $89 a month, Setmore employees will answer your company’s calls as if they were your in-house receptionist. They can book appointments, answer with your business’s name and provide email summaries of each call. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and your company won’t be charged for “calls, solicitors and hang-ups under 30 seconds.”

Setmore’s support section has an extensive knowledgebase where you can search for answers to any questions you have. If that fails you, you can call the 24-hour support line (in the U.S. and U.K.), with the option to leave a message if needed. You can also email the tech support team, but there’s no live chat option on the website.

During our interactions with customer service, we found Setmore’s staff very easy to interact with. They were quick to answer our questions and attentive to our needs, which is what you want when you’re a small business owner looking for help in a timely manner.


While Setmore is our best pick for a booking platform, we have to point out that it’s pretty limited in scope for employee scheduling software. This may not be a drawback for service-based companies, since booking help may be all they need, but if your business needs an all-in-one scheduling solution, this isn’t it.

It would also be wrong of us not to mention that we found a complaint was leveled against Setmore on the Better Business Bureau’s website this past July. The company still has an A+ rating even though it’s not currently accredited with the BBB, and it’s noteworthy that Setmore CEO Bryce Morrow personally responded and offered to change the offending policy.

Humanity: Best Scheduling Software for Ease of Use

  • Humanity has drag-and-drop functions, a setup wizard and a smartphone app.
  • There are monthly and annual pricing options available to users.
  • Humanity plans require an $80 to $100 minimum.


Editor's Rating: 9/10

If the point of technology is to make our lives easier, then why should you, as a small business owner, settle for employee scheduling software that is hard to use or understand? If you’re looking for an intuitive and simple solution for your scheduling needs, Humanity’s solutions are easy for managers and employees alike.

March 2021: TimeClock Plus (TCP) recently acquired Humanity. While this acquisition does not currently affect Humanity accounts, customers will soon have access to TCP’s top-tier suite of solutions, as well as more than 300 integrations.

Humanity Pricing

Humanity, like every other employee scheduling software provider, charges a monthly rate for companies to access its functionality.

While most companies generally charge on a per-location basis, Humanity charges for each user. The former style of pricing is generally good for companies with a small number of locations, while the latter is good for companies that have multiple locations with different teams at each site. What you’ll generally notice in a location-based solution is that the prices are much higher upfront, while per-user pricing models can be considered more akin to buying something in bulk.

With that in mind, you can pay for your subscription to Humanity monthly or as a singular lump sum payment for the entire year. If you pay monthly, you’ll have more control over how long you use Humanity’s service, while the yearly option helps reduce costs with the understanding that you won’t be able to back out of your agreement as easily.

Humanity offers two regular service tiers and one enterprise-level service tier. The company offers a 30-day free trial of its Starter level service and 24/7/365 support online. (Phone support is available for all three tiers.) Here is a breakdown of each tier:

  • Starter: Companies with basic scheduling needs for their teams may be best served by this service tier. For $2 per user, per month, companies can access Humanity’s cloud-based scheduling platform, a centralized administrative dashboard, employee-controlled shift-trading capabilities, employee-dictated availability and time-off management, mobile access, and SMS/email/in-app notifications. If you pay monthly, you will need to spend at least $80 per month. Annual payment plans have a $60 per month minimum.
  • Classic: The Classic tier is designed for midsize companies. For $4 per user, per month (or $3 per user, per month on the annual plan), you get everything in the Starter tier plus autofill scheduling, real-time labor cost and budgeting, labor law compliance checks, reporting and analytics tools, the ability to schedule employees based on their skills and certifications, an integrated online employee timeclock, GPS-enabled clock in and out, custom employee leave types, secure messaging, and payroll exports. Like the previous tier, there’s an $80 per month minimum for the monthly plan and a $60 per month minimum with the annual plan.
  • Enterprise: While your small business will need some time to grow before it can fully utilize this service tier, Humanity’s Enterprise option offers all the same features as the previous two tiers as well as demand-based scheduling that will forecast scheduling needs, the season or company KPIs, open API access, and human capital management integration. Since this tier is more customizable than the other two, there is no standard pricing model. Instead, you’ll need to call the company for a quote.


From its drag-and-drop functionality to its highly accessible mobile application, we found Humanity’s software easy to use. (We used the trial period, which only allows access to the Starter tier while the company’s knowledgebase and YouTube videos on the software’s functionality helped demonstrate the software’s other features.)

The software includes many features to make scheduling easy, such as the setup wizard. Its mobile application lets you tend to scheduling issues on the fly. Humanity provides powerful scheduling capabilities, such as drag-and-drop functions and the ability to fill shifts based on employees’ skill levels.

Employees will benefit from Humanity’s scheduling software; they can swap shifts with co-workers and request time off online. Schedules are easily accessible on the smartphone app, so employees can keep tabs on when they’re expected to come in for their shift. This work scheduler includes a GPS-enabled timeclock that you and your employees can use to easily track hours. Humanity integrates with many payroll software solutions, including ADP and QuickBooks.

The best scheduling software allows employees to set their availability, which prevents scheduling conflicts. Humanity’s employee scheduler does this and offers employees the opportunity to swap shifts and bid on open shifts. Since employees can log in to the scheduling software anytime, they can submit time off requests without going to work to do it. Each request must be approved by a manager, so supervisors are always aware of what’s happening with work schedules.

You can access Humanity through any computer with a connection to the internet, and you can download a free mobile application that lets you manage schedules anytime. You can also set up text and email alerts for individual employees to reduce tardiness.

Additional Considerations

In addition to Humanity’s employee scheduling capabilities, the software features a robust reporting system that covers more than a dozen different reports, including attendance and labor costs. With the ability to look at minute data surrounding your employee scheduling efforts, you’re able to properly adjust how you handle the schedule week to week.

While Humanity is our pick as the easiest solution to use, the company website features a comprehensive help section aimed at guiding new users through the process of setting up and using the software. For more intermediate users, the website has forums and FAQs. There are also video tutorials covering various aspects of the program.

If those options don’t answer your questions, Humanity’s customer service is available via live webchat 24/7 and by phone. During our interactions with their customer service, we found Humanity’s staff to be well versed in the program and willing to walk us through our concerns. They were clear and concise in their answers, and easy to work with.


The most pressing issue for us is Humanity monthly minimum charge. While $2 to $4 per user is reasonable, a minimum of $60 or $80 for a small business is a little high. After speaking with a representative, however, we learned that Humanity offers a custom pricing plan if your company can’t meet that monthly minimum payment.

TimeForge Scheduling: Best Employee Scheduling Software for Reporting

TimeForge Scheduling
  • TimeForge offers more than 60 well-organized reports.
  • TimeForge has two separate apps – TimeForge Employee and TimeForge Manager ‒ for iOS and Android devices.
  • TimeForge requires a monthly minimum and charges a monthly fee based on the number of users and locations covered by the service.
Editor's Rating: 9.9/10

Ask any small business owner and they’ll likely agree that the adage “time is money” is completely true. If using employee scheduling software to create a balanced schedule isn’t sufficient, then TimeForge Scheduling’s software application, which provides more than 60 reports on how your employee schedule affects your labor costs, could be the solution you’ve been looking for.

TimeForge Scheduling Pricing

If you’re considering any type of employee scheduling solution, be aware that the software doesn’t comprise a singular, upfront cost. Rather, you pay a monthly fee based on the number of users or number of locations covered by the service, or in TimeForge Scheduling’s particularly confusing case, both.

Depending on which service tier you sign up for and whether you include point-of-sale (POS) integrations with existing web-based functionality, you will pay for the service on a per-user basis as well as per location.

TimeForge Max includes all the features of TimeForge Attendance, TimeForge Scheduling and TimeForge Human Resources, making it a prime solution for small businesses. Here is a breakdown of all of the service plans offered:

  • TimeForge Max: This is the company’s most feature-rich offering. At $3.45 per user, per month, with a $25 monthly minimum, the web-only option not only includes the features of the three previously mentioned modules, but it manages attendance and work schedules, cuts down on early clock ins and late clock outs, and provides an AutoScheduler to quickly generate schedules. If you want to integrate TimeForge Max with your POS solution, you must have one of the 13 systems it supports before you can get started. Prices for each POS are charged on a per-location and per-user basis. For example, Dinerware POS users can expect to pay $25 per location, per month, in addition to $3 per user, per month. Along with the feature-rich TimeForge Max, the company sells other solutions piecemeal at low prices.
  • TimeForge Scheduling: If you’re only needing an employee scheduling solution, TimeForge Scheduling covers that base. At $1 per user, per month, with a $15 monthly minimum, TimeForge Scheduling lets users match previous schedules and forecast sales to predict the best coverage patterns for a given day. In addition, this tier features time off tracking, and employees can swap shifts, with management getting the final say.
  • TimeForge Scheduling Lite: If you want to try TimeForge Scheduling, the Lite service tier is a free yet limited version.
  • TimeForge Attendance: This module tracks attendance and manages employee timecards. Managers can keep tabs on an employee’s clock in and out times, the tips they collect and the mileage they log while driving for your business. This service is available for $1.95 per user, per month, with a $20 monthly minimum.
  • TimeForge Human Resources: As the company’s solution for a digital human resources product, TimeForge Human Resources tracks staff demographics. It costs $1 per user, per month, and there is no monthly minimum. Through this feature, managers can track an employee’s certifications and training, as well as manage prehiring, onboarding, and other functions.

If you’re not satisfied with the packages TimeForge offers, according to the company, you can create a custom one by picking the package that’s closest to what you want and then requesting a custom price.


While many of its features deal with regular employee scheduling needs, what sets TimeForge apart from other software solutions is its ability to take the data it has received and transform it into actionable information that business owners and managers can use to fine-tune their business.

The software includes over 60 reports on topics such as attendance, shift swapping, labor costs and employee retention. The reports include bar graphs that are color-coded and easy to read, making them suitable for your own perusal or for presentations. You can access reports in different formats, which can be useful if you need to export the information to various programs or Excel.

TimeForge Attendance users have access to a timeclock with management tools that provide real-time insights into your labor costs. Attendance users benefit from the solution’s ability to simplify state and federal labor law compliance by setting grace periods, scheduling staff breaks and handling overtime.

TimeForge further helps with labor law compliance by integrating with existing payroll providers, including SurePayroll, CompuPay, QuickBooks, Heartland Payment Systems, ADP, Paychex, and FMS.

For more mobile businesses, TimeForge has two apps, TimeForge Employee and TimeForge Manager, for iOS and Android devices. As the names suggest, they address either the management or employee side of employee scheduling.

Additional Considerations

While TimeForge’s options are not the easiest to understand compared to the companies we examined, if you need a solution that reports important data in an easily digestible manner, this could be the solution you’ve been seeking. TimeForge Scheduling has a comprehensive set of tools and strong scheduling capabilities, though its strongest point is its variety of well-organized reports.

We had good interactions with the customer representatives at TimeForge. You can contact customer support by phone and email. They answered our questions clearly and professionally.

You can also access TimeForge’s knowledgebase, which includes training videos and links to the manuals and FAQs. (These are also on the website.)


TimeForge may have the most comprehensive reporting capabilities of any employee scheduling solution we evaluated, but it also is one of the programs we evaluated that has a required monthly minimum. While their minimums are relatively reasonable for small businesses, for particularly small businesses, TimeForge may be too expensive.

Another concern was the pricing model structure. Looking at the pricing page can be a little confusing, as you may be tempted to sign up for TimeForge Max, along with some of the other modules that are already included in the highest tier. While it can be easily rectified, it’s the kind of thing that could cause an unpleasant surprise down the road.


If you’re in the market for employee scheduling software, you are looking at entering into a monthly, subscription-based service. Some services charge a small fee per employee each month, while others charge a monthly fee that covers up to a fixed number of employees. Other platforms charge a monthly fee on a per-location basis. There are no long-term contracts to sign, but some vendors require you to provide written notice in advance before closing your account.

Like most subscription-based services, every staff scheduling program offers multiple service tiers, with the more expensive options including more advanced features, larger employee bases or both. If you’re considering a certain program, look for a free tier or trial period, as most vendors offer one or the other. That’s a great way to give a service a try before adding an employee scheduling solution to your company’s operating costs.

Ultimately, you have to consider how many employees and locations you have, and which features you really need out of an employee scheduling solution. Sometimes the free tier will fill all of your needs, especially if you run a particularly small operation. Note which features land on which service tier and compare those findings with other staff scheduling companies. What one company considers a premium feature could be included in a lower tier elsewhere. Also make sure that whichever company you go with offers some sort of knowledgebase or training materials, since employee scheduling software is only an asset if you know how to use it and make sure your workers get paid for their efforts.

Instead of paying a monthly fee, you can usually opt to pay for a full year upfront. This usually results in overall savings, but you should be absolutely sure that you want to stick with the service for the full year. If you decide to cancel before the term ends, some companies will offer a prorated refund, though you will want to check the agreement before attempting to sever ties, in case there’s a hefty fee.

What Is Employee Scheduling Software?

Regardless of what your company does, if you have employees, you’ll need an employee scheduling app that both you and your workforce can understand. If you don’t properly convey your scheduling needs and expectations, you’ll eventually run into a situation where either your workers are shorthanded and unable to properly do their jobs or you have too many people on the clock at one time, greatly inflating labor costs without giving you much of a productivity boost in return.

Employee scheduling software helps businesses streamline the schedule creation and maintenance process. Rather than managers filling out each employee’s schedule by hand or scheduling individuals based on a hunch about their effectiveness in a certain shift, employee scheduling software can provide detailed data to help you create the most effective schedule possible. Once it’s implemented, managers can also gauge how much time off people are using and where inefficiencies exist in the schedule, helping the company save time and money in the long run.

With the right employee scheduling software in place, businesses of all sizes not only become more efficient, with less to worry about in terms of labor costs, but can also more easily forecast the potential workload at certain times of day. For example, a restaurant owner can chart out when regular meal rushes happen and plan schedules accordingly.

Depending on the type of employee scheduling software, employees can also enjoy some huge benefits from its implementation. With most of today’s platforms functioning in the cloud, employees can access their schedules from any location on their mobile devices, get instant notifications about shift changes and adapt to any changes at a moment’s notice. Employees can also set their own availability through a staff scheduling platform rather than relying on their manager’s memory.

In addition to employee scheduling software, employee booking platforms can be a huge boon to small businesses that require customers to make appointments in advance. You won’t need to hire a receptionist to take down any incoming appointments, as most modern booking software lets customers book their own appointments either online or via mobile app. This not only saves time and money, but lets employees know when they’re booked and puts customers in the driver’s seat throughout the process.

Employee Scheduling by Industry

While employee scheduling software can benefit all kinds of businesses, there are certain factors to take into account based on your company’s industry.

In most instances, the type of employee scheduling software that fits the widest range of industries is the one that acts largely as a facilitator of employee schedules. Throughout our research, we found this style makes up a majority of employee scheduling software. In this category, managers can create schedules that employees can view.

What separates the platforms is the features. Some solutions have a built-in machine learning mechanism that can eventually generate schedules on its own, based on employees’ availability, competency levels and the expected business during a shift.

There’s also a subset of employee scheduling software for businesses in the services industry, where team members are booked as needed by customers. These programs let customers book a meeting or session with an employee. This style is generally seen in healthcare, with massage therapists and chiropractors using the software on their business websites. As with the other platforms, employees can set their availability, making them less likely to get booked when they can’t work and reducing the number of cancellations.

Employee Scheduling Software Features

The specific functions your employee scheduling software can perform will often depend on what service tier or scheduling package you purchase. For example, some software is very basic and simply enables the creation of schedules, whereas other options incorporate advanced features like time and attendance tracking, automated scheduling, and security and compliance functions.

Look for the following features when evaluating employee scheduling solutions.

Shift Scheduling

While most software allows you to build schedules manually, many platforms also give you the option of auto-scheduling to build repeating or varied schedules automatically. Advanced software like this simplifies your workforce management process with schedule templates, labor forecasts, and calendar management features (e.g., daily, weekly or monthly calendar view). Some software includes demand-based scheduling and shift autofill, which can be valuable workforce scheduling tools.

Your team can benefit from scheduling software with employee-centric tools that allow them to set their availability and preferences, request to drop or swap shifts with their co-workers, and modify their schedules from anywhere. Managers can determine automatic settings for shift approval and denial, or they can manually approve or deny shift change requests.

Time and Attendance Tracking

Tracking employee hours is a key element of employee scheduling. Some employee scheduling software automatically includes time clocks and time-off request capabilities in the base plans, whereas others offer time and attendance functions as add-on features. Employee scheduling software with a clocking-in function reduces the chances that a manager will have to transfer or manually reenter hours into the system. This way, integrated time-tracking capabilities save time and reduce or even eliminate errors.

This software can also help employers track employee overtime, monitor worker behavior, prevent early clock-ins, track employee breaks, automatically deduct unpaid breaks, budget for labor costs, and more. Employee scheduling software with time-tracking features often includes reporting capabilities as well.

Notifications and Reminders

Most employee scheduling software has alert and notification capabilities, but the type of notifications you receive (and the channels through which you can receive them) will vary. The best software offers text, email, and in-app notifications for schedule and message confirmations, tardiness and overtime alerts, automated clock-in and clock-out reminders, and more.

Security and Compliance

Labor law compliance is incredibly important when you have employees on your payroll. If you fail to comply, you could find yourself in hot water with government agencies. The best employee scheduling platforms have persistent checks in place to make sure you don’t fall out of compliance with local and federal labor laws, including overtime regulations and advance-notice requirements for schedule changes.

Dashboard and Usability

Running a small business means dealing with many moving parts. A good employee scheduling solution can integrate with many other pieces of business software, such as the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite or a POS system, streamlining multiple processes without much effort. If a service has a native iOS or Android app that employees and managers can use, that’s even better, since both sides can benefit from the mobile convenience.

How to Choose Your Employee Scheduling Software

When you’re deciding which employee scheduling program your business needs, the first and most important thing to consider is what purpose it will serve. As mentioned above, there are two main uses for such platforms: creating work schedules and booking employees for services.

When you’ve recognized the function you need, you should also consider the features you want. If you’re going with the schedule creation style of program, do you want it to be web-based or not? Do you want employees to be able to jockey for favorable time slots when they become available or make it easy for them to swap shifts with one another? How much freedom do you want to give employees to set their preferred availability?

If you’re getting one of the booking and employee engagement platforms, do you want to integrate the program with your website so your customers can book their next appointment without leaving your homepage? What about messaging between customers and your employees? These features and more exist in some form in many of the programs we examined.

Once you choose the software’s form and function, another big consideration is how much it will ultimately cost you. As a small business owner, you’re already cognizant of your bottom line. The cost of employee scheduling software recurs on a monthly or yearly basis. More specific pricing information is available below.

Employee Scheduling FAQs

Employee scheduling software can save your business time and money. For example, having one designated scheduling platform can reduce the risk of over- or understaffing your business for any given shift. The software can streamline your staffing responsibilities and provide valuable employee information. Some scheduling software even gives customers the ability to view and book appointments based on employee availability, which helps reduce cancellations and double booking.

The initial cost of implementing employee scheduling software can be a disadvantage for some. This software is often more expensive to utilize than scheduling alternatives like paper processes and Excel spreadsheets. However, once you get past the initial cost, the software can save you money in the long run by streamlining your staffing process.

Another potential disadvantage is implementation. Although employee scheduling software is typically intuitive and easy to use, there is a transitional period of implementing the software and transferring information and resources over to it. Any transitional pains will often be resolved after the software is successfully implemented and your staff is trained on how to use it.

Employee scheduling software is typically web-based software offered via subscription (software as a service) or perpetual license. With these web-based systems, you can access employee scheduling features from the cloud. Common platform compatibilities include Mac, Windows, and Linux as well as Android and iOS devices.

You can take advantage of several software integrations, depending on what tasks your employee scheduling software can already perform on its own. One extremely beneficial integration is time tracking – this is where your employee hours are automatically tracked and logged in your software, reducing the errors from manual entry of employee hours. Another useful integration is payroll tracking. Some employee scheduling software has comprehensive payroll features built in, while others only have simple payroll data collection.

Predictive scheduling (giving out employee schedules in advance) is beneficial for employers and employees alike. Informing employees of their work schedules ahead of time can increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover. It also helps employees to better plan around their work schedules, reducing the possibility of an employee missing a shift and leaving the team shorthanded.

It depends on the specific software application you are using, however, most software solutions include compliance capabilities to help ensure your company abides by certain federal and state labor laws, including overtime laws. Additionally, many programs have automated features to help you facilitate and track important HR functions like hiring, scheduling, time tracking, payroll and more.

Not every business needs employee scheduling software, but it can be beneficial for certain companies.

If you don’t currently use an employee scheduling solution, there are a couple of tell-tale signs that indicate it might be time to make the switch. For example, if you are experiencing frequent problems with your current scheduling solution, or if scheduling employees for their shifts is consuming all or most of your time, it may be time to upgrade to employee scheduling software.

The software is also ideal for companies that are struggling to effectively communicate with their teams or that need help managing labor costs. These are a few reasons why you might want to switch to an employee scheduling app.

Our Methodology

To properly evaluate staff scheduling and booking services, we dedicated significant time to researching the industry, focusing on the features, options and prices that set the best options apart. We compiled a list of 21 vendors based largely on independent research, though we also considered other vendor lists, reviews from other sources, and any companies that requested to be added to our list.

After establishing the list of services we would evaluate, we visited each company’s website to note its services, features and pricing models. We also sought out customer testimonials and third-party reviews to weed out any services that didn’t seem like good picks for small businesses.

Once we’d compiled enough information on each company, we closely compared them to establish a shortlist for each use case. We participated in free trials if they were available, booked demos with sales representatives or found other ways to get a feel for the services. We also reached out to speak with customer service or sales representatives to get a better feeling of their services and pricing while also seeing how they treat potential customers.

During those calls, we posed as a small business owner looking for employee scheduling software. We gave the same details about our faux businesses and posed the same questions to each representative. Noting each rep’s responses and overall demeanor, we recorded our customer service experience before choosing our best picks.

The following are some of the more important criteria and questions we considered when evaluating each employee scheduling option:

  • With what business software can this option interface? Running a small business means dealing with many moving parts. A good employee scheduling solution can tap into many other pieces of business software, such as the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite or a POS system, streamlining multiple processes without much effort. If a service has a native iOS or Android app that employees and managers can use, that’s even better, since both sides can benefit from the mobile convenience.
  • What features can my employees expect? Employees need to know when they’re working and what’s expected of them every week, so a good employee scheduling platform should have some employee-facing features. In addition to a mobile app, employees greatly benefit from software that allows them to set their availability, request to swap shifts with their co-workers or just view their schedules from anywhere.
  • Is an integrated timeclock available? The days of a physical timeclock that each employee punches are mostly gone. As such, employee scheduling software that allows staff to clock in reduces the chances that a manger will have to transfer or manually reenter hours into the system. Integrated time-tracking capabilities save time and reduce or even eliminate errors.
  • Does this software help with labor law compliance? Labor law compliance is incredibly important when you have employees on your payroll. Fail to comply and you could find yourself in hot water with major government entities. The best employee scheduling platforms have persistent checks in place that make sure you’re not falling out of compliance with local and federal labor laws, including overtime regulations and advance-notice requirements for schedule changes.
Andrew Martins
Staff Writer at
Andrew Martins has written more than 300 articles for and Business News Daily focused on the tools and services that small businesses and entrepreneurs need to succeed. Andrew writes about office hardware such as digital copiers, multifunctional printers and wide format printers, as well as critical technology services like live chat and online fax. Andrew has a long history in publishing, having been named a four-time New Jersey Press Award winner.
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