According to Connecteam, “140 hours are wasted annually by creating a manual work schedule.” From tracking paper time-off requests to working around scheduling conflicts, manual scheduling is time-consuming. Moreover, it prevents you from optimizing your labor and payroll costs.
Employee scheduling software removes these headaches by allowing you and your employees to access scheduling information from anywhere. After reviewing more than two dozen systems, we developed our list of winners based on overall pricing and plan features, functionality, compliance features, and add-on services.
The 7 Best Employee Scheduling Software of 2020
Homebase: Best Overall
Homebase provides a simple drag-and-drop interface with tons of features for scheduling employees.
Free iOS or Android apps
GPS employee tracking
No live weekend customer service
Must buy Plus package for labor cost reporting
Can’t add credentials to employee profiles
Founded in 2014, Homebase is a comprehensive solution for small business owners, updated for 2020. Its free plan gives you everything needed to start scheduling shifts, whereas paid plans are affordable and packed with features. With the addition of safety screenings to its mobile app, Homebase tops our list for best overall employee scheduling software.
The basic free plan delivers big by providing time clocks, time and attendance tracking, employee mobile apps, and the ability to schedule beyond 10 days. You can also track breaks and overtime for compliance and get daily labor reports.
With a paid plan, you can pay monthly or yearly. But, you’ll save 30% on the subscription with an annual payment. The following paid plans reflect your price when paid yearly and cover one location:
- Essential: $14 per month for performance management, real-time safety alerts, and health and safety screening questions
- Plus: $35 per month for compliance planning and budgeting and labor cost controls
- All-in-One: $70 per month for an onboarding program and HR Pro advisors and training
Homebase offers other services like job posting promotions on ZipRecruiter, Craigslist, and Indeed for $79 per post. Or you can pay for the HR Pro services for an extra $99 per month.
You’ll appreciate its integrations with popular POS and accounting systems such as:
The easy-to-use interface lets you work on Windows or Mac computers, and its apps work on Apple or Android devices, which is why Homebase is a well-rounded choice for scheduling your employees.
Connecteam: Best for Mobile Access
Built for deskless employees, Connecteam provides all the scheduling details for people on the go.
Can use a mobile device for a kiosk station
Tons of employee engagement features
Robust mobile administrative dashboard
Integrations with other software aren’t disclosed
Lack of real-time alerts for open shifts
Must have an internet connection to use
Since 2014 Connecteam has delivered reliable software with increased functionalities for virtual and on-the-go workforces. This scheduling system was built for mobile use and is the winner in our best for mobile access category.
This mobile-first platform provides business owners and employees with tons of great features, including checklists and forms, all in the palm of your hand. All plans come with features such as:
- Organizational chat and directory
- Real-time clock in and out
- Mobile administrative capabilities including compliance
- Surveys and employee engagement tools
All plans support up to 200 users, except for Enterprise which supports more. Prices are based on one annual payment, which saves you 20% over paying monthly. Plans include:
- Free: $0 for up to five job categories and all essential features, and employees can claim shifts from their cell phone
- Basic: $29 per month to add team chat and channels, unlimited custom jobs, and one dedicated in-shift task
- Advanced: $59 per month for up to three time clocks, bulk shift additions, and up to five dedicated in-shift tasks
- Expert: $119 per month for up to six time clocks, automated timesheet reports, and unlimited in-shift tasks
- Enterprise: Contact the company if you have more than 200 employees and need advanced features
You can use Connecteam in a web browser, Mac or Windows computer, or download a mobile app for your Android and Apple devices. Although the company doesn’t provide information on integrations, it offers nearly all services employers need right within its desktop and mobile apps, including job training capabilities.
Deputy: Best for Windows
With drag-and-drop functionality and a 31-day free trial, Deputy gives business owners scheduling control when using Windows.
Unlimited 24/7 phone or online chat support
31-day free trial
No free version
Monthly minimum cost of $10
Lower-tier plans don’t offer discounts for paying annually
Deputy got its start in 2008 and continues to improve its offerings to support a wide range of employer needs. The comprehensive reporting system works well on Windows desktops while providing mobile apps for convenient employee use, making it our winner in the best for Windows category.
Although Deputy doesn't provide a free plan, you can try out its services for 31 days before deciding. The company doesn't offer annual payments for its Scheduling or Time & Attendance programs, but it's available for the Premium plan. All versions come with:
- Administrative dashboard
- Newsfeed for company posts and document sharing
- Single sign-on for easy logins
- Paid time off (PTO) and leave management
You're required to spend a minimum of $10 per month on the services, regardless of the number of users. Most business owners opt for the Premium version to get all the necessary features for payroll and scheduling. Deputy plans include:
- Scheduling: $2.50 per user per month, you get meal and rest break planning, employee and auto-scheduling, and tasking options
- Time & Attendance: $2.50 per user per month, you get timesheets, payroll integration, tasking, and meal and rest break planning
- Premium: $4.50 per user per month, or $4 if billed annually, you get all the features from Scheduling and Time & Attendance plans along with advanced reporting features
- Enterprise: For companies with more than 250 employees, contact Deputy for a custom quote that includes dedicated support
Deputy makes compliance easy by simplifying recordkeeping with digital records and employee confirmations. Along with your Windows desktop, Deputy offers apps for iOS and Android. Plus it integrates with popular software such as:
When I Work: Best Free Software
Start scheduling teams using When I Work with no credit card required.
Free mobile app for Apple and Android
Includes hiring features
Free plan covers up to 75 employees
No 24/7 customer service
No appointment management tool
Fewer reporting options
Founded in 2010, When I Work provides comprehensive employee scheduling software at no cost. Its extensive functionality and easy-to-use interface make it a clear winner for the best free software category.
Use the free plan to schedule up to 75 employees up to one week ahead and track time worked. All free plans come with valuable features such as:
- Team scheduling and availability calendar
- Team messaging
- Shift trading
- Time off requests
If you opt for a paid plan, you can pay as you go or make one annual payment. The three paid plans include:
- Basic: $2.00 per user per month for scheduling templates, overtime visibility, and the ability to use it for scheduling multiple locations or remote employees
- Pro: $2.50 per user per month for automatic scheduling, and creating task lists
- Enterprise: Contact the company for solutions that provide a single sign-on, custom reports, and integrations
When I Work also offers a Time Clock and Attendance feature for an extra $2 per user per month. Or you can opt for its Applicant Tracking and Sourcing program for $50 per month. The software integrates with POS and payroll programs like:
You can access your scheduling services using most popular web browsers or an app for your iOS or Android devices.
Shiftboard: Best for Healthcare
Built for complex environments, Shiftboard simplifies healthcare scheduling.
Multiple ways to sign in
Group employees by certifications or credentials
Day of shift coverage tools
No free plan
No pricing on website
Tricky to set up
Founded in 2008, Shiftboard is an industry leader that empowers healthcare teams to deliver excellent patient care and manage coverage. Its medical features earn it the top spot in our best for healthcare category.
Shiftboard provides dedicated tools for nursing and healthcare teams. The ScheduleFlex software supports dynamic workflows, whereas the SchedulePro plans provide advanced compliance tracking options. Healthcare scheduling features include:
- Team grouping with custom information about certifications and proficiencies
- Day-of-shift coverage tools
- Real-time staff communication via text, alerts, and notifications
- Easy float pool management for multiple locations
- Robust employee self-serve access and tools
- Can place limits on nurses’ schedulable hours
- Easily view expected overtime costs
Shiftboard offers either ScheduleFlex or SchedulePro plans and provides custom quotes for all packages. With ScheduleFlex software, you have a choice of:
- Business: With this plan, you can do scheduling by seniority, watch daily and weekly overtime thresholds, abide by mandatory rest periods, use intelligent auto-scheduling, and SMS texting.
- Enterprise: This version includes applicant tracking services, training and credential tracking, and compliance alerts. Pricing provided upon application.
For SchedulePro plans you can choose from:
- Enterprise: You’ll get shift pattern scheduling, on-call scheduling, policy-based overtime detection, overtime banking, and activity and system audit logs.
- Enterprise Plus: This adds on qualification and proficiency tracking, protected leave days, and secondary duties scheduling.
The company also offers extra services like a demand planner, applicant tracking system, time clock, and geofencing program. Shiftboard integrates with:
Shiftboard software works on Mac and Windows desktops and iOS and Android devices.
Paycor: Best for HR Services
Paycor provides all-in-one services so you manage schedules, compliance, and payroll in one spot.
Complete HR software solution
Compliance document storage
Intuitive scheduling design and process
No pricing data for companies with 40 or more employees
Only PDF reports on Basic plan
Pricey for 401(k) integrations
Around since 1990, Paycor is one of the oldest and most trusted human resources platforms. Its comprehensive scheduling tools combined with payroll features make it the top choice for the best employee scheduling software for HR services.
Paycor offers packages according to the size of your company. Small businesses with one to 39 employees will use the small business plans, whereas organizations with 40 to 1,000 people should use the mid-market programs. All small business plans come with:
- Compliance document storage
- Payroll features
- Federal and state tax filing
- Employee self-service and profile access
- Schedule employees from desktop or mobile
Select from three small business plans:
- Basic: $99 per month for PDF-only reporting, garnishment and child support self-service options, and all features listed above
- Essential: $149 per month for compliance checklists and templates, along with PTO request and approval features
- Complete: $199 a month for integrations with 401(k) providers and general ledger services, as well as a full lineup of onboarding tools
For companies with 40 employees or more, Paycor allows you to customize your plan and get a custom quote. You can pick which features you need, such as:
- ACA eligibility
- Paycor analytics
- Learning management system
- Benefits administration
- Compensations plans
- Time tracking
- Recruiting and applicant tracking
- Performance management
Paycor works on most devices and desktops. You can find integrations using their Paycor marketplace where apps cover many categories like employment verification, expense management, background screening, and video conferencing.
7shifts: Best for Restaurants
More than 300,000 restaurants use 7shifts for easy scheduling and shift management.
Health and safety tracking features
Instant alerts for compliance or overtime
Free plan covers 10 employees
No live support on free plan
Payroll integration only on The Works plan
7shifts is a well-known and trusted name in the restaurant industry and has been in business since 2014. Its drag-and-drop schedule builder and mobile capabilities make it best for restaurants requiring a mobile scheduling tool.
7shifts offers four plans, including a free program. All versions come with robust scheduling features including:
- Time clock
- Staff scheduling and notifications
- Employee engagement dashboard
- Free iOS and Android apps
All plans can be billed monthly or annually, and you’ll pay a separate fee for each restaurant location. The 7shifts plans consist of:
- Comp: The free plan doesn’t need a credit card to use, covers 10 employees, and provides time off requests, employee availability, basic reporting, and employee health checks.
- Appetizer: For $19.99 annually or $21.99 per month, this plan covers 20 employees and offers POS integration and SMS notifications.
- Entree: For $43.99 annually or $47.99 per month, it covers an unlimited number of employees, schedule templates, labor budget tools, and event management.
- The Works: For $76.99 annually or $83.97 per month, you get a shift feedback tool, overtime and break alerts, payroll integration, and labor compliance tools.
With paid plans, 7shifts offers integrations with most POS and payroll systems like:
You and your employees can access your 7shifts scheduling software using any mobile or desktop device.
What Is Employee Scheduling Software?
Say goodbye to handwritten schedules or manual overtime tracking. Employee scheduling software allows you to automate the process to reduce data entry mistakes and oversights. You can easily schedule employees based on job positions, credentials, and availability.
Moreover, your employees can access their schedules, make changes, or pick up shifts from their mobile phones. And with text alerts, using employee scheduling software means fewer complaints that your staff didn’t see a posted schedule.
You can also save time and money by optimizing your human resources and scheduling according to shifts or seasonal changes requiring more or fewer team members. Plus, scheduling software helps you stay compliant and digitally track hours so you can submit reports without using spreadsheets.
What Types of Schedules Are There?
Depending on your business, you may use fixed or variable schedules or need to cover rotating shifts. For instance, many healthcare and public services use a schedule where employees work four days, then have four days off. Another scheduling option is working five days a week, with two days off.
Employee scheduling software programs may provide options for different types of scheduling needs, but it’s important to review its functions to ensure the software supports your needs.
How Much Does Employee Scheduling Software Cost?
For small businesses, there are plenty of free options for basic scheduling software. However, if you need extra features, then you’ll want to opt for a paid plan. Some services charge per employee, whereas others offer a flat rate per location:
- Employee-based services: Prices range from $1.50 to $4.50 per employee.
- Subscription plans per location: Prices range from $14 to $199 per site.
Employee scheduling software may offer add-on services to help you with applicant job posting and tracking. You may pay $79 per post or $50 per month for extra services. Comprehensive solutions provide extra HR services in their package or offer it as an add-on item.
How We Chose the Best Employee Scheduling Software
We sorted through more than two dozen employee scheduling solutions and narrowed our selections down according to ease of use, types of software packages and features, compliance capabilities, and costs. Nearly all scheduling software works across devices and desktops, so we only chose tools that could meet the needs of both Mac and Windows users. Also, we searched for software options that integrated with most other POS and accounting systems so you can build an efficient workflow for your business.