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Managers waste over 140 hours a year manually creating schedules for their employees. Furthermore, manual scheduling errors can increase your turnover rate by as much as 174%.
The good news is that’s not what your scheduling process has to look like.
The best employee scheduling software helps you save time, minimize errors, and give your employees more control over their schedule. With features like automatic scheduling, employee availability, and time-off management, you can create efficient schedules in just a few clicks.
And whether you’re a team of ten or a team of 100+, there’s an excellent employee scheduling solution for you and your employees.
But with hundreds of free and paid options to choose from, deciding which one is right for you is often the hardest part.
To help you out, we narrowed things down to the top six employee scheduling software on the market. In this article, I cover when you should invest, an in-depth review of each software, and how to choose the right one for your business.
Let’s get started!
The 6 Best Employee Scheduling Software to Consider:
- CakeHR – Best all-in-one HR software
- Homebase – Best for single-location employee scheduling
- 7Shifts – Best employee scheduling software for restaurants
- Shiftboard – Best for dynamic, high-compliance industries
- Snap Schedule – Best for one-time-payment licensing
- When I Work – Most affordable employee scheduling tool
When Does It Make Sense to Invest In Employee Scheduling Software?
There are several situations where employee scheduling software isn’t necessary.
Case #1: If you’re a small team of one or two (i.e. startups, small brick-and-mortars, or SaaS companies), you won’t benefit from the features included with most scheduling tools.
Case #2: You have set business hours and everyone works the same shift. There’s no need for employee scheduling software since everyone already knows when they’re working. However, you may benefit from an HR software, instead.
But if your employees work different shifts every week, investing in employee scheduling software is an excellent idea. It’s a great way to simplify and automate the process so you can spend more time on other areas of your business.
And whether you have ten employees or hundreds of employees, automation and simplification are always smart ideas. The less time you spend on employee scheduling, the better.
Plus, it’s beneficial for your employees as well.
They can enter their availability and time-off requests on their own without having to go through you or a long, drawn-out process. Furthermore, it’s a great way to provide easy access to their schedules so they always know what to expect.
The bottom line: If you don’t have set shifts or standard business hours, employee scheduling software is a fantastic way to simplify and automate the scheduling process. Plus, it makes things easier for you and your employees.
#1 – CakeHR — The Best All-in-One HR Software Solution
They offer numerous different tools to simplify HR processes and make your life as easy as possible. These tools include:
- Leave management (included in every plan)
- Performance tracking
- Employee scheduling
- New-hire onboarding
- Expense tracking
- And recruitment tools
So, employee scheduling is just one module of CakeHR, making it a smart and affordable choice for anyone interested in the other software they offer.
However, CakeHR’s employee scheduling software is powerful on its own. Pricing starts at $8.50 per employee per month. So it’s affordable for small businesses and can scale to match the needs of large businesses as well.
The employee scheduling software includes intuitive features like:
- Web and mobile access
- Drag-and-drop interactive shift planning
- Single and multi-site applications
- Self-service employee availability
- Shift templates
- Visual reporting
Plus, CakeHR’s pricing is simple and straightforward. Their pricing calculator lets you choose what features you need as well as the number of employees. From there, you can immediately see your custom quote in just a few seconds.
Start your free 14-day trial to take CakeHR for a test drive today!
#2 – Homebase — Best for Single-Location Employee Scheduling
Homebase is a team-management tool for small businesses. So it’s an excellent choice if you’re a single-location company looking for a simple and affordable team-management solution.
They offer employee scheduling, new-hire onboarding, and internal communication tools. But their scheduling software is where they really shine.
And the best part? It’s free for single-location scheduling.
Homebase’s free forever plan includes powerful employee scheduling features including:
- Unlimited employees
- Pre-made schedule templates
- Free mobile access (via their mobile app)
- Availability and time-off requests
- Time-clocking from any device
- Customer support via phone, chat, and email
- Payroll and POS system integrations
Furthermore, if you expand to a new location, do work in the field, or need more advanced features, you can upgrade to an affordable paid plan when you need to. So, you won’t outgrow Homebase as your business scales.
Each plan includes unlimited employees so you never have to guess how much you’re going to pay. Their paid plans include:
- Essentials — $14 per month per location
- Plus — $35 per month per location
- All-in-One — $70 per month per location
Homebase is one of our top recommendations for good reason. It’s affordable, scalable, and incredibly easy to use. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with a customer base of over 100,000+ businesses.
#3 – 7Shifts — Best Employee Scheduling Tool for Restaurants
So, this is an excellent option if you manage restaurants of any size. They also offer internal communication tools, advanced analytics, countless integrations, and compliance reports so your restaurant is always compliant with labor laws.
Furthermore, their scheduling tool includes generic and industry-specific features like:
- Drag-and-drop schedule builder
- Schedule templates
- Collaborative scheduling
- Built-in time clocking
- Time off, availability, and shift trade requests
- Internal team communication tool
- Labor targets and compliance reports
- Labor optimization + visual overages and shortages
- Real-time analytics
7Shifts offers a wide variety of plans to suit mom-and-pop shops, full-service restaurants, large-scale chain restaurants, and everything in between.
So regardless of the size of your operation, there’s a plan perfect for your employee scheduling needs. Their pricing plans include:
- Comp: Free (1 location) — up to 10 employees
- Appetizer: $19.99 per month/location — 20 employees
- Entree: $43.99 per month/location — unlimited employees
- The Works: $76.99 per month/location — access to advanced features
- Gourmet: Custom pricing — enterprise solution
You can also choose from several add-ons including account setup, task management, and sales data importing features.
Start your free 60-day free trial (limited time) to take 7Shifts for a test drive today!
#4 – Shiftboard — Best for Dynamic Scheduling and High-Compliance Industries
Best for Dynamic, High-Compliance Industries
Two separate scheduling tools for flexible and dynamic scheduling + for industries with strict compliance codes. Custom quote depending on your specific needs. Includes advanced features like labor law compliance, intelligent automation, and risk management.
Certain industries have flexible and dynamic schedules that change all the time. Furthermore, some industries have tight labor laws and strict compliance code restricting who can work when and for how long.
Both of these are areas that typical employee scheduling software falls short. But Shiftboard saw this gap in the market and created two distinct scheduling tools to meet the demand.
The first is a dynamic scheduling software called ScheduleFlex. It’s for demand-driven businesses with hectic schedules looking to manage the chaos.
Warehouses, distribution centers, healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, and staffing agencies are just a few examples of this type of industry.
ScheduleFlex includes features like:
- Automatic backfill and shift pickup
- Day-of management tools
- Labor demand forecasting
- Intelligent schedule automation
- Labor law compliance
The second software is SchedulePro for strict, complex, and high-compliance industries. Oil and gas, corrections facilities, manufacturing, and petrochemical are a few examples.
From complicated labor laws and safety/fatigue standards to shift patterns and leave management, SchedulePro includes everything you need. It includes features like:
- Rule-based scheduling
- Full-cycle compliance
- Exception tracking
- Risk management
- Overtime distribution
- Rotations and shuffling
ScheduleFlex includes a business and enterprise plan. SchedulePro offers an enterprise and an enterprise plus plan. And Shiftboard creates custom quotes for each software depending on your needs, so pricing isn’t available online.
Schedule a free demo to learn more and see which software is right for you today!
#5 – Snap Schedule — Best for One-Time-Payment Licensing
Best for Single-Payment Licensing
Monthly cloud-based scheduling software OR pay once for a lifetime license. One lifetime license is $450. Includes robust features like overstaffing alerts, optimized shift scheduling, break and task management, and labor forecasting.
If paying a monthly fee isn’t up your alley, Snap Schedule offers a one-time-payment licensing as an alternative to traditional SaaS employee scheduling software.
This means you pay once and get a software license you can use forever. You can also buy multiple licenses if you need to install it on more than one computer.
With that said, Snap Schedule only works with the Windows operating system.
Like most employee scheduling software, this one includes a drag-and-drop schedule builder which makes creating schedules a breeze. Furthermore, you also get access to features like:
- Automatic schedule generation
- Optimized shift scheduling
- Multi-view schedule planner
- Forecast labor needs
- Conflict and over-staffing alerts
- Labor cost reporting
- Split shifts, paid/unpaid time, and on-call options
- Break and task assignments
- Pre-designed templates
As you can see, Snap Schedule is a robust desktop scheduling tool to help you automate and optimize your employee scheduling process.
Alternatively, you can subscribe to Snap Schedule 365 (the SaaS monthly subscription version) if you like their platform but don’t want to buy a license. They also offer an enterprise version of the SaaS tool for large companies.
A standard Snap Schedule license is $450 for one computer, $950 for three computers, and $1350 for five computers. And if you’re interested in their monthly subscription, use the pricing calculator to estimate your monthly payments.
Try Snap Schedule 365 free for 30 days to see if it’s a good fit for your business. If it is, you can cancel your subscription and purchase a forever license if you’d like to.
#6 – When I Work — Most Affordable Employee Scheduling System
Most Affordable Scheduling Software
Powerful free plan including features like availability settings, internal communication, shift trading, time off requests, time clocking, and more. Free for one location with up to 75 employees. Paid plans start at $1.50 per user per month with enterprise pricing available.
If you’re on a tight budget or looking for an employee scheduling software that’s simple and easy to use, When I Work is a smart choice.
The best part?
You can use basic features like scheduling, availability, internal messaging, shift trading, and time off requests for free. As long as you have less than 75 employees.
And if you need more advanced features or have additional employees, you can upgrade to one of their affordable paid plans starting at $1.50 per user per month.
When I Work includes a robust set of scheduling features including:
- A mobile app
- Time off management
- Shift trading based on qualifications and availability
- Overtime and break management
- Internal task assignments
- Availability settings
- Labor cost visibility
- Time clocking app
While the free plan only works for single-location businesses, When I Work’s paid plans are affordable and built to scale alongside you as your business grows.
Plus, your employees can manage their availability, request time off, and see their upcoming shifts from their phones using the free mobile app. This makes scheduling easy for both you and your employees. And it’s extremely affordable as well.
When I Work’s paid plans include:
- Basic — $1.50 per user per month
- Pro — $2.25 per user per month with advanced scheduling and communication
- Enterprise — custom pricing for large businesses
Sign up for a free forever plan to get started today!
How to Choose The Best Employee Scheduling Software
Now that you know my top recommendations, let’s talk about what makes these employee scheduling software great and how to decide which one is right for your business.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution so it’s important to understand your requirements and budget before making any decisions. So be sure to carefully consider these things as you go through the process.
Price is typically one of the most important factors to consider.
Some of the software on this list include extra features, but come with a higher price tag. So it’s crucial to understand the features you need (and the ones you don’t) so you can stay within your price range.
Set a budget and stick to it. With numerous free forever options and super affordable paid plans, you’re bound to find an employee scheduling software within your budget.
Number of Employees
Some of the companies on this list charge by the user. While others offer access for up to a certain number of employees. And even others have unlimited employees included.
Consider the different price points for the number of employees you have. If you have a lot, it may be more cost-effective to choose a software with unlimited employees (like Homebase) to save money.
Furthermore, think about the number of locations you need to manage as well. If you have several, an enterprise plan may be your best option.
But if you only have one location, you can probably get by using a free forever plan with limited features.
Different industries have different needs and compliance requirements. So carefully consider the rules and regulations in your industry when you’re making a decision.
Aside from that, check to see if any of the software include specialty solutions. Many of them do for industries like manufacturing, healthcare, and retail.
It’s essential to consider what features you need as well as the ones you don’t. Paying for advanced features you don’t use is a waste of money. But choosing software that doesn’t do everything you need it to is a waste of time.
It helps to make a list of everything you need. This way, you don’t have to think about it and you can ask direct questions to make sure each software includes everything you’re looking for.
When making your list, consider features like:
- Time clocking capabilities
- Timesheets (some charge extra for this)
- Communication tools
- Task management
- Self-service for employees
- AI-powered scheduling
- Mobile access
- Shift trading
- Workload management
- Labor cost visibility
When you know exactly what you need, the process becomes a lot easier.
For most users, CakeHR and Homebase are our #1 recommendations.
CakeHR is an all-in-one HR management system starting at $8.50 per employee per month. You can pick and choose which features you need so you don’t have to pay for what you aren’t going to use.
And Homebase is free for single-location scheduling with affordable paid plans if the free plan doesn’t offer everything you need.
However, if those two don’t feel like a great fit, you can use the criteria outlined above as you go through the process of choosing the best employee scheduling software for you, your team, and your business.