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There are so many different employee scheduling tools that making a shortlist of the best can be tricky. You want to automate the scheduling process, manage time-off requests, and handle last-minute changes—and now need the right tool for your small business and team. In this post, I share from my personal experience as an HR expert using many different employee scheduling tools with small businesses and teams, and recommend my picks of the best employee scheduling software for small businesses overall.

What is Employee Scheduling Software?

Employee scheduling software is a digital tool that helps businesses organize and manage their workforce schedules. It automates the process of assigning shifts, tracking work hours, and managing time-off requests. This software provides a clear and accessible schedule for both employers and employees, facilitating better planning and communication.

Employee scheduling software for small businesses offers tools for smaller teams, typically at a reduced cost. The software may be missing some enterprise-grade features but will be a great fit for small-to-midsized businesses.

Overviews Of The 10 Best Employee Scheduling Software For Small Businesses

Here’s a brief description of the employee scheduling tools that made it into my top 10 list. I’ve explained what each system does best and added screenshots to showcase some of the features. I’ve also included 20 additional options below if you’d like even more possibilities to consider.

Best for planning, distributing & swapping shifts in real time

  • 14-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $29/month for 30 users (paid annually)
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Rating: 4.3/5

Connecteam’s scheduling software is simple to use and scalable, so you can add more features when you need them. It supports drag-and-drop scheduling, as well as features like repeating shifts, flags for periods of unavailability, and a warning so workers won’t exceed their weekly overtime cap.

To ensure employees perform their jobs accurately, managers can also attach additional information to shift assignments such as location details, photos, forms, or checklists. Another useful feature is the ability to define specific qualifications needed per shift, such as specific safety training or other certifications or skills. This helps managers ensure they're only assigning qualified employees to a specific shift per compliance requirements.

To help with shift scheduling, employees submit their availability through the Connecteam app, making it easier for managers to create schedules that work for everyone, providing a better employee experience. The platform also allows employees to claim open shifts, make simple shift swaps themselves, or reject a shift if they aren’t able to attend it.

Beyond their scheduling features, Connecteam also offers communication and engagement tools such as team and company-wide chat channels, links to digital forms and knowledge repositories, a mobile-friendly organizational directory, and a news feed for internal company updates. Managers can also track which employees have read key updates, and send push notifications to any employees that missed it.

Connecteam also supports task management, including descriptive task lists with the ability to add sub-tasks and attachments to further clarify tasks. And they recently added an auto-scheduling feature, which automatically aligns with availability and time off, provides equal shift distribution among all employees, and assigns jobs based on qualifications for proper staffing

Available on mobile, desktop, or as a kiosk app for tablets, Connecteam was built for deskless and remote teams. It’s a popular choice in many industries including retail, restaurants, manufacturing, construction, field services, and healthcare.

Integrations include Paychex, Xero, Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll (online + desktop), Zapier, Google Calendar, API access, and others.

Best for managing both human and non-human resources

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $5/user/month (billed annually)
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Rating: 4/5

eResource Scheduler is employee scheduling software that can be used to plan, allocate, and manage human and other resources.

Why I Picked eResource Scheduler:

Companies can assign resources to projects and tasks based on their type, availability, and custom fields. This helps small businesses maximize the use of people, time, and tools.

Standout features & integrations:

Features include drag-and-drop scheduling, adjustable schedules, software timesheets, reporting tools, and data analytics.

Integrations include



Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • User-friendly interface
  • Detailed reporting features

Cons:

  • Learning curve for new users
  • Limited customization options

Best scheduling software for all-in-one team management

  • 14-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $20/user/month
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Rating: 4.2/5

The Homebase team scheduling software is mainly used by small businesses such as small stores, beauty salons or fitness facilities, and other service providers. The platform provides an exhaustive set of features that let you run your HR tasks from start to finish, including hiring and onboarding, scheduling, time tracking, team communication, and more.

Homebase allows you to create work rosters easily from schedule templates, and then make changes on the fly as required. You can build smart work schedules and forecast your labor costs.

Employees can always get their up-to-date work schedule using the free mobile apps, or they can get the information via text or email. Homebase’s scheduler automatically calculates overtime, subtracts breaks, and alerts you to schedule conflicts.

You can also integrate your sales data and forecasts, so you can build your schedule around your labor targets.

Homebase has a free plan you can use with an unlimited number of employees but fewer advanced features. This replaces a free trial. Their paid plans start at $20/month/location.

Best for shift management

  • Free demo available
  • Pricing upon request

TimeClock Plus is a time tracking and attendance software that covers everything from time tracking to leave management and employee scheduling. It has powerful features that will help your small business work efficiently and smoothly.

And what better way to help a small business than with templates that you can quickly use. These templates support a wide range of pre-configured rotations, including 24/48, 48/96, Panama rotation, and California rotation. The views available in this tool will help you see your resources, the shifts they have been assigned, and if there is over or under-allocation at different times throughout the day.

This tool is great at giving employees freedom when working their shifts. The platform is designed to allow users to offer their shifts to others, pick up available shifts, swap with teammates and view upcoming shifts without any managerial intervention. Additionally, users can set their weeks or weekdays to availability presets like preferred, available, or unavailable.

Finally, if you are worried about payments - don't. The system integrates with over a hundred payroll solutions, including ADP, BAI, Ascentis, Accra, Casamba, Cayenne, Ceridian, and Epicure. Also Quickbooks, Paychex, or even payroll modules from ERP systems like SAP, Sage, and NetSuite.

Best free meeting scheduler for small business owners

  • 14-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $10/user/month
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Rating: 4.7/5

Calendly is a free scheduling software for small businesses that helps you manage your staff schedule. The software is both mobile (iOS and Android) and browser-based, meaning you can book appointments anywhere you have access to the internet. With Calendly, you can create a calendar and share it with clients. You can customize your availability to any time-of-day or day-of-the-week (or remove available slots to show that you are a busy person!).

Overall, Calendly is simple to use and implement with no feature bloating. With the free version, you can schedule unlimited one-on-one appointments. The pro plan comes with additional features like appointment reminders. Customer support for the pro plan is available via email.

Calendly integrates with Gmail, Zoom, Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams, HubSpot, Paypal, Intercom, Stripe, GoToMeeting, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, Active Campaign, Drip, ClickSend SMS, Twilio, and dozens of other apps. You can also integrate with hundreds more tools using a paid plan through Zapier.

Calendly is free to use for 1 calendar. Paid plans cost from $10/seat/month and come with a 14-day free trial. They also offer a freemium plan with limited features too.

Best for field service or construction businesses

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $7/user/month + $16/month base fee
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Rating: 4.7/5

ClockShark is an employee scheduling software with timesheets and time tracking for field services and construction businesses. Employees can clock in and clock out from their smartphones and all job costing data is recorded within the app so you can access it for simple payroll and invoice processing. You have multiple options for employees to access ClockShark: by web browser, mobile app, or even a ClockShark 'kiosk' using a tablet device. You can leverage facial recognition tools and individual PINs to ensure the utmost security no matter how you choose to access the software. 

Crew management is simple with ClockShark's work scheduling calendar. You can create and assign shifts, color-code entries, and drag-and-drop items to make changes quickly. Notifications will prompt affected parties in real-time if their shift is altered in any way (canceled, shortened, swapped, etc.). ClockShark also has GPS and geofencing capabilities baked in so you can see where and when people are checking in.

Overall, ClockShark is a must-have employee scheduling software for field service or construction businesses to streamline their timesheet-to-payroll workflows.

ClockShark integrates with QuickBooks, Sage 100 Contractor, Xero, ADP, Paychex, and other apps.

ClockShark costs from $7/user/month plus a $16/month base fee. They also offer a 14-day free trial.

Best employee shift scheduling software for the restaurant industry

  • 14-day free trial + free plan available
  • From $24.99/month/location
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Rating: 4.5/5

7Shifts is a software that connects small businesses with their employees. It is free for the first 3 employees and has many features like shift bidding, work schedule management, time off requests, custom reports, and in-line approvals.

You also get to create shift templates, so you don’t have to start from zilch every single time. The product is mobile-friendly, with data that can be synced and accessed across all devices. The product integrates with Slack, Google Calendar, and Evernote.

The paid plan starts at $24.99 per month with an option for a free forever plan. They also offer a 14-day free trial.

Best free cloud-based scheduling app for small business owners

  • 30-day free trial
  • From $1.50/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

Zoho People is a cloud-based scheduling solution. It includes time tracking and project management tools. It’s easy to use with customizable dashboards and drag-and-drop functionality. It automates and simplifies all the tedious and repetitive HR tasks that can bog down a small business owner. The product allows you to streamline the hiring process from a single location.

You can collect and consolidate attendance data from multiple sources and cut down mistakes due to manual entries. You have the ability to fully customize schedules, conduct leave management by leave types, and create timesheets with ease. There is also a feature for employee queries that can be used to better integrate employees with the project at hand. The product has automated mail alerts and intelligent workflow configuration built-in. The product integrates with AdobeSign, Zapier, QuickBooks, and more. Support is by email and chat. There is also an extensive knowledge base available.

Zoho People costs from $1.25/user/month and comes with a 30-day free trial.

Best time tracking software for remote teams

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $4.99/user/month (billed annually)
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Rating: 4.3/5

Hubstaff is a time tracker that allows you to see how many hours your employees are working. It also lets you keep a track of how much of your time is spent on various projects. All this data is analyzed through reports on Hubstaff’s dashboard. This product is best suited for small business owners with its pocket-friendly pricing.

Hubstaff also includes screenshots and activity levels. It tracks employees’ time spent on projects, tasks, and meetings, thus letting managers see where time lags are happening in real-time. Hubstaff integrates with QuickBooks, Xero, and payroll software like ADP and Gusto. Support is available via email, chat, and a quick start guide.

Pricing starts at $7 per month for their basic plan and comes with a 14-day free trial.

Best employee shift scheduling software for shift trading features

  • 14-day free trial
  • From $2.50/user/month
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Rating: 4.3/5

When I Work is a software that helps small business owners stay on top of their schedule. It has a wide variety of features, such as a calendar to track your appointments and a task list for managing your to-dos. There is a press-to-start time clock integrated that allows you to manage your team members and track their hours. The employees can easily collaborate on shift trades, manage their availability, and also submit time-off requests. The dashboard is simple and tailor-made for quick actions. You can also customize the dashboard according to your needs.

When I Work has an option for easy bulk upload of the company directory for quick onboarding. You can send messages to employees with reminders and updates. When I Work works out of the box with Calendly, Acuity Scheduling, TSheets, and more. Support is available via email and chat. There is also an extensive knowledge base with training videos and templates to support the onboarding journey.

Paid plans start at $2.50 per user with an option for a 14-day free trial.

Employee Scheduling Software For Small Business: Comparison Chart

This comparison chart summarizes basic details about each of my top employee scheduling software selections specifically for small business owners. You can view pricing details and the availability of free trials side-by-side to help you find the best option for your budget and scheduling needs.

Tools Price
Connecteam From $29/month for 30 users (paid annually)
eResource Scheduler From $5/user/month (billed annually)
Homebase From $20/user/month
TimeClock Plus Pricing upon request
Calendly From $10/user/month
ClockShark From $7/user/month + $16/month base fee
7shifts From $24.99/month/location
Zoho People From $1.50/user/month
Hubstaff From $4.99/user/month (billed annually)
When I Work From $2.50/user/month
Preview Image - <h2 class="c-block__title b-summary-table__title c-listicle__title h3" > Compare Software Specs Side by Side</h2>

Compare Software Specs Side by Side

Use our comparison chart to review and evaluate software specs side-by-side.

Compare Software

Other Employee Scheduling Software For Small Business Options

Here are some other solid scheduling options to consider which didn’t make it into my top 10 list, but are still worth a look:

Selection Criteria for Employee Scheduling Software For Small Businesses

Wondering how I created this list of the best employee scheduling software for a small business? I'm happy to explain my process to you.

To start things off, I created a long list of popular employee scheduling systems based on recent market data. I then examined each system in greater detail to determine whether they were a good fit for a small business or not.

To bring you into my process even more, here’s a quick summary of the evaluation and selection criteria I used to create this list. When assessing each system, I asked myself the following questions to see how each employee scheduling solution compared to the rest:  

  • User Interface (UI): Is it clean and attractive? Is the interface straightforward? Is it free of confusing options that can bog down a small business owner?
  • Usability: Is it easy to learn and master for a small business owner? Does the company offer good tech support, user support, tutorials, and training? For a small business,  scheduling should be easy to implement from the get-go.
  • Integrations:  Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations? How smoothly does the tool work with other products/add-ons in the market to fulfill small business needs? How does it work with top payment, point-of-sale (POS systems), and invoicing apps to streamline employee payments? Does it work out of the box with top team communication apps?
  • Value for Price: How appropriate is the price for the features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible? Is it budget-friendly for a small business?  How fast can one expect to get results from it? Do they help in keeping labor costs low?

I also assessed the following key scheduling features that I believe employee scheduling software should have:

Real-Time Data 

Does the employee shift scheduling software show real-time data to the minute? Does the shift scheduling software offer data-syncing across desktop and mobile devices? Accuracy of time data is critical when you are a small business paying hourly rates. Data syncing via desktop and mobile apps (both iOS and Android) is needed to maintain synchronization of efforts and allow staff to access information on the go.

Alerts And Notifications System

Does the employee shift scheduling app have email alerts/SMS reminders and a push notifications system to keep the team up to speed, no matter where they are? This kind of messaging mechanism is important for a fully integrated small business.

Tracking Tools 

Does the tool have time-tracking tools? Time tracking is an important functionality to improve productivity as it monitors the amount of time an employee takes to finish a particular task. As a manager, you can easily detect any lags and compare them to previous timesheets, thus taking action to optimize their output.

Shift Swapping And Shuffling

Does the employee scheduling software allow shift swapping and shift shuffling between employees? Even better, can it recommend potential candidates based on employee availability to assist with schedule changes? When changes occur, does the tool automatically update all the affected employees about the shift shuffle and swap?

Shift shuffling makes for a more flexible workforce management. So if an employee no-shows or calls in sick, you can shuffle the shift and assign some other capable team member their slot. In the same way, employees can swap shifts between themselves based on their availability. This leads to higher efficiency as your workforce is utilized optimally. 

Timesheet Reporting And Analytics

Does the software have timesheet reporting including billable hours, overtime, and logged time? Does the product give you analytics that help you make informed decisions? Based on timesheet reporting, a small business owner is able to calculate payroll and send correct invoices. It also gives you precise information on the output of your team.

Employee Scheduling Software For Small Business: FAQs

Before I wrap up, I wanted to address and discuss some FAQs related to employee scheduling software for small businesses. Here are some answers to common questions I’ve received:

What are the benefits of using employee scheduling software?

Before the rise of employee scheduling software, most team schedules were prepared on paper. I know it sounds crazy, but it’s true! I personally remember having several jobs where I had to drive into work to physically view a copy of a handwritten schedule that was pinned to the wall. Even worse, I would then have to make a handwritten copy for myself. And if my manager changed something in between and I didn’t check it again… well, you can imagine the frustration.

Thankfully, employee scheduling software eliminates all these common scheduling woes of days past. Instead, they offer tools to create digital schedules that automatically share updates with your employees in real-time, so they’re always working off of up-to-date information.

Another huge benefit is saving time, and who doesn’t love that? According to research done by Deputy, managers who use software for shift management typically spend 2.64 hours a week creating schedules. In contrast, those who schedule their staff using spreadsheets spend 3.14 hours a week, or 140 hours a year!

Another benefit is that some of these scheduling tools also offer payroll capabilities. If that’s something you’re looking to optimize, take a look at my list of the best restaurant payroll software too.

What is the best free employee scheduling app?

There are many options you can try out if you’re looking for a free employee scheduling app. Some top options are Monday.com, 7Shifts, and OpenSimSim. In fact, many of the best employee scheduling software systems have free versions (also known as freemium versions) of their software to give you a limited view of what their full-featured version is like. If you’re scheduling needs are light, you may just be able to get away with using a freemium plan forever.

If you’re dead set on something free, head on over to our list of the best free employee scheduling software as well.

Can I create employee schedules using a mobile app?

Yes, you absolutely can. Many of the best employing scheduling software tools provide free apps for Android and iOS mobile devices in addition to their web-based software. This offers you the best of both worlds. Supervisors can manage scheduling using larger screens on desktop or tablets, while workers can easily check in using their mobile app.

The benefit of using systems with integrated mobile apps is you can also sent real-time alerts via SMS text messages or app notifications whenever any scheduling details change.

Other Software Reviews for Small Business Owners

Since I'm sure you have a million things on your plate, let me save you some time by sharing our best small business-specific resources with you. Take a look at these other types of software to help you run your business better:

Other Scheduling Software Reviews

If this list doesn't have exactly what you're looking for, take a peek at these other types of scheduling and employee management software instead:

Stay in Touch

I hope this article brought you one step closer to finding the perfect employee scheduling solution for you. As you can see, there are many options out there, but the best fit for you will be the one that addresses your unique scheduling needs within the confines of your budget.

Before you go, I also recommend subscribing to our People Managing People newsletter. By signing up, you'll stay ahead in all things related to the employee management and HR world.

Also Worth Reading: Best Contact Management Software

Kim Behnke
By Kim Behnke

Kim Behnke is an HR Tool Expert & Writer for People Managing People. She draws on her 9 years of human resources experience and her keen eye for systematic processes to support her analyses of the top HR tools on the market. She is passionate about maximizing efficiencies and streamlining workflows to ensure internal systems run smoothly. Kim's HR experience includes recruitment, onboarding, performance management, training and development, policy development and enforcement, and HR analytics. She also has degrees in psychology, writing, publishing, and technical communication, and recently completed a Certified Digital HR Specialist program through the Academy to Innovate HR. When away from her desk, she can usually be found outside tending to her ever-expanding garden.