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.
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. 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, internal quiz tools, and an organizational directory and linked org chart. They also have features to support task management, including descriptive tasks lists with the ability to add sub-tasks and attachments.
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 Google Calendar, Gusto, QuickBooks Payroll, and others.
monday.com’s flexible Work OS system makes it easy for users to organize and track any process through their customized data dashboards. Their system comes with 200+ templates, including a weekly work schedule template, that can be adapted to your business needs. All of their data dashboards can also be visualized in a variety of formats with just one click, including a calendar view or Gantt chart format.
Monday.com is a straightforward and low-cost way to streamline your scheduling process. You can even include automation to notify your staff as soon as a new schedule is posted. Another helpful feature is the ability to share the schedule in “read-only” mode, so you can ensure no alterations are made. You can also search schedules for unique details or employee names, add customized labels, or break schedules down into as many groups and subgroups as you need.
To further enhance your planning processes, monday integrates with a wide range of other communication and productivity tools including Excel, Google Calendar, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, Zapier, and others.
Pricing for monday.com starts at $8 user/month. They also offer a 14-day free trial, as well as a free forever plan with limited features for a maximum of two users.
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.
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.
Zoho Shifts is an employee scheduling software that also provides time-tracking features, and is part of the broader suite of Zoho software products. The drag-and-drop scheduling tool is simple and user-friendly. It's easy to create a schedule quickly, and you can save a schedule as an editable template to use again.
As for time tracking, employees can clock in and out from their mobile devices, or a tablet or computer you can set up at your work locations. Time off requests and approvals can also be managed in the platform, which makes scheduling easier and keeps everything centralized.
Some additional features of the platform include unlimited locations, break planning, and notifications. You can also let employees swap, offer, and pick up shifts through their portals. The software can sync up with Google, Mac, and Outlook calendars.
Paid plans start from just $1 per user, per month. A 30-day free trial is also available.
Justworks is an all-inclusive HR software that offers employee time management solutions to help businesses efficiently track and manage employee work hours. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, Justworks can simplify the process of scheduling and tracking time, making it a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes.
The software offers an intuitive interface, which makes it easy for employers to create and manage employee shift schedules, track time, and review time logs and locations. The platform offers a range of features to streamline time tracking and ensure accurate record-keeping of employee data. It caters to the needs of businesses across different industries and sizes, providing flexibility, scalability, and the comfort of 24/7 support from a team of HR experts.
Features include comprehensive time tracking capabilities, allowing employers to accurately record and monitor employee work hours. It provides various methods for time entry, such as manual input, digital clock-in/out, and integration with compatible time clocks. This feature enables employers to track employee attendance, calculate overtime, and generate accurate payroll reports.
The platform also sends notifications and reminders to employers and employees on the mobile and desktop apps, ensuring everyone is informed about time logs, time-off requests, or geo-changes. Users can also sync Justworks' scheduling data with Google Calendar, enabling users to track time off, payroll, and holidays.
Integrations include Google Calendar, QuickBooks, Greenhouse, Xero, Slack, Vanguard, Fidelity, Citi Bike, and E-Verify.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Best for planning, distributing & swapping shifts in real time
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $29/month for 30 users (paid annually)||Website|
Best schedule visualization tool for small teams
14-day free trial + free plan available
|From $8/user/month (billed annually, min 3 seats)||Website|
Best for shift management
Free demo available
|Pricing upon request||Website|
Best scheduling software for all-in-one team management
Free plan available (unlimited employees)
|From $20/month (payroll add-on is $6/user/month + $39/month)||Website|
Best for scheduling and time-tracking in one
30-day free trial
Best employee scheduling software with 24/7 HR expert support team
Free demo available
Best for field service or construction businesses
14-day free trial
|From $7/user/month + $16/month base fee||Website|
Best free meeting scheduler for small business owners
14-day free trial + free plan available
Best free cloud-based scheduling app for small business owners
30-day free trial
When I Work
Best employee shift scheduling software for shift trading features
14-day free trial
Best time tracking software for remote teams
Best scheduling automation engine
Best GPS-enabled time tracking software
- ABC Roster
Best for employee and shift constraint management
- Buddy Punch
Best online time clock for small businesses
- Resource Guru
Best for efficient scheduling at small agencies
Best applicant tracking system for small businesses
Best employee shift scheduling software for the restaurant industry
- Sage HR
Best employee leave management for small businesses
Best for companies wanting visibility into each team member's availability
- eResource Scheduler
Best for managing both human and non-human resources
Best employee shift-scheduling software for mission-critical
Best workforce management app for call centers
Best online attendance software for freelancers
- EZnet Scheduler
Best appointment scheduler app for automotive industry
- Timeworks Express
Best timecard data capturing software for small businesses
Best employee scheduling software for the fitness industry
- Workflow Max by XERO
Best job costing software for small businesses to manage quotes
- Schedule Publisher
Best employee scheduling app with employee engagement features
Best operations management software for the healthcare industry
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:
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.
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.
What are the benefits of using employee scheduling software?
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Can I create employee schedules using a mobile app?
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:
- Best HR Software for Small Business
- Best HRIS for Small Businesses
- Best HRMS For Small Business
- Best Payroll Software for Small Businesses
- Best Payroll Services for Small Businesses
- Best Applicant Tracking Systems for Small Businesses
- Best Recruitment Software for Small Businesses
- Best Learning Management Systems (LMS) for Small Businesses
- Best ERP Systems for Small Businesses
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:
- Employee Scheduling Software
- Employee Shift Scheduling Software
- Free Employee Scheduling Software
- Open Source Employee Scheduling Software
- Workforce Management Software
- Leave Management Software
- Attendance Tracking Software
- Time Tracking Software
- Time Tracking Apps
- Productivity Tracking Software
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.
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