You already know how much work it takes to maintain and grow your business. In addition to the endless meetings, customer service and dealing with inventory and other issues, there are tedious tasks like tackling mountains of paperwork and creating and managing your employees’ schedules. Often, you’re pulled this way and that to take care of the menial duties. When are you supposed to find time to focus on expanding and advancing your business?
You can’t get more hours in the day, but what if you could recoup much of the time spent figuring out schedules, tracking the hours your employees worked and juggling time off and open shifts? Employee scheduling software can help reduce the amount of time you spend filling out schedules and free you up to take care of the more pressing issues.
Most employee scheduling software lets you set up schedules days, weeks and even months in advance. The best in the industry let employees sign on, request time off, pick up open shifts, and swap shifts with co-workers; a manager simply approves the requests. Suddenly, those mind-numbing hours of schedule making are gone and reduced to a task that’s akin to checking your email.
Every business has different needs, so you can choose the employee scheduling software that best suits your small business or large empire. For some businesses, traditional, locally installed software with a one-time licensing fee, such as Snap Schedule or DRoster, will work best. If you would prefer to pay a monthly fee, look to one of the many available software-as-a-service options. The best employee scheduling packages offer you valuable tools such as data import and export, online schedule posting, schedule output you can text and email to employees, a mobile app, data backup, and a setup wizard to help you get started with the application. You can find these tools and more from the companies we ranked highest: ShiftPlanning, NimbleSchedule and WorkSchedule.net.
On this site, you can find reviews of the 10 best employee scheduling software products we tested and several helpful articles on staff scheduling.
To get the most out of employee scheduling software, look for an application that will increase efficiency and efficacy with the right tools and features. Ultimately, you need the scheduling software to be user-friendly for both managers and employees, but it also must pack a powerful punch in scheduling tasks. Below are the criteria that can help you determine which employee scheduling software is right for you and your business.
The best work schedule makers help you save time by letting you import data you already have on your employees and then plugging the information into schedule templates so you can get started right away. A setup wizard will help you get over any learning curve quickly and easily, so that you can begin creating regular schedules almost immediately.
Look for advanced features such as a data API, which makes it possible for you to incorporate the scheduling software information in your payroll software. A mobile app gives you the tools to manage schedules on the go – and lets your employees keep their schedules on hand wherever they are, whether they prefer to receive email or texts.
If you're paying for sophisticated scheduling software, you need it to do more than function as a basic spreadsheet. Scheduling applications should be a storehouse of information that you can use in a variety of ways. You need options that let you define employee positions, skill levels and required hours. You also need features that let you assign departments and on-call status to employees, let employees sign up for open shifts and alert you to scheduling conflicts in time for you to resolve them.
In addition, you should look for an application that allows your employees to bid on open shifts, or swap shifts with co-workers. It should also let employees request time off easily. Some of the best programs will let you adjust the schedule as needed, as easily as dragging a person’s schedule from one day to another. And if posting the schedule online isn’t enough, several of the best scheduling applications also offer calendar synchronization.
Another important function of scheduling software combines data into easy-to-understand reports. We looked for applications that allow you to create standard reports as well as to customize reports to help you spot weaknesses in your staffing. For example, you should be able to see, with a single click, a report that shows the total employee hours; that kind of report is valuable if you want to avoid overtime hours for any of your employees. Look for software that offers daily, weekly and monthly reporting options. The most advanced applications allow you to generate time-off summaries as well.
Help & Support
Even with the most intuitive employee scheduling software, having access to technical support is necessary. Many applications come with 24/7 assistance, whereas others offer the bare minimum. The most impressive software provides help resources through avenues such as telephone, email and live chat customer service, online FAQs and user forums.
Employee scheduling software’s varied functionality can save you time, freeing you up to devote more of your energy to doing what your business is all about, whether that’s mixing the perfect cappuccino, beautifying residential landscapes or cleaning teeth to prevent cavities. Use the above criteria to help you find the best scheduling option to meet your business needs.