11 Best Employee Schedule Maker Tools

Never want to make another work schedule again?

No one would blame you. 

Between estimating employee coverage, setting up shifts, and taking all the variables into account, it’s mentally exhausting.

And, as soon as you’re finished, change requests start rolling in. Demand changes, employees’ personal lives collide with work schedules. The work schedule is never finished, really.

Creating the employee schedule at work is one of those thankless jobs that keeps the business alive but requires constant babysitting. This is especially so if you’re using things like spreadsheets, break room bulletin boards, and any other manual post-it-note-and-paper-clip way of getting it done. 

If you’re looking for a work schedule maker, you’re in luck. We’ve found some of the best schedule maker apps out there. As you’ll see, they reduce the work and make the end product much better. Whatever your business, you’ll find a tool to help you improve your employee scheduling.

When I Work

When I Work offers a scheduling solution that works across many industries. The drag-and-drop interface allows you to customize your dashboards at your own will.

The ability to swap shifts, request time off, and manage overtime comes standard. You can make it as manual or automated as you wish with Auto-Scheduling.

The Auto-Scheduler lets you set up parameters based on shift needs, employee preferences and skills, and customer demand. Plug in this information and you can generate a schedule in one click.

Easy access to information on overtime issues, team communication, and a built-in time clock make When I Work the best schedule maker while gathering data to schedule even better in the future.

Free Cloud Solutions

There’s no shortage of ways to take what you’ve been doing with pen and paper, and move it into the cloud. At the very least, by doing that you’ve improved access for both you and your employees. Free apps like Google Calendar, Google Sheets, or WhatsApp can help with planning and communication. 

Yet even with those tools, much of the burden is on you. You have to stay on top of overtime, sales and labor forecasts, and scheduling abuse. Even knowing how to simplify your scheduling doesn’t reduce the headache completely.

Shoving all of that manual work into the cloud is only a partial fix. 

Even if you’re using cloud-based document systems, there’s a constant need to update data manually. There’s also a question of employee communication and access to those documents.

There are better, more automated, ways. Let’s look at a few.

Doodle

Doodle is marketed as an app to help you schedule meetings with other team members, but they do offer a very basic employee scheduling option. 

The tool is bare bones. Doodle doesn’t let you handle complex shifts, make swaps, handle vacation requests, or communicate in a way most businesses want for their employees.

But, if you’re a very small business with only a few employees, it might be a good first step up from using paper and pen. 

ZoomShift

ZoomShift uses a calendar interface so you can easily see information about each scheduled employee, including days and shifts they say  they can’t work or would like to work. Color coding helps you recognize different positions so you can see if required positions have coverage for that shift.

Using drag-and-drop, you can approve time-off requests, mark shifts as open, and manage shifts that employees would like to swap. Once you’re done, publish the schedule. Employees can see what you’ve created on the website or in the mobile app.

ZoomShift also provides at-a-glance information for labor forecasting, as well as tracks attendance.

HotSchedules

HotSchedules is similar to many other employee scheduling apps, with an easy-to-use calendar interface and a mobile app for employees to access their schedules. It allows you to handle shift swaps and other scheduling requests, and is geared for managers who are trying to get time management under control.

HotSchedules integrates with your POS system so that you can connect labor and sales data together for easily-generated reports. Upper level managers can access a dashboard that has up-to-date information on sales and labor data, even for comparison between multiple business sites, helping them with labor forecasting.

Homebase

Homebase is similar in approach to other apps, with a calendar interface for easy management of shifts and employee requests. It too has the web and mobile access that other apps have, making it possible for you and employees to handle scheduling wherever they are. It also makes use of automatic scheduling, which allows employees and managers to provide information that the tool uses to generate an optimal schedule.

Homebase can integrate with POS systems like Square, Clover, and Toast, helping you connect labor and sales data for forecasting. 

Shifty Calendar

Shifty is ideal for smaller businesses where employees have varied shift schedules that they are trying to keep track of themselves. It’s a pared-down app that makes it easy to see and manage shifts on mobile devices.

If your workforce is already living within their mobile apps and connected gadgets, Shifty may be second nature to them. It serves more as a way for them to manage their own schedules, however, and won’t necessarily replace how you generate the schedule you get to your employees in the first place.

mHelpDesk

mHelpDesk is an employee scheduling app geared for businesses that send employees out on service calls. It’s structured in a way that makes it easy to see which employees are available for dispatch. It’s easy to see employee and customer notes at a glance, and avoid over or under booking team members.

mHelpDesk does integrate with Google Calendar, Home Advisor, and Quickbooks, making it highly useful for service industries.

Sling

Sling uses a calendar interface with drag-and-drop ability to manage shifts, swaps, and vacation requests. It allows you to set up alert notifications on things like overlapping shifts or double-scheduling.

Many apps listed here offer free trials. While Sling does not, they do offer a free version for basic scheduling and communication.

Jolt

Jolt is ideally suited for the restaurant and food service business. It has many of the features other scheduling apps have, including a web and mobile option, but it also includes things geared toward restaurants. For example, checklists and reminders that pertain to food safety and best practices are part of the system.

Additionally, you can use a schedule distribution view, instead of strict shifts, to help you match workers to slower or peak customer demand accordingly. Color coding and notation help you see what role an employee is functioning as.

Conclusion

Imagine if you reduced the amount of time you spent scheduling? What could you be doing instead?

Regardless of which tool you use, these apps are the way of the future.

The best work schedule maker is the one you’ll actually use, and with these tools, you’ll not only save time and energy, you’ll find you actually want to use them. Employee scheduling transforms from a burden to a breeze.

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