Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Best Employee Scheduling Software

Want to jump straight to the answer? The best employee scheduling software for most people is Homebase.

Employee scheduling software is crucial for any successful business.

Not only does it make managers’ lives easier, but it also takes the guesswork away from employees. It goes beyond just managing the daily and weekly schedules. They give employees the ability to request time off or shift changes that can be approved or denied in real-time.

Some software even has chat and employee messaging built-in.

Whether you have a startup, small business, or enterprise-level chain, the right scheduling software can streamline your HR efficiencies. That’s why I created this guide to help you find the best one for your organization.

The 9 Best Employee Scheduling Software of 2021

What’s the best employee scheduling software? After extensive research, I’ve narrowed down the list to nine options for you to consider.

  • Homebase — Best overall employee scheduling software.
  • When I Work — Best free employee scheduling software.
  • CakeHR — Full-service HR software with employee scheduling.
  • Humanity — Best for shift trading and filling openings in real-time.
  • TSheets — Best for time-tracking and accounting integration.
  • 7shifts — Best employee scheduling software for restaurants.
  • Paycor Scheduling — Best employee scheduling software for customizing.
  • Deputy — Best for scheduling employees working at multiple locations.
  • Shiftboard — Best employee scheduling software for hourly workers.

Check out the in-depth reviews for each of these below. I’ll cover the features, benefits, costs, and any other considerations as we continue.

Employee Scheduling Software Reviews

Homebase – Best overall employee scheduling software

  • Free basic plan
  • Unlimited employees
  • Online scheduling
  • Clock-in from any device
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Homebase is one of the best employee scheduling software out there.

More than 100,000 businesses trust Homebase for employee scheduling needs—and with good reason.

Their scheduling tool is dead simple to use. Build an employee schedule in just a few clicks with the drag-and-drop dashboard. Track labor costs with their automated cost calculator.

Set up alerts for when workers miss a clock-in or are close to hitting overtime. Your staff will get updates as well when schedules are released. They’ll also be alerted with reminders for their shifts.


In addition to the scheduling features, Homebase has a time clock feature and timesheets for payroll. Let your staff clock-in from any device, including your POS (point of sale) system.

Here’s a brief overview of the plans and pricing for Homebase employee scheduling:

Basic — Free

  • Unlimited employees
  • Online scheduling
  • Time clocks, breaks, and overtime
  • Prepare timesheets for payroll
  • Employee availability preferences and time-off requests
  • Team communication messenger

Essentials — $16 per month per location

  • Advanced scheduling
  • Auto scheduling
  • Late employee alerts
  • Availability approvals
  • Personal notes with shifts
  • Automated reminders to employees
  • Employee performance tracking

Plus — $40 per month per location

  • Sales forecasts and labor targets
  • Overtime alerts
  • GPS and photos
  • Prevent early clock-ins
  • Custom break and overtime settings
  • Time-off restrictions
  • PTO policies

Homebase is free for businesses with one location—which is fantastic.

All of the monthly rates assume you sign up for an annual contract. Homebase does offer month-to-month plans for 20% more.

The Homebase mobile app is another reason why this scheduling software ranks so high on our list. It’s free to use for you and your staff. So everyone can view and manage their schedules on the go.

When I Work – Best free employee scheduling software

  • Starts at $0
  • Paid plans start at $2/mo
  • One-click scheduling
  • Payroll integration
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More than 100,000 businesses across 50+ countries use When I Work for employee scheduling. This translates to over one million employees being scheduled on this software.

From small brands to large organizations like Dunkin Donuts, Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Jamba Juice, Massage Envy, and Verizon, When I Work is a top choice to consider.

Top features of When I Work include:

  • One-click scheduling
  • Shift coverage confirmation and notification
  • Schedule sharing
  • Labor forecasting
  • Overtime control
  • Schedule enforcement
  • Labor reports
  • Payroll integration

Compared to some of the other employee scheduling software we’ve covered, When I Work has one unique standout—its price.

When I Work has an exceptional free plan, and even the paid software is inexpensive.

Free — $0

  • One location and up to 75 users
  • Team scheduling
  • Team availability
  • Team messaging
  • Shift trading
  • Time off requests

Basic — $2 per user per month

  • Schedule templates
  • Multi-location support
  • Job sites
  • Overtime visibility

Pro — $2.50 per user per month

  • Auto scheduling
  • Labor forecasting
  • Shift and team tasks
  • Shift bidding

You can add-on time clocking and attendance to any plan for $2 per month per user.

CakeHR – Best full-service HR software with employee scheduling

  • Customized pricing
  • Interactive shift planning
  • Pre-defined shift templates
  • Mobile app access
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CakeHR offers a wide array of great services along with their stellar employee scheduling tool.

In addition to employee scheduling, CakeHR has solutions for:

  • Timesheets
  • Performance
  • Leave management
  • Expenses
  • Recruitment

Onboarding your employees and automating the HR process is simple. CakeHR provides tons of employee self-service tools and solutions.

That’s why we recommend them as a great full-service HR software along with employee scheduling. If you’re looking for more tools and features to help you address HR needs, CakeHR is where you should go.

Their employee scheduling tool is top notch. It’ll give you everything you need to add and adjust hours, approval timesheets, and monitor workload. They even furnish reports for you and the payroll department.


Some of the top employee scheduling features include:

  • Interactive shift planning
  • Single site and multi-location support
  • Dedicated shift managers
  • Employee availability management
  • Mobile app access
  • Pre-defined shift templates
  • Daily, weekly, and monthly reports

Pricing for CakeHR is a bit different as well. Simply select the services you want, enter the number of active employees you have, and choose between monthly or yearly billing.

Each service comes with their Core HR and Leave Management services. This gives you their suite of HR tools such as custom reports, employee databases, onboarding and offboarding procedures, HR analytics, and time off tools.

Your custom rate based on these features will automatically appear on the screen. So you don’t need to wait for a CakeHR sales rep to get back to you with a quote.

To give you some perspective on the price point, shift scheduling for 20 employees would cost $170 per month with an annual contract. Adding timesheets would bring that rate to $80.

Humanity – Best for shift trading and filling openings in real-time

  • Starts at $3/mo per user
  • Auto-scheduling features
  • Employees can trade shifts
  • Easy to use & manage
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Humanity is one of the most popular employee scheduling platforms on the market today. It’s used by big companies like Microsoft, Kaiser Permanente, Nike, Yelp, Safeway, and Squarespace.

I’d recommend Humanity to businesses operating in industries with tight margins. This software gives you the capability to optimize your schedules in the most cost-effective way.

They help ensure local, state, and Federal compliance in terms of labor laws. Think things like break frequency, hours worked, and time between shifts.

Humanity has an auto-scheduling feature that will optimize shifts by applying variables related to seniority and employee preferences.

One standout feature of Humanity is the ability for employees to trade shifts. Assuming the trade falls within your predefined rules, these requests can be automatically approved with limited supervisor involvement.

The Humanity mobile app makes it easy for you and your staff to manage shift needs in real-time. Managers can post open shifts for pickup and quickly find replacements for any absences.

Humanity integrates with top HCM software like Namely, BambooHR, ADP, and Workday.

Pricing for Humanity is very straightforward. There are two plans at the following annual rates:

  • Starter — $3 per month per user ($80 minimum)
  • Classic — $4 per month per user ($80 minimum)

You can also sign up for Humanity on a month-to-month basis. Those rates are $3.50 and $5 per user, respectively. But the short-term plans are subject to a $100 monthly minimum.

The Starter package comes with everything you need to manage employee scheduling. But for an extra $1 per month, the Classic plan comes with advanced features like:

  • Auto scheduling
  • Real-time labor and budgeting
  • Compliance
  • Reporting and analytics
  • Time and attendance
  • Geolocation clock-ins and clock-outs
  • Secure messaging

Overall, Humanity has everything you could need or ask for in an employee scheduling tool.

TSheets – Best for time-tracking and accounting integration

  • Starts at $8/mo per user
  • Create & assign shifts
  • Real-time GPS capabilities
  • Alerts for shift changes
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TSheets is run by QuickBooks, which ranks first on our list of the best small business accounting software.

Just like QuickBooks, TSheets is a high-quality choice for employee scheduling from a reputable brand.

It’s a mobile timesheet where employees can clock-in and clock-out from anywhere. The app uses real-time GPS capabilities to hold your staff accountable for the hours they’re working. This is perfect for those of you who have a mobile workforce.

Employers only have access to GPS data when staff is on the clock, so it gives your workers the privacy and respect that they deserve.

In addition to the time-tracking features, TSheets also has exceptional tools for employee scheduling. It’s easy to create and assign shifts from your computer or smartphone with the drag-and-drop scheduler. You can also repeat schedules with one click.

TSheets allows you to schedule workers by the job as well. Create a new job by adding information for the day, time, and client. Then simply assign as many workers as you need to that job.

Employees will receive alerts for shift changes and job assignments. Everyone will have access to information from the intuitive TSheets mobile app.

Here’s a brief overview of the plans and pricing for TSheets:


  • $8 per user per month
  • $20 base fee per month
  • Free mobile app with GPS
  • Real-time reports
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Photo attachments
  • Time clock with facial recognition


  • $10 per month per user
  • $40 base fee
  • Project estimates vs. actuals reporting
  • Activity feed and messaging
  • Timesheet signatures
  • Geofencing

Both of these plans are available free with a 14-day trial.

TSheets integrates with other platforms like QuickBooks, Expensify, Gusto, Xero, Sage, Square, and more. This will help simplify your accounting process as well.

7shifts – Best employee scheduling software for restaurants

  • Starts at $19.99/mo
  • Industry-specific solutions
  • Unlimited scheduling
  • Detailed reports
Get Started

7shifts is designed for restaurants. In fact, more than 250,000 restaurants across the world use 7shifts.

With this software, you’ll be able to save time and reduce costs. Both of these are crucial to operating a restaurant at profitable margins.

Like most employee scheduling software we’ve seen, 7shifts has a drag-and-drop builder that makes creating schedules a breeze. The tool helps you factor in overtime, employee availability, and regional labor laws.

Your staff can access schedules via email or mobile app.

7shifts has built-in employee communication tools. There are group chats, direct messaging, announcements, and shift feedback features.

You’ll also have access to a weekly labor and budget tool, detailed reports, intuitive dashboard, and POS integration. All of this helps you manage your payroll system and bookkeeping as well.

7shifts is ideal for restaurants, both large and small. With multi-location support, you can manage employee scheduling at each place.

Let’s take a quick look at the plans and prices for 7shifts.

Appetizer — $19.99 per month per location ($215.88 billed annually)

  • Unlimited scheduling
  • Time clocking
  • Notifications
  • Time off requests and availability
  • Free mobile app

Entree — $43.99 per month per location ($479.88 billed annually)

  • Scheduling templates
  • Labor budget tool
  • Robust reporting

The Works — $76.99 per month per location ($839.88 billed annually)

  • Local labor compliance
  • Manager log book
  • Optimal labor tool (to predict staffing needs)
  • Shift feedback

Gourmet — $150 per month per location ($1,620 billed annually)

  • Enterprise-grade operational performance view
  • Auto scheduling
  • Integrated task management
  • Support and integration for POS

7shifts also offers a handful of optional add-ons:

  • Location overview — $5 per month per location
  • Task management — $12.99 per month per location
  • Sales data import — $100 one-time fee
  • Account setup — $150 one-time fee

Smaller restaurants can benefit from 7shifts’ free forever plan. You can have all of the basic scheduling features for one location and up to ten employees. Try it for free.

Paycor Scheduling – Best employee scheduling software for customizing

  • Customized pricing plans
  • Templates for faster scheduling
  • Automate break times
  • Detailed reporting
Get Started

Paycor Scheduling is the perfect solution for optimizing the efficiency of your schedule.

Managers can quickly go through the scheduling process while making optimal decisions for the business.

All of your staff will have clear visibility of their schedules in advance, so everyone stays well informed.

You can even create templates for even faster scheduling. Just drag and drop employees to assign shifts in a few clicks.

You can even automate how and when your staff goes on break to ensure that you’re fully covered at all times.

Your employees can proactively set day and time availability in advance. So you’ll be able to schedule around their needs and preferences.

Paycor Scheduling also has detailed reporting and analysis. This will provide you with details associated with the costs of overstaffing or understaffing.

Industries that can benefit from Paycor Scheduling include:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Nonprofit
  • Manufacturing
  • Professional services
  • Retail

Paycor also provides additional products for recruiting, employee onboarding, HR, time and attendance, payroll, taxes, and learning management.

The company offers two different employee scheduling products; Paycor Scheduling and Paycor Scheduling Pro.

No prices for either are listed online. You’ll have to fill out a form answering some questions about your business to get a custom quote from a representative. This adds an extra step to the process, but it’s worth it for those of you who want a custom solution.

Deputy – Best for scheduling employees working at multiple locations

  • Starts at $2/mo per user
  • Great for multiple locations
  • Robust features
  • Free trial available
Get Started

Deputy is another well-known and trusted employee scheduling solution. It’s leveraged by folks like Amazon, Nike, NASA, Peleton, and Ace Hardware.

Let’s take a look at some of the top features of Deputy:

  • Auto scheduling
  • Break planning
  • Free mobile app
  • Schedule by skillset and qualifications
  • Cover leaves and unavailability
  • Manage overtime and fatigue
  • Monitor attendance
  • Legal compliance
  • Shift swapping

While they do offer services for smaller businesses, we recommend Deputy to larger businesses with multiple locations.

It’s a top solution for managing employees that work across multiple job sites as well.

Some industries that Deputy commonly works with include healthcare, hotels, hospitality, entertainment, logistics, manufacturing, and retail.

Despite Deputy’s robust features and popularity, the software is surprisingly affordable.

Employee scheduling software starts at just $2.50 per month per employee. This is billed on a month-to-month basis. If you want to combine employee scheduling with timesheets and attendance, it’s $4.50 per month per user. Save up to 11% with an annual contract for the combo package. Deputy offers special prices for charities, nonprofits, and community organizations that meet special criteria.

You can try Deputy today by signing up for a free trial. No credit card required.

Shiftboard – Best employee scheduling software for hourly workers

  • Starts at $3/mo per user
  • Automatically assign workers
  • Make last-minute changes
  • Improve communication
Get Started

Shiftboard software has tons of features designed for optimizing your employee scheduling process. It has everything you need to keep managers running smoothly while providing your staff with the right information to do their jobs well.

With Shiftboard, you can easily assign the best and most qualified workers to specific shifts.

Improve your schedule communication and make last-minute changes when certain situations arise.

Shiftboard helps you enhance efficiencies by reducing overtime costs, forecasting demands, and automatically assigning workers to specific shifts. You’ll also have the ability to post open shifts for pickup and send group notifications to your team.

Another benefit of Shiftboard is the compliance rules. This will help you eliminate errors for things like labor contracts, seniority rules, mandatory rest periods, and employee credentials.

For example, an employee with expired credentials would automatically be blocked from the schedule.

The Shiftboard mobile app is easy for anyone to use. You and your managerial staff can manage everything on the backend while your employees can benefit from scheduling and alerts in real-time. Set up open shift trading or require approval from supervisors for trade requests.

Shiftboard plans start at $3 per month per user. There are three options for you to choose from:

  • Basic
  • Professional
  • Enterprise

Unfortunately, the pricing details for each plan are not specified online. You’ll need to request a  demo based on the needs of your organization to get an accurate quote.

How to Choose the Best Employee Scheduling Software For Your Business

With such an extensive list of options to choose from, finding the best employee scheduling software for your business can seem like a tall task. Fortunately, we have a methodology that you can use to narrow your search.

Business Size

The number of employees you have and the number of locations will have a strong impact on your decision. A company with ten employees at one store will have different needs than a business with 100 employees across six locations.


There are industry-specific solutions in the employee scheduling software market.

For example, if you own a restaurant business, 7shifts will be the best choice for you. Restaurant managers and owners have different scheduling needs than office jobs in the corporate world.

Mobile Access

The best employee scheduling solutions should come with a free mobile app.

You want to make sure the app has admin features for managing schedules, as well as employee features for viewing schedules and making requests. The best apps include alerts for both staff and managers.

For example, an employee could be notified about a shift change or shift opening. But a manager would get notified if someone is approaching overtime or didn’t clock-in for their shift.

Time Tracking

Most employee scheduling solutions include time-tracking tools as well. Since the two go hand-in-hand, it makes sense to get both from the same provider.

Some software has all-inclusive features for both scheduling and time clocks, whereas others offer time tracking as an add-on.


Obviously, employee scheduling software is supposed to make your life easier. It’s supposed to improve operational efficiencies and reduce labor costs. But make sure you find a solution that fits within your budget.

Each software has a different pricing structure. There are lots of options that charge a monthly rate based on how many employees you have. Some of those are subject to monthly minimums.

Some solutions offer tiered pricing, while others have unlimited employees for each plan.

If you’re a smaller organization with basic scheduling needs, you can even benefit from free employee scheduling software.


Here’s a quick recap of the best employee scheduling software on our list:

  • Homebase — Best overall employee scheduling software.
  • When I Work — Best free employee scheduling software.
  • CakeHR — Full-service HR software with employee scheduling.
  • Humanity — Best for shift trading and filling openings in real-time.
  • TSheets — Best for time-tracking and accounting integration.
  • 7shifts — Best employee scheduling software for restaurants.
  • Paycor Scheduling — Best employee scheduling software for customizing.
  • Deputy — Best for scheduling employees working at multiple locations.
  • Shiftboard — Best employee scheduling software for hourly workers.

Based on this guide, I’m confident that you can find what you’re looking for. No matter what type of business you have or what industry you’re in, there’s an option for you above.

from Quick Sprout