One employee wants time off next Tuesday. Another can only work afternoons next week. And you’ll need to schedule more staff on Friday for the big sale. How does a business owner keep all of this straight? Some use paper and pencil; others use a spreadsheet. But now there’s another option-employee scheduling apps. Take a look at five of these apps and see if they can help take some of the stress out of this task.
There’s no doubt about it; managing employee schedules can be difficult. Scheduling apps help to automate the process by including three elements:
- Employee database – you enter the information manually or download from a spreadsheet
- List of tasks – a list of tasks that need to be scheduled
- Scheduling module – a calendar grid that is populated as shifts are created by you or by employees if you wish
Many include drag and drop features that make it easy to assign employees to specific tasks. And employees receive an electronic notification of the new schedule-often on their cell phones.
Here are some top picks from PC Magazine
This software is free for up to 75 employees. Paid plans up to $99 a month are also available for up to 100 employees with time clock and attendance features. It allows you to schedule remote work locations with GPS and include job instructions that employees access on their mobile devices. There is free email and chat support seven days a week. It also provides basic reporting.
This software is well suited to hourly and shift work schedules. For $2 to $3 an employee, you get an employee scheduling function for an unlimited number of employees and locations. Reporting and time/attendance features are available on the premier plan. It also contains value-added features like job costing so you can estimate staffing costs for the schedule you create. 24/7 phone and chat support is included
For $2 to $7 a month per employee, this software allows you to manage schedules, track time/attendance, communicate with employees and provide reporting. It includes data for U.S. labor laws and schedules for regulated and union environments that require credentials like licenses or certificates. Support is available on weekdays during work hours only.
This is FitSmallBusiness.com’s top pick. Its price is based on location. That makes it favorable for small businesses with one location, like a restaurant or retail store. The price ranges from free to $30 per location. You can manage shift schedules, allow employees to swap shifts or request time off, and export to your payroll system. You can also communicate with employees within the app. Free phone, email and chat support is available five days a week.
PC Magazine calls this app the best-looking software in its class. It offers employee scheduling functionality and time tracking on the web and mobile devices. It can also track allowable paid-time off. A chat feature is included to communicate with employees. The cost ranges from $0.75 to $2 per employee, per month depending on whether you elect annual or monthly billing. Chat support is available 24 hours during workdays.
These apps can help you reduce the time you spend on scheduling and time tracking. Before choosing one, you’ll want to look at cost, functionality, and support after the sale. Consult the PC Magazine and FitSmallBusiness.com reviews for more details on these and other options.