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Our employee scheduling software picks for 2024

By: RAECHEL CONOVER | Fact Checked By: JAMIE OSTROE | Updated: December 19, 2023

No matter your industry or company size, you can benefit from employee scheduling software. Ask any HR personnel – creating an employee schedule even with a small staff can be tedious. There are so many moving parts from employee availability and who is qualified to cover what shift, to time off requests, PTO acquired, and staying in compliance regarding overtime. To help with this time-consuming process, employee scheduling software streamlines and automates the process and allows HR staff to spend more time in other areas. If you’re ready to move to employee scheduling software, we’ve got you covered.

Our Top Picks

  1. Homebase – Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Business
  2. 7Shifts – Best Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software
  3. Deputy – Best for Multi-Location Companies
  4. Shiftboard – Best Healthcare Employee Scheduling Software
  5. Humanity – Best Employee Scheduling Software for Automation

Employee Scheduling Software Reviews

We identified 86 popular employee scheduling software services and narrowed them down to our top five picks based on features offered, pricing transparency, customer support, and brand reputation. The companies we reviewed are well-known in the industry and specialize in serving businesses of various sizes. Check out our methodology section for details on how we made our selections.

homebase logo

Homebase – Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Business

Homebase is the best employee scheduling software we reviewed for companies with just one physical location. The Basic plan is free and provides robust scheduling features such as timesheets, time clocks, scheduling, availability tracking, and employee scheduling communication. Small business owners can plan out schedules for multiple employees working shifts within minutes.

If you have more than one physical location, you must upgrade to the Essentials plan, which costs $20 per month per location, or the Plus plan, which costs $48 per month per location. You get progressively more with each plan, such as team communication, performance tracking, remote tools, PTO tracking, and budget and labor cost controls.

Users appreciate Homebase and find it very easy to use; however, a few users point out that a manager must approve all shift changes and manually correct incorrect time clock entries.

  • Robust, free plan
  • Mobile app
  • Easy to use
  • Manager approval required for many things
  • Sometimes clunky to use

Homebase features

  • Auto scheduling – Scheduling and availability are enabled with Homebase, and if you input an employee’s availability, it automatically populates for future schedules saving you from having to do so manually.
  • Multi-location scheduling – the Basic plan with Homebase only allows scheduling at one physical location. The next plan up – the Essentials plan is $20 per location per month.
  • Mobile app and employee portal – There is a mobile app that both managers and employees can access. Managers can schedule employees through the mobile app and message the employee their schedule. Employees can enter and manage their time off requests and pick up available shifts.
  • Shift swapping – Employees can trade and cover shifts through Homebase.

What markets does Homebase serve?

Homebase is the best employee scheduling software for small businesses that only have one physical location. At this level, it is a robust scheduling app that is free no matter how many employees you have. Beyond a single location, you get into the paid level, which bills per location per month.

Read our full Homebase review
7shifts logo

7Shifts – Best Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software

7Shifts is designed with restaurants in mind. The software plans are even named after buzzwords in the restaurant business. The free plan called the Comp level is free for restaurants with one location and up to 30 employees. This plan includes all the basics like scheduling, time clock, timesheets, availability tracking, team communications, and some extras like employee engagement, hiring, and applicant tracking.

Beyond the Comp level is the Entrée level, which costs $29.99 per location per month for up to 30 employees, and the Works, which jumps up to $69.99 per location per month with unlimited employees. There is an enterprise level – Gourmet, that you can request a quote for. Add-ons like tip pooling, task management, operations overview, and manager logbook are all available for an additional monthly fee.

Users love 7Shifts. It’s the highest-rated employee scheduling software we reviewed, with good reason. Users report that suggestions on software improvements made to the company are taken into consideration and in some cases done. Several users say they have no complaints at all, and others rave about the ease of use and how intuitive the program is. The one complaint we did see is that there are quite a few add-on fees compared to competitors.

  • Designed with restaurants in mind
  • Easy to use and intuitive
  • Robust, free option
  • Highly rated by users
  • Add-ons can get pricey
  • Communication tools can be used incorrectly

Start Free Trial Visit 7Shift’s website. Current promotion: Free trial (no credit card required)

7Shifts features

  • Auto scheduling – Intuitive program auto-schedules based on your labor targets and sales projections so that you have adequate coverage on every shift.
  • Multi-location scheduling – Available in the paid plans.
  • Mobile app and employee portal – Available for both managers and employees. Managers can create schedules, communicate with employees, and track restaurant performance. In contrast, employees can see their schedule, communicate with other employees, enter time off requests, update their availability, and offer shifts to co-workers.
  • Shift swapping – administrators can turn on shift swapping and specify if shift swaps need approval.

What markets does 7Shifts serve?

7Shifts is designed specifically for restaurants. Small restaurants with one physical location and less than 30 employees will find the Comp level robust and free.

Read our full 7shifts review
deputy logo

Deputy – Best for Multi-Location Companies

Deputy is unique in that they do their pricing differently than other companies on our list. With Deputy, you can schedule across multiple locations always, but the Starter plan is only available for up to 100 employees and up to 100 timesheets a month. Beyond that, you pay $4.20 per user per month. With that plan, you also get a time clock, PTO and leave management, and unlimited 24/7 customer service.

Users like how easy it is to track employees’ time and location. Employees can clock in and out on the app using geofencing technology. Users also say it goes a long way in ensuring shifts are covered. Some users find it doesn’t integrate with specific payroll programs, while others say customer service isn’t always the most helpful.

  • 31-day free trial & free plan available
  • Geofencing to time clock field workers
  • Special pricing for non-profits and charities
  • Ability to schedule just for events
  • Customer service isn’t always knowledgeable
  • Limited integrations

Deputy features

  • Auto scheduling – Only available on the paid plans.
  • Multi-location scheduling – The biggest thing Deputy offers is unlimited multiple location scheduling on all their plans.
  • Mobile app and employee portal – Mobile app handles scheduling, time and attendance, staff communication, and availability.
  • Shift swapping – Available on the paid plans.

What markets does Deputy serve?

Deputy is one of the best employee scheduling software for companies with multiple locations and job sites. This service is included on every plan level – even the free plan.

Read our full Deputy review
shiftboard logo

Shiftboard – Best Healthcare Employee Scheduling Software

Aptly named, Shiftboard is great for scheduling those working in shifts. It has two options: ShiftPro for those in manufacturing and product production and ShiftFlex for those in healthcare, call centers, and public safety.

ShiftPro offers demand-based and site-specific scheduling, overtime management, and compliance controls. In contrast, ShiftFlex offers employee self-scheduling, multi-location scheduling, auto-fill shifts, and flex pools so that your shifts are always optimized and covered based on your service needs. While the desired features are on point in each plan, there were no pricing details listed on the company website. You must call to request a quote.

Users find Shiftboard to be convenient in that employees can log on and keep their profiles updated, taking that task out of HR’s hands, as well as apply for shifts for approval. One user finds the process fairer with fewer discrepancies than managers approving shifts in person. Users report a significant learning curve to the software, and there isn’t much of a resource library to assist.

  • Two shift options based on your industry
  • Set up for enterprise companies
  • Many ways to view the schedule
  • Compliance measures
  • No resource library
  • Not price transparent

Shiftboard features

  • Auto scheduling – Assigns shifts based on optimizing resources with shift needs.
  • Multi-location scheduling – ShiftFlex allows for multiple locations and field scheduling.
  • Mobile app and employee portal – Employees can clock in and out on the mobile app, update their employee profile, request shifts, pick up flex shifts, and more.
  • Shift swapping – Staff can manage their trades, and you can choose if they need manager approval or not.

What markets does Shiftboard serve?

Shiftboard is the best healthcare employee scheduling software. ShiftFlex is designed for the healthcare field and allows continuously changing service level scheduling. It’s convenient for enterprise organizations because it allows employees to manage their profiles and even their schedules depending on what you allow. It also works well for product-centered businesses like manufacturing.

humanity logo

Humanity – Best for Automation

Humanity is a comprehensive platform used by HR professionals who need a lot of automation in their scheduling. The program utilizes rules specific to your exact needs and creates rule-based scheduling to bring you intelligent, data-driven automation that reduces your scheduling errors by as much as 80%.

It’s an excellent option for several industries, including retail, fitness and recreation, universities, hospitality, healthcare, manufacturing, and more. There are three plans, Starter, Classic, and Enterprise, but no pricing is available.

Users give the employee scheduling software mixed reviews. Employees seem to love the app, the convenience, ease of use, and the ability to create their own schedule and availability. On the other hand, managers remark that while the program is decent, it is a bit clunky at times, could have some improved features, and the customer service is partially automated.

  • Automation that cuts down on scheduling errors
  • Works for many industries
  • Great mobile app
  • Easy to use
  • Some issues with customer support
  • Clunky and slow at times

Humanity features

  • Auto scheduling – Autofill feature is available starting on the Classic Plan that populates your schedule with qualified and available employees.
  • Multi-location scheduling – Managers can set up Primary and Secondary locations for scheduling across more than one location.
  • Mobile app and employee portal – Managers can publish schedules and update schedules in real-time, while employees can swap shifts and receive schedule communication.
  • Shift swapping – Available to employees from the mobile app with or without manager engagement.

What markets does Humanity serve?

Humanity is a great overall employee scheduling software for various industries from retail to universities and hospitality. It’s designed for HR professionals who need high levels of automation in their scheduling process. Humanity offers technology that automates schedules based on your specific needs and data to reduce scheduling errors by up to 80 percent.

Compare the best employee scheduling software side-by-side

Software Name Why we picked It Starting price for cheapest plan Highlights
Homebase Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Business Free Free level includes timesheets, time clocks, scheduling, and availability for one location and unlimited employees.
7Shifts Best Restaurant Employee Scheduling Software Free Robust features even at the free level with add-ons like tip pooling designed specifically for restaurants.
Deputy Best for Multi-location Companies Free Schedule across multiple locations and job sites on every plan level.
Shiftboard Best Healthcare Employee Scheduling Software Request a quote Schedule shifts based on service needs or production demands.
Humanity Best Employee Scheduling Software for Automation Request a quote Unique technology that automates schedules based on your specific requirements to reduce scheduling errors.

What is employee scheduling software?

Employee scheduling software is a powerful tool used by businesses of all sizes to create and maintain a schedule for their employees. Creating an employee schedule for a business can be a full-time job. Manually tracking time-off requests, overtime, and availability can be tedious. But the best employee scheduling software should easily do all that for you and more while keeping you compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and overtime laws.

Many employee scheduling software also includes a time clock, timesheets, employee communication tools, and tools for managing PTO, attendance, and shift swapping to ensure all your time is covered daily. Many also automate this process meaning your HR personnel will have time freed up to attend to other HR responsibilities.

Benefits of using employee scheduling software

Choosing the best employee scheduling software will save your HR staff so much time. Keeping track of timesheets, time off requests, and every worker’s availability becomes overwhelming when doing it manually. The best employee scheduling software on our list offers time and attendance tracking along with absence management. They also offer auto-scheduling, shift swapping, a mobile app for managers and employees, and multi-location scheduling.

Knowing what each offers is the key to narrowing down your selection process. Depending on the size of your company and your industry will help you decide what employee software scheduling will be the best fit for your company.

How much does scheduling software cost?

Pricing is all over the place in the employee scheduling category. The good news is that a good deal of software providers such as Homebase, Deputy, and 7Shifts provide robust free versions of their software. The bad news is that many don’t provide pricing transparency like Shiftboard and Humanity.

Beyond the free versions of the three employee scheduling software we could find pricing for, prices start around $20 per month per location you are scheduling. Some cap it at a number of employees as well. 7Shifts, for example, bills $29.99 per month per location for up to 30 employees. More employees and you jump to a higher price point. Deputy takes a different approach and charges a flat fee of $4.20 per month per employee regardless of the number of locations.

Add-ons are also a big expense in the category. Add-ons typically include things like hiring and applicant tracking and employee engagement management. These add-ons carry an additional price tag. 7Shifts, for example, is very upfront about their prices and lists tip pooling, task management, operations overview, and manager logbook as add-ons starting at $6.99 per month. Check out the following chart to review prices. All software services compared in the chart offer a free level, so we list prices starting at the first priced level.

Software Name Monthly Price When Paid Annually Pay Per Location Pay Per Employee
Homebase $20 X
Deputy $4.20 X
7Shifts $29.99 (up to 30 employees) X

Who should use employee scheduling software, and what are the different types?

Employee scheduling software is used by businesses of all sizes spanning many industries. HR managers and staff use this software to streamline the process of scheduling employees, tracking time off requests, managing PTO and overtime, and staying FLSA compliant, among other things.

There are many good employee scheduling software services on the market, but some might fit your specific needs better depending on your industry and company size. The following are the features our selected services provide:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Timesheet management
  • Availability management
  • Mobile app
  • Geofencing time clock
  • Multi-location scheduling
  • Schedule automation
  • Real-time schedule updates
  • Product-based scheduling
  • Service-based scheduling
  • Shift swapping
  • Team/Employee communication

Advanced and add-on features include:

  • Employee engagement tracking
  • Hiring and applicant tracking
  • Operational overview
  • Tip pooling
  • Task management
  • Specific manager views

It’s important to research and know what each service offers. For example, if you’re a restaurant, 7Shifts is a great option with its design based on the restaurant industry’s unique scheduling needs and featuring specific tools like tip pooling. Healthcare and manufacturing companies will like Shiftboard – the company provides two different scheduling services based on those industries.

Other services are better based on the size of your company. Homebase, for example, is geared towards small businesses and offers a well-rounded option for companies with just one physical location. On the flip side, Deputy is set up to accommodate companies with multiple locations across various job sites. Instead of billing monthly per location, it bills per employee while allowing you to schedule as many locations as needed. Finally, there is Humanity that works with any industry and size giving you the option to create rules for your unique needs and then automating your schedule based on intelligent data-driven factors.

Employee scheduling software FAQ

What do companies use for scheduling?
Many companies use cloud-based employee scheduling programs like those on our list. Using a cloud-based program allows the schedule to be updated in real-time across all platforms so that even those workers in the field will see all schedule updates and communication.

Is there an app for scheduling employees?
Yes, all the best employee scheduling software has a mobile app that managers and employees can use to access schedules, communications, and update profiles.

What is the best software for scheduling?
The best employee scheduling software depends greatly on both the size of your company and the industry you’re in. Large companies scheduling shift workers like healthcare will do good with a product like Shiftboard’s ShiftFlex, while smaller companies limited to one location should investigate Homebase.

How we chose the best employee scheduling software

We curated a list of 86 employee scheduling software services on the market and identified 15 popular vendors with significant online search volume to narrow our focus. From there, we chose five vendors that stood out for features offered, brand reputation, pricing transparency, and customer service.

We collect information from vendors and verify it through:

  • Customer and expert reviews
  • Vendor and parent company websites

We scored companies on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) across the following criteria, each worth 25% of our total score:

  • Variety of features: We looked for services that offered auto scheduling, multi-location scheduling, shift swapping, a mobile app, and an employee portal. A company scores higher when it offers all these features because it means scheduling is faster, more accurate, and compliant.
  • Pricing transparency: We not only compare actual pricing for each employee scheduling software service but also assess how readily available this information is. Companies that are straightforward and list their monthly location fee with the number of users allowed, as well as offer a free trial period, scored higher in this section than companies that require you to request a price quote.
  • Customer support: We looked for companies that offered multiple ways to access customer support, including a resource library, live chats, email, and a dedicated customer service line. Services that included all these features scored highest in this section.
  • Brand reputation: We studied what customers said about each company. Reviews and ratings from trustworthy third-party review sites were compiled into a percentage rating to get a sense of each vendor’s brand reputation.