The 7 Best Scheduling Software of 2020

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Scheduling software can help businesses create employee schedules quickly, manage employee absences and shift trades, and control payroll costs from overtime and overscheduling.

Research shows that 20% of a manager’s time (140 hours annually) is spent manually creating work schedules. And that’s not the worst of it; errors from creating schedules this way result in 174% more employee turnover.     

We looked at over a dozen employee scheduling platforms and chose the best based on ease of use, automation, reporting, employee access, cost, and more. Here are our top seven picks.  

The 7 Best Scheduling Software Programs of 2020

Homebase: Best Overall

Homebase

Homebase

Homebase was launched in 2015 as a free timesheet and scheduling software. Today it includes team communication and hiring and reporting tools and serves over 100,000 businesses. We chose it as the best overall because it’s a scalable scheduling platform with a wide range of free and affordable features.

Homebase makes it easy to build a schedule in minutes using templates and drag-and-drop scheduling blocks. The software automatically calculates overtime, breaks, scheduling conflicts, and labor costs to help business owners stay on budget. Employees can view schedules via text and email or with Homebase’s free mobile app. The app also lets managers track employee availability, time-off requests, and approvals.

Homebase lets employees clock in via tablet, computer, phone, and point of sale (POS) system, alerting managers about who’s clocking in and where, who’s late, and who’s reaching overtime. The software also lets managers edit timecards if employees forget to clock out, tracks breaks and overtime, and syncs timesheet data directly to most payroll software.   

Homebase’s mobile app also gives employees access to their schedules, hours, wages, availability, time off, and more. Managers can send reminders about shifts, clocking in and out, breaks, and share shift instructions and messages with individuals, groups, or their whole team.

Most of Homebase’s basic scheduling and time-tracking features are available in its Free plan. The paid plans give access to more advanced scheduling options as well as HR compliance tools.

Free Plan

  • Free for one location
  • Unlimited employees
  • Online scheduling
  • Time clocks, breaks, and overtime
  • Prepare timesheets for payroll
  • Employee availability preferences and time-off requests
  • Built-in messenger
  • Hiring portal
  • 90-day timesheet and report history

Essential Plan

  • $14 per month per location
  • All Free Plan features
  • GPS location
  • Auto scheduling
  • Automated employee announcements and reminders
  • Schedule notes and events
  • Clock-in and late employee alerts
  • Employee performance reports
  • Availability approvals
  • Four-year timesheet and report history

Plus Plan

  • $35 per month per location
  • All Essentials Plan features
  • Sales forecasting and labor targets
  • Overtime alerts
  • Prevent early clock-ins
  • Auto clock-outs
  • Advanced labor cost reporting
  • Multiple roles and wage rates

Paycor Scheduling: Runner-Up, Best Overall

Paycor

 Paycor

Built in 2011 as a shift-planning tool, Ximble was purchased by Paycor in 2019 and rebranded as Paycor Scheduling and Paycor Scheduling Pro. We chose it as our runner-up because it’s an easy-to-use scheduling software with a ton of small business software integrations and great customer support.

Paycor Scheduling lets users create scheduling templates and drag-and-drop shifts with just a few clicks. The software also lets users automate scheduling and employee breaks and set shifts to repeat daily or weekly. Employees can get notifications of new schedules, schedule changes, and shift reminders via email or Paycor’s scheduling app. 

Paycor Scheduling Pro offers more advanced scheduling features, including viewing coverage map by job, setting scheduling budget caps, limiting employee hours, and automatically assigning employees to open shifts or third-party locations. Users can also print schedules or export them to Excel, CSV, or PDF. 

Paycor Scheduling Pro gives employees more scheduling options through Paycor’s app. Employees can configure their work availability, swap shifts, pick up open shifts, and request shift approvals. Employers can also use the app to send direct or group employee messages.   

Both Paycor Scheduling and Paycor Scheduling Pro integrate with Paycor’s suite of HR tools as well as a variety of third-party software, including Gusto, BambooHR, QuickBooks, Lightspeed, Paychex, Xero, and Zendesk.    

Paycor does not list pricing on its website. Third-party sources indicate that Paycor pricing ranges from $1 to $4 per user per month with custom pricing available for enterprise-level users.

Humanity: Best for Shift Schedules

Humanity

 Humanity

Humanity is an employee scheduling and time-tracking software developed in 2010. Today it serves over 175,000 businesses in more than 195 countries. We chose it as the best for shift schedules because it allows users to set predefined rules so employees can swap shifts with minimal to no manager involvement.

Like other scheduling software, Humanity offers a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easy to build a schedule in minutes, alerting users of any scheduling conflicts. Employees can also view schedules, request time off, release shifts, pick up open shifts, and adjust their availability using Humanity’s mobile app. Best of all, using predefined scheduling rules established by managers, employees can trade shifts with practically no supervisor involvement.

Humanity really shines in its scheduling automation features. Users can automatically assign shifts based on seniority, employee preferences, and other factors. Humanity can also forecast staffing needs using key business metrics and data from other sources, including foot traffic and estimated sales, to create efficient, cost-effective schedules. 

Humanity supports the creation of custom rules to help employers ensure that hours worked, breaks, time between shifts, and more are compliant with federal, state, and local regulations. The software also makes it easy for managers to respond to real-time changes and post open shifts, release shifts for pickup, or quickly find a replacement for an absent employee.

Finally, Humanity integrates with other human capital management (HCM) software including Namely, BambooHR, ADP, and Workday and offers live 24/7 chat 365 days a year, an online help center with downloadable training resources, and a community discussion platform.   

Humanity offers three pricing plans, each with a 30-day free trial.

Starter Plan

  • $3 per user per month
  • Administrative dashboard
  • Employee shift trading
  • Availability & time-off management
  • Mobile app
  • 24/7/365 support

Classic Plan

  • $4 per user per month
  • All Starter Plan features
  • Auto-fill scheduling
  • Real-time labor cost & budgeting
  • Scheduling compliance
  • Reporting & analytics
  • Skills & certifications
  • Time & attendance
  • Geolocation clock-in/clock-out
  • Custom leave types & policies
  • Secure messaging
  • Payroll exporting

Enterprise Plan

  • Custom pricing
  • All Classic Plan features
  • Demand-based scheduling
  • Open API access
  • HCM integration

Deputy: Best for Multiple Location Businesses

Deputy

 Deputy

Developed in 2003 as an in-house solution to help a small business automate staff scheduling and time and attendance management, Deputy currently serves over 200,000 people across all industries in more than 70 countries. We chose it as the best for multiple locations because it lets users forecast sales traffic and schedule shifts automatically in multiple locations.

Deputy offers many standard scheduling software features, including a drag-and-drop builder; automated scheduling, shift-swapping, attendance tracking; and employee communication. Managers can also assign one-time or recurring tasks, track performance ratings and feedback, and give employees access to their own leave balances to more easily manage requests. 

Deputy offers a number of features that make it ideal for staffing multiple locations. The software can predict staffing requirements based on sales trends, orders, appointments, and even weather conditions. Deputy then uses AI to create schedules that ensure minimum coverage as well as break compliance and overtime and fatigue management, all while sticking to a budget.

Finally, Deputy integrates with over 30 third-party payroll, POS, and HR platforms, including ADP, Gusto, Square, Vend, Lightspeed, and more.

Deputy offers two subscription plans plus one plan just for time and attendance and one just for scheduling.

Scheduling  

  • $2.50 per employee per month
  • Employee scheduling
  • Auto scheduling
  • Meal & rest break planning
  • POS integration
  • PTO & leave management
  • News feed
  • Tasking
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Single sign-on

Time & Attendance  

  • $2.50 per employee per month
  • Meal & rest break planning
  • Timesheets
  • Payroll integration
  • POS integration
  • PTO & leave management
  • News feed
  • Tasking
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Single sign-on

Premium Plan  

  • $4.50 per employee per month
  • Employee scheduling
  • Auto scheduling
  • Meal & rest break planning
  • Timesheets
  • Payroll integration
  • POS integration
  • PTO & leave management
  • News feed
  • Tasking
  • Unlimited 24/7 support
  • Reporting
  • Single sign-on

Enterprise Plan  

  • Custom pricing
  • All Premium Plan features
  • Custom implementation
  • Custom roles & permissions
  • Custom organization structure
  • Dedicated enterprise support
  • Advanced demand planning
  • Single sign-on

TSheets: Best Accounting Integration

TSheets

 TSheets

TSheets was created as an employee time-tracking app for the iPhone in 2006. In 2012, it added integration with accounting and payroll software QuickBooks and was bought by QuickBooks’ parent company Intuit in 2016. We chose it as the best accounting integration because of its seamless integration with QuickBooks and other accounting software.

TSheets is first and foremost a time-tracking app, allowing employees to clock in and out using a computer or mobile app. The app also features facial recognition to prevent friends from clocking in for each other, a real-time employee locator, and a geofencing feature that reminds employees to clock in or out when they enter or leave a job site.

On the scheduling side, TSheets offers the expected drag-and-drop schedule builder, repeating shift schedules, and employee alerts for new schedules and shift changes. Users can also schedule against budgeted hours, track and collaborate on projects, add a job and assign it later, and make scheduling changes on the go using the mobile app. 

Best of all, TSheets offers direct integration with most popular accounting and payroll software, including QuickBooks and QuickBooks Payroll, ADP, Xero, Gusto, Square and Square Payroll, Paychex, and more.

TSheets offers two simple monthly subscription plans, each featuring a 14-day free trial.

Premium Plan

  • $8 per user per month + $20 base fee per month
  • One free admin
  • Track time on any device
  • Mobile app with GPS
  • Streamlined payroll and invoicing
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Job and shift scheduling
  • Real-time reports
  • See who’s working
  • Time-off management
  • Alerts and notifications
  • Photo attachments
  • Time clock kiosk with facial recognition
  • Unlimited live customer support

Elite Plan

  • $10 per user per month + $40 base fee per month
  • All Premium Plan features
  • Track project progress to plan
  • Project estimates vs. actuals reporting
  • Project activity feed
  • Timesheet signatures
  • Geofencing

When I Work: Best Free Scheduling Software

When I Work

 When I Work

When I Work is employee scheduling software that has served over 10 million employees in more than one million workplaces since it was created in 2010. We chose it as the best free scheduling software since its free subscription plan offers businesses with one team or location and up to 75 users just about all of the employee scheduling features they need.

When I Work offers most standard scheduling software features, including a drag-and-drop schedule builder with templates, auto scheduling, managing shifts at multiple locations, and instantly sharing schedules and changes with employees. Users can automatically adjust schedules based on their labor budgets, receive overtime alerts, and manage breaks with the click of a button.   

Employees can clock in and out using the When I Work mobile app and can also manage their availability, request time off, view their upcoming schedules, and more. The app sends alerts to managers about missed clock-ins or clock-ins from the wrong location, allows users to edit and approve timesheets, and exports timesheets as an Excel spreadsheet or to many popular payroll platforms. 

One of When I Work’s best features is its pricing. Its free plan lets users schedule one week into the future, track time worked, and export timesheets. Time or attendance tracking and setting schedules more than 10 days out are restricted to the paid plans, and integration with POS software is limited. All paid plans come with a 30-day free trial.

Free Plan

  • Free
  • Team scheduling
  • Team availability
  • Team messaging
  • Shift trading
  • Time-off requests
  • Schedule templates
  • Open shift management

Basic Plan

  • $1.50 per user per month
  • All Free Plan features
  • 10+ Day scheduling
  • Multiple schedules
  • Multiple locations
  • Overtime visibility
  • Remote job sites

Pro Plan

  • $2.25 per user per month
  • All Basic Plan features
  • Auto scheduling
  • Shift & team task lists
  • Shift bidding
  • Document storage
  • Labor reports (requires attendance)
  • Flexible self scheduling

Enterprise Plan

  • Custom pricing
  • All Pro Plan features
  • Access to API
  • Single sign-on
  • Global privacy
  • Custom integrations
  • Labor insights
  • Dedicated account manager
  • Personalized implementation

When I Work’s time and attendance features are available as paid add-ons:

Time Clock & Attendance

  • $2 per user per month
  • Payroll integration (ADP, QuickBooks, Gusto, Paychex, and others)
  • Early clock-in prevention
  • Kiosk clock-in via tablet or computer
  • Mobile clock-in with GPS enforcement
  • Scheduling vs. actual labor cost reporting
  • Overtime alerts
  • Auto-deduct unpaid breaks
  • Clock-in/out reminders
  • Custom timesheet export
  • Photo clock-in

SchedulePro: Best for Regulated Industries

Shiftboard

 Shiftboard

Shiftboard is a set of employee scheduling software built to handle the changing scheduling and management needs of hourly workers. In 2020, it merged with SchedulePro, a scheduling tool for industries with complex compliance requirements. We chose it as the best for regulated industries because of its built-in scheduling rules and compliance tools.

SchedulePro’s schedule-building platform is similar to those found in most scheduling software but with additional compliance tools. Managers can use the software’s rule-based scheduling to control which jobs workers can take based on their credentials, control and distribute overtime equally, and assign employees to shifts as required by internal policies and agreements.

SchedulePro’s rule-based structure also helps keep overtime costs low by shuffling scheduled employees and rotating employees among different jobs to keep them proficient, all without violating compliance or workflow requirements. Managers can also create compliant schedules with automated rule checks, get alerts on schedule changes that violate compliance, and review rule deviations and overrides.

SchedulePro also offers a mobile app that lets employees review their schedules, trade and bid for shifts, request schedule changes and time off, volunteer for overtime, and more.     

Shiftboard does not list pricing for SchedulePro on its site, but third-party research indicates that previous pricing structures were $30 per person per month for a Basic plan and $6 per month per user for the Professional plan. Here is the current breakdown of plans and features:

Enterprise Plan

  • Standard user roles and permission
  • Shift pattern rotation
  • Policy-based overtime detection and calculations
  • Shift trading & bidding
  • Overtime volunteer sign-up
  • Time-off requests
  • Auto scheduling with compliance rules
  • Employee shuffling
  • Overtime equalization
  • Daily and weekly overtime compliance
  • Minimum rest between shifts
  • Maximum shift lengths
  • Maximum workdays in a row
  • Maximum hours per week
  • Activity and system audit log
  • Scheduled reports
  • Timesheets
  • Labor forecasting
  • Leave planning and management
  • Payroll integrations

Enterprise Plus Plan

  • All Enterprise Plan features
  • Custom user roles and permission
  • Custom scheduling workflows
  • Overtime banking
  • Qualification and proficiency tracking and projection
  • Proficiency-based job rotation
  • Fatigue risk management
  • PHMSA CFR 49 192 & 195 and API RP 755 compliance
  • Union agreement rules
  • Union grievance detector (“grievance checker”)
  • Advanced custom rules
  • Leave management staffing level
  • Protected leave days

What Is Scheduling Software?

Scheduling software lets managers and business owners create weekly or ongoing schedules with just a few clicks. Most offer a visual interface that lets users drag and drop employees into open shifts, calculate overtime and total scheduled hours against a budget, and let employees view schedules and request changes.

Due to the automated nature of these platforms, businesses can save valuable time and money otherwise spent on manually fitting employees into a schedule every week and making sure they have the coverage they need without going over budget.       

How Does Scheduling Software Work?

Employee scheduling software offers users a visual interface that lets them drag and drop employees into shifts as needed. It also calculates total costs to make sure employers aren’t going over budget and allows managers to make and approve schedule changes on the go, typically through a mobile app.

Many platforms also let employees view their schedules and updates, request changes and time off, swap shifts, and clock in and out of shifts. Managers can then review and approve the timesheets, and with many of the platforms we reviewed, export them directly to payroll.

How Much Does Scheduling Software Cost?

Most scheduling software offers monthly subscription pricing ranging from $1 to $4 per employee. Others offer a set fee per location with an unlimited number of employees ranging from $14 to $35 per month. Most also offer a free plan with limited scheduling features suitable for very small businesses.

Lower-tier plans are typically limited to simple scheduling, access to a mobile device, and schedule sharing. Mid- to higher-tier plans add automated scheduling, scheduling rules, integrations with payroll and accounting software, employee attendance tracking, and more.   

Is Scheduling Software Worth the Cost?

Businesses with a small number of employees working regular shifts probably won’t benefit from scheduling software. Once their workforce and shifts grow and employees’ scheduling needs change, it’s a different picture.

At this point, scheduling software can keep scheduling a quick and easy process, even as workforce and coverage needs change. It can also help them keep their costs down and ensure they’re not paying unnecessarily for overtime or over scheduling employees. 

Finally, once a business starts managing more employees, scheduling software can help get employee timesheets into the business’s payroll and accounting software faster.     

How We Chose the Best Scheduling Software

We looked at over a dozen software options for this review. First and foremost was the ease of use. It doesn’t make sense to use a program that takes just as long to create a schedule than if one were to do it by hand. We also wanted to look for software that could automate most of the scheduling process, like calculating labor costs and overtime and creating recurring schedules. 

We also made sure the software we reviewed was good for employees too. Features like easy clocking in and out, scheduling reminders, and the ability to make requests remotely were important.

Finally, we made sure to look for scheduling software that was affordable for small businesses, and that also integrated with their other employee management tools, including payroll, accounting, and HR management platforms

In the end, employee scheduling software should let business owners and managers spend their time running and growing their business while ensuring their employees are scheduled for the right jobs and the right times, all while staying within budget.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. Connecteam. "8 Common Employee Scheduling Problems and Their Solutions." Accessed August 31, 2020.