While the best way to create schedules used to be using an employee schedule template in Google Sheets or Excel, there’s now a better way. A free employee scheduling software like Homebase makes it easy to create a polished, detailed work schedule and instantly share it with your team.
Let’s take a look at the benefits of scheduling with Homebase vs. using employee scheduling templates in Google Sheets or Excel.
1. How to use a shift schedule template in Google Sheets or Excel
Using modern scheduling software is the easiest and quickest way to schedule employee shifts. But if you still prefer creating your schedules with old-school spreadsheets, here are the best ways to do it with templates.
Creating an employee shift schedule with Google Sheets
First, to create an employee shift schedule in Google Sheets:
- Go to “Google Drive.”
- Click “New,” hover over the arrow next to “Google Sheets,” and choose “From a template.”
- On the next page, the template gallery, choose “Employee shift schedule.”
- Now, it’s time to customize. Google’s template includes a monthly overview as well as weekly schedules.
- Customize your color scheme and, if you’d like, add your logo. It’ll make your schedule look more professional and only takes a few minutes.
- Build your schedule.
Creating an employee shift schedule with Excel
Here’s how to create an employee shift schedule in Excel:
- Go to “File” and then “New From Template.”
- In the search box in the upper right corner of the “Template Gallery,” search for “schedule.”
- Scroll down and you’ll see a template called “Weekly employee shift schedule.”
- Double-click on the template and a new spreadsheet with this template will open.
- Customize your template — highlight cells and change the background colors to match your business’s branding.
- Add your logo. Go to “Insert” and “Picture.” It’s a quick step that’ll add some customization.
- Add in your employees’ names and build your schedule.
Remember, you’ll have to repeat those steps every time you want to make a new schedule. Sounds like a lot of manual work, doesn’t it? Let’s look at a simpler method that’ll save you tons of time in the long run — using Homebase to schedule your shifts.
How to use Homebase to build your employee schedule automatically
Using Homebase is the easiest way to create a work schedule – certainly better than a manual shift schedule template. In just a few steps, you’ll have your schedule set up and ready to share. Best of all, it’s free!
Here’s how you can create your employee schedule automatically with Homebase:
- First, create employee roles. Click on “Schedule” in the main menu and then “Departments/Roles.” From there, click on the “Add New Department” green button.
- Type in the box to create new roles or scroll down to select old ones. Then, name the department whatever you like.
- Now, to set up your employee auto-scheduling rules. Click on the “Team” tab in the main menu to pull up a list of your employees. Click on any employee to open their profile.
- Find the “Auto-Schedule rules” at the bottom of the “Job Details” page. Assign the employee their maximum weekly hours, seniority, and roles.
- If you know your team members’ availability, you can go ahead and set it. Go to the “Schedule” tab again and this time, click on “Team Availability.”
- You’ll see a table where rows are employees and columns are days of the week. Each box is a potential shift. Click on a box and select “Unavailable” to show that an employee can’t work it.
- You’re ready to make some weekly schedule templates. Inside the “Schedule” tab, select a week.
- At the top of the table, there’s a row called “Open Shifts.” Click on a box in that row to add the roles you need for that shift.
- Go to “Tools” at the top of the “Schedule” page and select “Templates” from the drop-down menu. Name your weekly schedule template and hit “Create.”
- Now we get to the good bit! Go to the week you want to automate and go to “Templates” in the “Tools” drop-down menu one more time. Choose the template you want to work with and hit “Apply.”
- Do you see the wand icon in the “Open Shifts” box? Click on it, and — presto — you have your schedule ready to go.
- Make any changes you need to and hit the “Publish” button.
And that’s it! All the schedules you need are set up and ready to go for weeks to come.
Why switch from Google Sheets and Excel to Homebase
If you’re used to Google Sheets or Excel, making the switch to an app like Homebase may seem daunting. Learning anything new takes time.
But scheduling apps like Homebase were built with small business owners like you in mind. They’re quick to onboard and intuitive enough to learn with minimal guidance, so there won’t be any teething problems.
Once you’ve made that leap, scheduling with Homebase offers nothing but advantages over using traditional spreadsheets. One of our customers even said he could never go back to pen-and-paper scheduling once he started with Homebase as it freed up hours of his week.
“I can never go back to managing on paper. It would take hours a day.”
-Troy, General Manager, Carefree Boats
Here are some of the concrete ways Homebase can help with employee scheduling:
1. Save time on repetitive tasks
No business owner wants to spend all their working hours pouring over spreadsheets. Homebase lets you automate repetitive tasks, but also gives you the flexibility to make quick changes to your schedule to accommodate your business’s needs. That leaves you with more time for bigger-picture activities like sales strategies and advertising campaigns.
2. Avoid unnecessary costs
Homebase helps you cut costs in ways that regular spreadsheets can’t:
- When an employee is about to hit overtime, you’ll get a notification warning you.
- You don’t have to pay someone else to create a weekly work schedule for you (or get your shifts covered so you have time to create one yourself).
- The Homebase app goes beyond scheduling and helps you monitor sales and labor costs to reveal where else you can save money.
3. Finetune your staff schedules with no extra effort
Going over a Google Sheets spreadsheet in detail takes a lot of concentration. With Homebase, all the information you need about your business operations is laid out clearly and intuitively. You can easily factor in employee availability, seniority, and roles — and keep accurate track of what hours your employees work too.
4. Boost communication
Unlike Google Sheets and Excel, dedicated scheduling apps are also excellent team communication tools. Homebase allows you to publish your schedule to the app so employees can view it on the go, even on their mobile devices.
You can speedily notify employees about any changes to the schedule, too — especially last-minute ones. The Homebase app always shows updates in real-time, so nobody has to hang around waiting for a message.
5 Access to extra features and integrations
No need to stop with scheduling templates. Homebase offers a variety of other free features that tie into scheduling, like timesheets and time clocks. The platform can also integrate with other software you use to run your business, like POS platforms, payroll software, job boards, and general business tools.
Get started with Homebase for free
Gone are the days of painstakingly filling in Excel schedule templates, box by box. Now you can download powerful, user-friendly apps like Homebase to manage your entire scheduling process.
That’s not to say Google Docs and Microsoft Excel don’t serve a purpose. But their functionality is rather limited when it comes to managing a fast-paced, small but growing business. Homebase offers a whole range of features to assist you in scheduling, like workflow automation, granular configurations, and specialized templates. Once you start using it, you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it.
FAQs about employee schedule templates in Google Sheets
How do I make an employee schedule in Google Sheets?
To make an employee schedule in Google Sheets, log into your Google Drive, search through the Google Sheets templates, and click on “Employee Shift Schedule.” Then, fill in your schedule and customize it to suit your business.
How do I make an employee work schedule for free?
There are several different ways to make an employee work schedule for free. One option is using traditional spreadsheet tools like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. Search for employee schedule templates, customize your template of choice each time you have to make a schedule, and share it with your team by printing or emailing it out.
But there’s a much easier way to make work schedules for free. Advanced tools like Homebase can automate the whole employee scheduling process for you — that means you’ll only have to create one template, and you’ll have schedules created for you as far into the future as you want. They’re also super easy to refer back to or share with team members via an intuitive mobile app. If you want to see for yourself, sign up for our free plan, no strings attached.
Is there an app for scheduling employees?
Homebase is an app with a free feature for scheduling employees. We’ve also got a free plan that includes tools for time tracking and clocking in and out. It’s perfect for small businesses looking for an easy, efficient, and affordable way to create and share organized, professional employee schedules.