Effective scheduling is key to keeping your business running smoothly and your employees happy. But many owners struggle to build sustainable schedules, and get stuck meeting immediate needs instead of looking further down the line. If your business needs a better way to plan ahead, a monthly work schedule template is the best place to start. A monthly work schedule template is a simple, pre-designed solution that helps you plan and communicate work schedules a month in advance.
Good work schedule templates can boost productivity, enhance employee happiness, and save you a lot of time and stress—whether your team works 9 to 5 or in rotating shifts. They should be straightforward and easy to share, but also have a ton of smart functionality. Here are the features you should look for and a free monthly work schedule template that will set your business up for scheduling success.
What is a work schedule template?
A work schedule template is a pre-designed document or digital file that outlines your employees’ working hours, days on and off, and the tasks they’ll perform while they’re on the job. Work schedule templates ensure everyone’s in the right place at the right time to meet your business’s needs.
They can also take hours off your administrative duties, since you’re not creating a schedule from scratch each time. In fact, statistics show that with an efficient scheduling tool, you can spend as little as 0.63% of your work week making schedules.
Since not all schedules are 9 to 5, a good work schedule template will accommodate a number of different schedule types depending on the nature of your business. For example:
Shift work schedules
Any work schedule that falls outside the hours of 7am and 6pm is considered shift work. Shift work schedules apply to employees working evening, late night, or early morning hours. These schedules may include 8-12 hour shifts, and evening, weekend, or holiday shifts.
Rotating shift schedules
With a rotating work schedule, you’ll see employees working a variety of shifts for a specified number of days. Once those days are up, it’s time for the employees to rotate. For example, an employee might work the day shift for 5 weeks, and then work the night shift for the next 5 weeks. This type of schedule is common in 24/7 operations.
On-call work schedules
On-call schedules mean that employees may be asked to come in outside of their regular work hours, often on short notice. They might fill in for a sick teammate or help out if there’s a rush. On-call schedules are most common in retail and hospitality, and are often used to keep labor costs low. While they benefit business owners, on-call schedules can be a challenge for employees.
Monthly work schedules
A monthly work schedule outlines the work shifts and assignments for employees over the course of a month. Employees get a longer-term view of their assignments and shifts, and follow the schedule until the end of the month—unless they swap shifts, get sick, or request other changes. These schedules can be tailored for shift work, on-call employees, or other industry-specific needs.
Why should you use a monthly work schedule template?
Monthly work schedules have a longer planning horizon, enable longer-term stability, and better accommodate employee preferences over an extended period. Using a monthly work schedule template for your business has a number of benefits.
Efficiency and consistency
Monthly work schedule templates help streamline the scheduling process, making it less time consuming and less painful to think a few weeks in advance. Using a pre-designed template as a starting point, also reduces the chance of making scheduling errors.
Monthly schedule templates give you the advantage of long-term planning. A monthly plan makes it much easier to allocate resources, staff up for peak hours, and account for PTO and other employee needs.
Enhanced employee satisfaction
When employees get their schedules well in advance, it allows them to plan for personal commitments, such as appointments or family events. This can lead to increased job satisfaction because employees feel their work-life balance is being considered. And we all know that happy employees are more productive and more engaged.
Better attendance and punctuality
Monthly schedules provide employees with a 4-week view of their shifts and days off, which can improve attendance and punctuality. When they’re able to plan ahead, employees are less likely to request last-minute time off, swap shifts with co-workers, or fail to show up altogether.
Easier legal compliance
In some jurisdictions, labor laws require that employees receive their work schedules in advance. According to recent predictive scheduling laws, employers must provide at least 14-day notice of schedules to their employees or face fines. A monthly schedule template can help you stay compliant and avoid legal troubles.
Reduced overtime costs
A monthly work schedule template can help you plan and allocate your resources more strategically. With a clear view of working hours (not to mention automatic calculations), it’s easier to manage and minimize overtime costs effectively and avoid unnecessary overtime expenses.
Less stress and confusion
With a monthly schedule template, employees aren’t constantly checking for updates or worrying about sudden changes. Plus, you’re not spending the bulk of your time managing time-off requests, working out availability, and anticipating demand. Monthly schedule templates can save everyone a headache.
What goes into a good work schedule template?
The best work schedule templates save you time and energy, and suit the unique needs of your business. They should have plenty of functionality that make them easy to use, change, and share.
Here are the features you should look for in a good work schedule template:
- A user-friendly interface: Your work schedule template should be easy to use for both managers and employees. Color coding, multiple views, and clear functionality are more than just fun add-ons for Type A personalities: they’re musts.
- Mobile capabilities: A good work schedule template will allow you to upload, update and share from anywhere, especially if your team is on-the-go.
- Customizability: The template should flex to accommodate the specific needs of your business and allow adjustments for the number of employees, roles, working hours, and scheduling preferences.
- Automated calculations: Your template should calculate hours worked, breaks, overtime, and other labor-related metrics. This is important data that can help you stay compliant and keep labor costs low.
- Drag and drop functionality: This feature makes it easy to assign shifts and make adjustments when necessary, simplifying the whole process of creating and modifying schedules.
- Communication tools: Your template should integrate with or include communication tools so you can easily inform employees when their schedules are available, quickly address changes, and answer questions as they come up. Bonus if those changes are communicated in real time!
- Easy approval: It should be simple for employees to accept their shifts or request changes, and for managers or supervisors or supervisors to give approval. No one should be left wondering whether the schedule is final.
- Reporting and analytics: The ability to generate reports and analyze scheduling data can help you make informed decisions and optimize your workforce management.
How to make a monthly work schedule template
There are a few ways you can create a monthly work schedule template. Some are more efficient or cost effective than others, depending on your needs.
Pen and paper
If digital tools aren’t readily available or they’re too expensive, you can take the manual approach. Create a grid, write in employee names, and fill in the shifts. While paper templates work in a pinch, they’re prone to error, easy to lose, harder to amend, and tough to share with your team.
Spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel are accessible, versatile, and easily shareable. They offer built-in functions for calculations and special formatting so you can tally up hours worked, overtime, and other metrics. The downside? You have to design your template from scratch and the integrations are limited.
Calendar applications, like Outlook, Google Calendar, or Apple Calendar, can be used to create simple monthly work schedules with features like color coding and sharing. They’re not as robust as dedicated scheduling tools, so they’re best for creating basic schedules.
Project management tools
Project management tools like Trello, Asana, or Monday can be repurposed to create work schedules. Use boards or projects to represent weeks or months and assign tasks or shifts to team members. Because they’re not designed specifically for scheduling, project management tools may not have all the features you want. Plus, they can be expensive for each person using them.
Employee scheduling apps
Made with scheduling in mind, these apps provide all the features you need to create, share, and update your schedule. Scheduling apps like Homebase also offer free customizable work schedule templates that make scheduling simple.
Free monthly work schedule template
Build your schedule in minutes with a free monthly work schedule template. You can download this template and build it online or print if you prefer working on paper.
Here’s how it works:
- Choose the date you want to start
- Enter your employee’s names
- Enter PTO, vacation, sick leave or other time off for each employee
- Select the shifts you want each employee to work
- Add the shifts to the template
- Share with your employees
Congratulations, you’ve finished your schedule for the month!
Now: want to make it even more painless? Keep reading…
How a digital monthly work schedule can make your life easier
Homebase’s digital monthly work schedules are designed to make scheduling fast and easy—and they can be tailored to any kind of business. Just add your employee information, create shifts with start and end times for each member of your team, and continue until your schedule’s complete. Yup—it’s really that simple. View your schedule by role, time period, or employee, drag and drop to make changes, and automatically calculate your monthly hours.
Here’s how a monthly work schedule from Homebase benefits your whole business:
Spend less time on repetitive tasks
Advanced tools like Homebase can automate the whole employee scheduling process for you, reducing your administrative burden, and saving you hours each week. Once you create one monthly work schedule template, you can easily copy it from month to month, giving you schedules as far into the future as you need. You can also choose automatic scheduling, which optimizes your shifts using your team’s availability and roles.
Keep labor costs in check
Homebase gives you a clear overview of your labor costs. Once you plug in employee time, our software totals hours and overtime, and subtracts breaks. You can reduce unnecessary overtime expenses and keep your budget on track. Since a monthly work schedule template helps you plan ahead, you can even add your sales data and forecast your labor costs.
Boost team communication
Say goodbye to the paper schedule in the break room. Homebase allows you to publish your schedule to the app so employees can view it on the go, even on their mobile devices. Communicate changes, swap shifts, and ask questions in real time with the free team communication app. With Homebase, everyone gets updates as soon as they’re sent.
Improve workforce management
Longer-term planning improves your whole business. With Homebase monthly work schedules, you can better plan for peak periods, coordinate vacations, and optimize your staffing levels. You can also integrate with other Homebase tools like payroll, timeclock, and HR management, contributing to the overall success and productivity of your business.
Stay on top of compliance
Homebase work schedule templates automatically calculate working hours so you can see who’s approaching overtime, if employees are getting sufficient breaks, and if your team has enough time off between shifts. When you plan a month out, it’s also easier to abide by laws that dictate how much notice employees’ need before their shifts.
Homebase offers so much more than scheduling
A monthly work schedule template offers small businesses a range of advantages from improved planning and communication, to easier compliance and increased employee satisfaction. Whether you’re a team of five or twenty, Homebase and a digital monthly work template makes it simple to build a framework for managing your team. Put your schedule to work for you—not the other way around.
Make scheduling your employees intuitive and easy with Homebase. Try it now.
Monthly work schedule FAQs
Is a work schedule template the best way to schedule employees?
A work schedule template is a fantastic way to schedule employees. It provides a consistent framework for scheduling, reducing the time and effort required to create schedules from scratch each time. If your work schedule template is part of an employee scheduling app, even better. There, you benefit from features like drag and drop functionality, multiple ways to view your schedule, automatic hour calculation, easy sharing, in-app communication tools, mobile capabilities, and more.
What is employee scheduling software?
Employee scheduling software is technology that automates the process of creating and managing work schedules for a workforce. Employee scheduling software allows you to quickly create a custom schedule, easily swap or adjust shifts, write shift notes, and then publish your schedule from anywhere. Employee scheduling software may also integrate with other small business tools like time tracking, payroll, team communication, project management, and more.
How does a monthly work schedule help my business and employees?
A monthly work schedule helps your business and employees in many ways. A monthly work schedule provides a more extended planning horizon, which allows your business to better plan for staffing needs, projects, and tasks. This makes it easier to match your workforce resources with your business demands, keeping labor costs low, and your business running smoothly.
When employees receive their schedule a month in advance, they can better plan for personal commitments. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and higher productivity because employees feel their work-life balance is being considered.
How can I make a work schedule template for employees?
There are many ways to make a work schedule template for employees. Depending on the size, needs, and budget of your business, you can use paper, spreadsheets like Google Sheets or Excel, calendar apps, project management tools, or an employee scheduling app, like Homebase. While it’s possible to make a great work schedule template with all these tools, we recommend an employee scheduling app that’s designed specifically for managing a workforce.