Scheduling employees takes a lot of time. Whether on a piece of paper or in an Excel spreadsheet scheduling template, forecasting how much labor you would need and who was actually available to work takes hours. With an online schedule maker, the scheduling process no longer has to be such a time consuming task.

Here are the top six ways an online schedule maker can save you time.

Build Your First Schedule Quickly

The first time you use an online schedule maker you will be amazed at how smooth employee scheduling can be. Instead of copy-pasting cells in Excel or erasing and rewriting names and shift times, you will drag and drop to create your schedule. This makes it easy for you to gain a holistic view of your schedule. It gives you the ability to view your schedule by role, time, or employee. The hours you’re assigning to employees calculate automatically so you can keep track of your labor costs.

employee scheduling

Work on Your Schedule Anywhere

Being tied to your computer as a business owner or manager is problematic. You want to spend more time with customers and less time on your computer. With an online schedule maker you can create your schedule on your mobile phone or any browser to give you the flexibility and freedom you need. Especially if any last-minute schedule changes come up while you’re busy with customers.

Reduce Scheduling Errors

Schedule changes are inevitable and when your employees are in the know, that improves the likelihood that they’ll make it on time. Reducing schedule errors and no-shows is every manager’s dream. And online schedule makers like Homebase can help. When employees always have access to the most recent schedule, they can plan accordingly and get to work on time. Or even swap shifts if something comes up.

Take into Consideration Shift Swaps

Shift swaps used to require a combination of phone calls, texts, emails, and in person conversations that were difficult to keep track of. With the help of an online schedule maker, you’ll be notified when shift trade requests come up and be able to approve them from anywhere. First, you decide if the shift swap will work. Then Homebase checks and warns you if the change created any conflicts or put an employee into overtime. Otherwise, it automatically updates and sends notifications to employees via text, email, or within a mobile app via push notifications.

Copy Your Schedule to the Next Week in One Click

Scheduling is not a one and done task. The best online schedule makers are easy to copy over to the next week. If you have a consistent schedule week over week, save yourself even more time by putting your schedule on auto-pilot. You’ll always have the opportunity to make small changes when needed. But those schedule tweaks should take minutes, not hours.

Manage Your Labor Costs with an Online Schedule Maker

Knowing your labor costs is critical. That means tracking how many hours your employees are working and how often they’re working overtime. These metrics are crucial to staying on budget, when combined with your sales data. The most effective employee schedule maker like Homebase connects with your POS. That way, you can forecast sales against labor costs and keep all your expenses in line. You’ll be able to spend less time worrying about costs and more time thinking about growing your business.

Saving time where you can is the name of the game for businesses of any size. Whether you run a bakery with five employees or a landscape design firm with 15 employees in four different roles, making sure you’re always properly staffed is key to your business’s success.

Ready to try an online schedule maker? Homebase has a free employee scheduling tool that saves businesses hours each week. Sign up for free here to automate scheduling and time tracking with Homebase.

What is the Best Schedule Maker?

Scheduling employees is an essential step in running a business. It’s important to have the right scheduling software to serve as your sidekick and alleviate one area of stress in the hectic world of business management, and in this high-tech, connected world, the ol’ pen and paper routine just doesn’t cut it. You need a scheduling app. 

Still, searching through the array of apps that seemingly do the same thing can take a long time, and the stress of deciding which one comes with features that work best for your business can be a bit counterproductive (isn’t that what you’re trying to minimize?).

We took the guesswork out of choosing an online schedule maker and compiled a list of five great options so you can decide for yourself which one would make the process easier for you. Of course, we included our free scheduling app on the list and firmly believe it’s the best on the list. But don’t take it from us. Let the features do the talking! 

Homebase 

Building your work schedule is quick, easy, and painless when you use Homebase’s free scheduling app. Our comprehensive tool takes away the unnecessary headache that’s associated with scheduling and allows you to: 

  • Drag and drop team scheduling: View the team schedule by role, time period, or employee and watch hours calculate automatically. 
  • Schedule your team anytime, anywhere: Publish work changes no matter where you are and no matter what device you’re using with the scheduling app. 
  • Put your schedule on autopilot: Easily copy over last week’s shift schedule, or use automatic scheduling, which takes into account your team’s availabilities and roles. 
  • Reduce no-shows and errors: Your team will always have an up-to-date schedule, and can update their availability or request shift trades, and you’ll be notified for approval. Then, Homebase will update the schedule in minutes. 
  • Stay connected: You can send the schedule to your employees via the text tool, email, and the mobile app and confirm they’ve received it, track time-off and availability changes, and manage shift trades and covers without phone calls. 
  • Easily manage labor costs: Homebase will total hours and overtime, and even subtract break times, input your sales data to make sure you’re hitting budget targets, and forecast your sales automatically with a connected POS. 

Speaking of POS, Homebase integrates with the top companies, including: 

  • Clover 
  • Poynt
  • Talech
  • Square 
  • Upserve
  • Lightspeed
  • Revel 
  • Toast 

Pair the employee scheduling with our time clock, communication, and hiring features and you’ve got one seamless experience.

Connected Calendar Software

Online calendar software such as Google Calendar takes offline calendar software schedule building to the next level by putting it all on the cloud. This means that instead of having to print off the schedule, you can give employees permission to view the calendar and they can then view it from their mobile device. 

Making changes to the schedule is easier this way because your team can alert you of any conflicts or proposed changes by making notes. Even further, you can give trusted employees permission to edit the document themselves so that shifts can be changed without you having to do it yourself. 

You can also add events and attachments, as well as a world clock which is helpful if you have employees who work remotely in different locations of the world. 

Still, cloud calendars were not necessarily designed to help with multiple employees, business scheduling or overlapping shifts. 

Doodle

Doodle’s simple scheduling app doesn’t offer many features, but it keeps track of when your employees are scheduled to work. 

The app allows you to create a master document that is visible to you and the rest of your team, and changes are made in the master document so that when staff members view it, they always see the most up-to-date version. 

The software is cloud-based, which makes it easy to distribute the schedule amongst your employees. All you have to do is text them the link and they can view it from their mobile device. 

Doodle isn’t very intuitive and doesn’t alert you to sort of errors such as double-booking an employee or overlapping shifts, but if you have a small business with only a few employees, this is a better option than pen and paper or a regular spreadsheet. 

Shifty

Shifty’s simple scheduling app allows you to schedule multiple shifts with multiple employees with an intuitive drag-and-drop interface. You can also assign duties and tasks so your team has a to-do list to complete during their downtime. 

The app’s features, interface and tools make scheduling more conducive for businesses with multiple employees than using an app such as Google Calendar, which wasn’t designed for building shifts. 

However, distribution is still a sore spot for the app. The schedules must be emailed to each individual employee, and when changes are made different copies of the schedule are created, so you must confirm that everyone has received the same schedule and is up-to-date on every change. 

The app also does not alert you when you’ve made scheduling errors such as double-booking an employee or scheduling a team member that has requested off. 

Schedule Spreadsheet Templates

A schedule spreadsheet template — built in Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, or Apple Numbers — can be an appealing option for businesses looking to control costs or those who want to build a highly customized and unique schedule template.

Making a work schedule in a spreadsheet program can be a lot of work. In most cases, you’re building a shift schedule from scratch.

While a making a work schedule by hand in a template might at first seem the most flexible, schedule maker apps like Homebase are designed from the ground up to eliminate a lot of the tedious manual work. Schedule maker apps like Homebase also come with integrated time and attendance tools. So you’ll know — and can prevent — employees from clocking in early for their scheduled shift, or get an alert if someone is about to hit overtime.

Based on the different features each scheduling app provides, you should have a better idea of which one is the right fit for you. If you still need help deciding, we suggest Homebase– it’s free. It’s easy. And it’s seamless. Even better, dive in deeper with a free trial of our paid plans to discover the array of features waiting to make your business management that much easier.

Homebase is more than just scheduling software — it’s complete team management software.

Why should I use a schedule maker over pen and paper scheduling?

  • Save time on data entry and scheduling your team every week.
  • Save time on payroll by using a scheduling app that’s integrated with your timesheets and exports to payroll.
  • Save money by avoiding unintentional overtime.
  • Reduce human error. No more accidentally scheduling an employee during their time off when you create a schedule.
  • Improve team communication. With group messaging integrated in the mobile app, your employees will not only receive push notifications when you create a schedule, they’ll also be able to trade shifts if something comes up (with manager approval).

What else does a schedule maker do?

So far, we’ve talked about a schedule builder for work. But, really, a schedule maker can have a lot of different use cases. A personal schedule maker, for example, can give you reminders and keep track of tasks for an individual. For a personal time management app, we recommend using a free calendar, like Google Calendar, or Apple Calendar. In most cases, paying for something to help you remember a meeting or set reminders isn’t worth it.
For those managing a sports team, you’re probably looking for a team schedule maker that will help with league management and scheduling home and away games. We don’t have any specific recommendations there — try searching for “[sport] league management,” like “soccer league management.” Most likely, you’ll find some tools that’ll help you do much more than just schedule games and practices.

What about a college schedule maker?

This is probably the most common type of schedule maker that’s not employee shift scheduling. College students typically register for classes independently, and therefore need to build a schedule every quarter or every semester during the school year, so that they don’t accidentally schedule overlapping classes.
Check with your college or university registrar to see if there’s already a tool built for you. You’ll save time if it’s integrated with your course catalog, rather than using a third party service where you’d have to do some manual work.

What should you look for in an employee schedule maker?

You should look for a tool that makes your life easier. You want an app that will save time for you and your managers.
Choose a schedule builder app that integrates with your point of sale and your payroll provider. One that includes timesheets with automatic error detection.
Ultimately, you want an employee schedule maker that will save you time over other methods, like pen and paper or a spreadsheet schedule template. One that will make your managers‘ lives easier.
And you want scheduling software that delights your employees too. One that will allow them to take control of their work life. With a free mobile app where they can receive shift reminder push notifications , message the team, or trade shifts. An app like Homebase.

 

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