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Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Business (Q1 2024)

Our guide to the best employee scheduling software is the product of extensive research conducted by our HR experts coupled with external insights from across the industry. Find pricing, pros & cons, best practices and more below.

Phil Strazzulla
Written by
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
Contributing Experts
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Last Updated: Dec 13, 2023
TOP
Great fit for SMBs
Homebase
4.6
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Great fit for SMBs
Homebase
4.6
Popularity Score
4.6
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
Refined features + affordable price
When I Work
4.1
Popularity Score
4.4
User Score
4.2
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
Refined features + affordable price
When I Work
4.1
Popularity Score
4.4
User Score
4.2
Product  Score
Learn More
TOP
AI-driven schedule optimization
Deputy
4.6
Popularity Score
4.5
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Visit Website
TOP
AI-driven schedule optimization
Deputy
4.6
Popularity Score
4.5
User Score
4.7
Product  Score
Learn More
Over 3 million HR leaders trust our advice

Introduction to SMB Employee Scheduling Software

The best employee scheduling software solutions help organizations plan their labor needs, assign jobs to the right employees, and ensure that the total available working hours are being optimally utilized.

We spent hours researching, evaluating, and comparing the best employee scheduling software for small businesses.

Our focus has been the same as if we were in your shoes, on the market for an employee scheduling tool. We looked at their features, user experience, and main strengths and weaknesses.

However, finding the most suitable employee scheduling tool for your business is as much about understanding your business as it is about the product. Depending on how you’re set up, ‘the best’ product will vary.

For that reason, we’ve tried to put together a list with sufficient variety in industries, types of tech, and pricing styles. That being said, all of these are good bets for businesses with less than 1,500 employees. 

Sounds good? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at each tool’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

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Homebase

: Great fit for SMBs

When I Work

: Refined features + affordable price

Deputy

: AI-driven schedule optimization

Shiftboard

: Great for manufacturing + production SMBS

7shifts

: Fully-featured and simple

ScheduleBase

: Simple features for ease of use

QuickBooks Time

: 360° platform streamlines processes

OpenSimSim

: Free features + great options for SMBs

Humanity

: Flexible + versatile for multiple industries

Calendly

: Great UI + schedule visibility

Our Criteria: Here's How We Chose The Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

To find the ideal employee scheduling software tools for small businesses, we conducted an exhaustive evaluation of over 30 products. We carefully considered numerous factors, including what we believe are four key criteria for these products: ease of use, customization, pricing, and integrations with payroll tools.

Our editorial team, consisting of seasoned HR professionals guided by insights from industry leaders, spearheaded the research. Additionally, we collected valuable data through hands-on user research.

  • Ease of Use: Small businesses often need more time and resources for extensive software training. Therefore, we prioritized employee scheduling software that boasts user-friendly interfaces and intuitive navigation.
  • Customization: We focused on scheduling solutions that provide a high degree of customization. Our selections offer flexible shift templates, customizable scheduling rules, and the ability to cater to different workforce arrangements, such as part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees.
  • Pricing: The selected solutions offer subscription plans suitable for SMB budgets, with pricing tiers based on the number of employees or schedule complexity. Additionally, we highlight software that provides free trial periods or freemium versions.
  • Integrations with Payroll Tools: We sought out software options that seamlessly integrate with popular payroll systems, accounting software, and HR platforms. These integrations facilitate seamless data transfer, reducing manual work and minimizing the risk of errors.

For more insights into our comprehensive evaluation process and to explore our selection of the best HR tech, we invite you to read our piece on how we select the best HR tech.

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Compare the Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

Popularity Score
Best for
Key Differentiator
Pricing
Free Trial
Customers
Users Score
Product Score

Homebase

Most Popular
4.6
$14/mo/user
Yes
400+ companies
4.6
4.7

When I Work

Most Popular
4.1
4.4
4.2

Deputy

Most Popular
4.6
4.5
4.7

Shiftboard

Most Popular
4.5
3.5
4.2

7shifts

Most Popular
4.6
4.6
4.8

ScheduleBase

Most Popular
4.0
4.2
4.1

QuickBooks Time

Most Popular
4.0
4.6
4.2

OpenSimSim

Most Popular
4.0
4.5
4.1

Humanity

Most Popular
4.6
4.3
4.6

Calendly

Most Popular
4.1
Starts at $8/seat/mo
Yes
100,000+ companies
4.6
4.5
Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast

Need Help? Get Custom Recommendations for Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

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Detailed Reviews of the Best SMB Employee Scheduling Software

Homebase

Visit Website
Homebase
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.7 / 5

Why we picked Homebase

There’s a lot to like about Homebase. Its central scheduling interface is its biggest strength, which gives employers and employees a clear view of the company-wide schedule. We also love the fact that it offers a free version which is sufficient for most small businesses.

PROS

  • Provides a fully integrated employee scheduling system with separate interfaces for managers and employees.
  • Instant messaging feature to directly communicate with team members and make schedule changes on the go.
  • Makes requesting time off a breeze.
  • Allows you to create schedule templates.
  • Has desktop, android, and iPhone applications.
  • Separate dashboards for managers and employees
  • Real-time communication features allow for schedule changes on the move
  • Requesting and approving paid time off is easy
  • Great scheduling templates help managers streamline work

CONS

  • It doesn’t have the most intuitive user interface, making it hard to navigate the product.
  • Offers limited third-party integrations
  • The tool offers very little room for customization
  • Limited third-party integration support
  • Additional features are somewhat expensive

Homebase Review

Homebase is among the best employee scheduling applications with thousands of customers worldwide. It provides organizations with an integrated system to manage their team’s schedule and instantly notify the relevant employees of any changes.

Its mobile apps allow employees to access their schedule on the go, coordinate with team members, and stay updated on any changes.

Similarly, it allows managers to assign work shifts and instantly notify employees of their schedules. 

Try Homebase For Free

Homebase Customers

Homebase Pricing

Homebase offers the following subscription plans (billed annually)

  • Basic - Free
  • Essentials - $14/month per location [most suitable plans for employee scheduling features]
  • Plus - $35/month per location
  • All-in-one - $70/month per location

Best For

Homebase in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

You can use it on a website or an app. Overall, it is the same technique on the website or app. You sign into your company schedule and find your name. Once you find your name, you can click on start shift. When you want to take a break, there is an option for that too. Then you can log back in to end your shift.

What do you like about this tool?

It makes it easy to sign in anywhere. It is easy to track how many hours you worked. It is easy to guide through the website/app.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

I used Homebase for about 3 years. One of the main reasons our company bought Homebase was because everyone kept forgetting to clock-in through a machine at work so our company wanted to make clock-ins more convenient. I liked it when we transitioned to it, we were able to clock-in whether we were in office or remote. It helped track everyone's work time accurately. It also sent in our hours to payroll according to the scheduled pay time.

What do you dislike about this tool?

Sometimes people still forget to clock in with the app. When I used it about 2 years ago, I wish it sent us notifications to remind us to clock-in or out. The platform does go down sometimes.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

I like Homebase because it is made for everyone to use. It is extremely easy to navigate Homebase.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

I have more pros than cons for Homebase. I highly suggest the platform. It is organized and easy to navigate.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

It is easier for managers or bosses to manage employee hours through the dashboard. It has more visibility on who is on time and who is late.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Medical offices, small organizations, remote workers

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Huge corporate offices with over 200+ employees

When I Work

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When I Work
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.4 / 5
Product Score
4.2 / 5

Why we picked When I Work

When I Work is ideal for small businesses with limited budgets looking for a robust employee scheduling application. It’s not loaded with unnecessary features like many other HR tools but delivers excellent employee scheduling and time tracking capabilities.

PROS

  • Easy shift scheduling for managers and employees.
  • Global organization view of all employees.
  • Minimizes absences and no-shows through shift confirmation messages and seen receipts.
  • Allows managers to decide how much control employees get

CONS

  • No way to track paid time off
  • Limited reporting data
  • Technical and user-experience issues with the mobile app

When I Work Review

When I Work is a robust employee scheduling tool ideal for small businesses. It gives employers a bird’s eye view of their team’s work schedule and allows them to make changes on the go. It also empowers employees and makes their off-time more enjoyable by giving them control over their schedule and saving them from unplanned work.

When I Work Customers

When I Work Pricing

When I Work offers the following subscription plans.

  • Small Business - $2/user per month
  • Enterprise - Custom quote

The Small Business plan comes with a 14-day trial, while Enterprise users can schedule a Demo before purchase.

Best For

  • It gives employers the company-wide schedule dashboard simplifying decision making and saving countless hours.
  • Allows users to track their work hours and update schedules anytime.
  • Enables instant communication between employees and managers to improve coordination and minimize confusion.
When I Work in action
No items found.

Deputy

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Deputy
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Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.5 / 5
Product Score
4.7 / 5

Why we picked Deputy

Deputy makes employee scheduling a breeze. But what makes it different from other employee scheduling software is its AI capabilities. It does the heavy lifting for you by developing optimized employee schedules for departments, teams, or individual employees based on their workload and availability.

PROS

  • Quickly create optimized employee schedules with AI assistance.
  • Easily find replacements when an employee doesn’t show up.
  • Accurately track breaks and unproductive time.
  • Easily integrates with Google Calendar and other workforce management and scheduling apps.
  • Create AI optimized employee schedules
  • Eliminate no-shows with quick replacements
  • Track unproductive time and breaks with precision

CONS

  • Very limited reporting and analytics
  • Average customer support in case of technical problems
  • It has a complex user interface that makes editing shifts, and employee schedules unnecessarily complicated.
  • Limited reporting functionality
  • Once published, upcoming schedules can’t be changed

Deputy Review

Deputy’s AI-powered employee scheduling features make it an ideal solution for busy small business owners. It takes the hassle out of employee scheduling by providing up-to-date workforce engagement details to managers and allowing employees to access their schedules online.

Deputy Customers

Deputy Pricing

Deputy offers a full-featured free trial of up t0 31 days. After that, you can sign up for one of its paid plans.

Scheduling - $2.5/user per month (billed annually)

Premium - $4.5/user per month (billed annually) 

The Premium plan includes scheduling and time & attendance features.

Best For

  • Simplifies team communication and workload planning a breeze.
  • It helps you identify underutilized and overburdened employees.
  • Replaces spreadsheets and other manual work management methods with real-time dashboards.
Deputy in action
Reviewer's Rating
3/10

We use Deputy to schedule 24/7 global operations with three shifts staffed with team members in multiple time zones. We have two managers who approve work hours and time off for 42 team members. The managers can view team members' availability and shift preferences, and they can see on the upcoming weeks' schedules who will be out based on approved time off requests. Managers can also see, based on each team member's hourly and overtime rates, how much labor cost a schedule will incur. The tool is also used to determine how many additional staff are needed.

What do you like about this tool?

I appreciate that it has all of the functionality you would expect from a scheduling system for a very reasonable price. As an admin, I like that I can see who is out on leave, any pending time off requests, and who is running late all at a glance. It also has a few additional features that you would not expect that are nice, such as announcing birthdays and anniversaries.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We purchased Deputy in December 2020 and are still using it for our global hourly team members. We needed to be able to have a scheduling application that worked with different shifts and time zones. Additionally, we needed it to integrate with BambooHR, since BambooHR does not have its own native scheduling application. The integration we needed was one that would push approved work time and paid time off over to BambooHR to be included in the US payroll. Other considerations included needing to allow shift swapping and needing to have different time off types for different groups of employees.

What do you dislike about this tool?

I highly dislike the fact that they do not seem to prioritize maintaining their integration with BambooHR. We've put in multiple help tickets over the course of more than a year trying to get the sync issues resolved, and it always goes nowhere. The reason this is a big deal is that people's approved hours and time off requests and balances are not being pushed over to the HR/Payroll system. This creates confusion for employees and has even resulted in people not being paid correctly more than once. So we no longer even bother relying on the integration and just assume it won't work properly and enter everything manually. The poor customer support on this issue combined with the lack of resolution is why we are actively evaluating alternative solutions.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Deputy has more functionality and customization than a solution like WhenIWork, and it's more likely to comply with timekeeping requirements for employees than something like Toggl which is designed for contractors. Deputy does not allow you to manage occurrences and warnings based on your company's time and attendance policy like TeamSense.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

Make sure you consider the type of workforce and what wage and hour laws apply to them, including recordkeeping requirements, overtime criteria, maximum workweek, etc. Confirm that the system you're going to purchase is capable of complying with the requirements. Make sure the system you purchase will play nice with your other tools and is not redundant. Solicit feedback and gain buy-in from key stakeholders like supervisors/managers, IT, and Accounting before selecting a system.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Honestly, it seems to function the same as it did 2+ years ago. And the customer service has not gotten any better.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

It works best for small to mid-sized organizations with compatible payroll systems.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Anyone who also uses BambooHR for HR and Payroll might have issues. Very large organizations might need something with more bulk action options, protected leave management, and corrective action warnings.

Shiftboard

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Shiftboard
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.5 / 5
User Score
3.5 / 5
Product Score
4.2 / 5

Why we picked Shiftboard

ShiftBoard is ideal for large production-centric organizations looking to effectively schedule shifts and optimize labor costs. It makes life much easier for shift managers by giving employees access to their schedules and the option to trade hours.

PROS

  • Offers two different products for production-centric companies and service providers.
  • It’s a sophisticated employee scheduling solution that links directly with production plans, HR software, account, etc., to provide 360-degree resource management.
  • It reduces absences and missed shifts resulting in lower labor costs and optimized production planning.

CONS

  • Offers limited functionality to accommodate project-based employees.
  • The user interface is clunky and hard to navigate.
  • It has a learning curve due to its complex options.

Shiftboard Review

Shiftboard is a robust employee scheduling platform that offers significantly more features and functions than the other software in this list. This is why 60,000+ manufacturing and service-oriented companies use it for employee scheduling. 

But it isn’t very customizable and lacks several key features for small businesses and companies that operate with contractual employees.

Shiftboard Customers

Shiftboard Pricing

ShiftBoard offers two different scheduling products for manufacturing and service-oriented organizations.

ScheduleFlex Pricing (Service Industry)

Basic - $3/month per user

Professional - $6/month per user (ideal for growing companies)

Enterprise - Custom Quote.

SchedulePro Pricing (Manufacturing Industry)

Enterprise and Enterprise Plus plans - Custom quotes

You can schedule a free demo of SchedulePro and ScheduleFlex from their respective pricing pages.

Best For

  • Improves employee motivation and productivity by helping companies minimize overtime and unplanned shifts.
  • Allows organizations to manage employees at multiple production facilities from a central dashboard.
  • Minimizes communication gaps in large companies through group announcements and one-on-one chats.
Shiftboard in action
No items found.

7shifts

Visit Website
7shifts
Learn More
Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.8 / 5

Why we picked 7shifts

7Shifts provides a wide range of scheduling features under one hood. They stand out for their AI-powered auto-scheduler, in-app messaging, time tracking, and even a basic ATS. Few software products that apply to the restaurant business combine many such functions.

PROS

  • This software has a lot of integration options, making it easier to streamline aspects of your business like sales. You can, for example, connect to point of sale systems like Square and Toast so you can easily accept credit card and NFC payments as well as inventory and financing.
  • A fully-featured software that helps you manage team schedules, timesheets, tasks, communications, and much more, within a mobile-friendly platform.
  • Their free plan features basic scheduling and ATS functionalities to get your restaurant up and running, and it can accommodate as many as 30 users per location.
  • This software has a lot of integration options, making it easier to streamline aspects of your business like sales. You can, for example, connect to point of sale systems like Square and Toast so you can easily accept credit card and NFC payments as well as inventory and financing.
  • A fully-featured software that helps you manage team schedules, timesheets, tasks, communications, and much more, within a mobile-friendly platform.
  • Their free plan features basic scheduling and ATS functionalities to get your restaurant up and running, and it can accommodate as many as 30 users per location.

CONS

  • The platform’s scheduling can be a drag for teams with global remote workers because the shifts are only scheduled in CST timezone.
  • The system, sometimes, does not synchronize employee’s mobile shift data with admin data. So shifts could be created and published on the manager’s end and the employees might not receive it.
  • Doesn’t allow you to edit schedules before publishing. If a mistake is made, the schedule will have to be deleted and created again.
  • The platform’s scheduling can be a drag for teams with global remote workers because the shifts are only scheduled in CST timezone.
  • The system, sometimes, does not synchronize employee’s mobile shift data with admin data. So shifts could be created and published on the manager’s end and the employees might not receive it.
  • Doesn’t allow you to edit schedules before publishing. If a mistake is made, the schedule will have to be deleted and created again.

7shifts Review

7Shifts was built specifically to be a human resources software for the restaurant industry, offering a wide range of functionality including employee scheduling, time clocking, labor compliance, and team communication.

Although this software has a lot of moving parts, they all synchronize to streamline restaurant operations. Additionally, the software offers innovative tools like an AI-powered auto-scheduler and templates, to help managers keep up with the fast-paced nature of restaurant HR management.

7shifts Customers

Sambo’s, The Chopped Leaf, Andy’s Frozen Custard, National Coney Island.

7shifts Pricing

7Shifts has four plans available, three with fixed pricing and one with customized pricing. Add-ons are also available for separate purchases. Here are the main plans:

  • Comp: Free plan with basic scheduling and ATS features. It supports only 30 users per location.
  • Entree: $34.99 per location per month, but you can save about 10% if you pay annually. It is a little upgrade from the comp plan with additional reporting and budgeting features. It also supports a max of 30 employees per location.
  • The Works: This plan costs $76.99 per location per month ($69.99 when billed annually). It offers all 7Shifts features to give you an all-in-one restaurant team management platform.
  • Gourmet: The Gourmet plan is their custom plan. What separates this plan for the previous ones is that it comes with a dedicated account manager.

As for the add-ons, these are priced as follows:

  • Task management: $12.99/location/month
  • Tip pooling: $24.99/location/month
  • Operations overview: $6.99/location/month
  • Manager logbook: $14.99/location/month

Best For

7Shifts is a great choice for restaurants that want a little bit of human resource management together with the scheduling.

7shifts in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10
  • As someone who uses 7shifts regularly, I can say that it has become an essential tool for managing our scheduling and time-tracking processes. I use it on a daily basis to create and manage employee schedules, approve time-off requests, and communicate with our team.
  • One of the key workflows that I use 7shifts for is creating schedules. With the ability to customize our scheduling rules and preferences, I can easily create schedules that are optimized for our needs. I can quickly add or remove shifts, assign employees to specific shifts, and communicate any changes to our team.
  • Another workflow that I use 7shifts for is managing time-off requests. Employees can submit time-off requests through the app, and I can easily approve or deny them. I can also set up rules for time-off requests, such as requiring a certain amount of notice or limiting the number of employees who can be off at the same time.
  • I also use 7shifts for time tracking, which has streamlined our payroll processes. I can easily view and export timesheets, and the system automatically calculates overtime and other labor law requirements.
  • Overall, I use 7shifts on a daily basis to manage our scheduling and time-tracking processes, and it has been an essential tool for improving our operations and communication with our team.
What do you like about this tool?

I can tell you that there are several things that I really like about the software. Here are a few of the main pros:

1. Ease of use: 7shifts is very intuitive and easy to use, even for someone who is not tech-savvy. The interface is clean and simple, and the features are well-organized and easy to access.

2. Flexibility: 7shifts is highly customizable, which has been great for us as we have a large and varied workforce. We can set up our scheduling rules and preferences, and the system automatically generates optimal schedules based on our needs.

3. Communication: 7shifts has greatly improved our communication with our team. We can easily send messages and announcements to our employees through the app, and they can quickly and easily request time off or shift swaps. This has helped to reduce conflicts and improve morale among our team.

Overall, I have found 7shifts to be a great solution for managing our scheduling and time-tracking processes. The ease of use, flexibility, and communication features has been particularly helpful, and I would highly recommend it to other organizations.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

Our organization purchased 7shifts in order to streamline our scheduling and time tracking processes. Prior to using 7shifts, we were using a combination of spreadsheets and paper schedules, which was time-consuming and often led to errors or conflicts. We were looking for a tool that would allow us to easily create and manage schedules, track employee hours, and communicate with our team.

One of the key benefits of using 7shifts has been the ability to quickly and easily create schedules, even for a large and varied workforce. We can customize our scheduling rules and preferences, and the system automatically generates optimal schedules based on our needs. We can also easily communicate with employees through the app, and they can quickly and easily request time off or shift swaps.

Another benefit has been the time tracking feature, which has helped us to track employee hours and ensure compliance with labor laws accurately. We can easily view and export timesheets, which has streamlined our payroll processes.

Overall, we have been using 7shifts for about a month, which has been a game changer for our organization. It has saved us time, reduced errors and conflicts, and improved communication with our team.

What do you dislike about this tool?

There are a few things that I think could be improved about the software. Here are a few cons:

1. Glitches: Like any software, 7shifts occasionally has glitches or bugs. While these are usually resolved quickly, they can be disruptive to our operations when they occur.

2. No GPS tracking: 7shifts does not offer GPS tracking, which can be a downside for organizations with mobile or remote employees who need to track time and location.

3. Mobile app limitations: While the mobile app is useful for checking schedules and communicating with employee’s on-the-go, it can be a bit clunky and slow at times. It would be great to see some improvements in this area.

Overall, while there are a few things that I think could be improved about 7shifts, I still find it to be a great solution for managing our scheduling and time-tracking processes. The pros outweigh the cons for us, and we have been very satisfied with the value we have received from using the software.

How is this tool different than their competitors?
  • In my experience, one thing that sets 7shifts apart from its competitors is its focus on the restaurant industry. While other scheduling and time-tracking software options are more general-purpose, 7shifts is specifically designed to meet the needs of restaurants, with features like shift swapping, time off requests, and menu item tracking.
  • Additionally, I have found that 7shifts has a more user-friendly interface than some of its competitors, which makes it easier to train new employees on how to use the software. The scheduling process is also very intuitive and easy to use, which has helped us to save time and reduce scheduling errors.
  • In terms of similar tools that I have used, I have found that 7shifts compares favorably to other scheduling and time-tracking software options. While there are certainly other good options out there, we have found that 7shifts meets our needs well and provides good value for the cost.
  • Overall, while there are certainly other scheduling and time-tracking software options available, I believe that 7shifts is a strong choice for organizations in the restaurant industry. Its focus on this industry and its user-friendly interface set it apart from some of its competitors, and we have been very satisfied with our experience using the software.
What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

When buying a tool, it's important to consider several key criteria to ensure that you get the best value for your money. One important factor is the tool's quality and durability, which can affect its lifespan and how well it performs. Another important factor is its functionality and features, which should align with your needs and intended use. It's also important to consider the price and your budget, as well as any additional costs such as maintenance or replacement parts. Lastly, you should also look at reviews and feedback from other users to get a sense of the tool's performance and reliability.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

As we have just started using the tool, I cannot provide much information on this.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

7shifts is a great tool for businesses in the food and hospitality industry, such as restaurants, cafes, and bars. It's designed to help managers and employees streamline their scheduling processes, track labor costs, and manage time-off requests, which are all important aspects of managing a successful restaurant or hospitality operation. Additionally, 7shifts has several features that are tailored to the unique needs of these types of businesses, such as shift swapping, automatic scheduling, and integrations with popular POS systems. Overall, if you're running a food or hospitality business and need a reliable tool to help manage your scheduling and labor costs, 7shifts is definitely worth considering.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

7shifts may not be the best fit for businesses outside of the food and hospitality industry, as its features and functionality are specifically tailored to the unique needs of these types of businesses. For example, if you run a retail store or a manufacturing operation, you may not need some of the scheduling and labor management features that 7shifts offers. Additionally, if your business operates on a significantly different schedule, such as 24/7 or with rotating shifts, you may find that 7shifts is not flexible enough to accommodate your needs.

ScheduleBase

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ScheduleBase
Learn More
Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.2 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked ScheduleBase

ScheduleBase does what it promises - simplifying employee scheduling. Its limited features make it an easy-to-use product for field staff and employers looking for a straightforward employee scheduling tool.

PROS

  • ScheduleBase is an easy-to-use tool that takes users straight to employee scheduling without overwhelming them with features.
  • It can be easily accessed from its website and mobile applications (iPhone and Android).
  • It offers a generous free trial of 30 days during which you can test all its features.
  • Automatically sends email and SMS alerts to employees when the employer modifies their schedules.
  • ScheduleBase is an easy-to-use tool that takes users straight to employee scheduling without overwhelming them with features.
  • It can be easily accessed from its website and mobile applications (iPhone and Android).
  • It offers a generous free trial of 30 days during which you can test all its features.
  • Automatically sends email and SMS alerts to employees when the employer modifies their schedules.

CONS

  • ScheduleBase comes with very limited features and is only suitable for companies looking for basic employee software.
  • It does not offer any third-party software integrations, which means you can’t connect it with your payroll or HR solutions.
  • It has an outdated user interface that isn’t visually appealing and lacks the drag & drop functionalities that most modern employee scheduling tools offer these days.
  • ScheduleBase comes with very limited features and is only suitable for companies looking for basic employee software.
  • It does not offer any third-party software integrations, which means you can’t connect it with your payroll or HR solutions.
  • It has an outdated user interface that isn’t visually appealing and lacks the drag & drop functionalities that most modern employee scheduling tools offer these days.

ScheduleBase Review

ScheduleBase has all the basic employee scheduling features that allow you to effectively create and manage your team’s schedules online. It provides you with an easy-to-use employee scheduler and instantly notifies your team of any changes to their shifts. However, you can’t call it an advanced tool since it lacks many additional features such as group chats, time tracking, etc., that the more expensive scheduling tools offer.

ScheduleBase Customers

Subway, Orange Leaf, GoRun Wichita, Holiday Inn Express, Bell Bank, Randy’s Hardware

ScheduleBase Pricing

ScheduleBase has a straightforward pricing structure based on the number of users associated with a company account. You can start as low as $10/month for up to 20 users. If you’re unsure about getting a paid plan, ScheduleBase offers a full-featured one-month free trial to help you decide if the platform is right for your business.

Here are the different pricing ScheduleBase pricing slabs based on the number of users.

Total PeopleTotal Cost Per Month
1-20$10
21-50$25
51-100$50
101-150$75
151-200$100
201-300$150
301-500$250

Best For

ScheduleBase is a versatile employee scheduling tool suitable for diverse industries, especially small to medium-sized businesses with shift-based teams like restaurants, call centers, retailers, and construction companies spanning multiple locations.

ScheduleBase in action
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QuickBooks Time

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QuickBooks Time
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.2 / 5

Why we picked QuickBooks Time

QuickBooks Time isn’t the most robust product on this list. But the overall feature package that comes with QuickBooks makes it worth using. It provides you a 360 solution for employee scheduling, time tracking, and costing, which saves you countless hours and a significant amount of money in the long run.

PROS

  • Increases profitability with integrated time-tracking and employee scheduling features.
  • It makes scheduling simpler by highlighting work windows and available employees.
  • Provides accurate labor costing thanks to time-tracking, scheduling, and accounting features.
  • This product offers promotions and discounts (up to 50%) from time to time.
  • Their customer service is personalized. You get to reach them by scheduling a call and customers have commended the courteous, tailored responses to issues they have.
  • Consolidated clock in/clock out system for central work locations.

CONS

  • Not very user-friendly
  • Limited customizations
  • No features for scheduling sub-contractors
  • The GPS technology is slow to catch up on current locations at times. Instead of live updates, the software shows the employee’s previous locations.
  • While their customer support is very helpful, they don’t provide many options for you to contact them. You can only schedule a call.

QuickBooks Time Review

QuickBooks is a global leader in accounting and HR software. QuickBooks Time is a part of its ecosystem and provides employers with time tracking and employee scheduling features. It isn’t as impressive as some of the other apps in this article. But the overall QuickBooks feature range enhances its employee scheduling capabilities and links it directly to your payroll software and HR systems resulting in more accurate costing and streamlined operations.

QuickBooks Time Customers

QuickBooks Time Pricing

QuickBooks Time offers two subscription plans

Premium - $8/user per month + $20 base fee/month

Elite - $10/user per month

Both plans come with a 30-day free trial

Best For

  • Helps in creating employee schedules and tracking employee activities in the same tool.
  • Replaces the manual work in employee scheduling with a fully automated system with real-time shit tracking.
  • Streamlines communication through notifications and email alerts.
QuickBooks Time in action
Reviewer's Rating
9/10

We use quickbooks time to track the productivity of our internal team members. We are no longer using it, since we are currently testing out another time management software. We use it to determine the amount of time our support team members are spending on shifts since there are constant changes in the schedule and a need for last minute coverage.

What do you like about this tool?
  • It provides many features that are helpful for managing a team
  • It synchronizes well with other QuickBooks applications
  • The reports are actionable

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We needed a more effective way of tracking team members' time than using a regular spreadsheet. We have tried other QuickBooks services in the past and thought that QuickBooks time could be a good solution. We have been using it since October, and it has been pretty effective so far. It allows us to keep a comprehensive overview of the productivity of our internal team members. I have personally used the software for about 4 years now with different companies.

What do you dislike about this tool?
  • The interface is not intuitive
  • Windows and sub-windows have a strange scroll/ view
  • The time off notifications can be confusing

How is this tool different than their competitors?

Quickbooks-time is a well built product that rarely has failures. It's my recommendation for a reliable product however it's best if you are used to the Intuit ecosystem.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?

People should think about the number of team members that would be using the tool and how easy they could adapt to the software to use it effectively. If the team does not easily adopt software then it may not be the best for you.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

It has had adjustments in it's performance and it also provided more features that provide advanced tracking capabilities and the reporting capabilities have significantly improved.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

It would be very good for an organization that has users that are already used to the Intuit ecosystem since it functions similar to other QuickBook products.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

It would not be good for a team that has a hard time adopting new technology since they wouldn't properly utilize it and then the management would get incomplete or inaccurate data.

OpenSimSim

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OpenSimSim
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Popularity Score
4 / 5
User Score
4.5 / 5
Product Score
4.1 / 5

Why we picked OpenSimSim

SocialSchedules by OpenSimSim covers most (if not all) of the core features you need in a modern scheduling software tool: from scheduling to time off management, shift replacements, and in-app messaging. It even offers a free feature-rich plan for up to 10 employees.

PROS

  • SocialSchedules is easier to use than other employee scheduling tools thanks to its drag & drop user interface and excellent user experience.
  • Generous free plan with all core features: scheduling, in-app messaging, availability management, and time off requests.
  • You can try all features in the premium plan for free for 14 days.
  • The knowledge base provides in-depth help content.
  • Includes time tracking, recruitment, and sales management modules to provide a fully integrated one-stop HR management solution.
  • Unlimited chat history means your group chats can become a secondary knowledge base for your team to quickly refer to and find previously discussed information.

Easier to use compared to other employee scheduling tools thanks to its drag & drop user interface and excellent user experience.

  • Offers a generous free plan, ideal for small teams, which includes all its core features with unlimited usage.
  • Includes time tracking, recruitment, and sales management modules to provide a fully integrated one-stop HR management solution.
  • Offers unlimited chat history which means your group chats can become a secondary knowledge base for your team to quickly refer to and find previously discussed information.

CONS

  • The free plan is available for up to 10 scheduled workers. It also stores data for 28 days.
  • Dedicated customer support, SLAs, API access, and custom reports are only available for the highest-tier plan.
  • No features for auto-scheduling and labor cost forecasting.
  • It can be quite confusing to see two websites: one with the former name Opensimsim and the other with the newly branded one SocialSchedules, co-exist separately.
  • The iOS app hasn't been updated since Oct 2022, while the Android app gets several negative reviews for lacking certain features compared to the web version.
  • Its knowledge base has in-depth help content, but its customer support is limited to Enterprise users.

OpenSimSim Review

There’s a lot to like about SocialSchedules’ employee scheduling capabilities. It offers an easy (drag & drop scheduling features) and inexpensive way (the free plan with all core scheduling features) to schedule shifts and keep track of your employees.

We like how simple it is to navigate the platform from managers’ perspectives. Upon sign-up, we got a virtual tour guide that walked us through the platform briefly, a help center with more details on how a feature works, and chat support in the right corner of the dashboard to get help when needed. As soon as we sent a schedule, assigned a new task, or updated shifts related to them, stakeholders got updated instantly. The platform gave us a bird’s-eye view of the team’s daily and weekly schedules, with individuals’ workloads and availability in different color codes. For the monthly view, we needed to switch to time cards. In the time cards section, you can also filter what you want to see by departments, positions, workers, and shift status. It simply worked well. However, filtering by status is locked for free users. Only paid users can access it, along with other cool features, such as advanced time tracking, certification tracking, and compliance.

Besides evaluating it from a manager’s perspective, we enjoyed testing the platform out as an employee too. Through SocialSchedules, we could see our assigned weekly schedule and the countdown until our next shift began. The ability to request time off and leave a note on reasons for the request was also a nice touch for both managers and employees. Our favorite feature was native messaging: we could contact managers and team members privately or via a group chat within the app. The only downside experienced was the mobile app. It underperformed compared to the platform version.

SocialSchedules integrations include Point of Sale Systems (POS) and payroll applications such as Heartland, ADP Workforce Now, and Square POS. However, POS integrations are only available for paid users. Custom API is also limited to the highest-priced plan.

OpenSimSim Customers

OpenSimSim Pricing

SocialSchedules offers three different subscription plans along with a generous free plan that includes all the core product features for one location, one department, and up to 10 workers. Following is a summary of its paid plans when billed annually:

  • ‍Starter: $12.99 per month per location, 2 departments per location. Features include unlimited workers, shift confirmations, block time off on dates, overtime (daily/weekly), overtime report, and manager logbooks.
  • Premium: $33.99 per month per location and comes with 5 departments per location, cloud storage (7 years), mobile time clock, POS integrations, certification management, auto break allocation, and advanced reporting.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing. The plan includes unlimited locations, departments, cloud storage (7 years), dedicated support contact, negotiated pricing, custom API integration, custom reports, and custom features.

Best For

SocialSchedules’ generous free plan makes it ideal for teams with 10 employees or fewer, whereas their paid plans with tools for compliance, certifications tracking, and labor budgeting make it a solid option for hospitality and service businesses.

OpenSimSim in action
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Humanity

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Humanity
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Popularity Score
4.6 / 5
User Score
4.3 / 5
Product Score
4.6 / 5

Why we picked Humanity

Humanity is a very flexible employee scheduling tool that companies in diverse industries can use to simplify their shift management and employee coordination. Its biggest strength is that it offers multiple types of scheduling depending on an employer's needs. For example, companies can create flexible shifts for peak and low-demand hours.

PROS

  • It accelerates the employee scheduling process through predictive technology, AI tools, and templates.
  • Offers an excellent user interface to employees for time-off requests, schedule changes, and communication with managers.
  • Significantly reduces overtime costs by timely identifying relevant employees, accurate costs calculations, and schedule optimization.

CONS

  • Schedule builder doesn’t automatically adjust time zones.
  • No way to prioritize shifts.
  • Employee leave changes are not automatically incorporated into the schedule.

Humanity Review

Humanity is a leading employee scheduling software that allows shift-based employees to know exactly where they have to be and when. It empowers employees by giving them access to their weekly and monthly shift schedules, allowing them to trade shifts, submit time-offs, and communicate with their line managers instantly.

Similarly, it provides employers a one-stop solution to easily manage their employee schedule, assign resources, identify understaffed shifts, and take corrective actions on the go. In addition, it provides employers with the data and insights to take accurate recruitment decisions based on the demand-supply gap in a given shift. 

It is ideal for service-oriented companies in healthcare, pharmaceutical, retail, and household services.

Humanity Customers

Humanity Pricing

Humanity offers three different subscription plans for small, medium, and enterprise businesses. But users need to contact its sales team to learn more about pricing.

All plans come with a 30-day free trial.

Best For

  • Facilitates better decision making with multiple resource views
  • Enables smooth communication without revealing the staff’s contact numbers to everyone.
  • Simplifies schedule management, time-off requests, and shift exchanges between employees.
Humanity in action
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Calendly

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Calendly
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Popularity Score
4.1 / 5
User Score
4.6 / 5
Product Score
4.5 / 5

Why we picked Calendly

Calendly differentiates itself through a user-friendly interface, sleek design, and exceptional time-saving capabilities. Notably, it offers a rare indefinite free plan, setting it apart in the scheduling tool arena.

PROS

  • Calendly’s simplicity is its biggest pro. It has an elegant user interface, it's very easy to navigate, it promptly gets the task done, and connects seamlessly with other applications.
  • The reduction in back-and-forth emails. Your invitees can book a meeting slot, without reaching out to you multiple times. Calendly automatically sends them a confirmation and they can reschedule or cancel on their own. It’s even better for virtual meetings because once your invitees schedule a meeting with you, Calendly will automatically generate a meeting link based on your preferred video conferencing tool. 
  • The ability to set your own rules so that you can get complete control over your availability preferences. For example, you can decide how long a particular kind of meeting should be, buffer time between meetings, how many appointments can be booked per day, etc. 
  • Calendly seamlessly integrates with popular calendar and mailing tools. Meetings are automatically reflected on your personal calendar and video conferencing links with tools like Zoom or Google Meet are generated without any extra steps.
  • Provides a bird’s eye view of your team’s availability for meetups and events.
  • Calendly’s simplicity is its biggest pro. It has an elegant user interface, it's very easy to navigate, it promptly gets the task done, and connects seamlessly with other applications.
  • The reduction in back-and-forth emails. Your invitees can book a meeting slot, without reaching out to you multiple times. Calendly automatically sends them a confirmation and they can reschedule or cancel on their own. It’s even better for virtual meetings because once your invitees schedule a meeting with you, Calendly will automatically generate a meeting link based on your preferred video conferencing tool. 
  • The ability to set your own rules so that you can get complete control over your availability preferences. For example, you can decide how long a particular kind of meeting should be, buffer time between meetings, how many appointments can be booked per day, etc. 
  • Calendly seamlessly integrates with popular calendar and mailing tools. Meetings are automatically reflected on your personal calendar and video conferencing links with tools like Zoom or Google Meet are generated without any extra steps.

CONS

  • Doesn’t provide shift management features.
  • Besides branding and the ability to choose different colors, Calendly does not offer a lot of options for customizations. This could be frustrating for users who want to embed Calendly in their website without making it seem like a completely different component. 
  • Calendly is not very mobile-friendly. You can’t perform all the functions on the mobile version. 
  • The payment collecting feature is not available in all currencies. Your invitees can only pay in ​​the United States Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Pound Sterling (GBP), and Euro (EUR). 
  • You’ll be severely limited in terms of features if you choose the free plan or the cheaper ones. According to Craig, a Customer Success Manager at a small business, “All advanced functionality is locked behind higher subscription levels – We have the Professional level so that we can set up a team, but they locked the most obvious and useful meeting type for teams behind yet another upgrade to the sub level.”
  • Besides branding and the ability to choose different colors, Calendly does not offer a lot of options for customizations. This could be frustrating for users who want to embed Calendly in their website without making it seem like a completely different component. 
  • Calendly is not very mobile-friendly. You can’t perform all the functions on the mobile version. 
  • The payment collecting feature is not available in all currencies. Your invitees can only pay in ​​the United States Dollar (USD), Australian Dollar (AUD), Canadian Dollar (CAD), Pound Sterling (GBP), and Euro (EUR). 
  • You’ll be severely limited in terms of features if you choose the free plan or the cheaper ones. According to Craig, a Customer Success Manager at a small business, “All advanced functionality is locked behind higher subscription levels – We have the Professional level so that we can set up a team, but they locked the most obvious and useful meeting type for teams behind yet another upgrade to the sub level.”

Calendly Review

Calendly is a modern meeting scheduling platform designed for entrepreneurs, consultants, service-oriented companies, and businesses that frequently conduct meetings across time zones.

Businesses looking for an affordable solution can use it as a makeshift tool for assigning work slots to in-house and remote employees.

However, it isn’t an employee scheduling platform for managing shifts, employee communication, shift trading, or leave management.

Calendly Customers

Calendly has many big names in their customer base, such as eBay, Compass, Lyft, Dropbox, La-Z-Boy, Twilio, and Stack Overflow.

Calendly Pricing

Calendly has five pricing plans that can be billed either monthly or annually. If you choose the latter, you’ll save 20%. Below are the prices you’ll pay per month per user, if you choose to get billed annually. 

  • Basic Plan: This is completely free of cost. However, as the name suggests, you’ll only have limited features to use. 
  • Essentials Plan: This plan costs $8 and is suitable when you need scheduling automation.
  • Professional Plan: This plan costs $12 and is their most popular plan. Use it if you need customizations, integrations, and basic team features. 
  • Teams Plan: This plan costs $16 and is useful for teams that rely on collaboration and need to align on a scheduling process. 
  • Enterprise Plan: This plan has custom pricing and is suitable for teams with 30+ members and advanced needs. You’ll have to contact their sales team to get pricing.

All the paid plans come with a 14-day trial, at the end of which, you’ll automatically be downgraded to the free plan. They also offer special pricing for non-profit organizations. You’ll have to reach out to their customer support specialists for details.

Best For

Calendly suits businesses of varying scales seeking an economical and intuitive scheduling solution. Particularly advantageous for solo entrepreneurs and small enterprises, Calendly's inclusion of a free plan caters to individual professionals and modest business setups.

Calendly in action
Reviewer's Rating
10/10

As a Recruiter and Business owner, Calendly has been beneficial in my business and profession. I used it for scheduling interviews with job candidates. I used it to book one-on-one meetings with prospects and clients, allowing me to specify the duration and location of each meeting. I also used it to coordinate events such as training, and coaching session with my mentees. That said, these key workflows, allow me to simplify the scheduling process to save time so I can focus on other important tasks.

What do you like about this tool?

What I like about Calendly is that it eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails. It makes it a simple and easy way for others to book time with me based on my availability. This process helps to schedule more effectively and efficiently thereby saving time and energy.

Why did your organization buy this tool, and how long have you used it for?

We use Calendly as it eliminates the need for back-and-forth emails. It makes it so easy for our candidates, clients, stakeholders, and others to book time with us based on our availability. This can save us a lot of time and energy and make scheduling a more efficient and effective process.

What do you dislike about this tool?

I have been using Calendly since 2018 and so far, I haven't come across anything I don't like about Calendly. That said, I am completely satisfied with Calendly and have no negative feedback to provide.

How is this tool different than their competitors?

What I like about Calendly is that it is user-friendly making it so easy to navigate. It has customizable event types as it allows me to create various types of events and I can customize the details for each type. It has real-time availability. I don't need to check timebuddy.com anymore to ensure that the time and date are accurate as Calendly integrates with my calendar. 

It has email and calendar integrations such as Gmail, Outlook, and Google Calendar too, making it easy to manage my appointments and meetings. Finally, it has an automated email reminder. I don't miss a single meeting since Calendly sends automated email reminders to me.

What Instructions should people think about when buying this type of tool?
  • User-friendly: This is the number priority that each has to consider. A tool that is easy to use and navigate will make your life easier and help you save time and energy.
  • Customizability: The ability to customize events and appointments to meet your specific needs is also crucial.
  • Integration: Look for a tool that integrates with your existing email and calendar tools. This will make it easier to manage your appointments and meetings.
  • Multi-user support: If you are part of a team, it's crucial to find a tool that supports several users and makes it easy for everyone to coordinate their schedules in real time. 
  • Automated email reminders: Run the risk of missed appointments which will definitely affect your reputation as a professional. Automated email reminders can help reduce the risk and keep everyone on track.
  • Pricing: Make sure you understand the pricing structure. Identify if the price is within your range.

By considering these criteria, you can ensure that you choose a scheduling tool that meets your needs and helps you streamline your processes.

How has this tool changed or evolved over time to meet users needs?

Calendly has evolved through time and has added changes and additions. The goal is to ensure customer satisfaction and streamline the process. It has enhanced customization options. They also improved integration options and added a mobile app. 

These are just some of the changes that have evolved and added through time showing their commitment to having a seamless scheduling process.

What specific type of user or organization is this tool very good for?

Calendly is ideal for Freelancers, Small Business Owners, Event Planners, Real Estate Agents, Sales Agents, and the like.

What specific type of user or organization would this tool not be a good fit for?

Large companies

What is Employee Scheduling?

Employee scheduling is the process of managing your employees' total available working hours and scheduling them properly to ensure the continuation of work with optimal productivity.

In easier words, an employee schedule outlines employee working hours across different work shifts so that everyone knows who’s working when.

Why is employee scheduling important?

A well-planned employee schedule means everyone in your workforce knows their working hours. This reduces miscommunication and allows managers and team leads to plan their work with more clarity.

In short, employee scheduling brings transparency to your workplace and leads to a more organized, satisfied, and motivated workforce.

On the contrary, the absence of staff scheduling can result in employees working overtime, losing interest in their jobs, and feeling burned out because of unplanned work and last-minute changes.

Research shows that frequent overtime poses a severe health risk to employees and directly impacts their productivity.

Overworking reduces productivity and increases health risks

This is why it’s crucial for large organizations that operate across shifts to carefully plan their employee schedule and ensure that their workforce performs at the optimal level.

This is where employee scheduling software comes in.

Pro Tips on SMB Employee Scheduling Software

What Is The Best Employee Scheduling Software For Your Business?

We’ve covered some of the world’s highest-ranked and most widely used employee scheduling software in this article.

Most of them offer similar features and benefits. However, they’re all different products with their unique strengths and weaknesses.

Which tool is right for your business depends ultimately on your specific scheduling needs. Since most of these software products offer free trials, free plans, or demos, we recommend using these options before finally choosing a product for your business.

About Us

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