13 Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Businesses [2022]

Phil Strazzulla
HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast
October 7, 2022

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Our Expert Picks: The Best Employee Scheduling Software for SMBs

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OpenSimSim is perhaps the most impressive and robust free employee scheduling software. It provides all the core scheduling features such as messaging, schedule creator, notifications, and group/individual chats free of cost. This makes it an ideal solution for small businesses with limited teams.

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.

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.

Skedulo has all the core employee scheduling features you’ll find in most other competing products. However, it stands out by helping users create employee schedules considering their immediate and long-term business goals. In addition, it allows users to switch views to find the most suitable employees for the right times and the right jobs.

Like Calendly, Calamari is not made for shift management and employee scheduling. But we’ve included it in this list because it’s a cost-effective tool that companies can use for managing worker shifts and availability. In addition, its leave management and time tracking features combine to provide managers a bird’s eye view of their team’s availability which helps avoid miscommunication and plan more accurately.

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.

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.

7Shifts combines an array of functionalities such as their innovative AI-powered auto-scheduler, in-app messaging, applicant tracking, and time tracking all in one restaurant tech platform. This is not the case with the majority of systems in this category.

SageHR’s biggest strength is its comprehensive suite of HR tools. Its employee scheduling feature comes with other tools such as time clock, leave management, and other core HR functions. So, it’s an excellent choice for companies that are not only looking for an employee scheduling app but a complete HR solution.

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.

Calendly stands out from its competitors for its ease of use, slick design, and the amount of time it saves. It’s also one of the few scheduling tools with an indefinite free plan.

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.

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.

13 Best Employee Scheduling Software for Small Businesses [2022]

Phil Strazzulla, HR Tech Expert, Harvard MBA, Software Enthusiast Oct 07, 2022

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.

We spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software so you don’t have to.  We never take money from vendors during our research phase and rely heavily on practitioners and experts to help us recommend the right software.  However we may earn a fee if you click on vendor links on this page.

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Our criteria: How we chose the best vendors

We take our research seriously and want to make sure we are presenting our readers with the very best solutions in a given software category.  Here's how we select vendors to be in our buyer guides:

  • Product: We want to have a deep understanding of a vendor's product before recommending it.  This usually means getting a demo by a senior executive (their CEO, head of product, etc), and/or using the product ourselves to make sure it has a solid UI, intuitive workflows, and the features to make it a best in class offering.
  • User feedback: We do our best to understand what users say when they experience this product.  User input allows us to accomplish a more thorough due diligence of products, put new vendors on our radar, and generally make sure we are presenting the right products to our readers.
  • Financial metrics: We are very much finance nerds and so use a product's retention rates, growth, profitability, and scale to understand whether or not it is truly best in class.
  • Best for a use case: Sometimes the best solution is the cheapest, the best tool for international companies, or the best for startups. We try to include a diversity of solutions so that our readers can find the tool that is best for what they need.

Here's more detail if you want to read further on how we research vendors.

In this guide you'll find

An Intro On 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.

Featured in

Top Employee Scheduling Software for Small Businesses

We track thousands of HR Tech solutions. Here are the best employee scheduling vendors for small businesses as of 2022.

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

Stats:

  • Used by over 20,000 managers
  • Used to schedule over 140,000 employees
  • Used for managing over 5.8 million daily schedules

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 flexible employee scheduling tool that works perfectly for various business types and industries. However, due to its limited features, it is best for businesses with small-medium-sized teams that work in shifts. This could include restaurants, call centers, retailers, construction companies with teams in multiple sites, etc.

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

Stats:

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.

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

Stats:

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:

OpenSimSim

Review:

There’s a lot to like about OpenSimSim’s employee scheduling capabilities. It’s a modern application with an excellent user interface and drag & drop scheduling features.

It not only enables managers and employers to ensure work continuity through efficient scheduling but also empowers your teams and employers to control their work shifts and timely communicate time-offs or shift change requests. 

In addition, it supports a wide range of third-party integrations including HR and payroll applications so that it can seamlessly become a part of your critical business tools.

OpenSimSim

Stats:

  • 200,000+ active users
  • 75,000 monthly website visitors from organic and paid sources (SimilarWeb)

OpenSimSim

Pricing:

OpenSimSim 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.

All paid plans offer unlimited workers but apply different limits to the number of locations and departments. Here’s a useful table summarizing the plans on offer:

PlanCostUsage Terms
BasicFree1 location, 1 department, 10 scheduled workers
Starter$12.99 /month per location2 departments per location, unlimited workers
Premium$33.99 /month per location5 departments per location, cloud storage (7 years)
EnterpriseContact SalesUnlimited locations, departments, cloud storage (7 years)

Best For:

Thanks to its well-rounded employee scheduling features and a wide range of integrations, OpenSimSim is ideal for all kinds of businesses, especially retail, restaurants, service-based companies, and manufacturing companies with field and shift workers. However, it works best for any company looking for an advanced employee scheduling tool that includes time tracking features and helps with labor law compliance as well. Small businesses with limited teams can also use its free plan to great effect. But if you’re on a tight budget, don’t need integrations, or need a basic scheduling solution, you can explore other cheaper options as well.

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

Stats:

  • Over 1 billion hours scheduled on the platform
  • 27,000 restaurant locations use 7Shifts

7shifts

Pricing:

7Shifts offers three plans with fixed pricing and one with custom pricing. You can also purchase add-ons as needed. The plans are as follows:

  • Comp: This is their free plan and it comes with basic scheduling and ATS features. The plan supports only 30 users per location. 
  • Entree: This plan costs $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 reporting and budgeting added to the mix. It also supports only 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.

7Shifts also provides some add ons including:

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

Best For:

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

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

Stats:

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.

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

Stats:

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.

Sage HR

Review:

SageHR is a trusted name in the HR software industry and offers some of the best employee management, scheduling, leave management, and resource management tools. Its employee scheduling app is a part of its HR product suite, which offers a comprehensive solution for assigning tasks to the right employees, managing work shifts, identifying under and over-utilized employees, and calculating labor costs.

It is worth considering for any company looking for an end-to-end HR system.

Sage HR

Stats:

Sage HR

Pricing:

SageHR’s pricing depends on the number of users you want to manage. Its subscription plan includes its core HR and leaves management system by default, while the other features such as shift management, timesheets, expense manager, etc., are optional.

If you choose shift management only, SageHR would cost you $8.5/month per user. However, if you include timesheets because they allow you to measure overtime, the rate jumps to $11.5 per month per user.

Before signing for the paid plans, you can avail Sage HR’s 30-day free trial.

Best For:

  • It makes shift planning easier by integrating it with employee timesheets and leave management systems.
  • Helps managers identify errors in shift planning by providing a visual overview.
  • Saves managers from work repetition by providing templates for different shift plans.

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

Stats:

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.

Skedulo

Review:

Skedulo helps organizations simplify workforce-related decision-making by eliminating manual scheduling problems. It provides a clean visual representation of a company’s workers, calendars, routes, shifts, and other key data to help streamline decision-making and easily manage your pipeline of jobs pending, assigned, and dispatched.

For managers, the tool offers real-time workforce locations and statuses in a map view that allows them to easily identify roadblocks and take corrective actions.

Skedulo

Stats:

On average Skedulo customers experience

  • 48% reduction in time to schedule
  • 20% increase in deskless worker productivity
  • 68% increase in customer satisfaction (up to 68%)
  • 15% increase in billable appointments

Skedulo

Pricing:

Skedulo has two subscription plans for different end-users - Schedulers and Mobile Workers. The pricing for the two plans is based on a per-employee per month basis. However, you’ll need to get a custom quote to know the exact amount for each plan.

Best For:

Skedulo’s workforce management solution is ideal for medical companies, courier services, manufacturing businesses, and any other organizations with a large number of field workers and distributed teams serving customers at multiple locations simultaneously.

Calamari

Review:

Calamari is explicitly designed for organizations looking for leave management and time tracking features. It does not offer employee scheduling features per se. But it can be used for managing employee calendars and activity logs.

With a 14-day free trial, it is worth trying for organizations looking for an affordable time tracking and calendar management tool for employees.

Calamari

Stats:

Calamari

Pricing:

Calamari offers two separate modules for time tracking and leave management.

Clock In/Clock Out - $2/employee per month

Leave management - $1.7/employee per month 

Both modules come with a 14-day trial.

Best For:

  • Allows employees to submit leaves and time-off remotely
  • Minimizes manual work and improves efficiency
  • Gives employees an accurate view of their team’s activities.

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

Stats:

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.

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

Stats:

  • 10 million user base spread across the world
  • Used by 50,000 companies
  • Over 100 partner integrations
  • Ancestry, a genealogy company saw a 40% reduction in scheduling emails after using Calendly 
  • Cengage, an Ed-Tech company had a 30% increase in annual retention of employees after using Calendly
  • AgriWebb, a company in the agriculture industry experienced a 75% reduction in time to schedule customer success calls because of Calendly

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:

Companies of all sizes looking for an affordable and user-friendly scheduling solution. Sole business owners and small businesses might find Calendly particularly helpful since there’s a free plan as well.

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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.

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