Despite decades of technological advancements and the advent of software for just about every conceivable demand, some Small Business managers still prefer using pen and paper to make their work schedules. Fair enough. That’s how things were done for a very long time, so it certainly serves its purpose. But In the old system of employee management has huge problems. So, What about free employee scheduling software?
Scheduling employees in a Small Business is a monumental task. There are many variables to take into consideration, and you need to make sure your business continues running like a well-oiled machine.
So what’s a busy manager to do? Well, there are many ways to crack this nut. It might be fun to have blindfolded monkeys throw darts with employee names written on them at a blank schedule. But that probably wouldn’t produce the best result. Read How To Install WordPress themes For Your Website.
Of course, there are more effective ways to create a work schedule. Using pen and paper, for instance, is a time-tested technique. There are also several varieties of free employee scheduling software.
11 Best Free Employee Scheduling Software
From start-up businesses to well-established corporations, every company can benefit from a free staff roistering program to simplify their tedious business tasks. As most business owners know, to ensure constant improvement you must seek innovative, effective tools. An employee scheduling program will assist the business owners and managers to become more productive and organized.
And the good, old-fashioned old method does have its advantages. For starters, it doesn’t require anything more than, well, a pen and a sheet of paper. As long as you know your employees’ and your business’s needs well, this simple system still works. On top of that, it doesn’t require familiarity with any computer programs or software.
DrawBack Of Old Employee Scheduling System
However, the pen-and-paper process is not without its drawbacks. For one thing, it’s not very conducive to rapid mass distribution. This method relies on either posting the schedule or making sure everyone sees it or producing a copy for each employee and then making sure you get it in everyone’s hand.
Another disadvantage is that old system schedules aren’t the easiest to adjust after they’ve been passed around. Any changes to the schedule require another round of printing and distribution. Read Internet Marketing Strategies For Grow Business.
What about free employee scheduling software? Let’s start with the downside. As with any computer program, there’s sure to be a learning curve. It takes a little time to learn the ins-and-outs of any new system or process, and free employee scheduling software is no exception.
Until you become acquainted with the software, it might feel a bit cumbersome. Using free employee scheduling software also assumes that all of your employees have access to the internet and a device they can use to get online.
This might seem like an issue, but a recent study from Pew Research Center shows that 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Those numbers are even higher for younger people: a full 92 percent of Americans aged 18-29 own a smartphone, and the figure drops only slightly to 88 percent for Americans aged 30-49. So it’s not unfair to assume that virtually all of your employees will be able to get online easily.
The Advantages Of Free Employee Scheduling Software
Now for the advantages of free employee scheduling software. Here’s a list of the amazing things employee scheduling software does:
- Automatically saves your schedule every time you create one. So you can use a previous week’s schedule as a template and then make any necessary changes, like time-off requests, before sending out the new schedule.
- Instantaneously distributes the schedule when you send it out electronically.
- There’s no need to track employee down to make sure they’ve seen the new schedule. With software, the schedule is received the moment you send it. Read About How To Start A Blog And Earn Money From It.
- Allows you to make the necessary adjustments quickly and easily. The updated schedule can be instantly sent out once again after the changes have been made.
- Cuts back on the amount of paper your business uses. This reduces costs and helps reduce paper waste, which is better for the environment.
Benefits Of Free Employee Scheduling Software
- As well as augmenting returns and making things easier when it comes to staff coverage, staff rostering programs also helps employ an operational work routine.
- Normally to get inside of an office building employees were required to use a key card. Utilizing free employee scheduling software eliminates the need for an access/time card.
- Time scheduling software is especially advantageous for shift managers who are not familiar with or have problems with developing applicable shift schedules. This software calculates the availability of every employee, which makes the shift managers’ job a lot easier. Read About top 9 Free WordPress Themes For Your Business.
Even the most basic software can provide all of these benefits. And advanced, industry-specific software can actually do much, much more. That makes it pretty clear that software trumps old method, because software offers all the advantages of the old method, and then some. Sure, there’s a learning curve, but using free employee scheduling software will save you time and money in the long run.
How To Select The Appropriate Free Employee Scheduling Software
You always have the option of choosing from countless establishments that provide staff shift templates. Keep in mind; it’s logical to take the time out to do a little research before you decide on which staff roster program is best for your business.
Listed below are certain qualities you should be searching for to look out for:
- Free staff scheduling program must incorporate successful techniques to arrange ventures centered on the grade of priority or necessity.
- Labor scheduling programs should be able to supply an approximate plan regarding the time needed to conclude various responsibilities. For maximum outcomes, choose programs that accompany advanced analytical options.
- The employee scheduling program should be comprehensible. The process of importing or exporting data and task scheduling has to be simple to comprehend and implement. Read About Best Erp Software Details.
- The employee scheduling software must permit you to arrange work routines for days, weeks and months. It should give you the option to revise the schedules at any given time.
- You have got to also consider the cost of software. This would represent the cost of the software in addition to installation and set-up charges. Sometimes professional service can cost twice as much as the cost of the software package.
What To Look For In Free Employee Scheduling Software
When making your schedule, there are a number of factors that you have to consider. Any free employee scheduling software worth its salt should take those changing elements into account, too. Here are some of the variables your employee scheduling software should allow for.
- The varying needs of your business for every shift. Perhaps you only need four servers on the floor for a weeknight shift, but you may need 10 servers for a Friday or Saturday night.
- Employee availability. Some folks may only be able to work at night, while others are only free during the day. You will also need to consider whether each employee is part-time or full-time and see to it that everyone is receiving the appropriate number of shifts. Read About 6 Best Free Blogging Platforms Details To Create Your Free Website.
- The positions that each individual is qualified to work. You probably have employees that can fill different posts—as either a host or busser, for example. But you don’t want to schedule someone for a position they haven’t been trained to do. Make sure you don’t put a busser behind the bar.
- Time-off requests. This one can really throw a wrench into your schedule. If several of your strongest employees have all asked for the same time off, making the work schedule becomes even more difficult.
- Special events that may affect the amount of stuff you’ll need for a particular shift. Everything from holidays to local festivals to graduation weekends to national sporting events needs to be considered.
In addition to all of that, a truly superb employee scheduling software should also alert you when there’s a potential problem. For example, if an employee is scheduled for too many shifts and will have overtime hours, that should be made clear in case changes are necessary.
List Of Best 11 Free Employee Scheduling Software
So what program can handle all of these tasks? Let’s have a look at eight free employee scheduling software tools and find the right one to help you conquer the employee-scheduling feat.
Let’s switch gears for a moment and consider distribution—how you get your schedule into your employee’s hands. Yes, posting your schedule or handing it out personally does work, but it’s much easier to send your schedule via email.
You simply create a mailing list or group that includes all your employees, attach your Word or Excel schedule, and hit ‘Send.’ It requires very little effort to use. It can also reach a large number of people quickly. Read How To Choose Best WordPress Themes For Your Business.
Even though it’s easy, it may not be the best bet for getting your schedules out there. What with texting, instant messaging, and chatting becoming the norm, some people don’t check their email very often—if at all.
Microsoft Word (or some other word processing software) is basically just glorified pen and paper. Word processing software was created with the written word in mind, not scheduling. Sure, it can get the job done, but you’ll have to put some major effort into getting it right and making it collaborative.
Even if you do decide to use Word as your schedule maker, it’s still not super conducive to rapid mass distribution. Like pen and paper, a Word document requires another step to get it into your employee’s hands.
That step could be printing it and posting it or handing it out. It could be emailing it to all your employees (as we’ll discuss below). Regardless of your choice, it’s still another step that makes your life just that much more difficult. Read About Keyword Research To Grow More Sales.
And while a Word document is easier to change than pen and paper, it’s still not the most user-friendly tool out there. Formatting a Word document to reflect your business’s work schedule can be a daunting task that may require hours upon hours just to set up. Plus, if you update a Word document, you’ll have to resend the whole thing and then make sure everyone sees the new version.
In addition, you won’t see a Word document let you know when you’ve scheduled someone to work during a time when they’re not available. Yes, a Word document is a step up from the pen and paper, but it’s only a very small step. And while it is more-or-less free, there are certainly better free alternatives out there. Keep reading to find more.
Dropbox is another option that can facilitate your schedule distribution. With Dropbox, you first create your schedule, then upload it to Dropbox where you can specify who is allowed to access the file. Dropbox can then be instructed to send notifications to all parties involved via email, text, and various other means to let your employees know that a new schedule has been posted.
In some ways, it’s better than email because it can reach those who don’t check their email very often. Like email, though, it’s another step in the difficult process of scheduling. Is there a way to combine the creation process and the distribution process into something a bit more streamlined? Read on to find out.
Excel is a more common replacement for pen and paper. It doesn’t have the formatting restrictions that plague Word when the latter is used to make a schedule. Excel allows you to easily resize rows, columns, and even individual cells. Read About Top 10 WordPress Advantages To Increase More Sales.
So while it’s much more flexible as an employee scheduling tool, it still suffers from the distribution problems that keep the previous entries from being your go-to solution. You’ll either have to print and distribute your Excel schedule or email it to all your employees.
Excel was designed as a database and accounting tool. It is in these tasks that it excels (no pun intended). Like Word, it can be made to work as a scheduling tool, but it’s still most at home crunching numbers.
5. Microsoft Outlook
Calendar software like Microsoft Outlook can be an excellent replacement for pen and paper, word processors, spreadsheets, and their cloud-based counterparts. And chances are you have a free scaled-down version of Microsoft Outlook on your computer already. So what makes Microsoft Outlook a viable (though not ideal) choice for free employee scheduling software?
Microsoft Outlook is much more amenable to scheduling because it was created with that in mind. Times, days, weeks, months, and even years are already present and can be manipulated with ease. In addition, creating shifts, which on most calendars would be tasks or appointments, is as easy as clicking a time slot and labeling it accordingly. Read Top 27 + Business Software To Design A Good Website.
So while Microsoft Outlook is a large step in the right direction, it still shouldn’t be classified as the best free (or paid) employee scheduling software option.
For one thing, Microsoft Outlook was made for the use of a single individual. Because of that, it can be a bit difficult when you have to schedule more employees than you can count on one hand.
For another thing, Microsoft Outlook wasn’t created with overlapping shifts, rotating shifts, night shifts, and other complicated scheduling practices in mind. Remember, it was intended for one person who could only be in one place at a time.
Microsoft Outlook also faces the same distribution challenges that make native word processors and spreadsheet programs like Word and Excel obsolete (e.g., they’re not cloud-based). That’s not to say that you can’t make them work. It’s just that there are better solutions out there for free employee scheduling software.
6. Google Docs
Google Docs takes the creation of your employee schedule and puts it firmly in the cloud. You create your document online. It’s can save online. And you can specify who has access to the document. Then, like Dropbox, you can send notifications via various methods to all your employees.
Once that’s done, your document is available anytime, anywhere. Your employees just need to access Google’s document editor (which is pretty much everywhere) to view or print the schedule. Read About 5 Best SEO Tools Details To Rank Higher On Google.
With Google Docs, the distribution has been streamlined considerably, but the creation still leaves a lot to be desired. Like Word, Google Docs was meant for text-based projects like letters and reports. As such, it’s most powerful features are focused along those lines and not toward making the scheduling process easier for you.
The sling was designed specifically for retail and Small Business business owners. Because of this, Sling simplifies the scheduling process like none of the other free options on this list. In fact, it is the easiest way to schedule and communicate with your employees. And it’s free!
On top of all the intuitive tools you’d expect from an app that’s dedicated to scheduling, Sling provides guidance and helps you avoid conflicts with up-to-date availability and time-off requests. Sling even notifies you of overlapping shifts or double-bookings.
Sling Tasks allows you to assign jobs and follow their progress. You can create to-do lists and assign by name, group, location, or position. You can even set due dates and reminders as completion time approaches.
Sling Messages and Newsfeed make communication a breeze. You don’t have to rely on email or some other third-party app. Can communicate directly with employees on Sling and send messages to individuals or groups. You can even share work files, photos, videos, and links when you communicate.
A sling is the most powerful Small Business scheduling tool available. It reduces the time it takes to create and manage schedules and helps managers bring their teams together, keep everyone informed, and build better company culture. What more could you ask for in a free app!
8. Google Calendar
Google Calendar combines the ease of online creation and distribution with the power of a calendar specifically designed for scheduling. It replaces Docs, Sheets, Word, Excel, and, yes, pen and paper.
Though Google Calendar was originally designed to be a personal calendar, with some work it can be altered to schedule multiple employees. From either the day view or the week view, you can click on a time to add an event.
You can then label that event (with the worker’s name or duties) and specify the duration (say 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.). You can color code the event for easier viewing, attach email addresses to the event for simplified communication, and set up automated notifications to keep your employees informed.
Though Google Calendar may look like the answer to your scheduling prayers, it can be a bit tedious if you have more than 4 or 5 employees. In addition, it can be difficult to decipher if you have overlapping shifts and other complicated scheduling.
Above all, the tools mentioned to this point weren’t design with Small Business scheduling in mind. Only one tool was.
9. Google Sheets
Google Sheets—Google’s cloud spreadsheet program—is much like Excel in that it makes the formatting of the schedule that much easier by allowing you to resize rows, columns, and cells. You can also add color-coded blocks to delineate employees and include tasks and responsibilities in a more logical and visually appealing way.
Google Sheets, like Docs, can be spread quickly and easily by sharing the document with specific users. Those users can then access the document whenever and wherever they choose.
The ease of distribution is certainly a plus and the fact that Sheets is much easier to manipulate for scheduling purposes than Docs makes it a better choice amongst free scheduling tools.
10. When I Work
When I Work is another great free employee scheduling software. If you have a small business with less than or equal to 75 employees. Then you can use it. If you have more than 75 employees then you have to pay for it. Up to 75 employees totally free.
- You can build your schedule according to your choice.
- It offers availability and time off management.
- You can trade your shift.
- It offers group messaging and chats.
- You can manage it anywhere from your laptop or smartphone.
Another good free employee scheduling software is home base. Homebase puts all of your team information in one place. You manage and hire your team from your computer, smartphone, or even your point of sale system. Your employees can manage their work life — checking their schedule, trading shifts, messaging the team, requesting time off, and even estimating their pay — from their mobile phones.
These remarkable programs cover all aspects of the staff, their abilities, shift schedules and shift coverage in your company with the press of a button. A free employee scheduling software helps to retain an effect on workflow and helps you to stay aware of any deadlines you must keep. In addition to more effective business operations, you will be pleased to see the business grow. So, if you think that any other good software I forgot to discuss please write the details in the comment box below. Thanks Again.