Effective Employee Scheduling Apps for Modern Business Owners | Top 5 Options

employee scheduling app

Employee scheduling apps are pivotal in modern business operations, addressing critical challenges and providing invaluable solutions for small business owners. 

These apps are essential because they streamline and optimize the complex task of creating and managing employee schedules. 

In a fast-paced world, relying on traditional methods like pen and paper or Excel spreadsheets is not only time-consuming but also prone to errors, leading to significant consequences such as increased turnover rates and operational inefficiencies.

One of the critical issues that employee scheduling apps effectively solve for small business owners is the time-consuming nature of manual scheduling. 

Businesses lose an average of 140 hours yearly on manual job scheduling, resulting in decreased productivity and increased turnover rates of up to 174%. 

Employee scheduling apps automate this process, offering features such as drag-and-drop shift scheduling, flexible shift swapping, and time-off management, saving valuable time and reducing the likelihood of errors.

Another critical challenge addressed by these apps is ensuring compliance with labor laws. 

Small business owners often face difficulties managing legal requirements for overtime, breaks, and certifications. 

Employee scheduling apps have built-in features designed to facilitate compliance, providing automated tools to track overtime, schedule breaks, and manage employee certifications, thereby mitigating the risk of legal issues.

Furthermore, employee scheduling apps enhance communication and collaboration within teams. 

Features like in-app chat, shift-specific tasks, and real-time updates foster open communication, ensuring that employees are well-informed about their schedules and any changes, improving overall efficiency and employee satisfaction. 

What Is An Employee Scheduling App?

An employee scheduling app is a digital solution designed to revolutionize the traditional, time-consuming methods of creating, managing, and communicating employee work schedules. 

Predictive Scheduling

These innovative applications cater to various human resource management needs, including forecasting future scheduling requirements, facilitating open shifts for employee flexibility, and streamlining the onboarding process.

Unlike manual scheduling methods involving spreadsheets, pen, and paper, employee scheduling apps create a seamless and automated process. 

These tools efficiently track time, allowing for precise recording and monitoring of employee hours. 

Managers can effortlessly input employee availability, assign shifts, and handle time-off requests, optimizing the scheduling needs of the workforce.

The core functionality will enable employees to access their schedules conveniently, clock in and out, submit availability preferences, request time off, and receive real-time notifications about changes. 

Such features contribute to effective forecasting by providing managers with comprehensive insights into employee availability and scheduling preferences.

These apps act as a dynamic bridge between managers and employees, fostering transparent communication and ensuring everyone is on the same page regarding schedule updates. 

With the capability to forecast future scheduling needs, manage open shifts, facilitate human onboarding, and track time efficiently, employee scheduling apps are indispensable tools for modern businesses aiming to enhance their workforce management processes.

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How Do You Select The Best Employee Scheduling App For Your Small Business?

Choosing the right employee scheduling app is crucial for small business owners aiming to enhance efficiency and streamline operations. 

With several options available, it’s essential to consider critical factors to ensure the selected app aligns seamlessly with your business needs.

1. Core Features

Begin by assessing the core features offered by the app. 

Look for features such as drag-and-drop shift scheduling, flexible shift swapping, time-off management, and compliance with labor laws. 

These functionalities form the foundation of effective scheduling and ensure regulatory adherence.

2. User-Friendly Interface

Opt for an app with an intuitive and user-friendly interface. 

The scheduling process should be easy to navigate, allowing managers and employees to interact effortlessly with the platform. 

An intuitive interface reduces the learning curve and facilitates smoother organizational adoption.

3. Customization Options

Every business has unique scheduling requirements. 

Choose an app that offers customization options, allowing you to tailor the platform to fit your specific industry, business size, and operational needs. 

Customizable features, such as templates and intelligent groups, contribute to a more personalized scheduling experience.

4. Integration Capabilities

Consider the app’s integration capabilities with other tools used in your business, such as payroll software. 

Seamless integration streamlines processes, prevents data duplication, and enhances overall operational efficiency.

5. Cost-Effectiveness

Evaluate the app’s messaging structure and choose a solution that aligns with your budget. 

Some apps offer free plans or trial periods, allowing you to test their suitability before committing to a paid subscription.

Best Employee Scheduling App Options on The Market

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. Sling
  3. TimeCamp
  4. Findmyshift
  5. Timely

1. Buddy Punch

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Starting our list of scheduling employee apps, we have Buddy Punch. 

When we first set off to design a tool to improve the scheduling process, we decided to draw on our experience working with our employees and consult our clients for their perspectives. 

This was how we concluded that Accountability, Simplicity, and the ability to Streamline were critical to designing scheduling features.

Let’s look into some of the functions Buddy Punch has to see how well we adhere to these three tenets while designing (what we hope is) one of the most effective time tracking tools on the market.

Note: If you’d learn about each of these workforce management functions yourself (hands-on), it’s worth noting that Buddy Punch comes with a free 14-day trial on all pricing plans.

GPS Tracking

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Businesses embracing Work from Home may have noticed some difficulty keeping employees accountable while working at remote sites or locations. 

The GPS tracking feature creates an icon on an interactive map that notes where your employees are when they clock in. 

You can view all punches together or monitor employees individually.

Job Codes

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Knowing that your employees are scheduled is just one aspect of staffing – knowing what tasks they’re completing gives you a much more adequate understanding of what happens during the workday. 

The Job Codes feature allows employees to label the tasks they’re completing throughout the day – which can be critical for figuring out your labor costs.

PTO Management

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Highly skilled hourly employees place a significant emphasis on their PTO. They value their well-being and want to be able to take breaks that allow them to recharge their mental health. 

A proper Paid Time Off Management system will make your team members feel secure in their paid leaves.

Buddy Punch’s systems notify you when team members request time off and notify them of your approval or denial. You can also create custom PTO times at will.


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Buddy Punch works tangentially with other features to ensure employees know essential information (such as shift changes, overtime potential, or time card approvals). 

Indirectly, this helps you optimize operations as employees can focus more on their work because they understand they’re notified if something needs their attention.

Drag and Drop Scheduling

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Figuring out schedule shifts can be a pain. 

Buddy Punch makes it as easy as possible by allowing business owners to create a shift simply by clicking on an empty cell in Buddy PunchPunch’srface. 

Then, you can add to and drag around the work schedule as you see fit until your team schedule is complete. 

This visual overview makes it easy to know when you’re there and even sends an automatic notification to your employees when you publish the schedule.

Shift Trades, Shift Swapping, Shift Covers

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Buddy Punch doesn’t auto-schedule, but we come close for the administrative side. 

This feature allows employees, managers, and administrators to initiate a shift trade/swap with another employee.

But it gets better – any of your team members can see the overall employee availability and request to cover an open or absent shift. 

This feature encourages team communication, individual autonomy, and takes off pressure from managers.

Automatic Breaks

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The Automatic Breaks feature is a simple tool that can significantly impact employees’ cards. 

Using this will automatically deduct time based on specifications you set (for example, removing an hour after an employee has been clocked in for 4 hours). 

This means that time gaps, such as lunch breaks, are always accounted for properly, making employee management much more accessible. It’s an employee scheduling assistant that you set and forget.

Punch Rounding

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Punch Rounding is another set-and-forget feature. With this, you can determine an interval for Punch rounding (which can round up, down, or to the nearest predetermined interval – from 2 minutes to 30 minutes). 

This feature has unique use scenarios, such as when you want to use Buddy Punch as a Terminal or Kiosk but are worried employee shifts won’t be accurate.

Payroll Integrations


Once you’ve seen online employee scheduling software improving the accuracy of your time data, you want to be able to export it for accurate payments. 

Buddy Punch integrates directly with popular payroll software such as QuickBooks, ADP, Zapier, and more. Click here to view the complete list of Payroll Integrations.

Can Buddy PunchPunch’sduling Software Measure Labor Costs?

Buddy Punch’s Scheduling software employs advanced tools to provide business owners with a comprehensive view of labor expenses. 

The platform facilitates tracking employee work hours, enabling precise measurement of time spent on tasks and projects. 

This level of granularity empowers modern business owners to gain insights into their labor costs, aiding in strategic decision-making.

The software includes intuitive features such as automated timesheets and shift reminders, simplifying the scheduling process and contributing to accurate labor cost calculations. 

Business owners can easily monitor employee attendance, track overtime, and ensure compliance with labor laws, thus minimizing the risk of legal issues and penalties.

For modern business owners seeking an employee scheduling app with robust labor cost management capabilities, Buddy Punch’s scheduling software emerges as a valuable choice. 

Its innovative features not only optimize scheduling tasks but also provide a holistic approach to measuring and controlling labor costs, contributing to the overall success and efficiency of the business.

Buddy Punch is More Than an Employee Scheduling Tool

We’ve dived into a few select options that Buddy Punch has. 

There are still other valuable features, such as:

Using Buddy Punch means more than just getting an employee shift scheduling app. Consider these out-of-app benefits that are included for free:

  • Our Help Doc center contains valuable articles showing you how to utilize Buddy Punch for your operations best.
  • Our Blog Section includes valuable information for business owners looking to improve their management styles
  • Our Customer Support is always around to answer questions via live chat.

Hearing about all these features is one thing. You can book a one-on-one personalized demo to try them out here. 

Buddy Punch’s Online Reviews

As of the writing date, Buddy Punch has 4.8 out of 5 stars and 917 reviews on Capterra.

Below, we’ll list just a few reviews that outline how effective Buddy Punch was a scheduling solution. (Click here to explore the full list of reviews.)

“It has a great deal of flexibility and gives administrators/managers the ability to see who is here at any given time of the day. Managers also have the ability to approve PTO prior to it being added to the time sheet. This provides accountability for both the employee and manager. They can also schedule shift work if necessary.”

Click here to read the full review.

“Buddy Punch is a great product that has allowed us to better track our technicians hours. They are on the road 3-4 days a week and Buddy Punch helps us know where they are when they punch in/out and whether they are staying on schedule. It’s a great product at a great value!”

Click here to read the full review.

“I will say I truly do like working with Buddy Punch. Any time I have an issue, its immediately fixed and it seems like Buddy Punch is constantly taking customers issues and using those to fix the system overall. Every business is going to have issues, it’s a matter of fixing them and improving . I have never dealt with a company before, not just an online time clock/scheduler, that has responded so efficiently to customers issues and wants to fix it to where it doesn’t happen again in the future or fix it to where its easier to use in the future.”

Click here to read the full review.

“I LOVE that I can clock in from a remote location via the app on my phone. Soooo convenient!!! Such a game changer for sure, especially with my sporadic work schedule and location.”

Click here to read the full review.

As these reviewers noted, Buddy Punch was flexible and easy to use for employees and managers alike.

Try Buddy Punch for Free  

Try Buddy Punch For Free

If you feel that Buddy Punch might be the right fit for your business, sign up for a 14 day free trial (no credit card needed). You can also book a one-on-one demo or view a pre-recorded demo video.

2. Sling

Sling is a tool that’s known for functioning as one of the best free employee scheduling apps.

While some features are locked behind pricing plans, you still get quite a powerful tool if you’re using it on a budget.

Sling’s full features include:

Sling was made to work across many industries such as Healthcare, Retail, Transportation, and more.

Furthermore, like Buddy Punch, Sling works on all Desktop and mobile devices (iOS, Android, Tablets, etc.).

As of this post’s writing date, Sling has 4.6 out of 5 stars and 110 reviews on Capterra.

“I looked through several scheduling tools before settling on Sling. This included simple Excel sheets, Homebase, and When I Work. I settled on Sling because of the wide array of features for no cost and mobile app access. The mobile app experience, per my team, was easy and extremely convenient. I personally was impressed with the ease of the drag-and-drop scheduler.” 

Click here to read the full review.

3. TimeCamp

Timecamp is a user-friendly employee scheduling application with an emphasis on increasing project profitability overall.

Some of its features include (but are not limited to):

At the time of writing, TimeCamp has 556 reviews on Capterra with an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

“I’ve tried about a dozen different online and offline products for tracking/monitoring my time as a freelancer. Many of them have very good features, but I found that Timecamp had the best features that really matter for freelancers and other areas of use. ”

Click here to read the full review.

4. Findmyshift

Findmyshift is another potentially free employee scheduling app, though it also has stronger features locked behind paid pricing plans. Some of its functions include:

Findmyshift has a rating of 4.6/5 stars with 714 reviews on Capterra (as of this post’s writing).

“Findmyshift has been great right from the start of a long free trial period. This gave us the opportunity to really test the product. Customer service even during free trial was prompt. All the training videos and faq made the learning process easy. ”

Click here to read the full review.

5. Timely

Timely is an app that focuses specifically on automatic time tracking. Some of its key features include:

Timely has a total of 206 reviews on Capterra with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars (as of this post’s writing).

Here’s one review that speaks to how well it functions as an employee shift scheduling software:

“A much clearer and more accurate view of staff work times, leave. Easier to track absenteeism and manage via the reports available. Simple to use and a time saver when planning rosters and staff leave.”

Click here to read the full review.

How To Use An Employee Scheduling Software?

To make the most out of an employee scheduling software technology, it’s essential to understand how to use employee scheduling software effectively.

1. Initial Setup and Configuration

Begin by inputting all relevant information into the system. 

This includes employee details, roles, and specific scheduling rules or preferences. 

Use customizable templates to align the software with your business’s requirements.

2. Utilize Drag-and-Drop Functionality

Most employee scheduling software comes equipped with a user-friendly interface featuring drag-and-drop functionality. 

Drag & Drop Scheduling

Leverage this feature to create, modify, or rearrange schedules effortlessly. 

This intuitive approach simplifies the scheduling process and minimizes errors.

3. Optimize Automated Features

Features like automated shift scheduling, time-off management, and shift reminders can save significant time and reduce the likelihood of oversights. 

Set up the system to handle routine tasks, allowing you to focus on more strategic aspects of workforce management.

4. Encourage Employee Engagement

Employee scheduling software often includes communication tools like in-app chat and notifications. 

Encourage your team to engage with the platform actively. 

Employees can use it to request shift swaps, communicate availability, and receive real-time updates, fostering a collaborative and informed work environment.

5. Regular Updates and Training

Stay informed about updates and new features offered by the software provider. 

Regularly train your team on how to use the platform effectively, ensuring everyone is comfortable navigating the system. 

This proactive approach enhances overall adoption and maximizes the benefits of the software.

Benefits Of Employee Scheduling Apps

These employee scheduling apps are indispensable tools for efficient workforce management, providing tailored solutions to contemporary challenges.

Firstly, employee scheduling apps significantly enhance productivity by automating the traditionally time-intensive task of creating schedules. 

Business owners can bid farewell to manual methods, such as pen and paper or complex Excel spreadsheets, as these apps streamline the process with features like drag-and-drop shift scheduling and template reuse. 

The result is a more agile and responsive scheduling approach that saves time and minimizes errors.

Moreover, these apps play a pivotal role in compliance with labor laws. 

Tiny enterprises often grapple with intricate legal requirements related to overtime, breaks, and certifications. 

Employee scheduling apps incorporate built-in features to ensure adherence to these regulations, safeguarding against potential legal challenges.

Additionally, team communication is vastly improved through in-app chat features and real-time updates. 

This fosters a collaborative work environment and ensures that employees stay well-informed about their schedules and any alterations, reducing confusion and enhancing overall efficiency.

Choosing The Best Employee Scheduling App For Managing Employee Work Schedules

We always try to emphasize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution to digital time tracking tools. 

The one that functions “best” for “your business isn’t unique to your industry or business size. It’s due to you, your managerial style, and your workforce.

That said, looking closely at the benefits of features of each team scheduling tool can make you more likely to find the right fit for you. 

If scheduling conflicts are a big deal for your team, you might want to use Sling. 

If invoicing is a significant part of your business model, you might like TimeCamp.

But, if what you want overall is complete control over employee shift scheduling, a simple design that means that anyone can pick up and use the app without a learning curve, and a customer support team that produces the best outcomes for your business, then you can’t go wrong with Buddy Punch.

Ready to give Buddy Punch a try?

For free trial, no credit card required.

Do All Time Clock Apps Offer Employee Scheduling Feature?

Not all time clock apps are created equal, and while many focus solely on tracking work hours, not all include an integrated employee scheduling feature. 

The distinction lies in the specific functionalities designed to address different aspects of workforce management.

Buddy Punch, one of the standout options in the employee scheduling app landscape, goes beyond the conventional time clock apps. 

It seamlessly combines a GPS-enabled time clock with robust employee scheduling capabilities. 

With features like drag-and-drop shift scheduling, flexible shift swapping, and automated timesheets, Buddy Punch provides a comprehensive solution for businesses seeking time-tracking and efficient scheduling tools.

In contrast, traditional time clock apps may lack the sophistication required for creating and managing complex employee schedules. 

These apps typically concentrate on recording clock-in and clock-out times without offering the versatility needed for dynamic scheduling, leading to potential limitations for modern business owners.

When exploring time clock apps, evaluating whether they encompass the broader spectrum of employee scheduling functionalities is vital. 

Opting for an integrated solution like Buddy Punch ensures accurate time tracking and empowers business owners with the tools to streamline scheduling processes, enhance communication, and maintain compliance with labor laws. 

As businesses navigate the modern landscape, having a unified time clock and scheduling app becomes a strategic advantage for effective workforce management.

Is There a Difference Between Employee Scheduling, Shift Scheduling, and Staff Scheduling?

In workforce management, the terms employee scheduling, shift scheduling, and staff scheduling are often used interchangeably. Still, they encapsulate distinct aspects of organizing and managing a team effectively.

Employee Scheduling

Employee scheduling is the comprehensive process of creating, managing, and communicating work schedules for individual employees. 

It involves considering availability, skill sets, and preferences to create a balanced and optimized schedule. 

Employee scheduling apps streamline this process, allowing managers to automate tasks and ensure real-time updates for efficient schedule management.

Shift Scheduling

Shift scheduling is a subset of employee scheduling, explicitly focusing on organizing and assigning shifts. 

This includes defining work periods, delegating tasks to specific time slots, and ensuring adequate coverage during operational hours. 

Employee scheduling apps often feature drag-and-drop shift schedulers, allowing managers to assign shifts based on employee qualifications and availability readily.

Staff Scheduling

Staff scheduling is a critical aspect of workforce management that plays a pivotal role in making informed decisions. 

Informed decisions are essential for optimizing team composition, skill distribution, and ensuring the right number of personnel for various roles. 

A sophisticated scheduling system goes beyond the basics of organizing individual shifts; it integrates data-driven insights to facilitate strategic decision-making.

Retention is another crucial element tied to staff scheduling. 

A well-designed scheduling system not only helps in planning shifts but also contributes to employee satisfaction and, consequently, retention. 

By taking into account individual preferences and constraints, the scheduling system enhances the overall work experience, fostering a positive environment that encourages staff to stay with the organization.

The user interface of employee scheduling apps plays a significant role in the effectiveness of staff scheduling. 

An intuitive and user-friendly interface simplifies the process of shift planning, making it accessible for both managers and employees. 

A well-designed user interface ensures that the scheduling system is not only efficient but also easy to navigate, contributing to smoother operations and enhanced communication within the team.

What Does Automation Mean in Employee Scheduling? Automated Scheduling Software

In employee scheduling, automation signifies a transformative shift from manual, time-consuming processes to seamless, efficient workflows facilitated by cutting-edge automated scheduling software. 

These tools, including the best app for such purposes like Google Calendar, push notifications, schedule changes, and upcoming shifts, redefine how modern business owners manage their workforce, bringing about a paradigm shift in scheduling practices.

At its core, automation in employee scheduling involves using sophisticated software solutions that leverage advanced algorithms and intelligent features to handle various aspects of workforce management. 

The automated scheduling software, such as Connecteam, epitomizes this trend, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to streamline the scheduling process.

One of the critical aspects of automation is the elimination of tedious manual tasks. 

With features like drag-and-drop shift scheduling, flexible shift swapping, and predefined templates, business owners can easily create optimal schedules. 

This saves valuable time and minimizes the risk of errors associated with traditional methods.

Moreover, the best app for automated scheduling software goes beyond basic scheduling functionalities. 

It incorporates advanced features such as GPS-enabled time clocks with geofencing, allowing employees to clock in and out from anywhere. 

This ensures accurate time tracking and provides real-time location insights, enhancing overall workforce management.

Try Buddy Punch for Free

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No credit card required, all features included.

If you feel that Buddy Punch might be the right fit for your business, sign up for a 14 day free trial (no credit card needed). You can also book a one-on-one demo or view a pre-recorded demo video.

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