7 Best Employee Scheduling Software Apps: Features & Reviews

There are several factors to keep in mind when writing your employees’ schedule, including:

  • Your company’s staffing requirements. Where and when you need employees to be at work.
  • Employee availability. Before you schedule employees to work, you need to make sure that they’re available on that day.  
  • PTO and other time off requests. Schedules and availabilities change often based on PTO requests, whether planned vacation or unplanned sick days.
  • Overtime concerns. Plenty of companies of strict rules around overtime, such as how much overtime they can give out and who can get overtime. You may schedule someone to only work 40 hrs, but then as the week goes on, they may have to stay late to finish a project or cover someone’s shift, resulting in unplanned overtime.

Doing all of this manually is a pain that often results in writing out several versions of the same schedule until you get it right. And then, no matter how perfect your schedule is at the beginning of the week, it’s likely to change.

That’s why we recommend that you use employee scheduling software.

Software automates a lot of the process for you and centralizes key information, like every employee’s specific availability, PTO requests, and overtime alerts. 

Plus, software makes it easy to notify your team when the schedule is live and ready for review. And in turn, makes it easy to accommodate changes and unplanned absences as the work week continues.

In this post, we’ll list the 7 best employee scheduling software and apps and compare their features and reviews so you can choose which best fits your business needs – starting with our own tool, Buddy Punch.

Table of Contents

  1. Buddy Punch
  2. When I Work
  3. Homebase
  4. Hubstaff
  5. QuickBooks Time (Formerly TSheets)
  6. Connecteam
  7. DeskTime

Note: Buddy Punch’s employee scheduling app lets teams simplify scheduling, increase staff accountability, and save time on payroll. Click here to learn more about how it works and sign up for a free trial.

1. Buddy Punch

Buddy Punch employee scheduling software

In this section, we’ll analyze each of our key features, starting with those that simplify the scheduling process. Following that, we will discuss how Buddy Punch can help you accurately track employee hours in real-time, resolve accountability issues for staffing, and make the payroll process faster.

How Buddy Punch Simplifies Your Scheduling

Without the right software solution, creating schedules for your employees can quickly become a headache. There are too many factors to take into account during the process.

First, there’s the question of which days and hours your employees work, and how you can juggle the needs of one specific employee versus another. Then, for optimal attendance tracking, you need to take time off (paid or unpaid) into account, as well as holidays and other factors such as employees working multiple locations in one single day (as is the case in many construction businesses, for example).

In other words: creating schedules is a notoriously time-intensive process, and using paper, Excel, or other methods doesn’t make it any easier.

At Buddy Punch, we remove all hurdles and make creating schedules for your team simple and easy thanks to a large range of scheduling features, including:

Next, we’ll look at each one by one.

Drag & Drop to Create Schedules

Buddy Punch: Drag and Drop Scheduling

Creating a schedule with Buddy Punch is intuitive and can be done in just a few steps.

First, click on the empty slot next to your employees’ names to create an employee shift, one employee at a time. Second, click, drag and drop to reorganize shifts until you’ve got the result you want. Third, hit ‘publish schedule’ to save all changes.

Repeating/Recurring Shifts

Buddy Punch: Repeating/Recurring Shifts

Once you’ve created a schedule using our Drag & Drop functionality, you don’t have to waste time repeating the process every week or month.

Use Buddy Punch’s auto-scheduling feature of setting Repeating/Recurring Shifts to set your schedules to repeat over specified regular periods, be it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

Employee Availability

Buddy Punch: Employee Availability

Buddy Punch allows you to streamline the schedule-creation process even further with shift management features like Employee Availability.

Have your employees log into the Buddy Punch platform and let you know when and where they would prefer to work in advance. This helps reduce scheduling conflicts, where you schedule someone when they can’t work. Buddy Punch will then collect all employee availability information, and centralize it in the administrator dashboard, subject to your approval (pictured above.)

Plus, it gets better. Employees have a self-service option to handle shift changes! Buddy Punch’s scheduling system allows for shift trading (if you enable permissions for open shifts) – which makes workforce management that much simpler for business owners. Oversee shift swap requests personally or be as hands-off as you desire.

Punch Limiting

Buddy Punch: Punch Limiting

Employees sometimes try to cheat the traditional timecard system, and clock in a few minutes early or clock out a few minutes late. This is why we created our Punch Limiting feature.

With Buddy Punch, you can set up Punch Limiting rules to limit your employees’ ability to clock in/out of work. These rules can be set up so that employee shifts can only be punched in or out inside a specified period of time (i.e. 10 minutes before or after a shift.)

You can set Punch Limiting rules to apply to everyone, or on a per-employee basis, depending on your specific business needs.

Notify Employees of Their Schedules

Buddy Punch: Notify Employees of Their Scheduling

Once you hit the ‘publish schedule’ button, Buddy Punch will prompt you to choose how you would like to share your newly-minted schedule for optimized team communication.

We support email and mobile SMS notifications, or both at once, as pictured above.

Buddy Punch also supports other forms of scheduling notifications, which you can set up easily from the administrator platform, including:

  • Late In Alert & Late Out Alert
  • Early In Alert & Early Out Alert
  • Upcoming Shift Reminder & Shift End Reminder
  • And more advanced features

Buddy Punch is a great employee scheduling software solution. But we know that schedules are just  one  of the problems employers need to juggle when running their business, and many different scheduling techniques and functions can be critical for this. There’s also tracking time for your employees, keeping them accountable, and running payroll.

Track Time and Keep Your Team Accountable with Buddy Punch

Our management tool records the time and location of your employees’ punches, and centralizes that information in the administrator dashboard for you to review.

But how do you know where and how the work was done? If you leave shift management to borderline auto-scheduling, are you going to regret being hands-off later down the line?

A major challenge that employers using paper time cards and timesheets face is a lack of accountability from their team, which in turn translates to wasted time and money due to inaccurate timesheets.


Buddy Punch: Geofencing

Buddy Punch takes advantage of your employees’ mobile devices GPS technology by allowing you to create Geofences.

Simply log in to the Buddy Punch platform, and choose a specific radius for your Geofence. After you’ve done that, your employees won’t be able to punch in/out of work when outside that radius.

Note: You can set up multiple geofences at once, and assign each a unique code to differentiate them.

GPS Tracking

Buddy Punch: GPS Tracking

Another feature that leverages GPS technology is GPS Tracking.

When this feature is active (for all employees, or on a per-employee basis) Buddy Punch will track your staff’s location whenever they clock in/out of work. That information will be automatically recorded on your employees’ timecard, and centralized in the administrator platform for you to review.

IP Address Locking

Buddy Punch: IP Address Locking

Once the IP Address Locking feature has been activated, your employees will only be able to punch in/out of work when connected to a specified network, as pictured above.

An employee may be assigned multiple IP Addresses.

Photos on Punch

Buddy Punch: Photos on Punch

If you’d like to add an extra layer of accountability to your employees’ punches, use our Photos on Punch feature.

When Photos on Punch is active, Buddy Punch will prompt your team members to take a photo before they can confirm their punch in/out, as pictured above.

Buddy Punch: Photos on Punch example within Buddy Punch

You can then review these photos via our dashboard, and confirm the validity of the punches, as shown above.

Facial Recognition

Buddy Punch: Facial Recognition

For even more punch accountability, use our Facial Recognition feature.

When this feature is active, Buddy Punch will run a biometric scan of your employees’ faces to verify who is attempting to punch in/out.

If an employee asks a co-worker to punch in/out in their stead, Buddy Punch will prevent them from doing so, and show the following error message:

Buddy Punch: Facial Recognition Error Message

Save Hours Each Time You Run Payroll

As we mentioned earlier, another major challenge businesses face when tracking time with paper time clocks and timesheets is that of a time-consuming and inefficient payroll process.

The good news is that Buddy Punch is an all-in-one employee schedule and payroll software. This means you can use Buddy Punch as your payroll provider.

But if you’re currently happy with your existing payroll provider, you can use Buddy Punch as your scheduling system and time tracking software and integrate Buddy Punch with your payroll provider. We cover all the options available to you below.

Buddy Punch Payroll

Because Buddy Punch already has your employee schedule, and record of when your employees worked or took PTO, it makes sense to run payroll from Buddy Punch. This way, you’re using just one platform to manage these normally disparate aspects of time management. And if you need to make a change – such as adding a last-minute PTO day to someone’s paycheck – you can do it from one platform.

To run payroll in Buddy Punch, just import the time period you want to pay out. All the time worked, and PTO taken has already been calculated. Plus, Buddy Punch handles all taxes, including local, state, and federal taxes.

Easily Import Time into Payroll with Buddy Punch

You can quickly review payroll, making sure everything looks up to par. You can also add additional earnings to someone’s check. For example, maybe a team member is getting a bonus or reimbursed for gas mileage. Instead of cutting a separate check, you can add that amount to their paycheck.

Once everything looks good to go, you can submit your payroll. You can also set up auto-payroll, which helps ensure you never accidentally forget to run payroll.

Once payroll is submitted, your team gets paid on time (and in the right way). At Buddy Punch, you can choose 2-day or 4-day processing and set up a helpful reminder to make sure you submit payroll on time. Your team can get paid via direct deposit or by check.

You can also set Buddy Punch’s scheduling and time clock software to work with your current payroll provider, using either integration or running payroll reports.

Payroll Integrations

You can quickly set up integrations with popular payroll providers like Quickbooks, Paychex, and ADP.

Payroll Integrations with Buddy Punch

For more information on how integrations work, click here.

We know that, sometimes, integrations don’t quite fit all businesses’ payroll needs. That’s why we created a large range of other features/options to help you streamline the payroll process, including:

Next up, we’ll look at each one by one.

Payroll Reports on Demand

Buddy Punch: Payroll Reports on Demand

Per the above image, Buddy Punch calculates everything you need to run payroll — from the amount of hours & minutes each employee worked, to how much of that time was “regular” or “overtime”.

You can filter by date range and export a payroll report as an Excel or CSV file, and then review/verify it yourself, or pass it on to the person in charge of running payroll.

Time Off Tracking

Buddy Punch: Time Off Tracking
Our software provides comprehensive leave management – both employees and employers can manage all time off needs from within Buddy Punch.

Employees can request both unpaid and paid time off requests (PTO) through their mobile app (iOS and Android), tablet, or desktop, as shown above.

Employers can then approve or reject these requests through the administrator dashboard:

Buddy Punch: Time Off "Pending Approval"

In addition, we offer a time off summary in-app:

Buddy Punch: Time Off Summary and History

Track Employee Hours by Jobs, Projects, or Locations
Buddy Punch: Track Employee Hours

You can view an “Hours Report” by ‘Location’, ‘Department’, ‘Position’, or through a ‘Time Off report, as shown above.

If this is relevant to your business, and you’d like to learn how to set up codes that employees can punch into, we created a video here to explain it in more detail.


Buddy Punch: Accruals

With Buddy Punch, you can manage all your time off accrual needs with just a few clicks.

Simply create accrual rules, which can be based on the number of hours worked or a specified pay period (which includes annual accrual).

Additional Features

We’ve covered Buddy Punch’s features dealing with scheduling, accountability, and payroll. But we also offer a range of other advanced features, from which you can pick and choose to best fit your specific business needs, including but not limited to:

Buddy Punch Online Reviews

We’re proud and thankful to report that Buddy Punch has a total of 814 reviews on Capterra at the time of writing, with an average score of 4.8 out of 5 stars.

Among those reviews, many highlight two key aspects of Buddy Punch we’re proud of: outstanding customer support and ease-of-use:

Click here to view all of Buddy Punch’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

To learn more about how Buddy Punch can help you solve all your time tracking and scheduling needs, you can watch a recording of our demo, where we go in-depth on our key features:

If you’d like to request a demo, you can do so here. We’ll show you how to best use Buddy Punch to create employee schedules and track time, and answer any questions you may have.

Finally, if you’d like to get started using Buddy Punch today, sign up for a free trial. The free plan gives you access to all major features so you can see first-hand how well Buddy Punch improves your workflow. Meanwhile, the pricing on our paid plans is flexible depending on functionalities desired and the number of employees in your workforce.

2. When I Work

At the time of writing, When I Work’s scheduling tool has 1015 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

When I Work’s key features include, but are not limited to:

Click here to view all of When I Work’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why When I Work is a great tool:

Click here to view all of When I Work’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

You can visit When I Work’s site to schedule a demo or sign up for a free trial.

3. Homebase

At the time of writing, Homebase has 730 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Homebase boasts a whole range of features, including but not limited to:

Click here to view all of Homebase’s features.

Note: Homebase does have a free plan, but the plan is limited to basic scheduling features, with just one location, and no more than 20 employees. But you’ll want to choose from one of their paid plans for advanced scheduling features like leave management and separate departments.

Here’s one review that highlights why Homebase is a great tool:

Click here to view all of Homebase’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

Homebase offers a free 14-day trial which you can sign up for here.

4. Hubstaff

At the time of writing, Hubstaff has 1384 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars. 

Hubstaff’s key features include, but are not limited to:

Click here to view all of Hubstaff’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why Hubstaff is a great tool:

Click here to view all of Hubstaff’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

You can sign up for a free Hubstaff 14-day trial here.

5. QuickBooks Time (formerly Tsheets)

At the time of writing, QuickBooks Time (formerly TSheets) has 6268 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. 

QuickBooks Time’s features include but aren’t limited to:

Click here to view all of QuickBooks Time’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why QuickBooks Time is a great tool:

QuickBooks Time review: "Easy to track & submit hours worked! Can even be used as a schedule!"

Click here to view all of QuickBooks Time’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

To learn more about QuickBooks Time, visit their site here or try their software in demo mode here.

6. Connecteam

At the time of writing, Connecteam has 255 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.8 out of 5 stars. 

Connecteam offers a large range of features that include, but are not limited to:

Click here to view all of Connecteam’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why Connecteam is a great tool:

Click here to view all of Connecteam’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

To learn more about pricing and how Connecteam can help solve your time tracking and scheduling needs, visit their site here.

7. DeskTime

At the time of writing, DeskTime has 495 reviews on Capterra, with an average of 4.4 out of 5 stars. 

DeskTime’s key features include, but aren’t limited to:

Click here to view all of DeskTime’s features.

Here’s one review that highlights why DeskTime is a great tool:

Click here to view all of DeskTime’s Capterra reviews.

Interested in learning more?

You can register for a full DeskTime demo here. If you’d like to get started today, sign up for a free 14-day trial here.

Note: Buddy Punch lets teams easily create work schedules, increase staff accountability, and save time on payroll. Click here to learn more about how it works and sign up for a free trial.

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