We all use some form of work scheduler. Some people prefer a piece of paper, and others opt for a digital solution. While the traditional way of planning with a spreadsheet and a pen may be enough for individuals, such a system is not effective for teams.
That’s why you need an employee scheduling software.
Check also our list of the daily schedule templates and weekly schedule templates.
Why Use Employee Scheduling Software?
With the growth of flexibility in work schedules, it becomes more challenging to schedule employees shifts. You need to properly coordinate the employee schedule so rosters are smooth and efficient. And in this case, the classical pen and paper method is far from efficient.
Everyone on a team must write down their schedules, then pass them to every other team member. If it’s done virtually, it creates endless, messy email threads. Either way, it’s a long, time-consuming process. Also, it’s easy to get confused, make mistakes, and get lost in all the entanglement of dependencies.
👉 Read also about flextime.
And that’s where an employee scheduling software comes in aid. It serves as a unified system for organizing agenda, managing shifts, and allows you to monitor resources in real-time. So if dealing with shift management and labor costs is a big part of your business, you should use such a tool to streamline workflow, eliminate tedious paperwork, and ultimately—save time and money.
The only downside is such that you need to learn how it works. But just think about it—it’s better to spend one hour on learning how it works, rather than devote 1 hour every week or month adjusting the schedule manually.
A good employee scheduling software lets you manage shifts and attendance with just one click.
What to Look For in Scheduling Software?
How to make sure you’re using the right tool? There are certain aspects it’s worth to think about when choosing a scheduling app:
- Ease of use—that speaks for itself, nobody likes complicated solutions
- A unified system where all features are interconnected with each other for smooth shifts and employee supervision
- Integrations with other apps
- Free version so you can test the features and opt-out if it’s not suited for your business
- Ability to download it on your desktop so you can flexibly manage shifts locally on your computer
- Time tracking to monitor working hours of employees
Let’s not forget that you know best what features you need so your business can operate smoothly. Software that works for small teams may not be best for larger organizations. You can try different solutions, mix, and experiment to find the right fit.
What Is The Best Free Scheduling Software?
You can find different types of employee scheduling software on the market. Some are stand-alone solutions, others are part of a larger system. Most employee scheduling software is cloud-based; some offer an on-premise solution and others are a combination of both.
But if you’re looking specifically for free software you can download on your computer, we’ve got your back.
Here are the best free employee scheduling tools you can download on your desktop.
1. TimeCamp – unified system for project & attendance administration
TimeCamp is entirely free time tracking software for unlimited users that not only tracks time but also lets you manage leaves and attendance from any place in the world. The tool is available as a desktop and mobile app, also as a web timer. You can download it for free and have the time of your employees tracked automatically.
TimeCamp provides you with easy time recording and keeps track of the team’s attendance and performance. You can see who works how and when in the real-time so you can schedule shifts of your employees based on their availability.
Also, TimeCamp enables you to recreate your organizational structure by adding groups that represent each of the company’s units. You are able to divide your employees into different teams, define some special settings for each of them and give them exact roles and permissions.
TimeCamp is best for teams that need flexibility, want to improve productivity, and become more profitable by spotting the bottlenecks in business processes. It helps to improve workflow, communication, and collaboration in your team. TimeCamp features and modules make it a great centralized system for managing every aspect of a project.
Among other features you’ll wind the following:
- Free plan for unlimited users
- Automatic time tracking with a one-click start/stop button
- Timesheets with approvals to monitor ins and outs of your staff
- Graphical timesheets integrate with calendar
- You can create invoices based on billable hours worked
- TimeCamp integrates with various tools and apps
- Measures the working time by particular categories—productive, unproductive, neutral
- Budgeting and invoicing
- Attendance and leave module with different types of days (remote work, sick leave, parental leave, and more)
Get TimeCamp — free work schedule software
2. When I Work – time clock terminal
When I Work is employee scheduling and time tracking software. Although its a web and mobile app (iOS and Android), you can utilize it as a time clock for computer so your employees can log in and out their work hours during shifts. So it is not a desktop app as such, but it’s a great tool that lets you create perfect work schedules for every business.
Employees can use personal and work computers as a time clock and you can administer their work in the web app to manage attendance. When I Work lets employees report on their paid breaks upon clock out. The manager has the option to turn off paid break reporting in the account’s settings.
The software has many built-in features that your workforce can use to better communicate and collaborate, and create fitted schedules.
The free version offers simple scheduling and communication for a single team or location with up to 75 users. The top features include team scheduling, team availability, team messaging, shift trading, and time-off requests.
It’s a great employee scheduling software so if you don’t mind having your data stored on the cloud, think about choosing When I Work.
3. HeySpace – communication and collaboration with workflow scheduling
HeySpace is a task management software with chat. It’s a great employee scheduling software especially for small teams, medium-sized businesses, or startups that need a flexible solution to plan and collaborate on work in one place. The software is also great for everyone who works in the agile methodology. You can download HeySpace on your desktop, phone (iOS, Android), or access it in your browser.
This free software allows you to communicate and collaborate with other employees, teams, and even lets you invite people from outside of your organization. You can use HeySpace to freely plan your work schedule, employee shift, and all tasks you need to perform.
Here are the main features of HeySpace:
- The flexible design lets you see three boards in one place—your team and spaces (different channels), chat, list of cards with tasks
- You can easily convert part of your conversation into a task
- The Kanban board with projects and tasks allows you to see employee workflow in one place
- Every task can be adjusted – you can set date, assign people to it, add tags, checklists, description, files, comment on it, make tasks recurring
- The feature of workspaces allows you to create many spaces, if, for example, you work with various organizations or have different clients
- The calendar view lets you visualize the work schedule
- A pleasant and intuitive interface makes HeySpace easy to use
HeySpace gives you space to freely and smoothly collaborate with your teams and clients to create perfect workflow and shifts. No more switching between apps and tabs. You have everything in one place.
4. Express Schedule – robust shift scheduler
Express Schedule is a robust employee scheduling software available for Windows. It is designed for you to create, edit, and share work schedule and rosters with your staff members effortlessly—saving your business time, money, and streamlining your workflow.
It’s a powerful planning tool, considering that it’s free, with no extra costs for additional features. It’s great for your business if you have several departments, teams, or if you need to coordinate the workflow of a large number of employees.
Here are the features of Express Schedule:
- The intuitive drag and drop interface
- Copy schedules from previous weeks to save time
- Create recurring schedules
- Add and edit shifts of any duration by typing directly into the calendar
- Print your roster in one click
- Email schedules directly to individual employees or the entire staff
- Add comments, reminders, and notices to the schedule
- Ability to add all common forms of time-off, such as vacations, unavailability, maternity leave, and more
- Supports multiple shifts, breaks and leave entries for a staff member on the same day
- Use your existing email client, such as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc. to send emails
- Add time-off, sick leave, break entries and holidays
5. Trello – simple Kanban employee scheduling software
Trello is a popular collaboration tool that lets teams and individuals plan, manage, and administer projects and tasks, both simple and complex. It can also be helpful as a free employee scheduling software. It’s a visual board for managing and planning tasks and workflow. The software is easy-in-use and has a pleasant interface. Even though it has a simple design, it offers many useful functionalities.
In Trello, you can plan work, employee shifts, and adjust every schedule the way you need with the drag-and-drop feature. You can create various customizable boards and calendar views for different teams, adjust cards’ settings, repeat them for recurring tasks, comment on tasks, attach files, and use many other fancy options to adjust shifts for different days. Also, Trello has a wide list of power-ups that help to enhance work and collaboration.
Trello is best for small teams, startups, and agile businesses who are looking for a minimalistic and simple solution to schedule employee shifts.
Check out TimeCamp integration with Trello!
6. ABC Roster – simplistic calendar scheduling
ABC Roster is a free employee scheduling software specially designed to assist in the complex task of organizing employee shift schedules (also known as rosters) for small organizations. It was originally targeting food and beverages departments, but it is now used in a wider range of businesses and organizations.
ABC Roster has a simple and intuitive user interface that lets you efficiently manage shifts and employee schedule. The tool has all the necessary functionalities. The automated planner can generate schedules for you, you can manage employees’ availability, days off, leaves, events, bookings, and all aspects of scheduling. You can email the schedules to employees directly from the application, and export the schedules to Microsoft Excel, PDF, and HTML documents.
The fact that all the built-in functionalities are for free is the main advantage over other employee scheduling software.
7. Excel – for traditional employee scheduling
Old but gold, Excel is still among one of the most popular tools used for scheduling shifts.
If you’re an enthusiast of traditional and simplistic solutions, Excel will be the right choice. It’s suitable for small teams with a regular time schedule. You can use formulas and other functionalities to schedule shifts and determine labor costs.
As an alternative, you can also use Word, especially, if you’re not good with Excel equations. Microsoft offers various schedule templates as well as timesheets, spreadsheets, agendas, and more to help you create the optimal schedule for your team.
And if in your business you use Windows and other tools from Microsoft Store as they are compatible with Excel and let you facilitate schedule building.
8. Microsoft Teams – collaboration & scheduling platform for teams
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform for teams. It’s the hub for teamwork in Microsoft 365 where everyone you work with can chat, meet, call, and collaborate all in one place. With its Shifts module, you can schedule shifts and plan workflow.
If you’re looking for a 360-degree software that will let you collaborate with a team and schedule shifts in one hub in an easy way to access all information about your business in a single platform, Teams is the right choice. Shifts in Microsoft Teams is a schedule supervision tool that helps you create, update, and manage schedules for your team.
The software works best for in-office employees and if you need a rota scheduling tool. It has helpful functionalities:
- Create a schedule from scratch or import an existing one from Excel
- Add notes to share important news and reminders for specific days
- Create and organize groups
- Assign a shift, create a new one copy from an existing one, add activities, add open shifts, review shift coverage
- Review requests for time-off, shift swaps, or offers
- Use time clock to let employees clock in and out of a shift with a mobile device
- Share updates only when you want your team to see them
- Export a schedule to Excel and send the spreadsheet to your team or clients via email
You can download MicrosoftTeams for free and use it as an employee scheduling software.
Check our Microsoft Teams time tracking integration!
9. GoodDay – managing projects, workflow, and planning schedule
GoodDay lets you manage projects and workflow across the entire company. The free version is available for 1-15 users so the tool is best for small teams. You can download it for free on your desktop (Mac OS, Windows, Linux) and access all functionalities in one place.
GoodDay offers a vast choice of functionalities ranging from managing projects, time, to data management with reports and analytics. You can plan, organize work, create portfolios, custom workflows, message your team, manage tasks, track time, and administer all the data in one place.
Reports and analytics provide you with different types of statistics and numbers on team performance, collaboration, behavior, process flows and more to help you better schedule work.
You can schedule the workflow of your team based on the workload, projects, and track team availability. GoodDay is flexible software for business administration and its work schedule functionality provides a clear picture of all relevant work items and allows scheduling, planning, creating, and prioritizing items with a few clicks.
It’s a great free scheduling software for every business that needs versatile software.
10. Teamwork – managing work schedule and projects in a team
Teamwork is a collaboration platform for teams. It’s also a good employee scheduling software that lets you create a work schedule for all your employees, including the remote workers.
Teamwork allows you not only to plan projects but also to take care of every aspect of the scheduling process—who will work on what, how, and for how long.
You can easily stay in sync with other employees and see their work schedule and progress in real-time, and track changes. Teamwork lets you schedule work by balancing workloads in one place so you have the insight into everyone’s availability and capacity. And to enhance your schedule, you can integrate the tool with other software.
In addition, Teamwork lets you visualize schedules so you can better prepare for work. The free version is available for 5 team members and it’s best for a small team.
Check out our Teamwork time tracking integration!
Employee scheduling software can help your business grow. It facilitates schedule building so your employees can improve their performance and make work enjoyable. When shifts go smooth and are well-planned, people are happy. And a happy workforce means a successful business.
What is your favorite free software for managing time and employee shift?