The 10 Best Employee Scheduling Software 2021

Best overall
Logo for Humanity software
Humanity
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Excellent app reviews
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Long free trial
Best smart scheduling
deputy logo
Deputy
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Powerful auto-scheduling tool
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Break planning
Best for HR
Sage
Sage HR
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Scheduling, performance, HR, and more
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Modular plan building
Best for restaurants
7shifts brand logo
7shifts
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Restaurant-specific features
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Per-location pricing
Best budget option
sling logo
Sling
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Modular plan building
  • Icon Pros  Dark
    Variety of different modules

In theory, employee scheduling sounds easy. You just assign people to work certain hours, right? Well in practice (as you probably know), you have to consider all sorts of factors, like employee availability, legal compliance, labor expenses, and more. Before you know it, you’re spending way too long on shift scheduling―and still ending up with scheduling conflicts.

The solution? Employee scheduling software. The right software helps you keep track of all those factors and gives you an easy tool for making and updating schedules.

So if you’re ready for easier staff scheduling, let’s take a look at the best employee scheduling software out there.

Best apps for employee scheduling

Compare the best staff scheduling software

Brand
Starting price (paid plans)
Free trial
Free plan
Learn more
Humanity$3.00/user/mo.30 daysIcon Close  Dark
Deputy$4.00/user/mo.31 daysIcon Check  Dark
Sage HR$5.50/employee/mo.14 daysIcon Close  Dark
7shifts$17.99/location/mo.14 daysIcon Check  Dark
Sling$2.00/user/mo.15 daysIcon Check  Dark
Homebase$14.00/location/mo.N/AIcon Check  Dark
When I Work$2.00/user/mo.14 daysIcon Close  Dark
Zoomshift$2.00/user/mo.14 daysIcon Close  Dark
Planday$2.00/user/mo.30 daysIcon Check  Dark
DeskTime$3.85/user/mo.14 daysIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Humanity: Best overall employee scheduling app

Humanity offers an all-around great scheduling experience, making it our favorite employee scheduling software for most businesses.

But what makes Humanity a standout software? For starters, its pricing. Humanity isn’t quite the cheapest scheduling software on this list (that would be Sling), but it still has very affordable pricing―less than $5 per user each month even for its more advanced plan.

And you get a lot for the cost. All Humanity plans come with a scheduling tool, shift trading for employees, time off management, and schedule notifications. If you opt for the Classic plan, you get way more―like auto-scheduling, compliance, GPS clocking in (and out), budgeting, messaging, and more. Oh, and all plans come with 24/7 customer support. Like we said, Humanity gives you plenty for the price.

Humanity software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Time/attendance
Learn more
Starter$3.00/user/mo.$3.40/user/mo.Icon Close  Dark
Classic$4.00/user/mo.$5.00/user/mo.Icon Check  Dark
EnterpriseCustom pricingCustom pricingIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

And you don’t have to take our word for it. Users (business owners and staff members) really like Humanity. In fact, Humanity gets rave reviews from thousands of users (with a 4.7 and 4.9 from the Google Play and App Store, respectively1,2). Those are better ratings than any other app on this list.

If that doesn’t convince you, then maybe Humanity’s free trial will. It offers one of the more generous free trials for a scheduling system, giving you 30 days to test its software. (Of the software here, only Deputy offers a longer free trial.) So you have plenty of time to try out Humanity’s staff scheduling software and decide if it’s right for your business.

In other words, Humanity has great pricing, solid features, rave reviews, and a killer free trial to boot. With benefits like that, you can see why we rank Humanity as the best scheduling tool for most businesses.

Deputy: Best for smart scheduling

It’s 2021―which means it might be time to let technology do the hard work for you. Enter Deputy scheduling software.

Deputy includes an auto-scheduling feature. As you can guess, that means it can automatically generate a staff schedule for you. You just click a button, and Deputy gets to work. Of course, you can always tweak the resulting schedule―but with Deputy’s software, there’s a good chance you won’t have to. Because while it might not be the only scheduling software to offer smart scheduling, Deputy does it best.

Deputy software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. shifts
Learn more
Starter$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/mo.100/mo.
Premium$4.00/user/mo.$4.50/user/mo.Unlimited
EnterpriseCustom pricingCustom pricingUnlimited

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Deputy takes all sorts of factors into account when it creates a new staff schedule. Things like employee availability and labor expense are just the tip of the Deputy iceberg. It also factors in legal compliance, training levels, and scheduling priorities (like cost or equal spread). Deputy can even take into account forecasted sales or customer traffic so you always have the right number of staff on hand.

You will need a paid plan to get Deputy’s smart scheduling tool. But given the time and frustration it can save you, Deputy’s auto-scheduling is worth the cost.

Sage HR: Best comprehensive HR solution

Want scheduling software that offers more than just scheduling features? Then take a look at Sage HR, a comprehensive HR software that includes shift scheduling.

Sage HR is, at its base, a human resources software that gives you things like an employee database, onboarding tools, analytics, and more. But Sage HR lets you add additional features (“modules,” as it calls them) to make your HR software more powerful. And one of those modules offers―you guessed it―employee scheduling. You get a drag-and-drop scheduling tool, shift templates, reporting, and more.

Sage HR software pricing

Module
Cost/mo.
Module type
Learn more
Core HR + Leave Management$5.50/employeeStandard
Performance$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Shift Scheduling$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Timesheets$3.00/employeeAdd-on
Expenses$1.50/employeeAdd-on
RecruitmentStarting at $200.00Add-on

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

You don’t have to stop with employee scheduling though. Sage HR also offers employee timesheets, expense management, performance management, and more. And remember, Sage HR lets you pick and choose the modules you want. That way, you can build a plan that has the features you need without any bloat. (That’s why we chose Sage HR for this list over other human resource software.)

So if you’d like to design a software plan that gives you an employee scheduling tool and other workforce management tools besides, we recommend Sage HR.

7shifts: Best for restaurants

Need an employee scheduling app for your restaurant? Let us recommend 7shifts.

While other employee scheduling software has been designed to work with many industries, 7shifts was designed just for restaurants. And it shows―in a good way. 7shifts includes scheduling features (and other tools) that just make sense for the unique staff needs of a restaurant.

7shifts software pricing

Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Max. employees
Learn more
Comp$0.00/location/mo.$0.00/mo.10
Appetizer$17.99/location/mo.$19.99/mo.20
Entrée$39.99/location/mo.$43.99/mo.Unlimited
The Works$69.99/location/mo.$76.99/mo.Unlimited

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

For example, 7shifts has basic scheduling features like shift swapping and schedule notifications. But it also lets you do more restaurant-specific things, like assign task lists to shifts (so employees get a to-do list when they clock in). Advanced plans come with overtime and break alerts, so a busy dining room never cuts into your compliance. And all 7shifts plans come with per-location pricing instead of per-user, which makes more sense for your food-industry team.

Put simply, there’s no need to make other scheduling software work for your restaurant. 7shifts has all the scheduling tools (and more) your restaurant needs.

Sling: Best budget option

Looking for an affordable scheduling tool? You’ll love Sling’s affordable pricing.

Many businesses can use Sling as a totally free employee scheduling software. You can put unlimited employees on Sling’s free plan (other software usually comes with a strict user limit on free plans). And you get a pretty robust scheduling system with the free plan, including things like time off requests, shift offers, shift templates, and more.

Sling software pricing

Plan
Cost
Budgeting/cost management
Task management
Learn more
Free$0.00/user/mo.Icon Close  DarkIcon Close  Dark
Premium$2.00/user/mo.Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
Business$4.00/user/mo.Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Or you can upgrade to a Sling paid plan. Its two paid plans are still very, very affordable, with some of the lowest per-user pricing out there. The Premium paid plan will get you more features, like time sheets, team messaging, shift swapping, and budgeting. With the Business plan, you get task management, a kiosk time clock, and even more scheduling features―all at a low, competitive price.

Whether you want free employee scheduling software or just a really affordable employee scheduling solution, Sling offers great plans for businesses on a budget.

Honorable mentions

Homebase

Homebase offers another super affordable scheduling software solution. You can use the free Basic plan for unlimited employees, complete with time tracking, scheduling, team messaging, and integrations for payroll and point-of-sale software.

Homebase software pricing
Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Productivity management
Labor/cost management
Learn more
Basic$0.00/location/mo.Icon Close  DarkIcon Close  Dark
Essentials$14.00/location/mo.Icon Check  DarkIcon Close  Dark
Plus$35.00/location/mo.Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark
All-in-One$70.00/location/mo.Icon Check  DarkIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

You can get additional tools, like performance management, labor cost management, and onboarding when you choose a Homebase paid plan.

Note that Homebase charges by location (like 7shifts) rather than per-employee. If you’ve got a larger team, that can make Homebase an excellent budget software (though smaller teams may get a better deal with per-user pricing).

When I Work

When I Work has fairly limited plan choices, but you get a lot with the plans it offers. For a low monthly price, you get manual and auto-scheduling, team messaging, task management, integrations with popular payroll software, and more.

When I Work software pricing
Plan
Cost
Time & attendance add-on
Users
Learn more
Small Business $2.00/user/mo.$2.00/user/mo.Up to 100
EnterpriseCustom pricingCustom pricing100+

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

For an additional monthly fee, you can also get time and attendance features, including timesheets, break management, and basic labor cost tools.

Our favorite feature has to be When I Work’s shift filling. (You can find a similar scheduling tool with other software, but When I Work does it best.) When I work lets you offer shifts to available staff and it lets your staff see open shifts they can take. Plus, When I Work allows for simple shift swapping between employees. That means fewer missed shifts for you, and more flexibility for your team.

ZoomShift

ZoomShift offers another solid scheduling tool. All plans come with employee scheduling, a time clock, timesheets, and employee availability tools. And since ZoomShift plans start as just $2 per month, you can get those essentials quite cheaply.

ZoomShift software pricing
Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
GPS time clock
Learn more
Starter$2.00/user/mo.$2.50/user/mo.Icon Close  Dark
Premium$4.00/user/mo.$5.00/user/mo.Icon Check  Dark
EnterpriseCustom pricingCustom pricingIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

The upgraded Premium plan gives you more control over time and scheduling. For example, you can set shift rules, tie your time clock to GPS (so employees can only clock in where they should as well as when), and activity logs.

That said, ZoomShift doesn’t have a particular standout feature we love. It’s still an all-around solid tool―so if you like the look or the price, it’s worth using. It just doesn’t have quite the amount of special features that some other software on this list do.

Planday

Much like ZoomShift, Playday offers a solid―if not exciting―choice for employee scheduling. Its cheap Starter plan gets you smart scheduling, scheduling templates, team messaging, and labor cost tracking. In other words, all the essential scheduling software features.

Planday software pricing
Plan
Cost
Punch clock add-on
Cost tracking
Learn more
Starter$2.00/user/mo.$1.00/user/mo.Icon Close  Dark
Plus$4.00/user/mo.$1.00/user/mo.Icon Check  Dark
EnterpriseCustom pricingCustom pricingIcon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

You can upgrade to get overtime management, revenue tracking, and even basic HR tools (employee files and digital signatures). The Plus plan also comes with assisted setup, so you’ll have a Planday specialist helping you get your new scheduling software in place.

As an added bonus, Planday comes with a long 30-day trial. So if what we’ve said about Planday appeals to you, you can test it for a month to see if it works for your team.

DeskTime

DeskTime works primarily as a time-tracking software, rather than a scheduling software. It does offer shift scheduling with the Premium and Enterprise plans, which is why it earned a spot on this list. Well, and because DeskTime’s time tracking is so solid.

DeskTime software pricing
Plan
Cost (annual billing)
Cost (monthly billing)
Shift scheduling
Learn more
Lite$0.00/user/mo.$0.00/user/mo.Icon Close  Dark
Pro$3.85–$6.00/user/mo.$4.20–$7.00/user/mo.Icon Close  Dark
Premium$5.01–$8.00/user/mo.$5.46–$9.00/user/mo.Icon Check  Dark
Enterprise$7.70–$12.00/user/mo.$8.40–$14.00/user/mo.Icon Check  Dark

Data effective 2/8/21. At publishing time, amounts, rates, and requirements are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

DeskTime offers time tracking for individuals and for projects. So you’ll know that your team members have showed up for their shifts, but you’ll also get confirmation that they’re spending their time on the right tasks and projects.

You can also get productivity management and even invoicing from DeskTime. That makes DeskTime a good fit for computer-based teams. Retail stores, restaurants, and other types of businesses will probably do better with a different scheduling software though.

Employee scheduling software FAQ

What is the best free employee scheduling app?

Sling is our favorite free employee scheduling app. You can have as many employees as you want on Sling’s free plan, and you get all the scheduling must-haves (like time off requests, shift offers, and shift templates).

How much does employee scheduling software cost?

The cost of employee scheduling software can vary, depending on your desired features, number of staff, and other factors. Generally speaking, though, scheduling software plans cost between $2 and $6 per month.

Keep in mind, however, that those prices are per employee. The more staff members you have, the higher your scheduling software costs will be (unless you choose a software with location-based pricing, like 7shifts or Homebase.)

What features should I look for in staff scheduling software?

At minimum, you’ll want your scheduling software to have an easy-to-use (probably drag-and-drop) schedule creation tool, the ability for employees to set their availability, and notifications for new schedules.
Depending on your needs, you may also want smart scheduling (ak.a auto-scheduling), team messaging, shift swapping, and task management.

And if you want your scheduling software to do more for your team, you can also look for software that includes HR tools (like an employee database), payroll integrations, time clocks, and time sheets.

The takeaway

For a simpler scheduling process, you need employee scheduling software. Aside from helping you quickly create new and recurring schedules, work schedule software can make it easy to fill open shifts, let staff trade shifts, keep up with legal compliance, and manage labor expenses―among other things.

For most businesses, Humanity offers the best balance of scheduling features and cost. But depending on your employee schedule needs, the other online scheduling software companies above can work well for your team too.

Enjoy your faster, easier scheduling!

Now that you’ve got your employee scheduling managed, simplify your client scheduling with the best appointment scheduling software.

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Sources
1. Google Play, “Humanity - Employee Scheduling.” Accessed February 11, 2021.
2. Apple, “Humanity - Employee Scheduling.” Accessed February 11, 2021.

Chloe Goodshore
Written by
Chloe Goodshore
Chloe covers business financing and loans for Business.org. She has worked with many small businesses over the past 10 years, from video game stores to law firms. Those years watching frustrated business owners try to sift through their many options gave her a passion for breaking down complex business topics. She wants to help business owners spend less time agonizing over their businesses so they can spend more time running them.
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