Master Your Team’s Schedule: Best Employee Scheduling Apps Reviewed

Explore strategic employee scheduling in the digital age with our guide, diving into the functionalities of top apps like Deputy, When I Work, and Homebase, ensuring your team operates seamlessly and efficiently.


Navigating the busy world of business requires a solid grip on planning, especially when it comes to organizing your team. The heart of smooth operations often lies in simple yet strategic employee scheduling. Managers should not just assign shifts but smartly manage work, reduce costs, and boost productivity, all of which pave the way for business success. Employee scheduling apps come in handy for simplifying the complex task of organizing work schedules.

The digital age has showered us with many tech tools to ease staff scheduling. The best employee scheduling app should have these key capabilities: 

  • streamline work planning 
  • minimize communication mishaps 
  • avoid mistakes 
  • enhance workflow efficiency 

Whether you’re part of a small startup finding its feet or a large, established business, a reliable scheduling app for employees is key to improving your work dynamics. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the wide range of team scheduling apps to provide business owners, HR managers, and team leaders with insights into options such as Deputy, When I Work, 7shifts, and Sling. We’ll look at some free employee scheduling app options, such as Homebase and Findmyshift, as well as premium offerings like Humanity and Virto Calendar Overlay, guiding you to make an informed decision. 

If you’re looking for scheduling apps for SharePoint, check out our dedicated articles on the best SharePoint scheduling tools and how to overlay calendars on SharePoint

Virto Calendar - shifts

Virto Calendar Overlay employee shift schedule app

The Need for Employee Scheduling Apps

Managing employee hours and roles in ever-changing business operations is crucial, especially in sectors like retail and healthcare where scheduling can be complex. Traditional manual scheduling for managing availability, shift swaps, and leave requests can be error-prone and difficult. Whether you’re part of a small businesses with tight resources or an enterprise managing thousands of employees, you can face issues with consistency, communication, and protection of the company’s bottom line due to scheduling conflicts. 

The perks of switching to a digital team scheduling app

Transitioning to a digital employee scheduling app brings numerous advantages over traditional, manual methods: 

  • Having a centralized staff app means that every team member can access schedules from anywhere, enjoying transparency and minimizing scheduling errors.  
  • Team scheduling apps often come equipped with features that automate task assignment, track working hours, and even integrate with payroll systems, reducing administrative costs. 
  • With functionalities that allow employees to input their availability, request time off, or swap shifts, staff apps relieve management from the endless back-and-forth chats and human errors that frequently happen in manual scheduling.  

Staff scheduling app features for collaboration and project management

A top-notch employee scheduling app plays a pivotal role in project management and team collaboration. Here’s why: 

  • Real-time updates: With a staff app, say goodbye to confusion and hello to real-time updates, instant in-app communication, and on-the-go tracking. A great scheduling app will keep the team in sync and the project on track. 
  • Visual dashboards: Imagine having a crystal-clear view of who’s working on what and when. That’s the magic of visual dashboards in these apps—they ensure resources are always correctly allocated and teams excel. 
  • Always in the know: With cloud-based tech in team scheduling apps, every update is timely, meaning managers and members are always in the loop with the freshest data, powering up decision-making and project execution like never before. 

Employee scheduling apps: universally needed across the board

Staff apps and scheduling solutions are becoming critical in numerous industries. For those managing customer-facing roles in retail and hospitality, ensuring strict compliance in healthcare and public services, or organizing complex timetables in education, these digital tools are providing much-needed relief.  
In transport and logistics, too, timing is everything, so meticulous scheduling is essential.  

Regardless of your industry or business size, the right scheduling app helps you to solve today’s challenges while also setting you up for future success by adapting to your needs. When choosing an employee scheduling app, you want to strike a balance between managing the present and planning for the future. 

When I work scheduling app

When I Work employee scheduling app. Source:  

Features to Look for in Staff Scheduling Apps

Management tools are vital for organizing employee work hours and tasks to improve the visibility of everyone’s workload. Let’s look at the most important key features of staff scheduling apps that simplify scheduling and team management: 

A user-friendly interface

The best employee scheduling apps are easy and intuitive to use. The tool you choose should be accessible and easy to navigate for all team members, regardless of their technological knowledge. A straightforward design, clear functionality, and easy-to-understand features ensure that your team will adopt your chosen employee scheduling app and integrate it into their workflows in no time. 

Overlay all your schedules in one place

Try Virto Calendar to have all your employees’ shifts in a unified view.

Flexibility in scheduling

A robust employee schedule app should offer flexibility to cater to the diverse and often dynamic needs of different businesses and industries. This includes customizable scheduling templates, the ability to manage and assign different roles, and accommodation of varying shift patterns. 

Real-time updates

Make sure that the scheduling app for employees you choose can provide real-time updates and notifications. Instant alerts on shift changes, assignment updates, or urgent messages are fundamental for maintaining an informed team, reducing the risk of scheduling conflicts. 

Integration for streamlined operations

Employee scheduling apps should be able to integrate with the other tools and platforms that your business uses. Smooth integration with other business tools like payroll and communication apps guarantees your scheduling app will work well without distracting you from important tasks. 

Security and control

Given the sensitive nature of the data involved in employee scheduling, security cannot be overlooked. A high-quality staff scheduling app must safeguard against unauthorized access and data breaches. It should also provide administrators with control over who can access and change schedules to make sure the data stays secure and private. 

Mobile accessibility for on-the-go management

In an age where literally everything is mobile-first, ensuring that your staff scheduling application is mobile-accessible is key. This provides managers and employees with the convenience of modifying schedules on the go, making sure nothing detracts from their workflow, no matter where they are. 

Finding a staff scheduling app with these features will not only simplify your scheduling needs but also contribute to your operational efficiency. Whether you’re operating in retail, healthcare, or any other industry that demands precise scheduling, any employee work schedule app should address these needs and integrate itself seamlessly into your daily operations. 

Former TSheets (now QuickBooks Time) scheduling app for employees

Former TSheets (now QuickBooks Time) scheduling app for employees. Source:  

The Best Employee Scheduling Apps   

Choosing the best employee scheduling app among the hundreds of options available is quite a challenge. The popular When I Work employee scheduling app is just one of many that have been aiding businesses with their scheduling processes. But how does it stack up against the others in the market? In this section, we’ll compare some of the top scheduling apps and analyze their functionalities, pricing, and suitability for different company sizes and industries. 

NameDescription Key Features Pricing Best Suited For 
Deputy Comprehensive management tool with efficient scheduling and an all-in-one employee app. – Efficient scheduling  
– Time and attendance tracking  
– Wage and hour compliance 
– All-in-one employee app 
From $3.50 per user per month depending on the set of functionalities. Small to medium businesses in various industries. 
When I Work Streamlines schedule creation, time tracking, and communication. – Fast schedule creation 
– Time tracking  
– Improved communication 
From $2.50 per user per month depending on the set of functionalities. Small businesses, retail, and hospitality. 
Float Resource management, time tracking, and integrations designed to centralize projects and people into one live timeline, comparing estimated vs. actual costs. – Centralized resource and project management 
– Prefilled timesheets and real-time budget tracking 
– Integrations with existing tools and workflows 
From $6 per user per month depending on the set of functionalities. Teams and businesses of all sizes. 
TSheets (now QuickBooks Time) A time-tracking and scheduling solution that integrates with QuickBooks for streamlined payroll and invoicing. – Mobile timesheet app with offline functionality 
– GPS and geofencing 
– Scheduling with notifications and calendar sync 
– Time Kiosk for centralized clocking in and out 
– Alerts and approvals to manage overtime 
– Smart reporting 
From $15 per month depending on the number of users and sales channels. Businesses of all sizes, especially those already using QuickBooks for financial management and looking for a time tracking and scheduling solution. 
Humanity A platform offering automated and predictive scheduling, focusing on both compliance and employee experience. – User-friendly interface 
– Top-rated mobile app 
– Custom templates and rules specific to unique scheduling use cases 
Custom pricing. Industries requiring compliance adherence and robust scheduling. 
7shifts (freemium) Comprehensive hiring, training, scheduling, payment, and retention tool designed for restaurants. – AI-integrated autoscheduling 
– Labor cost optimization 
– Task management and communication for training 
– Payroll and tip management 
Free for single-location restaurants. Paid options start from $29.99 per month per location. Restaurants of various sizes and structures. 
Sling (freemium) A powerful tool combining employee scheduling, communication, and time tracking. – Employee scheduling with budget control and overtime reduction 
– Team communication via group or private messages 
– Time and attendance with GPS geofencing and auto clock-out 
Free version with key scheduling features included. Paid options from $1.70 per user per month. Various industries. Especially suited for remote and hybrid teams. 
Virto Calendar Overlay (freemium) A robust calendar management app that integrates and overlays multiple calendars, providing synchronized and efficient staff scheduling. – Creation and management of team calendars 
– Integration of multiple calendar types 
– Color-coded systems for clear scheduling 
– Cross-device usability 
– Varied display options, including Gantt view 
Free for up to five users. From $950 per year for 50 users to custom quote for enterprises. Various business sizes and industries, including fire stations, hospitals, educational institutions, logistics, and retail. 
An all-in-one scheduling app that optimizes shifts, shares schedules instantly, and operates efficiently while managing vacation and real-time scheduling. – Templates or autoscheduling 
– Publishing and sharing of schedules with instant notifications 
– Managing vacation and time off  
– Real-time schedule tracking and optimization 
Free basic version for up to 20 employees in one location. Paid options start from $20 per location per month. Various industries, with options for businesses of different sizes and needs. 
Findmyshift (freemium) A robust scheduling solution that facilitates quick and efficient employee management, with features such as real-time reporting and automatic reminders. – Drag and drop schedule editor 
– Timesheet storage 
– Real-time reporting and payroll features 
– Automated shift reminders 
– Time off management 
Free: €0  Starter: €19 Business: €29 Enterprise: €48  
 Prices are per month per team if paid annually.  
Any business and industry. 
Runn (freemium) Resource scheduling, capacity management, project planning, and forecasting. – High-level schedule creation 
– Capacity and project management in a single view 
– Project planning and budgeting 
– Forecasting capabilities 
Free for up to five people. Pro version is $8 per person per month. Custom pricing for enterprises. IT, software, architecture, engineering, consultancies, agencies, and more. 
Connecteam (freemium) Comprehensive app integrating scheduling, time tracking, operations management, internal communications, and employee growth functionalities. – Full scheduling and time tracking with one-click payroll 
– Daily operations management with mobile checklists and live reports 
– Multi-faceted internal communication channels 
– Employee onboarding, training, and recognition 
The small business plan is free for up to 10 users. Paid plans start from $29 per month if paid annually. Small to large businesses, particularly those with field operations. 
Deputy scheduling app

Deputy staff scheduling app. Source:  

We’ve taken a good look at twelve popular employee scheduling apps, diving into their features and pricing. It’s a busy market, with each app bringing something a little different to the table. Hopefully our comparison has cleared the water a bit. Next, we’ll analyze free team scheduling apps, weigh up their pros and cons, and acknowledge some of the top options in the category.  

The Advantages of Free Employee Scheduling Apps

Analyzing all the suitable staff apps on the market can be quite a journey, especially when the task is to find a free employee scheduling app. In this section, we will dive into the world of free options and learn why small businesses and startups should consider them. 

Free employee scheduling apps: an insight for startups

Investing nothing and still gaining real business benefits seems like a smart move for startups. Here’s a brief exploration of why you might want to consider free or freemium options: 

  • Budget-friendly: This is quite straightforward—free apps facilitate resource allocation without any financial pressure. 
  • User-friendly: Free versions of apps often prioritize ease of use, providing a smooth introduction for newcomers. 
  • Upgradable: Free apps usually provide a scalable path, allowing businesses to explore premium features as they expand. 

Findmyshift free employee scheduling app. Source:  

Weighing free against paid: a question of features 

When you compare free and paid apps, you’ll find they offer different features. Freemium apps give good tools for small teams, while paying for an app can unlock more advanced features. This might include detailed reports, more integration options, and 24/7 support to help make complicated scheduling easier to handle. 

Recognizing limitations: the potential downsides of free versions 

Opting for free applications requires some compromises: 

  • Restricted access: Limited access to features confines you to the basic functionalities. 
  • Scalability challenges: As your organizational complexity grows, the limitations of free versions may become more evident, increasing the need for an upgrade. 
  • Limited support: Customer support, often a crucial element, is usually limited in free versions. 

Notable mentions: free employee scheduling apps to consider 

While the market is bursting with options, certain free scheduling apps have gained attention for their utility and user-friendly design: 

  • Findmyshift: Tailored for small teams, it encapsulates the essentials of scheduling and time management efficiently. 
  • Virto Calendar Overlay: A tool that provides a unified view of overlaid calendars, streamlining company-wide scheduling. The full version is completely free for up to five users. 
  • Runn: Distinguished by its intuitive interface and simplistic resource scheduling. 
  • Connecteam: Particularly designed for industries with “non-desk” employees, offering an array of features free of charge. 
  • Additional mentions: Homebase, 7shifts, and Sling—these apps, catering to diverse sectors such as retail and hospitality, offer a host of scheduling features for free. 

What is the best free app for scheduling small business employee meetings? 

Let’s talk about something that every small business needs—a way to schedule meetings without the chaos. Enter Virto Calendar Overlay, the top choice for keeping things organized without pulling out your credit card. 

Virto is like your personal assistant in the world of scheduling. It brings together all your calendars (yes, even Google and iCal) into one easy-to-read view. You can see everyone’s availability, plan team meetings, and ensure no one is double-booked without needing to bounce between multiple calendars. And you can forget about puzzling over complex legends because the color-coding system makes identifying different teams or projects so much easier. 

Virto Calendar Overlay isn’t only for viewing schedules. Here’s a stellar feature: you can create an event and instantly turn it into a Teams meeting right within the Virto Calendar app. And the best part for small businesses is that Virto is completely free for up to five users. That’s right—no hidden fees, limited trial period, or locked-away features. Just a free, super-handy scheduling tool for you and your team. 

Virto calendar overlay mobile app

Virto Calendar Overlay App

All in all, free employee scheduling apps can be a big help for small businesses and startups, making team management simpler without costing a penny. So, what is the best free employee scheduling app? Well, the one that covers your needs and scales with your business, even if it means investing some funds when you can afford it. Here’s to making smart and helpful choices in your scheduling adventures! 


Connecteam free employee scheduling app. Source: 

The Role of Employee Shift Schedule Apps in 24/7 Businesses

Convenience stores, hospitals, emergency services, and other 24/7 businesses face a unique set of challenges in managing their staff. The ceaseless operations and rotational shifts require a careful approach toward staff management to make sure the business operations run smoothly. 

Unique challenges for 24/7 businesses  

A shift schedule app for 24/7 businesses will need to be equipped to handle its unique challenges: 

  • Ensuring adequate staffing: A balanced staff count needs to be maintained at all times to manage workloads effectively. 
  • Preventing employee burnout: Care needs to be taken to manage employee burnout due to irregular and nocturnal shift times. 
  • Legal compliance: Labor laws regarding overtime, break times, and maximum workload must be adhered to. 
  • Shift swaps and adjustments: Shift changes, shift swaps, and emergency leave need to be handled without affecting operations. 
  • Time and attendance: Employees’ working hours, including overtime, must be tracked to guarantee accurate payroll. 

How a shift scheduling app can assist 

Here are some of the ways a scheduling app can help 24/7 businesses with these challenges: 

  • Automated scheduling: Staff apps can automate the scheduling process, assigning shifts based on employee availability and other chosen parameters, reducing errors such as understaffing or overstaffing. 
  • Employee self-service: Employees can mark their availability, request leave, or swap shifts with no managerial intervention, enhancing employee satisfaction and saving time. 
  • Compliance management: Scheduling apps can help you ensure that all schedules are in compliance with labor laws by setting limits on work hours and providing adequate time breaks. 
  • Real-time communication: Apps enable quick communication between employees and managers to efficiently handle schedule disruptions. 
  • Accurate time tracking: Scheduling apps help you effectively track work hours, overtime, and breaks to provide fair and accurate compensation to employees. 

An employee shift schedule app not only enables smooth operations but also delivers a satisfactory work environment, bringing great benefits to 24/7 businesses. The mix of automatic, instant, and rule-following scheduling creates stability in a non-stop service environment. 

Virto Calendar Overlay for Employee Scheduling  

Designed to cater to businesses of various industries and sizes, the Virto Calendar Overlay app doesn’t just compile multiple calendars from Microsoft 365 and the web; it also guarantees effective management of employee shifts, making sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. Let’s look at the key features of Virto Calendar Overlay: 

  • Create and manage team calendars with ease: Virto allows you to create team and project calendars so that all members are synchronized in their schedules and aware of shifts and events. 
  • Seamless integration: The ability to overlay various calendars (Exchange, SharePoint, Google, iCal) and unify bookings, shifts, and deadlines provides a comprehensive view of your and your team’s schedule, guaranteeing no event is missed. 
  • Color-coding for clarity: Employ a color-coded system for your shifts and sources, allowing for clear and easy navigation of your varied schedules. 
  • Usable across devices: Manage your schedules on the go so you’re always in the loop, regardless of whether you’re accessing your calendar from your laptop, smartphone, or tablet. 
Virto Calendar App - use across devices

Why Virto Calendar Overlay stands out 

Here are a few aspects that set Virto Calendar Overlay apart from other staff scheduling apps: 

  • Holistic view with varied display options: Virto Calendar provides multiple viewing options (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.) and even supports a Gantt view for enhanced project management. 
  • Synchronization and centralization: Stay in sync by combining data and events from Microsoft Planner, SharePoint task lists, and various online calendars, all in one centralized view, reducing the chance of scheduling errors. 
  • Effortless customization: Tailor the calendar according to your preferences, with options to customize colors for each source and event category for visual distinction, without the need for coding. 

Taking employee scheduling to the next level 

Virto’s scheduling capabilities fit effortlessly into any industry’s needs: 

  • Fire stations: The team scheduling app can be beneficial when shifts are overlaid and then displayed on large screens for internal use, enabling all members to be constantly aware of their own and their coworkers’ working hours. 
  • Hospitals: By putting the doctors’ office hours and shifts on big screens, both patients and staff can stay informed about the availability of healthcare professionals, facilitating better patient management and staff coordination. 
  • Educational institutions: Virto Calendar Overlay easily manages class schedules, events, and resources, ensuring no overlaps and optimal use of venues and lecturers, promoting seamless academic operations. 
  • Other industries: In logistics, Virto optimizes delivery schedules and resource utilization for punctual deliveries. In retail, it aligns employee availability with customer flow, guaranteeing a smooth-running store environment. 

Virto Calendar Overlay makes scheduling easy and stress-free. It’s a top pick for businesses looking for a powerful yet affordable employee scheduling app and is especially useful for those using various platforms—SharePoint, Microsoft 365, and Teams—at once. It offers a wallet-friendly solution with access to all platforms under a single license! 


Wrapping things up, picking the right employee scheduling app is not hard if you get a clear understanding of your company’s needs. Picking the right tool is crucial—it’s your ticket to smoother team coordination, happier employees, and yes, even a healthier bottom line. Crucially, when asking yourself “what is the best employee scheduling app?” you want to consider which apps aren’t just good enough for now but can also grow with your business and meet your future needs. 

Don’t forget to give Virto Calendar Overlay app a try for free. With its easy-going approach to managing multiple calendars and keeping teams in sync, it’s certainly worth exploring amidst the various options on the market. You can also check out the Virto Calendar app for Microsoft Teams if you use Teams for daily communication within your organization. 

Check out our articles to find the best scheduling app for Microsoft Teams and the best shared calendars for Microsoft Teams

In a nutshell, investing in a solid scheduling app is investing in your business’s future. So take your time, carefully explore the options, and choose the solution that fits your team’s workflow like a glove.  

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Kristina Melnikova
Kristina Melnikova

Meet Kristina Melnikova, writer at VirtoSoftware. With a deep passion for IT products, she's a master at translating technical and business complexities into easy-to-understand content.

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