Upgrade your employee scheduling: Three free options to consider

Estimated read time 5 min read

You probably use something to schedule and coordinate if you manage or run a business with hourly employees. Pen and paper, or spreadsheets are the answers for many. There are many ways to upgrade your scheduling and move away from spreadsheets and pen and paper. Here are three ways you can schedule your employees for free. They all have pros and cons.

Consider these 3 options to schedule your employees for free

1. Google Calendar employee scheduling

How to schedule Google Calendar:

  • Open Google Calendar, and create a calendar for the employee’s schedule.
  • Select a color to make your employee calendar stand out from the rest of your calendars.
  • Create an event in the calendar to represent each employee’s work shift. Select the start and finish times.
  • Include the employee’s initials or name in the event title. In the description field, you can add any notes or additional details about the shift.
  • You can create a repeating event if you have several employees working the same schedule.
  • Repete this process for every employee and each shift.
  • You can add a reminder or notification for each shift so that your employees know in advance.
  • Share your completed employee schedule with your team. You can do this by adding your employees as guests or sending them the link to the calendar.
  • The schedule can be viewed by your employees on their Google Calendars or shared calendars.

Google Calendar Employee Scheduling:

  • The best for small and limited staff
  • Calendars allow employees to see the latest schedule.
  • Google Calendar is Free

Google Calendar Employee Scheduling:

  • No reliable communication function
  • It is difficult to schedule more people than a handful
  • The process of setting up and managing a POS system can be arduous.

2. WhatsApp

This is a very interesting tool that is more a communication tool for scheduling than a real tool. WhatsApp is an app that allows you to send messages across platforms without paying for SMS. Before we start using WhatsApp, choose your preferred employee scheduling tool – pen and paper, spreadsheets or Google Calendar. This method has one major drawback: all employees must have smartphones that run WhatsApp. Once they have all downloaded it, you can easily send them information about their work schedule in the form or links.

You can upload a spreadsheet to Dropbox, and then share the link with your team via WhatsApp. You can take a photo of your schedule if you are using pen and paper. Then, send it via WhatsApp. It may seem a bit improvised, but you have to be creative when looking for free communication and scheduling tools. This approach has the advantage of instant communication, but it also requires everyone to own a smartphone and can be a hindrance when communicating schedule changes. Simple phones (or dumb phones) will not work.

3. Employee Scheduling Tools Online

Google “employee scheduler software” and you will be 90% there. You can install and configure some open-source scheduling tools for free if you are a developer.

There are a few self-hosted options that you can use. They may be a bit more complicated than what you’re looking for, but there are some. You can find a few on GitHub and SourceForge by searching for “employee scheduling”. You can also find some free employee scheduling apps on the app store. You can find several by searching in the Play Store and App Store for terms like “work schedule maker”, “employee planning” or “employees scheduling”.

As you can see, there are several options. Some of these require some bending, but if you are willing to spend the time to get the technology working the way you desire, it can be an economical solution.

If you want a tool that will automate the scheduling of your employees, you may have to pay a few dollars per month. If you pick the right tool, you will likely save so much time it will pay for itself within the first week.

Try When I Work employee scheduler

You can create a schedule in just a few minutes and instantly share it with your team. Save hours every week so that you can concentrate on other aspects of your business. You can also track time and communicate with employees within the same platform. This will ensure that your employees have everything they need to succeed at work. Take advantage of features such as:

  • Dropping or swapping shifts is a great way to let your employees change their schedules when necessary.
  • Payroll integrations – Use time tracking to speed up payroll processing.
  • Send instant messages to employees, whether they are in groups or individually, to know who has seen the message.

Use employee scheduling software to streamline workflow

You may think that you are saving money by using spreadsheets or pen and paper to schedule employees, but you should consider how much time you spend on this. If you spend a small amount each month on a scheduling program like When I Work, it will save you hours in your work week. It allows for faster scheduling, better time tracking and improved employee communication.

Scheduling can be made easier for you and your employees. Use flexible Self Scheduling to allow your team to choose the shifts they prefer. Save time, improve coverage and make employees happier. Also, you’ll have more data at your disposal to improve shift scheduling and increase your bottom-line.

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