7 Top-Rated Affordable Employee Scheduling Software

By: Shephalii Kapoor on May 20, 2024

Team managers spend a significant amount of time creating work schedules for their employees to ensure optimal staffing levels. However, manually creating schedules and adjusting tasks due to unplanned employee leaves can be time-consuming and may lead to delays in projects. A dedicated employee scheduling tool can cut through the chaos and simplify scheduling for team managers by automating the process of creating, managing, and optimizing employee work schedules.  

If you are new to using the software, finding the software that best aligns with your unique feature requirements and budget can be time-consuming. This article lists seven top-rated affordable employee scheduling software solutions based on verified user reviews and pricing found on vendor websites. Per our research, we’ve considered products with base plans priced less than $10.33 per month as affordable software and arranged them in ascending order of their prices. 

The products listed in the article are either dedicated employee scheduling solutions or workforce management tools with employee scheduling capabilities that help users create and maintain employee schedules. Common features across all these products include automated scheduling and availability management.

What is a base software plan?

A base plan is the most affordable pricing tier offered by a software provider. Besides having the lowest price, base plans provide access to all core software features. However, they may have limitations compared to higher-tier plans in terms of the available functionality, storage capacity, number of user seats, support options, etc.

7 top-rated affordable employee scheduling software: Sling, Synerion, TimeTrakGO, When I Work, Agendrix, MakeShift, EasyShifts

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between April 2022 - April 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. Sling

Sling is an online employee scheduling solution that helps users manage employee shifts and communicate with employees. With a long-term scheduling feature, the software enables team managers to build an employee schedule weeks and months in advance. Users can also leverage shift templates offered by the tool to create instant employee schedules. These templates allow users to automatically populate employee information, update the date range, and add team members to meet their unique scheduling needs.

Sling’s base plan offers users access to scheduling and time tracking features. Upgrading to a paid plan allows them to further assign shifts automatically, attach tasks and checklists to a shift, and manage recurring work with task templates.

Base plan features:*

  • Shift swaps: Allow employees to trade shifts with each other by identifying a matching shift and selecting another employee they would like to exchange shifts with. The feature helps employees to manage their schedules while increasing overall satisfaction and operational efficiency. 

  • Shift alarms: Automatically remind employees of upcoming shifts. The software sends up to three notifications, anywhere from 1 minute to 24 hours before the start of the shift. Users can set their reminders in minutes or hours.

  • Calendar synchronization: Track your scheduled shifts on any calendar app. The software offers a unique URL that can be imported into the calendar app. This feature allows users to receive updates from Sling whenever there is a change in schedule.

Starting price: $1.70 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $3.40 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Email, chat, and knowledge base

Who should consider Sling?

Team managers looking for employee time tracking along with scheduling features in an online tool can consider Sling. Other than allowing users to organize and manage a work schedule via features, such as scheduling templates, shift swaps, and long-term scheduling, Sling also offers time tracking features, such as timesheets, break attestation, and mobile time tracking to help users track employee hours and optimize the cost of labor as they schedule.

Sling

Sling

4.63 out of 5 stars

151 reviews

2. Synerion

Synerion is a workforce management tool with an employee portal that enables employees to submit their time-off requests and punch in and punch out on any device—computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Employees can also use this portal to view their time cards, schedules, upcoming absences, accrual balances, and swap shifts with each other. Additionally, the software offers time and attendance management features, allowing managers to keep detailed records of everyday attendance including absences, holidays, and overtime. 

In its base plan, Synerion facilitates employee-based scheduling with paid time off and leave management. However, the upgraded version of the tool allows for enhanced scheduling with alerts on any possible deviations from work hours, number of shifts, and rest hours between shifts.

Base plan features:*

  • Web and mobile punching: Enable employees to clock in and out of their shifts using a web browser on a desktop computer or through an app on their mobile phones. The software leverages geofencing technology to ensure that employees are at the correct location when clocking time.

  • Reporting dashboard: Obtain real-time insights into the data points that help team managers optimize their operations. The software offers a customizable reporting dashboard, allowing individuals to set up views (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) and reports that drill down on important metrics that are important for them. 

  • Multi-language support: Reduce language barriers and improve communication while catering to a global workforce. The software supports multiple languages—English, Hebrew, French, and Spanish for improved communication and transparency.

Starting price: $2 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $2.95 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Phone, chat, and email

Who should consider Synerion?

Team managers managing remote teams across diverse locations can opt for Synerion. The software, with support for four major languages, ensures a consistent user experience regardless of their location and language barriers. It enables managers to improve communication regarding work schedules, reducing confusion and errors. Employees can access and understand their schedules, policies, and local laws in their preferred language, fostering a more inclusive work environment.

Synerion

Synerion

4.74 out of 5 stars

84 reviews

Pro tip

Opt for a scheduling tool that offers an employee portal to help employees access and manage their work schedules, availability, and time-off requests. This allows for convenient shift swapping and time-off management.

3. TimeTrakGO

TimeTrakGO is an online employee scheduling and time-tracking platform that offers a projected hours feature to help team managers monitor and control overtime before it occurs. The feature takes future scheduled hours into consideration to predict overtime even before it happens. Users can leverage this to adjust future employee schedules and prevent overtime, thereby saving money in the long run. 

TimeTrakGO, in its base plan, offers scheduling and graphical timecard features. Upgrading to a paid plan offers users access to high-end features of the tool, such as geofence, PTO accrual tracking, and payroll integrations.

Base plan features:*

  • Graphical view timecards: Visualize employees’ work week in a puzzle-piece format, which is similar to fixing missing pieces of a puzzle. This visual layout enables users to understand an employee’s schedule and identify absences quickly as compared to traditional timecards. 

  • Scheduled holidays: Manage and track paid holidays for employees within the system. The feature enables managers to define scheduled paid holidays for specific employees, departments, or the entire organization.

  • Timeclock app with GPS: Manage the workforce’s time and attendance via a mobile app that allows employees to clock in and out of their shifts. The app puts a geo-location timestamp on the clock-ins and outs, recording the exact location and the time of clock-ins and out. 

Starting price: $2.40 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $3.20 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Phone, email, and chat

Who should consider TimeTrakGO?

Team managers looking to manage workloads and minimize unnecessary employee overtime can find TimeTrakGO beneficial. The software, with the projected hours feature, estimates potential employee workloads for the upcoming period and allows managers to identify situations where employees might be overloaded. It also offers a scheduled holiday feature that enables better planning of work schedules around holidays.

TimeTrakGO

TimeTrakGO

4.71 out of 5 stars

101 reviews

4. When I Work

When I Work is another employee scheduling and time tracking tool that helps managers track time, create work schedules, and share them with the team. Users can leverage the tool to automatically assign schedules based on different parameters, such as employee’s existing shifts, approved time-off requests, and assigned positions. The software also allows managers to configure additional assignment qualifications, such as employee work preferences, weekend shifts, and multiple shifts per day.  

Its base plan supports unlimited users and offers access to standard scheduling features. Upgrading to a premium plan offers advanced scheduling, including custom shift reports, absence tracking, and custom unit forecasting.

Base plan features:*

  • Availability management: Allow employees to set their availability preferences to let employers know when they prefer to work. The feature also enables employers to edit a user’s availability preferences or disable the availability feature. 

  • Schedule builder: Quickly create employee schedules with tools, such as shift templates and bulk editing. The templates offered by the tool allow managers to set the start and end times for the template, enter an unpaid break, assign a template color, and add notes about the shift.

  • Multiple schedule views: View employee work schedules by shift, position, employee, coverage, or month. The software also offers a daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly view of the schedule. 

Starting price: $2.50 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $5 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Chat, query form, and knowledge base

Who should consider When I Work?

Team managers looking to visualize employee schedules in various formats for accurate scheduling can go for When I Work. The software, with multiple schedule views and multiple time frame views, allows users to easily identify scheduling conflict, gaps in coverage, and areas for optimization across different time frames. It also helps them analyze scheduling trends over different time periods, identify peak workload periods, and understand potential staffing needs in advance.

When I Work

When I Work

4.48 out of 5 stars

1086 reviews

Pro tip

Shortlist an employee management system that allows team managers to record working hours for employees and monitor their attendance by tracking their clock-ins and outs, breaks, and overtime hours.

5. Agendrix

Agendrix is an online workforce management tool that helps users build employee schedules, manage time off, fill empty shifts, and more. The software offers a shift conflict detection feature that indicates where users have possible conflicting scenarios that need to be addressed. Once enabled, the feature filters out employees except those with a scheduling conflict, allowing shift managers to manage the issue quickly. It also offers alerts when shifts are scheduled simultaneously for the same employee or when availability is not considered.

Agendrix’s base plan offers schedule and request management, along with communication tools and basic HR management features. Upgrading to the paid version gives users access to HR reports, advanced HR management, and additional features for employee management.

Base plan features:*

  • Multilocation management: Manage employee schedules for multiple locations from a single, centralized platform. The software also provides filtering options based on location that allows users to view schedules specific to a particular location.

  • Automatic break management: Set up automated break rules, specifying the break details, duration, location, and the minimum shift length to which they will apply. Once a new work shift is created, the software automatically inserts breaks into employee schedules, eliminating the need for manual break scheduling.

  • Open shifts: Create shifts for which qualified employees can volunteer and are notified. By default, open shifts are assigned among volunteers. Managers can also specify the number of employees required and accordingly assign the shift to more than one volunteer.

Starting price: $2.66 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: $4.01 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Phone, chat, and knowledge base

Who should consider Agendrix?

Shift managers overseeing multi-location businesses can benefit from Agendrix. The software’s multi-location management feature centralizes scheduling across all locations, ensures that staff members are assigned to the appropriate location, and enables managers and clients to locate data using location-based filters. Furthermore, the conflict detection feature alerts users with respect to potential scheduling issues across different locations, allowing them to adjust schedules and maintain smooth operations.

Agendrix

Agendrix

4.79 out of 5 stars

199 reviews

Pro tip

Consider a tool that offers automated notifications to alert managers and employees about schedule changes, shift confirmations, open shifts, shift swap requests, and time-off approvals.

6. MakeShift

MakeShift is an online staff scheduling software that allows users to set guidelines to prevent fatigue situations while scheduling. Once the rules are defined, the software prompts a notification window, alerting managers and schedulers about excessive overtime, situations when a fatigue rule is broken, or shifts that do not allow for enough rest in between. Users can set up to five fatigue management rules to promote a healthier work environment.

MakeShift’s base plan includes online desktop apps for managers and mobile apps for managers and their employees. Users can also select add-on packages to include time and attendance features, communication tools, and assisted onboarding. 

Base plan features:*

  • Available shifts: Broadcast available shifts to staff to fill the scheduling gap. Managers can also use this feature to share available shifts based on specific skills or certifications, ensuring that the right team member is available for the shift. 

  • Shift exchange: Enable employees to have more control over their schedules. The feature lets employees post the shift they would like to drop, allowing other team members to trade shifts with them. Once an exchange is made, managers can approve or deny the change to confirm schedules. 

  • Mobile app for managers: Quickly access employees’ daily schedules, including who is late, early, or on break. Managers can also use the app to create and share shifts, approve them, share available shifts, and adjust clock-in and out entries.

Starting price: $2.75 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: Offers only one pricing plan

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Online inquiry form and knowledge base

Who should consider MakeShift?

Team managers prioritizing employee well-being and managing shift-based employees can use MakeShift for scheduling. The software, with fatigue management rules, ensures that employees are getting adequate rest between shifts and are not working excessively over time. By setting these rules, managers can also show their commitment to employee well-being, leading to enhanced employee satisfaction and reducing fatigue-related risks.

MakeShift

MakeShift

4.5 out of 5 stars

113 reviews

7. EasyShifts

EasyShifts is a staff scheduling solution that allows users to view their personal schedules anytime, anywhere via tablet, computer, or phone. The software features a personal schedule page that shows the assigned shifts for individual employees and the departments they are assigned to. Users can navigate between months, check list view for assigned shifts, and enlarge shifts to look for details. EasyShifts also features a message board that can be used to directly message a coworker or a manager, and share important scheduling updates.

EasyShifts offers all scheduling features in its base plan. However, upgrading to the premium plan provides self-hosting for your enterprise and dedicated account manager support. 

Base plan features:*

  • Absence tracking: Track employee absences and maintain a record of all shifts an employee has missed. Users can also leverage this feature to reassign shifts in place of absent employees and add additional notes to reassigned shifts. 

  • Scheduling templates: Create weekly work schedules for employees, including the entire department using the templates offered by the tool. Users can also customize these templates by changing job titles, shifts, and assignments.

  • Administrator notifications: Receive instant notifications via text or email whenever there is a change in schedule. Managers can configure notifications for different situations, such as times when a shift was picked or a trade was requested.

Starting price: $2.99 per user, per month

Cost to upgrade: Available upon request from vendor

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Phone, email, and online inquiry form

Who should consider EasyShifts?

EasyShifts can be a good option for team managers and human resource professionals looking to improve communication with employees. With features, such as a message board and administrator notifications, the software enables managers to communicate with employees or specific departments about scheduling updates, shift changes, and policy reminders. Employees can also use the message board to swap shifts and find replacements for open shifts, reducing the burden on managers and HRs to manually solve these issues.

EasyShifts

EasyShifts

4.6 out of 5 stars

43 reviews

Top 5 employee scheduling software features users rate as highly important

All the products listed in this article include the features mentioned below. To identify these, we asked users to rate, on a scale of “low importance” to “critical,” how important different features are for employee scheduling software. The features showcased are those that the highest percentage of reviewers rated as “highly important” or “critical” over the past two years (as of April 30, 2024).

Feature name

Criticality rating (%)

Description

Mobile access

83%

Allows employees to access and manage their work schedules through a mobile app. Employees can use this to view their upcoming shifts, submit time-off requests, swap shifts, and update their availability. 

Task management

83%

Enables team managers to assign tasks to specific employees directly within their scheduled shifts and define task details, including description and due dates. Some software solutions also enable progress tracking on assigned tasks. 

Timesheet management

82%

Automates the process of tracking employee work hours. Employees can use this feature to clock in and out of their scheduled shifts, enter the time they spend on specific tasks, and submit their timesheets for review and approval. 

Employee management

80%

Offers a comprehensive set of tools to centralize various aspects of employee information, management, and communication. Professionals can use this feature to create and maintain individual employee profiles, communicate with employees, establish performance goals, and measure individual employee performance.

Schedule distribution

79%

Enables team managers to share work schedules with members via email, mobile app notifications, and more. Users can also leverage this feature to distribute shifts among employees based on parameters, such as seniority and workload distribution. Managers can also customize the distribution based on their specific needs or to accommodate special employee requests. 

How much does employee scheduling software cost?

An employee scheduling app can cost as low as $1.70 per user, per month or up to $10+ per user, per month, depending on various factors—features, number of users, deployment model, and integration options. Most employee scheduling solutions typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for businesses that wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer perpetual access to limited software features. These free plans are ideal for small businesses or individuals on a budget. 

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $1.70 per user, per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for small businesses or teams with basic employee scheduling feature requirements, such as shift templates and availability management. 

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $2.95 to $6 per user, per month and offer advanced features such as employee management, time tracking, and overtime tracker. These are suitable for businesses that have outgrown entry-level employee scheduling solutions but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level tools.

  • High-end plans: Cost more than $10 per user, per month and offer a range of advanced features, including multi-location management, automatic work shift assignment, and advanced reporting. These are suitable for large businesses with multiple team members and extensive employee scheduling needs.

Hidden costs associated with employee scheduling software

Besides the software license, additional costs can include:

  • Training expenses: Initial training for new team members and ongoing training for updates on the software or new features can lead to additional costs.

  • Data migration costs: Migrating employee data from your existing system to the new scheduling software may require expert assistance, which might add up to the original software cost.

  • Maintenance fees: Some on-premise solutions require annual maintenance to ensure users receive updates and continued technical support, which can add up to the initial cost.

Frequently asked questions when selecting affordable employee scheduling software 

  • Are there any limitations or restrictions on the number of users or members?

Before finalizing the best affordable employee scheduling solution for your small business, clarify whether there are any limitations or restrictions with respect to the number of users or members supported by the tool in its base plan. This will help you select the tool that meets your capacity requirements and optimizes your scheduling processes without breaking the bank. 

  • Does the tool offer schedule templates?

The best employee scheduling software typically offers pre-defined templates for creating recurring work schedules. Team managers can further customize these templates by adding job titles, shift details, and the number of employees required for the job. Scheduling templates in the employee scheduling app can help users save time while creating weekly and monthly work schedules.

  • What are the reports generated by the tool? 

Understanding the types of insights or reports generated by the tool can help team managers improve efficiency, accuracy, and transparency in managing workforce schedules. Typically, the best employee scheduling software allows business owners and professionals to track key metrics, such as labor costs, overtime hours, staffing levels, employee availability, scheduling preferences, workforce utilization, and demand forecasting.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Feature in Software Advice’s 2024 FrontRunners report for employee scheduling software 

  • Include automated scheduling, employee database, online time clock, vacation/leave tracking as the core features. 

  • Meet our market definition for employee scheduling software: “Employee scheduling software helps businesses organize and manage staff schedules. Solutions often provide employees with real-time access to their own and their colleagues' schedules, automatically notify users of schedule changes, and include skills tracking to allow managers to match tasks to individuals with the appropriate skills.

  • For all the 25 products included in the FrontRunners report, we assessed the monthly subscription price of the base plans and found the average price to be $10.33—we considered only products with publicly available pricing information. We then shortlisted products with a monthly base price lower than $10.33 for this article.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of April 30, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from employee scheduling software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional features, refer to the vendor's website.  

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Note: Products evaluated for the pricing calculation were taken from Software Advice’s employee scheduling directory. The pricing ranges exclude freemium versions of the products. The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in the Software Advice directory that offer them. Only products with publicly available pricing information, as of April 30, 2024, were considered for the pricing calculation.