Free employee scheduling software helps you plan, publish, and manage your team’s schedules without any cost. In this guide, I cover the top 6 free employee scheduling software for 2024.

Without an easy, reliable employee scheduling solution, it can be difficult to manage last-minute schedule changes, monitor workers’ paid time off (PTO) requests, and communicate effectively with in-field staff. Fortunately, employee scheduling software can help with this and more.

These digital tools make it simple to organize employee shifts, keep track of changing schedules, and manage multiple work sites. They can also reduce time entry errors with built-in time clocks and improve employee communication with built-in chat features. Some tools even offer automatic shift scheduling and one-click shift swapping to support your team in managing their schedules.

Below, I round up the top 6 free employee scheduling apps for 2024 and explain how to pick the right option for your business. 

Here’s a quick overview of my favorite free employee scheduling software:

If you don’t have the time to read through our research, jump down to our quick comparison table.

Our Top Picks

  1. The best software solution for businesses to revolutionize your employee scheduling process

  2. Good for managing payroll spend

Why trust us?

Our team of unbiased software reviewers follows strict editorial guidelines, and our methodology is clear and open to everyone.
See our complete methodology

21

Tools considered

13

Tools reviewed

6

Best tools
chosen

What I Looked for When Choosing Free Employee Scheduling Software

Here’s what I looked for when choosing the best options on the market:

Key product features

  • Drag-and-drop scheduling: The software should make it easy to plan upcoming shifts or rearrange whole schedules. 
  • Auto-scheduling: This feature automatically generates schedules based on availability, preferences, and business needs to speed up the scheduling process and eliminate manual scheduling.
  • Shift templates: Premade scheduling templates speed up the scheduling process.
  • Shift swapping: Employees should be able to trade shifts and get coverage for hours they can’t work. Your team should also be able to assign themselves open shifts with one click, and managers can then approve them.
  • Time off management features: You should be able to track and manage your employees’ PTO and absence requests, approve employees’ PTO from anywhere, track employee absence levels, and ensure you’re fully staffed.
  • GPS-enabled mobile time clock with geofencing: Allows you to check where your employees are clocking in and when.
  • Payroll integrations: This makes it easy to export employee timesheets to your payroll provider for a simplified process. 
  • Chat features: Effective communication channels make it easy for staff to ask questions about the schedule, tasks or projects, see important company updates, and more.
  • Advanced notifications and alerts will notify you when employees work overtime, clock in, request PTO, and more.
  • Reporting and analytics: You should be able to view scheduling insights into the performance of your business so you can make data-driven decisions to drive revenue.
  • Easy-to-use mobile app: This lets your team manage their schedule from anywhere, at any time.

The 6 Best Free Employee Scheduling Softwares of 2024

  1. Connecteam — Best all-in-one scheduling software

    Connecteam is the best all-in-one free employee scheduling software —and a whole lot more. 

    With features for everything from team communication to human resource management and project management, Connecteam is the most comprehensive work management tool available today.

    Let’s take a closer look at some of Connecteam’s features.

    Drag-and-drop shift scheduler for quick and easy scheduling

    Connecteam offers an intuitive drag-and-drop scheduling tool. Simply create shifts, then drag employees’ names to them.

    Connecteam’s automatic shift scheduling and schedule templates further speed up planning. You can use pre-designed scheduling templates or create customizable shift templates based on days, weeks, projects, and more. You can also create and automatically assign recurring shifts. 

    With the automatic shift scheduler, you can automatically assign shifts based on employee qualifications, preferences, and availability.

    Additionally, Connecteam has automatic conflict checkers to alert you of any overlaps between an employee’s PTO and scheduled shifts. This will allow you to manage labor costs by ensuring no shifts are duplicated and no shifts are overstaffed. 

    Auto-scheduling to eliminate manual scheduling

    Connecteam’s auto-scheduling feature allows you to make employee schedules in seconds. You can predefine in the app how many staff you need per shift as well as which roles, and the auto-scheduler will create the schedule for you, taking into consideration employee availability, preferences, skillsets, and business need.

    You can also easily make any changes manually if you need, drastically speeding up the scheduling process.

    Connecteam schedule desktop illustration and feed mobile illustration

    🧠 Did You Know?

    Connecteam integrates with Google Calendar so your employees can transfer their shifts right from the app into their personal calendars.

    Shift swapping for seamless coverage

    Connecteam allows your employees to trade shifts easily. They can request shift swaps right from within the Connecteam app, and you can approve or deny them with just a click. 

    After you approve a request, Connecteam will automatically update the schedule and send push notifications to anyone whose hours or days have changed. 

    An illustration showing Connecteam’s scheduling from manager view

    Add tasks, forms, checklists, and descriptions to shifts

    Connecteam allows you to add tasks, forms, checklists, and descriptions to employees’ shifts. This will help your employees understand exactly what’s expected of them. It also gives a full overview of your employees’ progress, which you can check throughout the day. 

    Using Connecteam’s mobile app, you can update employees’ tasks, forms, and checklists from anywhere. The cloud-based backup will update employees’ instructions in real time.

    In-app chat to communicate with your team in real time

    Connecteam’s in-app chat feature allows you to chat with your team in real time, from anywhere. 

    You can quickly and easily ask and answer questions, chat about tasks and projects, and even share files and snap photos to share. 

    Easily manage employee breaks and overtime

    This free employee scheduling app will automatically notify employees when they need to take a break. You can also set the app to automatically notify you when an employee approaches overtime. 

    These tools lower the risk of non-compliance and help you reduce payroll spend by managing overtime payments.

    Request or approve PTO with a single click

    Connecteam’s built-in PTO management tools allow you to view PTO allowance and leave requests right from within the app. You can see your team’s time off, ensure you’re properly staffed when employees are away, and keep track of how much you’re spending on PTO.

    a woman looking at her desktop that shows an illustration of a worker day off approval

    Your team can easily request time off through the mobile app, too. Once you approve a request, Connecteam will automatically input PTO into your employee’s schedule.

    These features help ensure you remain compliant with labor laws and promote a healthy work-life balance for your team.

    Integrations with popular payroll solutions

    Connecteam’s employee scheduling software directly integrates with Gusto, QuickBooks Online, Paychex and Xero for seamless payroll.

    You can also quickly and easily export employee hours and data from Connecteam into another payroll solution, then import data back into Connecteam for easy tracking and reporting.

    Additionally, Connecteam offers tools to help automatically create employee timesheets. Your employees’ clock-ins are automatically recorded on their timesheets, which can be easily inputted into your preferred payroll solution.

    GPS time clock and geofencing tools for better oversight

    Connecteam’s GPS-enabled time clock lets employees clock in and out from their mobile phones with just one click, from wherever they’re working. Its GPS location tracking software captures your employees’ location when they clock in, and you can use Connecteam’s real-time location tracking feature to see where your workers are while they’re on the clock.

    The platform’s geofencing software enables you to draw digital borders around job sites to restrict clock-in and clock-out to that area. You can receive a notification if a team member strays outside the work area and send employees reminders to be inside the geofence when clocking in and out.

    Connecteam never records employees’ locations when they’re clocked out.

    Detailed reports, smart notifications, HR tools, and so much more!

    With Connecteam, you can generate detailed, customizable reports on everything from payroll spend and training completion rates to time spent on projects and employee attendance.

    Connecteam also offers different push notifications that can alert you of employee overtime, clock-in times, PTO requests, sick leave and other absences, shift-swapping requests, and more.

    Additionally, Connecteam has powerful HR tools to manage employee recognition, training and learning, employee milestones, documents, and more. You can also keep track of your employees’ training records, licensing expiry dates, qualifications, interview documents, and more. Plus, Connecteam integrates with a number of HR and compliance software to create the perfect combination of tools for your business. 

    Teams of up to 10 people can get Connecteam’s employee scheduling software free for life, and the platform’s paid plan starts at just $29/month for up to 30 users.

    Connecteam also offers a free for life plan – Try Connecteam here!

    Pros

    • Add tasks, forms, checklists, and more to shifts

    • Integrates with popular payroll solutions

    • Automatic shift scheduling tools

    • One-click shift swapping

    Cons

    • Feature-richness can be difficult at first

    Pricing

    Free-for-life plan availablePremium plans start at $29/month for 30 users

    14-day free trial, no credit card required

    Start your free trial
  2. 7shifts — Good for hospitality businesses

    Screenshot of the 7shifts webpage

    7Shifts is designed with restaurant and bar managers in mind and offers a comprehensive solution to employee scheduling.

    Why I chose 7Shifts: While technically any type of business can use 7Shifts’ scheduling software, it includes useful tools for hospitality businesses in particular, like tip pooling and tip payout management. I love the labor cost management tools and the user-friendly interface, too.

    Easy-to-use employee scheduler

    7shifts’ employee scheduler allows you to create, distribute, and manage shift schedules in one place. The scheduler is designed with a user-friendly interface that supports drag-and-drop functionality, making it simple to assign shifts based on employee availability, skills, and labor needs. 

    The software makes it simple for employees to submit their availability and time-off requests, which you can view in real time when creating schedules. That way, you can be sure that schedules are accurate and consider employee preferences, reducing the likelihood of conflicts or understaffing. 

    7shifts also has a communication tool within the scheduler, making it simple to send employees messages and notifications about shifts, changes, or updates directly through the platform. 

    Labor cost management

    I particularly like the labor cost management features that help control and optimize labor expenses. The software integrates with the employee scheduler to provide useful insights into labor costs, comparing scheduled hours against actual hours worked and labor budget targets. 

    You can set labor budget goals and receive alerts if the schedule exceeds the predefined labor cost threshold so you can make adjustments to stay within budget. 7Shifts also has reporting tools that analyze labor cost trends over time, helping to identify patterns and make better staffing decisions.

    Simplified task management

    You can create, assign, and track tasks to ensure that all work is completed during scheduled shifts and set deadlines to make sure tasks are done on time. Employees can view their assigned tasks, mark them as complete, and provide updates on their progress. 

    You can also prioritize tasks and send reminders for better team organization. 

    Integrations

    • Gusto
    • Quickbooks
    • Toast
    • TalentReef
    • Revel
    • Square
    You can work from the website or from the app which is convenient if you’re bouncing between locations. On the website, I can preset shift times for faster scheduling. You can set multiple roles which is beneficial for staff that do multiple things. You can assign an hourly to each role as well, so you can see an approximation of your labor for the week.

    👍 Jayelynn
    General Manager

    As with any and all scheduling systems, the updates can be slow to finish and problematic if not applied after business hours.

    👎 Sanford
    Business Owner/Operator

    Key Features

    • Geofencing software
    • Shift scheduling
    • Individual employee punch-in codes
    • Mobile app

    Pros

    • Integrated hiring and training tools
    • Integrated employee engagement tools

    Cons

    • Free plan offers limited capabilities
    • No dedicated support hotline

    Pricing

    Starts at $29.99/month/location, up to 30 employees Trial: Yes — 14-day Free Plan: Yes — Up to 1 location & 30 employees

  3. Sling — Good for managing payroll spend

    Screenshot of the Sling webpage

    Created by Toast, Sling is an efficient and reliable employee scheduling tool for all industries.

    Why I chose Sling: Sling is full of features to make scheduling your team easier. The employee scheduler is easy to use, helps you avoid scheduling conflicts, and manage labor and payroll spend. More info you can find in our full and honest Sling review.

    Customizable employee scheduler

    Sling’s employee scheduler makes it simple to create and distribute work schedules to your team. With a handy drag-and-drop interface, the schedule tracks employee availability, time-off requests, and shift swaps, making sure that staffing meets demand without overstaffing or understaffing. 

    The app also alerts managers to any potential scheduling conflicts, like double-booking or scheduling an employee who has requested time off, preventing scheduling errors. Sling is accessible to employees via mobile app or on desktop, where they can view their schedules, set their availability, and request shift changes.

    Manage payroll spent

    Sling comes with tools to help you track and control labor costs in real-time. You get insights into payroll expenses by integrating work hours with pay rates so you have an idea of payroll spend before the actual processing. This way, you can adjust schedules if needed to ensure that payroll expenses stay within budget. 

    Sling’s payroll management tool also includes customizable reports that detail labor costs, overtime, and other payroll-related metrics. 

    Time off management

    Within the app, employees can request time off and you can approve or deny these requests with a click. You always have clear oversight of who is available to work and can make sure that time-off requests are handled fairly and in a timely manner.

    The software notifies you of new time off requests and allows you to view them in the context of the overall schedule so you can avoid any understaffing issues. Sling’s time off management feature also includes the ability to set policies for accruals, carryovers, and time off limits.

    Integrations

    • Toast
    • Shopify
    • Gusto
    • Square
    • HarborTouch
    • POS iTouch
    Love this products ease of use and ability to manage a large team schedule. Allos you to code people for different positions, set recurring shift times and even has a group chat to easily send out team notifications.

    👍 Aurora
    Kids Yoga Instructor

    My one and only issue is the cost. As a General Manager of one store, the overall company does not pay to use Sling so I am responsible for the bill. I am sure though, that a company as a whole would not have an issue with the cost.

    👎 Hope
    General Manager

    Key Features

    • Mobile app
    • Shift scheduling
    • Customizable shift templates
    • Push notifications

    Pros

    • Overtime allocation tool
    • Built-in conflict checker

    Cons

    • Reports of inconsistent notifications
    • Limited reporting capabilities

    Pricing

    Starts at $1.70/user/month Trial: Yes Free Plan: Yes

  4. Homebase — Good for streamlining communication

    Screenshot of the Homebase webpage

    Homebase offers free scheduling software with a focus on employee communication. You can let employees know about schedule changes by sending push notifications or using the in-app chat or announcements feature. Additionally, Homebase’s cloud-based storage features update schedules in real-time.

    You can also send individual or team shoutouts to employees, which can help support team culture and boost employee engagement.  

    Key Features

    • Announcement feature
    • In-app chat
    • Shout-out feature
    • Mobile app

    Pros

    • Real-time scheduling updates
    • POS and payroll integrations

    Cons

    • No data and analytics features
    • No video conferencing tools

    Pricing

    Starts at $20/location/month Trial: Yes — 14-day Free Plan: Yes — For a single location & up to 20 employees

  5. findmyshift — Good for task management for deskless employees

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of the Findmyshift webpage

    FindMyShift offers free employee scheduling software for businesses with up to 5 employees and 1 manager. The app has the look and feel of an Excel spreadsheet with the addition of a drag and drop scheduling options, too. In addition to scheduling, you can track time and attendance, manage payroll and labor cost with real-time data, set custom reminders and notifications, and manage all things PTO.

    Key Features

    • Employee scheduler
    • Time-off management
    • Reporting and analytics
    • Time and attendance tracking

    Pros

    • Easy to navigate
    • Accessible to everyone from mobile devices or desktop

    Cons

    • Templates can be difficult to customize
    • Difficult to set up

    Pricing

    Starts at $25/team/month, for 20 team members Trial: Yes — 3-month Free Plan: Yes — for up to 5 team members

  6. Wrike — Good for scalability

    Screenshot of the Wrike webpage

    Wrike is a great option with a free plan that offers a customizable solution for businesses of all sizes. Wrike makes it easy to automatically log work hours, create and lock timesheets, create tasks, and manage projects. You can update project timelines with a drag-and-drop editor and collaborate with your entire team, allowing you to provide complete oversight of every project. 

    It also comes with built-in communication and messaging tools so you can stay in contact with your staff at all times, no matter where they are.

    Key Features

    • Shared team calendars
    • Absence request forms
    • Schedule templates
    • Automated scheduling
    • Real-time chat
    • Employee database

    Pros

    • Ideal for team collaboration
    • Easy to use

    Cons

    • User interface is unattractive
    • Poor customer support

    Pricing

    Starts at $9.80/user/month, for 2-25 users Trial: Yes Free Plan: Yes

Compare the Best Free Employee Scheduling Softwares

Topic Start for free
Reviews
4.8
4.7
4.6
4.6
4.6
4.3
Pricing
Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users
Starts at $29.99/month/location, up to 30 employees
Starts at $1.70/user/month
Starts at $20/location/month
Starts at $25/team/month, for 20 team members
Starts at $9.80/user/month, for 2-25 users
Free Trial
yes
14-day
yes
14-day
yes
yes
14-day
yes
3-month
yes
Free Plan
yes
Free Up to 10 users
yes
Up to 1 location & 30 employees
yes
yes
For a single location & up to 20 employees
yes
for up to 5 team members
yes
Use cases
Best all-in-one scheduling software
Good for hospitality businesses
Good for managing payroll spend
Good for streamlining communication
Good for task management for deskless employees
Good for scalability
Available on
Web, iOS, Android

What is Free Employee Scheduling Software?

Free employee scheduling software allows businesses to create and publish employee schedules, manage time off and employee attendance through, and track working hours, all through a mobile employee attendance app.

These apps usually include built-in time clocks and an in-app chat so you can easily communicate with your team. Some have automatic checkers that flag scheduling conflicts, automated shift scheduling, and the ability to save favorite or recurring shift patterns. 

Typically, this software is available on mobile and desktop devices, so you can access them no matter where you are. They are also usually cloud-based to allow for real-time syncing. This is especially beneficial for managers of teams who work across multiple job sites and don’t have regular access to computers.

How Does Free Employee Scheduling Software Work?

Free shift scheduling software solutions are typically available through web browsers, a web app, or a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. They allow managers to easily create, publish, and oversee employees’ work schedules and typically have tools to help communicate these changes to the team. 

Using this software, employees can access their schedule from anywhere, clock in and out on their mobile devices, request time off and take open shifts, and more. 

In addition to streamlined shift scheduling, employee scheduling software often provides features like:

  • PTO request management allows employees to manage their work-life balance and ensures businesses remain compliant. Managers can quickly review, approve, or deny requests. If approved, PTO dates can be automatically added to an employee’s timesheet. 
  • A mobile app so your employees can manage their workdays from anywhere. 
  • A GPS-enabled time clock to record employees’ locations when they start their shifts, prevent employees from forgetting to clock in or out, and reduce time theft and payroll errors. 
  • Automated timesheets to export to your payroll provider. This reduces the time required to process payroll and streamlines business operations.
  • An in-app chat to help you keep in contact with your employees.

The Benefits of Free Employee Scheduling Software

Cost savings

It eliminates the need to invest in upfront scheduling tools because the software is free to use. This is especially beneficial for small businesses and startups with limited budgets.

Time efficiency

Free scheduling software streamlines the scheduling process by automating shift assignments, availability tracking, and handling shift swaps or time-off requests. This frees up managers’ time to focus on more strategic aspects of their roles.

Accuracy and reduction of errors

Manual scheduling can lead to errors like double bookings. With software, shifts are assigned accurately, and automated notifications help avoid scheduling conflicts.

Improved employee satisfaction 

Employees can access their schedules online and often through mobile apps. This allows them to view their shifts, request time off, and even swap shifts with colleagues, enhancing their work-life balance and satisfaction.

Real-time updates

Changes to schedules, whether due to unexpected absences or adjustments, can be communicated in real-time through the free scheduling software. This ensures that employees are always aware of the latest schedule information.

Visibility and transparency

Managers and employees can easily view schedules and upcoming shifts. This transparency fosters better communication and coordination among team members.

Compliance and labor regulations

The software helps businesses ensure they remain compliant with scheduling-related laws.

Data insights

Some software offers reporting and analytics features, allowing businesses to track employee hours, monitor labor costs, and identify trends in scheduling preferences.

Flexibility and adaptability

Free scheduling software can often be customized to suit the specific needs of different industries and businesses. This flexibility ensures that the software aligns with the unique requirements of each organization.

How Much Does Employee Scheduling Software Cost?

Prices vary, but usually, employee scheduling software is charged per employee, per month. However, some tools may charge per location or for a set number of employees, such as $80 per month for 10 employees. 

Each solution included in this article offers a completely free option. However, some platforms have limited features in their free version. It’s important to research each app’s features before committing.

Connecteam offers powerful features in every plan. It’s the most versatile employee scheduling software, free of cost for businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Connecteam’s paid plan starts at just $29 per month for up to 30 users, plus only $0.50 for each additional user.

FAQs

What is the best free software to make a schedule?

Connecteam is the best free scheduling software and all-in-one work management solution. The platform offers HR management features, PTO tracking features, and automatic shift scheduling tools. It also has one-click clock-in and clock-out, absence management tools, streamlined payroll processing, and much more.

Is there a free app for scheduling employees?

Connecteam is completely free for life for businesses with up to 10 employees. Unlike other shift scheduling software, Connecteam offers its full range of tools and features in its free version.

Can you make an employee schedule in Excel?

Yes, you can. However, making an employee schedule in Excel requires a lot of time and effort. Plus, it’s difficult to maintain. It’s better to choose specialist software, such as Connecteam, that takes the hassle out of scheduling.

The Bottom Line On Free Employee Scheduling Software

Free employee scheduling software reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to plan your team’s schedules. With tools like automatic shift scheduling and shift trading, overtime notifications, an employee scheduler, in-app PTO and absence approval, you can manage your employees’ schedules from anywhere, ensure compliance, and help support a healthy work-life balance for your team.

Many platforms exist, but Connecteam is the top free employee scheduling software and the best all-in-one solution. It offers automatic and drag-and-drop shift scheduling, human resources management features, and so much more.