Free employee shift scheduling software helps you plan, publish, and manage your team’s schedules without any cost. In this guide, we cover the top 7 free employee shift scheduling software for 2023. 

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 shift 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, we round up the top 7 free employee scheduling apps for 2023 and explain how to pick the right option for your business. 

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

Our Top Picks

  1. Best all-in-one shift scheduling software

    Learn more
  2. Good for controlling payroll spend

  3. Good for streamlining communication

What to Look For in a Free Employee Scheduling Software

Here are some key features you should look for when selecting an employee scheduling software solution. 

  • Drag-and-drop shift scheduling can take planning from hours to minutes. You can easily plan upcoming shifts or rearrange whole schedules. 
  • Shift templates for common schedules and recurring shifts. Some software, like Connecteam, allows you to save your employees’ regular working patterns and can automatically alert you of scheduling conflicts.
  • Shift swapping makes it easy for employees to trade shifts and get coverage for hours they can’t work. Your team can also assign themselves an open shift with one click, and managers can then approve them.
  • Time off management features so you can track and manage your employees’ PTO and absence requests. You can approve employees’ PTO from anywhere, track employee absence levels, and ensure you’re fully staffed.
  • Easy-to-use mobile app lets your team manage their schedule from anywhere, at any time.
  • Chat features give your team an easy way to ask questions about tasks or projects, see important company updates, and more.
  • Manager approvals allow you to accept or reject shift adjustments to maintain staffing levels.
  • Advanced notifications and alerts will notify you when employees work overtime, clock in, request PTO, and more.
  • GPS time clock with geofencing lets you check where your employees are clocking in and when.
  • Reporting and analytics give you insights into the performance of your business, enabling you to make data-driven decisions to drive revenue. 
  • Payroll integrations allow you to easily export employee timesheets to your payroll provider for a simplified process. 
  • Integrations with compliance and human resources (HR) software ensure you’re meeting your businesses’ legal obligations, help you keep up with employee training, and streamline your HR processes. 

The 7 Best Free Employee Scheduling Softwares of 2023

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

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of Connecteam's Scheduling feature webpage

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

    With features for everything from team communication and event planning to human resources (HR) 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. 

    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. 

    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

    Connecteam’s 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.

    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 shift scheduling software directly integrates with Gusto and QuickBooks Online 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.


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

    • Integrates with popular payroll solutions

    • Automatic shift scheduling tools

    • One-click shift swapping


    • More payroll integrations to come


    Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users Free 14-day trial Free plan available

    14-day free trial, no credit card required

    Start your free trial
  2. Sling — Good for controlling payroll spend

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of the Sling webpage

    Sling offers employee scheduling tools to manage and reduce payroll spend. You can send overtime push notifications, track late clock-ins, and use a built-in conflict checker to monitor double-booked shifts.

    Sling also has a tool that allows employees to sign up for available overtime shifts. You can let employees pick the shifts on a first-come, first-served basis, or approve the applicants yourself.

    While Sling offers many features to streamline shift scheduling, some reviews state that notifications for schedule changes or updates are inconsistent and “did not work as reliably as wished for.”

    Learn more about Sling

    Key Features

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


    • Overtime allocation tool
    • Built-in conflict checker


    • Reports of inconsistent notifications
    • Limited reporting capabilities


    Starts at $1.70/user/month Trial: Yes — 14-day Free Plan: Yes

  3. Homebase — Good for streamlining communication

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of the Homebase webpage

    Homebase is a shift 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.  

    Learn more about Homebase

    Key Features

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


    • Real-time scheduling updates
    • POS and payroll integrations


    • No data and analytics features
    • No video conferencing tools


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

  4. 7shifts — Good for restaurant and bar management

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of the 7shifts webpage

    7Shifts has been designed with restaurant and bar managers in mind. The platform has drag-and-drop shift scheduling features and a time-clocking app employees can use on their mobile devices. 7Shifts also offers geofencing software that sends manager notifications to managers if employees leave the geofence. 

    Employees enter their punch ID (their unique passcode) when clocking in. Your team can edit punches and input break times to ensure they’re paid correctly for worked hours. 

    Learn more about 7shifts

    Key Features

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


    • Integrated hiring and training tools
    • Integrated employee engagement tools


    • Free plan offers limited capabilities
    • No dedicated support hotline


    Starts at $21.99/month/location, for up to 15 employees Trial: Yes — 14-day Free Plan: Yes — Up to 1 location and 15 employees

  5. Bitrix24 — Good for scalability

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot of the Bitrix24 webpage

    Bitrix24 is a business management solution that’s good for scaling business operations and scheduling employees alike. The platform offers overtime alerts, early clock-out or underworking alerts, and automatic shift scheduling tools. 

    Additionally, video conferencing tools, work time tracking, in-app clock-in tools, and sales automation will help support business operations.

    Learn more about Bitrix24

    Key Features

    • Automatic shift scheduling
    • In-app clock tools
    • In-app video conferencing and chat tools
    • Scheduling violation notifications


    • Integrates with popular project management tools
    • International support hotlines are available


    • Expensive
    • Free-to-use option offers limited features


    Starts at $61/month, for 5 users Trial: No Free Plan: Yes

  6. OnTheClock — Good for time tracking for small businesses

    Available on

    • Web
    • iOS
    • Android
    Screenshot from OnTheClock showing interface for small business

    OnTheClock is a free employee scheduling app for small businesses or companies inexperienced in employee shift scheduling software. You can make real-time shift scheduling updates and communicate the changes to your employees immediately via notification or automatic text message. 

    OnTheClock also offers cloud-based data storage and is easy to get up and running within a few hours. This is useful for smaller businesses where any interruptions can have a big impact on operations. 

    Learn more about OnTheClock

    Key Features

    • Cloud-based backup
    • Text and push notifications
    • GPS-enabled clock-in
    • PTO tracking


    • Biometric clock-in
    • Simple user interface


    • No human resources management tools
    • No payroll features


    Starts at $102/month Trial: Yes Free Plan: Yes — For up to 2 users

  7. Inch — Good for task management for deskless employees

    Available on

    • Web
    • Android
    • Windows
    • Mac
    Screenshot of the Inch webpage

    Inch is a cloud-based employee scheduling tool that integrates with its other task management tools. The platform offers individual task assignments, progress monitoring, on-screen reminders, and an employee timeline overview. 

    Additionally, its file-sharing tools allow you to send written or photographic instructions to infield employees and its push notification feature keeps employees updated from anywhere.

    Unfortunately, Inch doesn’t offer in-app chat features or video conferencing software.

    Learn more about Inch

    Key Features

    • Push notifications
    • Individual task assignment and management
    • Worked hours tracking
    • Drag-and-drop shift scheduling


    • Full overview of employees’ calendars
    • Free to use


    • No in-app chat or video conferencing tools
    • No data or analytics tools


    Free Trial: No Free Plan: Yes

Compare the Best Free Employee Scheduling Softwares

Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users
Starts at $1.70/user/month
Starts at $20/location/month
Starts at $21.99/month/location, for up to 15 employees
Starts at $61/month, for 5 users
Starts at $102/month
Free Trial
Free Plan
Up to 30 users
For a single location
Up to 1 location and 15 employees
For up to 2 users

What Is Employee Shift Scheduling Software?

Employee shift scheduling software is a tool businesses use to create, publish, and manage work schedules and streamline their business operations

Solutions usually include built-in time clocks, tools to help you manage time off requests, 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, these platforms are available on mobile and desktop, so you can access them no matter where you are, and are usually cloud-based to allow for real-time syncing. This is especially beneficial for managers of teams who work across multiple job sites, don’t have regular access to a computer, or work outside the typical 9-to-5 workday. 

How Does Employee Shift Scheduling Software Work?

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 shift changes, and more. 

In addition to streamlined shift scheduling, employee shift 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 Employee Scheduling Software

The main benefit of employee shift scheduling software is how much it simplifies the scheduling process. With tools like automatic shift scheduling, drag-and-drop scheduling tools, and schedule templates, you can take schedule planning from hours to minutes.

Employee scheduling tools also reduce payroll errors through time off management features, overtime alerts, automatic conflict checkers, and clock-in push notifications. You can avoid being overscheduled, paying employees for time they didn’t work, or spending too much on overtime costs.

Additionally, these tools can help employees manage their schedules more effectively and find a great work-life balance. One-click shift swapping lets your employees easily change shifts with their co-workers, and built-in chat features allow you and your team to communicate about schedule changes and more. 

How Much Does Employee Shift Scheduling Software Cost?

Prices vary, but usually, employee shift 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.


What is the best software to make a schedule?

Connecteam is the best 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

Employee shift scheduling software reduces the amount of time and effort it takes to plan your team’s schedules. With tools like automatic shift scheduling, overtime notifications, drag-and-drop shift scheduling tools, in-app PTO and absence approval, and more, 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.

Start your free 14-day trial now and streamline your employee scheduling!