We review the best staff rota software based on features, pros and cons, and pricing. Learn how employee schedule management, automated shift reminders, communication tools, and other features can benefit your business. 

Employee scheduling is vital to any business but manual scheduling errors frustrate staff and lower morale. About 26% of workers who have unpredictable schedules report having scheduling conflicts.

These conflicts can lead to high stress levels and burnout. With online rota software, you get more visibility into your staff’s preferred schedules, make them more predictable, and eliminate confusion.  

This also avoids expensive mistakes like accidentally making employees work overtime. 

Here, we discuss choosing the best staff rota software and break down the best options, outlining key features, pros and cons, and costs.

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 staff rota software

  2. Good for online appointment scheduling

  3. Good for managing hourly employees

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

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Tools considered

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Tools reviewed

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Best tools
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What to Look For in a Staff Rota Software

The right rota scheduling software provides an organized approach to this daunting task. There are several main areas to compare: 

  • Customization: The software should allow you to create schedules that meet your specific needs, including the ability to define different shift lengths, break times, and other schedule parameters.
  • User-friendly interface: The software should be easy to use and navigate, with intuitive features that allow you to quickly create and modify schedules as needed.
  • Time and attendance tracking: Look for software that can track employee attendance, including clocking in and out, and can generate reports to help you monitor employee hours and productivity.
  • Automated scheduling: The software should be able to automate the process of creating schedules, based on employee availability, shift preferences, and other factors.
  • Mobile accessibility: Choose software that can be accessed from anywhere and on any device, including mobile phones and tablets, so that you can manage schedules on the go.
  • Integration with other systems: Look for software that can integrate with other systems, such as payroll and HR management software, to streamline your administrative tasks.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The software should be affordable and offer good value for money, with transparent pricing and no hidden fees.
  • Customer Service: The company’s customer service reputation indicates what level of support will be provided if the platform goes down or other complications arise.

The 6 Best Staff Rota Softwares of 2024

  1. Connecteam — Best all-in-one staff rota software

    At the top of our list is Connectteam’s all-in-one employee rota tool, which offers everything needed to create and manage employee schedules in an easy-to-use and smart app.

    With Connecteam, you can create and adjust employee schedules on the go, which is perfect for when your staff need to swap a shift on the fly. These time-saving features make scheduling a breeze:

    Quick and flexible schedule creation

    With Connecteam, you can make schedules with ease by importing or copying existing schedules or using the drag-and-drop feature. Its innovative templates are easy to use, and users can send a schedule in seconds. 

    Track common scheduling issues including schedule overlap and overtime. Set overtime limits and get notified when someone has exceeded their maximum hours. With Connecteam, you can easily distribute shifts and avoid scheduling conflicts that would otherwise lead to turnover. 

    Once the template is created, you can assign shifts and jobs based on employee availability and registered qualifications. When you need to fill an open shift, simply publish it for employees to claim. The difference in how quickly shifts get covered is dramatic. 

    🧠 Did You Know?

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

    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.

    Time tracking

    Connecteam lets employees access their schedules and clock in and out in one place. As manager, you can track their work hours and how long they have spent on various jobs and tasks. Each employee’s time sheet can be exported for payroll processing. 

    Dashboards and reports provide an overview of data that can help managers improve scheduling practices. 

    Notifications

    Automated shift reminders sent to employees cut down on no-shows. Customize notifications based on your needs, alerting managers when a shift has been dropped or accepted and when someone on the team needs to trade shifts. 

    Self-directed shift management

    Connecteam makes shift trading and requesting time off easy for employees. With the click of a button, they can swap shifts with quick approval from their manager. The schedule will change in real time, so managers don’t have to worry about coverage. 

    Smart communication tools

    The advanced buit-in chat feature enables teams to clarify schedule issues and communicate regularly. Within the chat, team members can share best practices and insights, inspiring each other to do their best work through ongoing employee communication. 

    Forms & Checklists help employees work smarter and get more done throughout their shifts. With the chat feature, employees can tackle challenges as they arise. 

    Keep everyone in the loop

    Business owners can boost employee engagement by sharing company news and shout-outs to valuable team members with Connecteam. With this feature, the point person for internal communications can reach employees in multiple locations at once and see who has read the message. 

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

    Pros

    • All-in-one rota software

    • Great customer service

    • Easy to use

    • Cost-effective

    Cons

    • Needs internet or wifi access to work

    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. mHelpDesk — Good for online appointment scheduling

    Screenshot of the mHelpDesk webpage

    mHelpDesk was created by service industry professionals and offers different tools to schedule and manage field technicians, including job notes and quick dispatch. Field managers can easily see everyone’s availability to manage schedules and avoid double booking. It also lets technicians take payments while on site. 

    mHelp Desk doesn’t offer digital checklists or automated shift swapping. It may also be difficult to get customer service support when needed. This platform doesn’t display transparent pricing on its website. Potential customers have to call and get a quote based on their needs. 

    Learn more about mHelpDesk

    Key Features

    • Track availability
    • Automated assignment notifications
    • Integrations with QuickBooks and Google Calendar
    • Drag-and-drop scheduling

    Pros

    • Ability to set up recurring jobs
    • Multiple employee dispatch

    Cons

    • Inconsistent customer service
    • Slow operations in some locations

    Pricing

    Contact vendor for price Trial: No Free Plan: No

  3. Shiftboard — Good for managing hourly employees

    Screenshot of the Shiftboard webpage

    Designed for managing hourly employees, Shiftboard offers some helpful features often used in industries with a high volume of unionized workers. It lets managers track union and labor-law violations when scheduling to stay compliant. They can see a list of available employees when they need to fill open shifts quickly. 

    The platform is not as intuitive as others. Management team members don’t have the ability to approve absences through the mobile app, which could lead to a back-and-forth with other team members when they need to fill a shift quickly.

    Learn more about Shiftboard

    Key Features

    • Employee availability tracking
    • Compliance tracking
    • Online time sheets
    • Push notifications

    Pros

    • Easy to assign team members to shifts
    • Good customer service

    Cons

    • Search feature is difficult to use
    • Software isn’t intuitive

    Pricing

    Contact vendor for price Trial: No Free Plan: No

  4. QuickBooks Time — Good for scheduling employees in professional services

    Available on

    Screenshot of the QuickBooks Time webpage

    Formerly known as TSheets, QuickBooks Time offers online time sheets and scheduling. It includes basic scheduling features on par with other apps on this list. Small business owners in most industries can use this tool for simple schedule management, but it is most appropriate in industries where employees bill by the job. Managers can assign job codes or task codes so employees can break down their time by task or project. 

    The time clock can be tricky since it only lets employees clock in and out in 15-minute increments. In some cases, they might have to wait to clock out, so the time clock will round their time to the correct number of hours. The app is often slow to launch as well. If an employee runs a little late, they might be unable to clock in at the beginning of their shift, causing frustration. 

    Learn more about QuickBooks Time

    Key Features

    • Mobile scheduling capabilities
    • Ability to assign job codes to different tasks
    • Job costing features
    • Integrations with iCal and Google Calendar

    Pros

    • Group options let employees work on multiple projects
    • Well organized

    Cons

    • Timeclock doesn’t offer real-time tracking
    • Not easy to launch

    Pricing

    Starts at $20/month + $10/user/month Trial: Yes — 30-day Free Plan: No

  5. Homebase — Good for payroll integration

    Screenshot of the Homebase webpage

    Homebase offers multiple human resources functions in its app, including hiring and onboarding. It is one platform with free options, but this version of the tool only offers basic scheduling capabilities. For more customization, users have to upgrade to a paid subscription. With the hiring and onboarding function, users can easily integrate new employees into the schedule. 

    This app offers reports that data managers can use to determine when it’s time to hire new employees or track their labor costs. The app is not as intuitive as others on this list, particularly the first time an employee needs to log in. 

    Learn more about Homebase

    Key Features

    • Scheduling templates
    • Overtime alerts
    • Payroll integration
    • Analytics reports

    Pros

    • Good customer service
    • App for mobile devices

    Cons

    • Difficult to change timeclock errors
    • No option to add notes when an employee needs to miss a shift

    Pricing

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

  6. Deputy — Good for ultra-customization

    Screenshot of the Deputy webpage

    Deputy lets users optimize scheduling using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The platform learns from historical data, so users have to provide existing schedules and time sheets for the best results. Once they are up and running, the tool provides automated scheduling based on employee availability and scheduling practices. 

    This platform is good for automating tasks, but it’s hard to set up and takes some time to learn. It doesn’t offer a lot of integrations, so managers have to transfer time sheets to payroll software manually. Customers have also reported difficulty reaching the support team. 

    Learn more about Deputy

    Key Features

    • AI-based automation
    • Optimized scheduling
    • Calendar management
    • Labor cost calculations

    Pros

    • Ability to customize based on historical data
    • Helps managers organize project teams

    Cons

    • Customer service is hard to reach
    • Have to pay a separate subscription fee for different platform features

    Pricing

    Starts at $4.5/user/month, for Scheduling or Time & Attendance Trial: Yes — 31-day Free Plan: No

Compare the Best Staff Rota Softwares

Topic Start for free
Reviews
4.8
4.3
4.4
4.7
4.6
4.6
Pricing
Starts at just $29/month for the first 30 users
Contact vendor for price
Contact vendor for price
Starts at $20/month + $10/user/month
Starts at $20/location/month
Starts at $4.5/user/month, for Scheduling or Time & Attendance
Free Trial
yes
14-day
no
no
yes
30-day
yes
14-day
yes
31-day
Free Plan
yes
Free Up to 10 users
no
no
no
yes
For a single location & up to 20 employees
no
Use cases
Best all-in-one staff rota software
Good for online appointment scheduling
Good for managing hourly employees
Good for scheduling employees in professional services
Good for payroll integration
Good for ultra-customization
Available on
Web, iOS, Android, Windows, Mac

What is Staff Rota Software?

Staff rota software refers to a computer program used to create and maintain employee rota schedules. It eliminates the need to create and manage schedules on paper or with Excel. Many of these platforms offer drag-and-drop and other features that make it easy to automate schedules, freeing managers up to tackle other tasks. 

The software also gives employees real-time access to their scheduled shifts, minimizing no-shows. Team members can manage time-off requests and receive alerts when their schedules are about to start. Many of these platforms offer free plans, although they don’t typically offer the same features as paid plans. 

How Does Staff Rota Software Work?

Owners and managers enter their employees into the system and create customized schedule templates based on their paper schedules. Once a schedule is in the system, they can copy it to shave time off tedious scheduling practices. After creating the schedule, they can post it to the app, and employees will see their schedule for the next few weeks. 

Instead of having to copy down their schedules when they get to work, employees can see their schedules for the next few weeks directly on their phones. If they have a conflict, they can push a button to swap shifts, and a manager can approve or deny the request with the click of a button. 

The Benefits of Staff Rota Software

Managers who aren’t using advanced software to automate scheduling are not only wasting time. They’re not optimizing their employee schedules. Rota software solves this problem and brings a host of other benefits:

Improved Employee Morale

Manual scheduling makes it easier for management team members to make mistakes. Managers might not notice that they have scheduled an employee for multiple close/open shifts in a month or that they have double-scheduled an employee. Manual scheduling may also cause some employees to work for over a week with no days off. 

These errors can frustrate employees, increasing the chances of burnout. Staff rota software offers notifications that eliminate these mistakes. Employees get schedules based on their availability and a better work-life balance. This in turn is a major factor for boosting employee morale.

Read more: 15 Effective Ways to Boost Employee Morale

Time Savings

Many managers spend too much time creating employee schedules. With manual scheduling, they must sift through each employee’s availability and dig through old paper and Excel files. If an employee needs to trade shifts or calls out, there is no easy way to see who can cover a shift in a pinch. 

With staff rota software, a manager can create and send schedules in seconds. Team members can see their schedules instantly and better prepare for conflict.  

Improved Compliance

Each state has various labor and overtime laws, and managers need to pay even closer attention to labor hours if their employees are unionized. With software, they can set specific time caps for employees, meaning they can’t add workers to the schedule if they are at their maximum hours. This way, the company stays in compliance and employees don’t burn out. 

Reduced Administrative Costs

Since the management team can create and submit schedules faster, the company spends less on administrative time. Staff rota software also integrates with payroll software, so labor costs are more accurate, which also reduces costs. 

Better Coverage

Since supervisors can manage schedule swaps quickly and the schedule is updated automatically, the team is not left in a pinch. Each employee can see their schedule as soon as it’s posted, allowing them more time to get coverage for scheduling conflicts. 

Managers can always have the coverage they need, and their employees get the peace of mind of work-life balance. They also get notifications when their schedule is about to start, reducing no-shows and misunderstandings. 

Analytical Insights

Staff rota software helps with measuring trends over time. The company can see if certain employees are calling out more often or if it’s not distributing hours evenly. Managers can use these insights to find the best schedule for their team and manage problems in the early stages. The company also gets better insight into its labor costs. 

Track trends that could impact staffing. There may be a certain day or shift time in which employees are calling out consistently. These trends let managers know if they need to check in with certain team members or hire new staff for a particularly busy day and time. 

How Much Does Staff Rota Software Cost?

Staff rota software pricing ranges from free to over $150 a month. Most plans charge a monthly fee per user, and some also charge a subscription fee. The platforms that offer free options often remove most of the best features, so companies have to pay to use the software the way they need to. Having a free option isn’t helpful if it only allows managers to develop and post schedules the same way they already can with a spreadsheet and email. 

Connecteam offers the most bang for a company’s buck with a starting price of $29 a month for up to 30 users. Another option is the Small Business Plan, which is completely free for up to 10 users. Unlike other free options, this one offers all features available on the paid plan. 

FAQs

Is there free rota software?

There are many free options for creating and managing staff schedules. However, most free options don’t offer all the features needed to manage a team. Missing features could include automated scheduling, staff notifications, internal communication, and more. Connecteam offers one of the most robust free staff rota apps for small businesses.

Why should I use a staff rota app?

Your management team is likely spending too much time on scheduling. Connecteam allows you to automate this task and gives your employees more control over their schedules. Your team will benefit from this software. 

What is the best app for rotating shift schedules?

Connecteam’s drag-and-drop and copy-paste features make it easy to rotate employee work schedules. It’s a cost-effective platform with multiple options that managers can use to manage schedules. Templates and notifications help keep employees from working too much overtime or working too many close-open shifts. 

The Last Word on Staff Rota Software

Staff rota software is a must for businesses of all sizes. It allows your management team to tackle its administrative tasks more efficiently, freeing them up for other responsibilities. Your employees can also manage their schedules with ease, identifying common mistakes before they become an issue. Your management team is likely wasting up to 140 hours a year, and your staff may be burned out from being overscheduled. 

With staff rota software like Connecteam, you can build a happier, more productive team. Use it to manage schedules, communicate with the team, give a shout-out to your best employees, and switch schedules on the fly.