Scheduling your employees is a time-consuming task. There are so many variables with which to contend that it almost feels like too much for one person to handle sometimes. Thankfully, there is a simple and readily available solution: work schedule maker software.
Apps such as Inch provide managers with tools that automate and streamline many of the common tasks associated with organizing when your team members will work.
But will just any old app do? In this article, the experts at Inch discuss the essential features to look for and help you find the best work schedule maker for your business.
Table Of Contents
Essential Features Of Work Schedule Makers
1) Goes Where The Work Is
You never know where you’re going to be when you or someone on your team will need access to the schedule. This is especially true if you manage multiple locations or teams with on-site, remote, and mobile employees.
That’s why your schedule maker should work anywhere and on any device.
The Inch app, for example, operates in the cloud, so you can use it anywhere you have internet access. Inch is also available on Windows, iOS, and Android devices, allowing you and your team to be in sync no matter what devices you use.
2) Allows For Easy Employee Scheduling
Scheduling should be the heart and soul of the software you choose for your business. Not only should the workforce schedule maker offer you powerful features, but those features should be easy to understand and use.
For example, Inch lets you:
- Copy schedules between days or weeks
- Drag and drop shifts
- Create templates
All with a simple and intuitive interface that will have you scheduling like a pro in no time.
3) Streamlines Communication
Communication is vital when it comes to organizing all your employees. And the best scheduling software makes communicating with your team easier than ever.
With the Inch app, you can send messages to groups or individuals. Find and communicate with employees within groups, locations, or specific positions. You can even share files, photos, videos, and links for faster and more comprehensive communication.
4) Provides Extensive Task-Management Tools
The best scheduling software should be about more than just scheduling. It should be about doing, too.
Look for a software suite that provides extensive task-management tools and lets you:
- Assign tasks and follow their progress
- Create to-do lists for your employees
- Set due dates
- Send and see reminders as due dates approach
- Give access to the to-do lists via a mobile device
5) Seamlessly Tracks Hours
Gone are the days of paper timesheets and fixed clock-in/clock-out terminals. Modern time and attendance software is now available in the cloud for all your team members to access wherever and whenever they need them.
The Inch app can transform any computer, tablet, or smartphone into a time clock so your employees can clock in and out for a shift or for a specific task wherever they may be working.
Still, you want to know that your employees are in the right place at the right time. The Inch work schedule maker software lets them check in for their shifts right from their smartphones or mobile devices.
You can even set up restrictions (e.g., how many minutes before and after their shift employees can clock in or out) and geofences so that your employees can’t clock in unless they’re where they should be.
Advanced Work Schedule Maker Features To Look For
Geofencing is an advanced work schedule maker feature that allows you to create a virtual geographic boundary (a geofence) around an area of your choosing.
Once the boundary is in place, you can set the software to react in a certain way if an employee is inside or outside those boundaries when they try to clock in or clock out with the app.
For example, you might set a geofence of 50 feet around the places your employees go (e.g., first, second, and third work locations, appointments, and deliveries). You can then set the system so that they can’t clock in until they’re within 50 feet of those locations.
Similarly, you can set the software to stop tracking time if the employee travels a distance greater than the 50-foot mark away from the worksite.
On the other hand, you may choose to use geofences to keep your employees out of a certain area (another employee’s territory, for example).
If team member A crosses into team member B’s territory, you can set the software to notify both you and employee A that they’re in the wrong place.
From these two examples alone, it’s easy to see that geofencing can be extremely useful for maintaining control over what’s going on at multiple locations — even though you’re not there — or coordinating employees that may be spread out over a wide geographic area.
In addition to coordination and control, geofencing can play a role in preventing time theft and reducing operating costs throughout your business.
2) Comprehensive Control
Most work schedule makers allow you to assign employees to specific shifts (e.g., Sadie will work 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) regardless of the type of work schedule you use in your business.
And, while this type of organization is at the heart of everything you’ll do with your work scheduling software, sometimes you may need more comprehensive control.
Some advanced work schedule maker apps — like Inch — give you the ability to get into the “guts” of each shift to schedule other activities by any fraction of an hour necessary.
So, for example, after you assign Sadie to work 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you may need to subdivide her time into other activities, such as:
- Giving a presentation to her teammates at 11:30 a.m. on Monday
- Meeting with an important client from 1:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday and Friday
- Picking up an order of office supplies at 4 p.m. on Friday
- Meeting with her manager from 11:15 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Wednesday
With such comprehensive control, you’ll be better positioned to help your employees stay focused on the work that needs to be done every day during their shift.
3) Free Trial
You can examine every screenshot that the company provides, read every review online, and research every aspect of the work schedule maker, but you won’t know if the app really works for you, your team, and your business unless you try it.
It’s very much like test-driving a car. The make and model you’re looking at may seem like the perfect fit, but once you get it on the road, it turns out you may need a different set of features and capabilities.
But if you’d gone right out and purchased that car without trying it first, you’d be out a lot of money without anything to show for it.
That’s why it’s so important to look for work schedule maker software that offers a free trial.
It doesn’t matter if the free trial gives you access to all the features for a certain number of days or access to the basic features indefinitely, such access is worth more than all the screenshots you can find and all the reading and research you can possibly do.
Don’t purchase multiple pieces of software in a vain attempt to find one that works for your team. Investigate those with a free trial and get the app “out on the road” so you don’t waste money on something you’re not going to use.
4) Device Versatility
Device versatility is essential if you want to get the most out of your work schedule maker and make it available to as many of your employees as possible.
You never know what device or operating system you and your team will have available when you or they need to use some feature of the software. With the right app, it won’t matter what device or operating system you have on hand.
You’ll all be able to use the tools and access the information on any smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, whether they’re running Windows, Android, macOS, or iOS.
That type of device versatility can make your job, your team’s activities, and even your business workflow easier to manage.
Like device versatility, accessibility is another important feature of advanced work schedule maker software.
If your team can only access the information they need while they’re physically “in the office,” that app isn’t going to be very useful when they have to go elsewhere.
But, if your team can access the information they need at their primary work location, at home, in a coffee shop across town, at a roadside rest stop in another state, or in a completely different country, the software will be much more useful.
The best way to provide access to everything your team needs to get the job done — no matter where they are, what they’re doing, or when they’re working — is to choose an app that operates in the cloud.
With a cloud-based software suite, as long as your employees can connect to the internet over a Wi-Fi or cellular signal, they’ll be able to use the tools and access the information they need anywhere, anytime.
Work Schedule Maker Benefits
1) Helps Control Labor Costs
Labor is likely one of the largest expenses your business has to deal with. With a schedule maker to help you optimize your team, you can gain more control over both the way your employees work and the costs associated with this activity.
For example, some apps allow you to set a budget and then monitor the labor costs for each shift as you schedule.
Real-time monitoring like this can help you control what your business spends on labor every day and allow you to stick to your budget much more easily than you would otherwise.
That can have a profound effect on the way you do business and the numbers that mean the difference between success and failure.
2) Boosts Productivity
Maintaining high team productivity day in and day out can be a challenge for even the most successful businesses.
Advanced scheduling software can make it easier to control productivity and performance with helpful analytics and insights into the way your team operates on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
And, as we’ve mentioned throughout this article, such software also gives you unprecedented control over what needs to be done and provides clarity of work for all your employees.
With software like this as part of your workflow, you can boost team and employee productivity business-wide.
3) Automates The Process
Some of the more advanced work schedule maker apps automate many of the regular processes you deal with on a daily basis.
Inch, for example, uses data from your business, user-defined parameters, and artificial intelligence to select the best employee for a shift or for a particular task that needs to be done.
You can instruct the software to consider a wide variety of variables when setting up the schedule or making task assignments, including:
4) Makes Your Team More Efficient
Efficiency is all about getting things done on time and without a lot of extra difficulty.
With the tools provided by advanced work schedule maker software — including built-in time tracking, process checklists, and geofencing — you can help your team stay efficient regardless of where they’re working and what they’re working on.
Which Work Schedule Maker Is Right For Your Business?
1) Cloud-Based Word Processor
Cloud-based word processors, like Google Docs, are the 21st-century evolution of a 20th-century product.
The main advantage of using a cloud-based word processor as a work schedule maker is the ease of distribution. You create your schedule online through your preferred internet browser, save it in the cloud, and then grant access to all employees by sending them a link.
Anyone with the link can view the schedule anytime they want, making this method an extremely efficient way to get the schedule into everyone’s hands. This also makes for a more productive workforce.
Ease of distribution aside, the difficulties that plague regular word processors still remain.
You still have to struggle with formatting. And while making changes is somewhat streamlined because employees can leave notes regarding conflicts and shift trades, you still have to contend with making those changes work.
2) Cloud-Based Spreadsheet
As with the word processors, using a spreadsheet app like Google Sheets as a work schedule maker streamlines the distribution process. That said, many other problems still remain.
It’s important to remember that spreadsheets were designed with database management and accounting in mind. The tools and the solutions they offer are geared toward those activities, not toward scheduling.
So while spreadsheets can be made to work for this purpose, they aren’t as powerful or as useful as other schedule makers.
3) Cloud-Based Calendar
Online calendar software, like Google Calendar, takes schedule creation to the next level by giving your schedule the power of cloud-based distribution.
This makes collecting and making changes simpler because employees can leave notes in the document informing you of conflicts.
As great as these basic cloud-based tools may sound, they were still not designed with multiple employees, overlapping shifts, and business scheduling in mind.
It allows your employees to clock in and out of their shifts without clogging up a central terminal. Sling even notifies you when an employee is running late or forgets to clock in.
You also have access to state-of-the-art scheduling tools that help you build your employees’ schedules within minutes instead of hours. You can manage time off, availability, and shift-trade requests without collecting, sorting, and collating a huge stack of paper.
Sling will even help you reduce absenteeism and late arrivals and keep track of overlapping shifts and double-bookings.
Add to that the onboard artificial intelligence that will help you schedule overtime and avoid exceeding your labor budget, and you’ve got a powerful ally in controlling expenses, keeping your team and your tasks on track, and ensuring that your business runs smoothly.
Inch is a powerful voice-operated workforce management and optimization app that seamlessly incorporates task and employee scheduling into its broad and useful suite of tools.
On the employee side of things, Inch gives your team the power to schedule and track time-on-task from their phone or a designated terminal mounted in a vehicle or at each location.
And, like its sister app, Sling, Inch gives you the option to set up restrictions around your place of business or a remote worksite so that, if an employee is outside those limits, they won’t be allowed to clock in until they cross into the defined space.
That’s powerful control over when and where your team works!
On the manager side of things, the Inch app opens up a new world of control — not just as a work schedule maker, but also as a communication method, a distribution channel, and a payroll processing tool.
With the data that Inch provides, you’ll gain insight into how your team works and how you can create the perfect schedules so that they perform even better.
Choose The Best Work Schedule Maker
If you still rely on face-to-face instructions, word processors, spreadsheets, or online calendars for your scheduling needs, it’s time to upgrade.
Business-focused programs offer a wide range of tools that simplify and streamline the scheduling process so you can create the best workflow possible and still have time to focus on tasks that drive your business forward.
Inch is the perfect example. It incorporates task management, communication, time tracking, and scheduling into one powerful solution.
It’s also designed to make it easier for managers and employees to get aligned on their to-dos, ensuring that all tasks get completed on time.
With Inch, employees can perform a wide variety of tasks from their tablet or phone, including:
- Working from a shared task list
- Getting clarity on work that needs to be done
- Receiving voice-assisted reminder notifications
- Clocking in and out of tasks at different locations
- Completing work assigned to them
- Communicating with managers and each other
All of that and more without having to touch a mobile screen or report back to the office.
For managers, Inch makes it easy to distribute tasks manually across teams or populate tasks automatically based on preset conditions. This feature ensures that all work is covered and keeps employees accountable for their responsibilities, expected outcomes, and deadlines.
Managers can also assign work to the employees that are closest to the job site or have tasks generate automatically as the need arises and follow work progress and task completion in real time.
Inch really does help eliminate frustration for employees, headaches for managers, and inefficiencies for the business.
So, whether you need help setting up when each team member will work during the week or what tasks they will perform when they do, Inch gives you unprecedented control over an inherently complicated and chaotic process.
That’s a work schedule maker for the 21st century.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.