In many organizations, it’s often a difficult and thankless job to schedule employees in their various shifts. The individual in charge of this task needs to think long and hard before placing workers into their various time slots. When done successfully, productivity is maximized and sales are not overrun by labor costs. Week after week, month and month, this task needs to be repeated again and again. This can become a tedious and error-prone process if done manually using paper and pencil or a spreadsheet.
Years ago, only the biggest organizations could afford software that would let them automate the task of scheduling workers, but then cloud-based services mercifully emerged. Today, many vendors offer employee scheduling and shift planning software via the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model, which is flexible enough to be used in multiple industries and verticals by companies with as few as five employees or as many as 15,000. Best of all, this software can cost as little as $1 per month per employee, with discounts available for large workforces or for subscribing to a bundle of related services such as general human resources (HR) management or payroll.
Vendors are chasing a growing number of small to midsize businesses (SMBs) that are ditching Google Docs, Microsoft Excel, or paper and pencil for scheduling solutions that are more productive and which help to keep employees content. They also make it easier to comply with new regulations, including minimum wage and overtime laws, the Affordable Care Act, and worker “Bill of Rights” measures that cities such as San Francisco and Seattle have passed in recent years. From 2014 to 2015, workforce and labor scheduling software adoption jumped 40 percent, at least in part because of increased regulation, according to the 2015-2016 HR Systems Survey from industry analyst firm Sierra-Cedar.