Schedule makers are not all created equal, and to pick the right one for your business, it is important to identify the features that you need. Each platform has its unique capabilities and drawbacks. Here are some main things to look out for when choosing an online schedule maker platform.
One important feature to look for in an online schedule maker is that it is easy to use and that the interface is visually pleasing. In particular, if your entire team will be collaborating in scheduling, ensuring that usability isn’t a challenge is vital. When adding multiple entries, meetings, and shifts into a shared platform, things can get cluttered very quickly without a suitable interface. Of course, if you are building a schedule for just one person or creating your own schedule, then this is not an issue – whether a particular platform is user-friendly or not will largely depend on your specific needs. This is why it is important to identify what you are looking for in a schedule maker before committing to a specific product.
One thing to note is whether a schedule maker has drag-and-drop features. These are a great add-on to let you build schedules much more easily and ensure that you don't waste time trying to save time.
Almost all online schedule makers offer a free version with a range of upgrade options depending on the specific capabilities that you are looking for. For many simple tasks commonly required by small to medium businesses, the free version will be sufficient. But it’s worth checking out the added value of paid features. In many cases, the overall value for cost on upgraded products is well worth the investment.
Most schedule maker services also offer personalized quotes for enterprises with more significant needs. If you are seeking enhanced capabilities and the ability to include numerous team members at multiple locations, it is worthwhile to reach out to a sales representative and explore what options the company offers for larger businesses.
A great feature included in some scheduling platforms is the ability to send messages back and forth between users. With online chat or commenting, scheduling a meeting and getting feedback can all happen in one place, thereby streamlining business operations and contributing to organizational transparency. It can be confusing and aggravating to build schedules through multiple email threads, messages, and discussions. In-app communication capabilities, such as sending messages to multiple users simultaneously, commenting on shared tasks and meetings, and other functions, can reduce the burden of scheduling.
Another benefit of choosing a schedule maker with advanced communication capabilities is giving employees the ability to swap shifts, collaborate, or set up meetings independently. Stepping back from managing employee schedules both frees you up to grow your business and also gives valued employees more freedom and control over their schedules.
Planning and organizing schedules is one part of a scheduling management platform, but there are other capabilities you should be looking for - such as tracking and reporting. With time tracking and reporting, you can see when your employees worked, for how long, and what work product was generated. This is important for businesses built around shift work or where you are managing multiple projects simultaneously. Aside from tracking productivity, scheduling software may also offer more advanced analytics capabilities, for example, cost report generation.
One of the most important aspects of building a business is utilizing data and analytics to optimize business operations. Your schedule maker doesn’t have to stop at basic scheduling. By choosing a service with enhanced informational capabilities, you can facilitate digital transformation at every vertical and leverage real-time data to generate reports, communicate with employees and other stakeholders, and make changes as needed for a frictionless business experience.
Keeping all of your business’s digital platforms integrated will contribute to overall efficiency and profit generation, so it’s important to make sure that your schedule maker is able to sync with other apps, for example, calendar or task management platforms. Having to communicate across disparate platforms with multiple people can cause confusion and mistakes, so it’s really important to know that when a meeting or shift is put in the schedule, this change is logged onto other shared business platforms. This enhanced functionality will save time and hassle, so check on integrations before committing.
Asana gives teams the ability to set up schedules and manage tasks, with enhanced features to help team members collaborate and communicate. With in-app commenting and notifications, you can build schedules and monitor progress without the added complication of emailing and messaging on another platform. Asana offers businesses with multiple teams and projects a streamlined and simple way to schedule, communicate, track tasks, shifts, meetings, and more.
Appointy is great for building schedules and accepting appointments online. While this app isn't designed for managing large teams and collaboration, it is an ideal schedule maker for B2C businesses who want to make it easier and more trackable for clients. You can manage individual work schedules, accept payments online, send appointment reminders, create repeat appointment schedules, and sync with calendars.
ClickUp is a highly flexible and free schedule maker that is an ideal and high-value platform for managing employees and fostering collaboration. With an in-app inbox and customizable task management capabilities, including scheduling, reminders, and goals, this is a good option for teams of all sizes. ClickUp offers various display options so that you can create the most user-friendly interface for your schedule making needs.
Sling is a full serve schedule maker with a broad range of additional capabilities suited to businesses of any size. One great feature of Sling is the ability for employees to set up their own schedules and swap shifts. This gives teams more freedom while simplifying scheduling and making operations more transparent. Sling also lets you track and optimize scheduling for greater efficiency and profitability.
Doodle lets you quickly schedule meetings, no matter how many participants are included. This schedule maker's main selling point is its innovative poll-based scheduling. You just create a poll with several meeting time options, and the meeting attendees do the rest, delivering convenience and peace of mind. Polls can also be used for more than scheduling - for example, user satisfaction surveys and customer questionnaires.
OpenSimSim gives hourly employees a free schedule maker that is easy to use, fast to set up, and convenient for shift workers to trade shifts. The platform also offers one-click schedule sharing and group messaging to promote transparency and open communication. OpenSimSim is also available as a free app so that you can make schedules and manage your team from anywhere, at any time.
Trello provides a very straightforward and easy to use platform for organizing, scheduling, and monitoring projects in one convenient place. It’s user friendly and simple to use, with commenting capabilities. Trello is appealing for small businesses managing multiple long-term projects but is less amenable to shift-based businesses.
Google Calendar is included when you sign up for Gmail and offers a simple schedule maker as part of the Calendar app. This is a pared-down way to build a meeting schedule with several team members, but for larger teams and additional capabilities, you will likely need a separate platform.
Calendly makes scheduling simple and easy for smaller teams or for individual appointment bookings. Totally automated, Calendly lets customers pick slots and automatically updates your availability. While this schedule maker is good for individual workers managing appointments, it is not ideal for larger teams and does not offer advanced communication, tracking, and reporting features.
Homebase works with over 100,000 local businesses to help streamline operations and propel growth. This schedule maker has numerous functions, including managing fluctuating schedules, facilitating communication between numerous team members, and providing hiring process features. Homebase has a free mobile app and multiple integrations to help get your team working together.