Employee timing always just a tad off? Yep. There's a Scheduling App for That.

“Hey, boss? When did you want me to come in again?“

“Oh, $#C&! I’ll be right in! I didn’t know I had to work today.” 

“Listen. Would it be possible for me to take the day off tomorrow? I know it’s last minute and all.”

Sound familiar? 

As a manager working in the food and beverage industry, you know all too well the logistical nightmare of making and managing the weekly schedule. The task oftentimes depends on an internally managed excel spreadsheet with highlighted cells and overlapping squares balancing the particular needs and preferences of dozens of employees. It makes an LSAT logic puzzle look like kindergarten math.

Fortunately, there are a few programs offering solutions to the pervasive and tedious scheduling problem. These solutions are available for a range of prices, but rarely break the bank. And, as we know, time is money…

Here is a short-list of scheduling apps for your consideration:

When I Work: When I Work is a phone app that communicates schedules to staff on a weekly basis; it also makes it easy for staff to communicate back with you, consolidating requested time off and and coordinating shift switches. This information from the app populates a macro-schedule employers can view on their laptops and iPads. Employees can even receive tweets to remind them about upcoming shifts!

ZoomShift: ZoomShift, similar to When I Work, also coordinates employees’ schedules and makes it easy for employers to anticipate scheduling conflicts weeks in advance. For a small business (less than 15 employees), the cost is just $25 per month which is billed on an annual basis. For businesses with 45-80 employees, prices go up to $100 per month.  Most importantly, the interface is very intuitive.

In addition to the two most popular scheduling apps, you also have the option to try out Doodle, ShiftPlanning, and When To Work (not to be confused with When I Work). If you have time to give all 5 apps a try, you will notice that some are more effective than others at satisfying the end users’ needs. Some are more helpful to you than your staff and visa versa. Either way, you have a number of options, all of which offer a viable alternative to those nightmarish excel spreadsheets on which you currently depend. So breathe easy. This might just be the last time you have to jump through hoops to orchestrate the weekly shift schedule.