Your business has grown to the point that scheduling your employees on white board or using spreadsheet has become a real nightmare. You are spending countless hours, trying to figure out the scheduling puzzle, reconciling employee timesheets, generating invoices for your clients and payroll for employees. The solution to problem is clear – you need employee scheduling software! But how do you choose one? Where do you start? This guide will uncover important questions that you need to ask and pitfalls that you need to be aware of when selecting a scheduling software for your business.
Armed with information in this Scheduling Software Guide you can make an educated decision when choosing Employee Scheduling Software for your business. Software designed for dynamic scheduling will best fit businesses that have complex, dynamic, ever changing schedules. If your business deals on a daily basis with constantly changing schedules, anything from a few hours to overnight shifts, schedules where same employee is scheduled to cover several jobs/clients on the same day, schedules where more than one employee needs to be assigned to the same job/client and other complex variations, then dynamic type of scheduling software like TimeCurve Scheduler is what your business needs.Some examples where such staff scheduling software will work best are:
- – Home Care Agencies
- – Home Health Agencies
- – Pet Sitting Services
- – Security Guard Agencies
- – Cleaning and Janitorial Services
- – HVAC Technicians
- – Builders, Remodelers, Interior Designers
- – Hair Salons and Spas
- – Other businesses that provide on-site services
What is Scheduling Software?
The advances in Computer Science made it possible today for programmers to develop highly complex and smart software that assists office managers in scheduling their employees on a daily basis. Scheduling software will help managers every step of the way during tedious and often complicated process of scheduling employees. The advantage of computer aided scheduling system over the traditional white board or pen and paper is gigantic.
You will certainly appreciate the many benefits that staff scheduling software can provide you with. The time you spent scheduling personnel will diminish significantly and you will make fewer scheduling mistakes among the most important advantages that it will bring you.
Modern employee scheduling software can easily give you a winning edge over your competition. It can eliminate bottlenecks and help to run your company smoother and more effectively. Employee scheduling software like TimeCurve Scheduler will track time your employees spent servicing your clients. Once this information is collected time tracking software will help you to quickly figure out how much your clients owe you for services, and how much you owe to your employees for performed work. Employee scheduling software can indeed save you a lot of time and rid you of headaches trying to figure out invoicing and payroll.
What can Schedule Software do for you?
Early Business owners and managers have been scheduling their employees for decades perhaps even centuries! At first scheduling in its primitive form was done verbally, then scribbled on sand or papyrus sheets, then came along pencil and paper, followed by white boards. Alas, we’ve gone even further since. Advances in home and office computing, made employee scheduling process hundred, maybe even thousand times easier, faster and more effective. You can create highly complex schedules involving dozens of criteria using Employee Scheduling Software. Are you lagging behind the latest advances in technology? It’s time to jump on the band wagon of computerized employee scheduling, and reap the rewards that it will bring to your business.
Just think about how much time you or your office employee spends trying to solve employee scheduling puzzle? Imagine trying to schedule 50 employees to cover 30 clients! The scheduling permutations are endless! And the chance to make a mistake is very high. Let the computer program do the hard work for you. Let staff scheduling system, track conflicts and overtime, let it process thousands of possibilities of creating the right schedule and present you with the final, error free version of the employee schedule that would’ve taken you half a day to create with a pen and paper. The computer software is here to help us with our daily tasks, use its power to your advantage, save time, eliminate errors, and keep your clients and employees happy.
A good Employee Scheduling Software like TimeCurve Scheduler, will allow you to customize how it tracks time and how it calculates client’s invoices and employee’s payroll. Every company has its own rules, regulations, and other criteria that makes it unique. It is only natural that Employee Scheduling Software which you will select for your business should be highly customizable, so that it can fit perfectly with your business model.
Who Uses Employee Scheduling Software?
Employee Scheduler – A profession of employee scheduler has changed dramatically over the years. Employee scheduler within company is responsible for creating valid, error free schedules that fit a variety of requirements and criteria. It can easily take employee scheduler days to come up with a schedule that meets complex requirements. The process is tedious and error prone.
Digital age brings new possibility. The human employee scheduler gets a new partner – the digital employee scheduler. No longer human employee scheduler needs to pull all the weight herself. The help from employee scheduler software is real and noticeable. Time spend creating schedules is slashed significantly, while scheduling errors are nearly eliminated. Employee scheduler software helps to keep track of hours, conflicts, employee requests of time off and client requirements.
How Scheduling Software Works
Every computer program needs input information which it processes and presents back to the user. Employee Scheduling Software is no exception. The first time you use staff scheduling software you will provide it with base information which the scheduling program will re-use every time you create new schedule.
Good scheduling software will automate many tasks for you including data entry. Majority of information will need to be entered into employee scheduling system once. Once information is entered, the scheduler will help you create schedules taking into consideration various requirements and criteria that are defined by your clients and employees. At the end you will have a schedule created in minutes that satisfies both: clients and employees.
Advantages of Employee Scheduling Software
To switch from pen and pencil to Employee Scheduling Software will take time and discipline. You will have to do the research to find the software that fits your needs and your budget. Then you will have to spend time learning how to use it, how to apply it to specifics of your business and perhaps even train a few of your office employees. But, the benefits that Employee Scheduling Software will bring to your business will worth every minute spend. You will spend minutes creating complex schedules instead of days freeing yourself up to take care of more important things. You will make less or no mistakes in your schedules. Have you ever forgotten to cover your client’s shift? Have you overbooked or under booked your employees? No more unhappy customers and upset employees. Employee Scheduling Software will take care of all those problems.
The Four Bottlenecks
Finding the right staff scheduling software that fits your business needs is not an easy task. Each business is unique, but there are several business processes that are common across many industries:
- – Employee scheduling
- – Client Invoicing
- – Timesheets Reconciliation
- – Employee Payroll
These are the four bottlenecks that slow your business down. They take a lot of time and resources and costing you money. Ideal employee scheduling software will automate some or all of these tasks and will significantly reduce your overheard, giving you an edge over competition. TimeCurve Scheduler can assist you with eliminating all four bottlenecks.
Types of Scheduling
There are two types of employee scheduling and two types of employee scheduling software:
- – Static (shift-based) scheduling
- – Dynamic scheduling
Static (often called shift-based) is a type of scheduling that deals with work shifts that practically never change. Businesses that do static scheduling typically have two or more shifts in a 24 hour period that need to be covered by employees. Employees are rotated through those shifts with some pre-defined periodicity. An example of shift-based scheduling business would be 24 hour restaurants where waitresses are covering three 8 hour shifts.
Another important aspect of static scheduling is that any given shift is typically permanently attached to specific location or client. For example: cash register 1, 2 and 3 in retail store, need to be covered by employees from 8am – 8pm.
Dynamic scheduling deals with work shifts and locations/clients that constantly change. Home Care and Employment agencies, Pet Sitting services and HVAC technicians would be an example of businesses that deal with dynamic scheduling. Employees are typically scheduled to service different locations/clients at different times. Any given employee scheduling software would cater to one type of scheduling or another.
So, the first important question that you need to ask yourself is what type of scheduling do you do? Static or dynamic? About 70% of employee scheduling software on the market today is geared towards static shift-based scheduling and only 30% including TimeCurve Scheduler were developed to tackle dynamic scheduling.
Invoicing, Payroll and Bookkeeping Software
To keep your business running, you need to pay your employees and to get paid by your clients. This means that you need to generate invoices for clients and paychecks for employees. To accomplish this, majority of small businesses use bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks. However, even with the help of QuickBooks manual data entry is still necessary. Generating 60-70 invoices and 40-50 paychecks manually is very laborious and time consuming task.
Look for employee scheduling software that will integrate with your favorite bookkeeping software and will fully automate invoicing and payroll processes. Only a handful of employee scheduling software on the market today, including TimeCurve Scheduler will offer this capability.
Timesheets, Time Cards and Punch Clocks
Before invoices and paychecks can be automatically generated by your scheduling software you will need to reconcile employee timesheets. Service type businesses typically require that their employees keep track of their work hours. At the end of billing cycle employees submit their timesheets (time cards).
Timesheets or time cards are vital piece of information because clients are billed and employees are paid according to the hours recorded on the timesheets. But before invoices and paychecks can be created, scheduling hours needs to be reconciled with hours recorded on time cards. This process can be very time consuming and will require a lot of manual data entry.
You can eliminate this bottleneck by using stationary or telephony punch clock (Electronic Visit Verification system or EVV). Telephony Punch clock software will allow your employees to punch in and punch out from their place of work by placing a phone call. Punch Clock or Time Card software records actual hours that employee worked. These hours are then automatically reconciled with scheduling hours, thereby fully automating reconciliation process.
Employee Time Clock software is typically offered by software companies as a service with monthly fee. The fee depends on number of employees that will be using the system or is charged on a per call basis. The average cost of using such system is typically around 25 – 50 cents per call. Not every punch clock service will offer integration with your favorite bookkeeping software. Instead you will be receiving a daily email with punch in/out data or you will be able to login to service company web site to view punch clock information.
A much better alternative to punch clock service is employee scheduling software that offers integrated Telephony Punch Clock/Time Clock. Integrated Telephony Punch Clock will monitor incoming telephone calls and update schedule actual hours based on these calls. Since this type of Punch Clock is integrated into scheduling software it can fully automate timesheet reconciliation. Only very few employee scheduling solutions on the market today offer integrated punch clock feature. TimeCurve Scheduler is one of them.
Online (web based) or PC Based Software
Another important choice you will have to make when choosing staff scheduling software is: Internet (web based) or PC based software?
With the advent of internet and ever increasing internet connection speeds many software vendors began developing and now offering internet based software. Employee scheduling software is not an exception.
Both Internet and PC based software have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Internet Based Software
Internet based software is almost always sold as a service for a monthly or yearly fee. Essentially, it is a rental program where you will always have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for as long as you use the software. Typically the monthly fee depends on the number of clients or employees being scheduled and it ranges widely between $1 – $12 per client or employee per month. The software and database that it uses reside on the servers of the company that owns it. You access the software through the Internet Browser from your computer. With Internet based software, you do not own the software. You need to have high speed internet connection to use Internet based software.
One of the greatest advantages of Internet based scheduling software is the fact that your information can be accessed from any computer in the world that has internet access and no installation is necessary. Additionally you do not need to worry about data back up since it is taken care of by the company that is running the service.
PC Based Software
PC based software can almost always be purchased. The software and its database that it uses to store information are installed on a local computer. You own a software license and all of the data entered into the system. You do not need internet access to run the software. Disadvantage of PC based scheduling software is that it can only be used on the computer it is installed on and it requires installation and maintenance. You will also need to worry about backing up your data on a regular basis. If your computers breaks down and needs to be replaced, you will need to re-install the software and restore your data from a backup.
Evaluation of Software
Whenever possible take full advantage of evaluation or demo version of the software. Be sure that differences between evaluation and full version are minimal to avoid unpleasant surprises after the purchase. Evaluate as many features as you can, and try to apply them to specifics of your business. Try to get a feel as to what it would be like to use the software on a daily basis.
Many vendors will require a credit card to be placed on file before you will receive access to evaluation version of the software. TimeCurve Software does not require a credit card information in order to evaluate TimeCurve Scheduler.
Employee Telephony Time Clock Software (EVV)
If you send employees out to service clients, then Employee Telephony Time Clock or Punch Clock system could bring many advantages to your business. Just like employee scheduling software employee time clock technology is very important component that a business shouldn’t be without. Once you implement staff scheduling system to help you run your business smoother, consider adding an employee time clock module (EVV). Together, these two important technologies can make a world of a difference for your business. TimeCurve Scheduler integrates with several industry leading companies providing employee telephony punch clock services.
Benefits of Employee Telephony Time Clock Software
Employee Telephony Time Clock software (also called Electronic Visit Verification or EVV) will allow for your employee to punch in and out from their place of work, giving you an exact number of hours that they worked. This is invaluable information for a business owner. You will know who worked where and for how long. You will know exactly how much an employee should be paid and how much customer should be charged. Employee Telephony Time Clock software will also save you money since you will always be paying your employees exactly what they earned.
Select Time Clock software that allows your employees to call in via regular telephone line. This is very effective and inexpensive solution that will save your business money in the long run.Employee Telephony Time Clock system will provide you with live, up-to the minute overview of your employees in the field. If employee is late or didn’t show up at all, the system will let you know so that you can take immediate action and be able to cover that shift with another employee. Consider selecting scheduling software hat offers integrated telephony punch clock like TimeCurve Scheduler.
Employee Scheduling and Employee Time Clock Working in Tandem
Implementing these two technologies to work in tandem can bring tremendous benefits to your business. The scheduling software will help you with employee scheduling and time clock software will provide you with up to the minute billing and payroll information and allow you more effectively and accurately manage coverage of client jobs. Consider selecting a scheduling system that has an integrated telephony punch clock module.