How To Choose The Best Scheduling Software For Your Business

scheduling software

Managing a team of any size and type is a complex, time-consuming task that can be overwhelming at times. Thankfully, there’s a solution that was designed to help busy managers keep their teams organized and on task. That solution is scheduling software.

Software suites, like Inch, give you access to tools and processes that automate, simplify, and streamline many of the common tasks associated with managing a team.

It doesn’t matter if that team is made up of two employees or 200, or if that team works in-house, in the field, remotely, or some combination of the three — scheduling software can help.

But which software will give you and your team what they need to succeed?

In this article, we discuss what to look for in scheduling software so you can make the right choice for your business.

What To Look For In Scheduling Software

Person using a scheduling software

1) Detailed Control

Most scheduling software allows you to organize employees by the shift (e.g., Lily works 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday).

And, while it’s true that shift information is the foundation of every business schedule, sometimes you need more detailed control.

An advanced team-management app will give you the power to “drill down” into each shift and schedule activities by any fraction of an hour that you need.

So, for example, after you set Lily to work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can schedule her to:

  • Meet with a client from 8:15 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesday and Friday
  • Meet with you from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday
  • Pick up supplies at the office store in the afternoon on Tuesday
  • Give a presentation to the shipping department on Friday at 11 a.m.

Such detailed control helps your team stay focused and prioritize the work that needs to be done.

2) Free To Try

Woman using a scheduling software on her tablet

You can look at every screenshot, read every review, and research every aspect of the scheduling software, but how are you going to know if it works for you, your team, and your business unless you try it?

Sometimes, you just need to “get your hands on” the software, so to speak, before you can really decide on the right tool for the job.

But you don’t want to pay for something that might not be what you’re looking for. That’s why it’s so important to look for scheduling software that offers a free trial.

It doesn’t matter if the free trial gives you the ability to try all the features for a certain number of days (e.g., 30, 60, 90), or to try the basic features indefinitely, such access is worth more than all the reading and research you can possibly do.

3) Accessibility

Another indispensable feature to look for in scheduling software is accessibility.

Is the app you choose only available on the computers in the office? Or, can your employees access the tools and data they need while they’re at home, in a coffee shop across town, or in a different country?

You just never know where you’re going to be when you’ll need access to the information your scheduling software provides. This is especially true if you manage multiple locations or if your business has on-site, remote, and field service teams.

The best way to provide access to everything your team needs to get the job done — no matter where they are 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 have access to the internet over a WiFi or cellular signal, they’ll be able to use the tools anywhere, anytime.

4) Versatility

Man using a scheduling software at work

Like accessibility, versatility is crucial if you’re going to get the most out of your scheduling software. And, no, we’re not talking about using the app for something other than its original purpose.

We’re talking about the versatility to use the software on any device.

We already talked about being able to use the app anywhere, anytime. Similarly, you just never know what device (or what operating system) you’ll have available when you need to check, edit, or delete some piece of information on the schedule.

With the right scheduling software, it doesn’t matter.

You and your employees will 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.

Combined with the accessibility we mentioned earlier, the flexibility to use any device and any operating system serves as the foundation of modern scheduling apps.

5) Built-In Time Tracking

Another essential feature to look for in scheduling software is built-in time tracking capabilities.

Managing a team successfully depends on two key variables: creating a good work schedule and tracking the work time within that schedule.

Without the ability to track time, everything that comes after — payroll, task assignment, and employee engagement, just to name a few — will be more difficult than it has to be.

The right scheduling software will come with an integrated time tracker so you don’t have to force separate apps to work together to get the job done.

Modern software suites, like Inch, make it easy to track your entire team’s full workdays and their time on task.

In addition to total work hours and time-on-task, the most advanced apps give you the power to:

  • Prevent early clock-ins and forgotten clock-outs
  • Allow employees to clock in and clock out from anywhere
  • Reduce time theft
  • Turn any phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer into a time clock
  • Export timesheets for simplified payroll processing
  • And much more…

Whatever type of team you manage, and wherever they may work, a robust scheduling tool with built-in time tracking can help you simplify and streamline all your employee-management activities.

6) Geofencing

Geofencing map from a scheduling software

Geofencing is especially useful for tracking what’s going on at multiple locations or coordinating employees that may be spread out over a wide geographic area.

This powerful tool allows you to create a virtual geographic boundary (a geofence) around a certain area. You can then set the scheduling software to react in a certain way if an employee is inside or outside those boundaries when they try to do something with the app.

For example, you might set a geofence of a few hundred feet around all of the work locations (e.g., second and third locations, appointments, or deliveries) for a single employee. You can then prevent the employee from clocking in until they’re within the radius you’ve defined.

Similarly, you can set the software to stop tracking time if the employee exceeds the distance you’ve set.

Another example of using a geofence in your business is to set boundaries to keep employees out of a certain area (perhaps another employee’s territory). If someone crosses into a space that’s off-limits, you can set the software to notify both you and the employee.

Geofencing is a feature that most managers don’t even realize they need and is a great way to keep team members where they should be, prevent time theft, and reduce operating costs all in one fell swoop.

7) Team Communication Capabilities

Communication is vital for keeping your business running and your team organized, focused, and productive.

Things can change in the blink of an eye, and you need to be able to relay this information to your team as quickly as possible — whether they’re in the office, across town, or across the country.

You could, of course, talk to each employee face to face (if they work in the office), call them on the phone, or set up a video conference, but that takes time.

With scheduling software, like Inch, you can communicate quickly and easily with all of your employees via SMS and push notifications. You also get more control than just mass text messaging capabilities.

You can also send messages to user-defined groups of people or individuals based on certain characteristics (e.g., skills, availability, etc.).

Such advanced features make it simpler to communicate with employees within groups, locations, or specific job positions.

You can even share files, photos, videos, and links for faster and more complete communication so that everyone is on the same page.

Choose The Best Scheduling Software

The Best Scheduling Software

If you’re searching for the best scheduling software for your business, look no further than the Inch app.

Inch is a voice-operated team scheduling, organization, and communication app that offers everything on this list — and then some.

Employees and managers alike will benefit from such features as:

  • Voice-assisted reminder notifications
  • Automatic task assignment
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Built-in time clock
  • Shared task list
  • Powerful communications
  • And much more

Whether you need help setting up when each team member will work or what tasks they will perform, Inch gives you unprecedented control over a complicated process and makes it easier than ever to keep your team’s schedule organized, efficient, and productive.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit today.

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