Scheduling apps: The key features you should look for

  It can be tough to know where to start when you’re looking for an app to help you with your schedules and rotas. Rewind just a few years and there ..


It can be tough to know where to start when you’re looking for an app to help you with your schedules and rotas.

Rewind just a few years and there were only a few options on the market. Now, as the industry expands and more people realise the importance great workforce management plays in creating a successful business, there are countless different apps and providers to choose from. And it’s not easy finding the right fit for you, your business, and your employees.

You might even be asking yourself why you need an app for this when you’ve survived for this long without one. However, nearly a quarter of 18-24 year olds spend more than 7 hours a day on their phones and the average person picks up their phone 280 times a day. For Millennials (who will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025) and Gen Z, a mobile phone is an integral and essential part of their lives. And it’s this reason it should be integrated into their work lives - helping them control when and how they work through an app is one of the best decisions you can make for your business.

Whether it’s streaming music or videos, communicating with friends, or - in the case of scheduling apps - shift workers checking when they are working next, the best apps don’t make us think. They work in a natural and intuitive way, usually saving us a huge amount of time through our use of them.

As Johannes Nordman, Product Owner at Quinyx, explains: “You never have to read an instruction manual with an app. The best apps are the ones that make our lives easier, are simple to use, and look great. The best ones are super clear and, this clarity from when we first open them, means we enjoy using them.”

Here are the key questions you should be asking when looking for a scheduling app…


1. Is it easy to use?

Following on from the above point, the app you choose has to be easy to use. The successful implementation of a new scheduling app or workforce management solution will, in a large part, be defined by how many of your employees actively use it. That’s why the best apps are built for the end user.

As Johannes says: “For a workforce management app to be successful, it has to be as easy to use as all the most popular apps are for the end user. This means giving them the ability to see when they are working next, to punch in, and to attest their time, in the easiest possible way.

“If we look at how our users work in our apps and learn from their behaviour in our future development, the app gives them a smoother and easier experience because the mobile view is simple, straightforward and tailored for their needs. As soon as they install the app, they can start using it.

“This means it’s possible for senior management to get all their employees up to speed quickly as they don’t have to explain how the system works. It also makes the employees happy. As we see in our reviews in the app stores for both IOS and Android, we have very strong scores which are rare for our kind of app.”

2. Is it mobile first?

You need to quickly discover whether the app is a true mobile app or is simply an extension of a desktop application. Having a mobile first mindset, means the developer should be thinking how something will look in a mobile view and asking whether it’s a function that’s applicable to a mobile phone. It’s from here the best apps are built.


3. Is it feature rich? 

Okay, to start with you might just want a solution to speed up your scheduling, but what other features are there? Can your employees swap shifts? Can they clock in and clock out? Can your managers approve leave requests or easily find shift cover? Having features just for the sake of them is never a great approach, however, rich functionality can help take your workforce management to the next level.


4. Is it scalable?

If you’re an ambitious business looking to grow then you want to find a solution that’s cost efficient and scalable. And you need to double-down on this if you’re looking to expand internationally. Look for a provider with deep knowledge and functionality of handling complex local agreements and working time directives all over the world.


5. Is it easy to integrate with payroll?

If your employees are clocking in and out through the app then you want this app to be able to talk to your payroll provider and easily run your payroll files. Doing this can frequently save you huge amounts of time.


6. How good is the support?

While the best apps are intuitive and simple to use, there will be times when you might need additional support. Whether it’s regular training on the latest features or simply having a support team ready help, look for a supplier who can provide you with the support you need.


With more than 7 million logins to our app each month, and nearly 3 million shifts scheduled in that same time, we’re constantly learning and developing our offering to be the best in class. If you’d like to find out more, we’d love to talk to you.


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