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Stay on Top of Scheduling with an Employee Calendar

5 min read

Whatever industry you work in, the chances are you rely on some sort of employee calendar to manage your employee schedules. After all, having enough staff on hand is a vital part of running an efficient business and making a profit. 

What’s more, recent changes to predictive scheduling laws in certain states in the US – including Oregon, New York, and California – have made it mandatory for businesses to provide their employees with advance notice of their schedules. This makes it more important than ever to have the right tools to effectively manage your shift patterns.

In this post, we will look at the best way to manage shift scheduling in your company. We will look at the different types of employee calendars you should be using, and how an employee shift schedule template can make your life easier. We will also look at the benefits of using shift management software to optimize your scheduling processes.


What is an Employee Calendar?

An employee calendar is a basic tool for managing employee shift patterns. You use it to keep track of when each employee is working or has scheduled time off. That way, everyone has visibility in advance of when they will be working and there is a written document that serves as a reference for shift times. It helps you stay organized, and it facilitates planning in terms of attendance, vacations, and training.

Aside from helping you make sure shifts are always planned in advance and there are no gaps in the workforce, an employee calendar is also a great tool for keeping track of overall performance and efficiency. Plus, when everyone is clear about when they will be working in advance, it increases employee satisfaction and reduces stress levels. And you, as an employer, have the peace of mind that operations are running smoothly, and everything is under control. 

There are a number of tools you can use to manage your employee calendars. If you are a small business, you might decide to use Google Calendar to coordinate your work schedules. However, this tool is very limited and if you have more than 5 employees it can become tedious and confusing having so many overlapping schedules.

Another option is to use an Excel spreadsheet to manage your employee schedules. This can be a basic cost-effective solution for small to medium size companies.  

What are the Types of Employee Calendars?  

Before we look into an employee schedule and how an employee shift schedule template can make your life easier, let’s take a look at some of the different types of employee calendars that you might need. 

Employee Attendance Calendar 

You can use an employee attendance calendar to keep a record of daily attendance in your company. Having control of your employee’s working hours is not only very important for your productivity, but it is also a legal obligation.

An employee availability calendar usually includes the following information:

  • Employee’s full name, department, and position. 
  • Manager or supervisor’s name
  • Other relevant information such as employment date, contact details, etc.
  • Columns for keeping track of working days, breaks, leave days, public holidays, sick and maternity leave, absences, and any other types of paid time off.

If you are looking for a time and attendance solution for your company, we have created a free ready-to-print time tracking template that will help your employees to record their daily working hours and breaks. It is easy to use as a stand-alone tool. A well-managed template can help you keep an eye on attendance and ensure compliance with all legal obligations.

Employee Vacation Calendar  

Similar to an attendance calendar but used exclusively for tracking vacations. You just have to create a file, dedicate the different columns to months and days and fill in the rows with the names of your employees. If you use an Excel spreadsheet, you canti also add formulas to speed up calculations. This will help you establish in advance how many days each employee will be out of the office. However, it’s not the most efficient tool.

If you notice that managing the holidays and vacation days of your employees is time-consuming, take a look at the functionalities of Factorial’s time-off management software that streamlines the way you manage holidays and absences. 

Employee Training Calendar 

Another common employee calendar used by HR departments is an employee training calendar. You can use this to plan schedules for training programs and sessions in your company. It can help you plan the onboarding and training needs of your staff and stay ahead of compliance training requirements. It’s also a useful tool for reinforcing a culture of personal development and learning in your company. Plus, on a practical level, knowing when employees will be away on training courses will help you effectively plan employee shifts in advance.

How to Create an Employee Calendar in Excel

Now that we looked at what an employee calendar is and the various types that can help you stay on top of shift management, let’s take a look at how you can use Excel to create an employee schedule calendar.

If you work in HR, then you are probably already familiar with Excel (or Google Sheets). It can be a great tool for creating simple yet efficient calendars to help you manage your employee shifts and schedules.

Just follow these steps to create your employee schedule Excel from scratch:

  1. Open a new blank spreadsheet in Excel and give it a name that is easy for all your employees to identify. For example, “Employee schedule calendar – December 1 – 15”.
  2. Create column headers in the first row of your spreadsheet. Start with “Employee Name” then name the other columns after days of the week. If you are creating a schedule for more than one week, you can use dates as the column headings.
  3. List each employee’s name in the first column under the “Employee Name” heading.
  4. Enter shift times for each employee under days of the week/dates. That way each employee can clearly see what times they are expected to work each day. 
  5. Share your employee calendar with your employees. You can do this in paper format, pinned on a noticeboard in a common area. Or you might choose to share it digitally instead.

And that’s it!
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How to Use an Employee Shift Schedule Template 

Instead of creating your own employee calendar from scratch, you can use our free downloadable employee shift schedule template. You can use it to organize your staff’s daily shifts and keep track of any absences and sicknesses. Employees can then use it as a reference and comment on any upcoming schedule conflicts and request certain days off. 

And if you’re not happy with the layout, you can customize it to reflect the needs of your business. Just enter the start date for your weekly rota, select relevant employees, assign shifts and incorporate their holiday requests. Then the following week, just change the dates and adjust your employee shifts as necessary. It’s a simple and cost-effective solution for making sure all your employees know when they need to be working. 

Facilitate Scheduling, Shift Management, and More 

If you are a large company or you have complicated shift patterns, then you may find that an employee schedule calendar just doesn’t cut it for you. Manually entering schedules into Excel each week can be time-consuming and if you have a large workforce then there is an unavoidable risk of human error. If that’s the case then shift scheduler software might be a more efficient solution for managing your employee shifts.  

Factorial HR’s flexible shift management feature is free with a subscription to Factorial’s comprehensive HR software. You can use it to efficiently manage your employee calendars so that you have happier, more productive employees.

What’s more, with our scheduling solution you can:

  • Easily plan staff shifts and monitor hours worked.
  • Receive notifications of newly published or modified staff shifts.
  • Create schedules for employee shifts in the employee shift schedule app.
  • Gain full control of the planning and analysis of your employees’ hours thanks to Factorial’s shift management tool and employee hours tracker app.
  • Customize the way you view your employee shift schedules to optimize planning. Your employees will have more visibility on their shifts and be able to see their past shifts too, all from the same platform.
  • View hourly absences on the shift schedule to gain insight into employee availability.
  • Integrate the solution with your time off software.
  • Run reports to help you spot trends and better understand your scheduling needs.
Cat Symonds is a freelance writer, editor, and translator. Originally from Wales, she studied Spanish and French at the University of Swansea before moving to Barcelona where she lived and worked for 12 years. She has since relocated back to Wales where she continues to build her business, working with clients in Spain and the UK.  Cat is the founder of The Content CAT: Content And Translation, providing content development and translation services to her clients. She specializes in corporate blogs, articles of interest, ghostwriting, and translation (SP/FR/CA into EN), collaborating with a range of companies from a variety of business sectors. She also offers services to a number of NGOs including Oxfam Intermón, UNICEF, and Corporate Excellence - Centre for Reputation Leadership.  For more information or to contact Cat visit her website ( or send her a message through LinkedIn.

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