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How to use an employee schedule template (+ free download)

6 min read

Using an employee schedule template can help your organization run more smoothly and efficiently. It helps you organize your teams and assign shifts in line with changing workloads so that your employees know when they are working at all times. And all this has a positive impact on your productivity and overall performance. It also helps you offer a better employee experience, which is important as studies have shown that people who report having a positive employee experience are generally more engaged. They are also eight times more likely to want to stay at a company.

Traditionally, work schedules were managed manually with pen and paper. However, these days it makes much more sense to use a daily or weekly employee schedule template to streamline your process.

In this post, we will share a step-by-step guide for creating your own employee schedule template. We will discuss the benefits of using Excel and share a free employee schedule template that you can customize according to the needs of your business.


Employee schedule template instructions

An employee schedule template is a basic digital or paper spreadsheet that you can use to keep track of your employee hours. This helps you optimize your shift management process so that all your employees know in advance when they will be working.

You can design your own Excel or Google Sheets employee work schedule template to collect timekeeping information from your employees, or you can use downloadable employee schedule templates that are available online. You can then use the data contained in your templates to streamline your time management processes, calculate payroll, and monitor authorized and unauthorized absences. An employee scheduling template is also a great way to keep track of the efficiency and productivity of your teams.

Let’s start by looking at the steps involved in designing and sharing your own employee schedule template.

Create a blank spreadsheet

The first step in designing your own employee schedule template is creating a blank spreadsheet. You can do this using Excel, Google sheets, or any other spreadsheet software on your computer. Give your spreadsheet a relevant name so that you can easily locate it whenever you or your staff need it. For example, Employee Schedule Template [name of shift/department]

Insert column headings

The next step is inserting your column headers.

You should consider including columns for the following:

  • Employee names (usually the first column) & ID numbers
  • Workdays and/or dates (this will depend on whether you are creating a daily, weekly or monthly employee schedule template)
  • Your business operating hours
  • Your shift patterns
  • Contact details of shift/departmental managers
  • Employee working hours (or start and end times)
  • Total hours worked during the defined period
  • Comments or other relevant information

Add employee names

The next step is importing all your employee names into the first column. It’s a good idea to add these alphabetically so that your employees can easily find their names and consult their schedules.

Establish work schedules

Next, you need to add your work schedules to your employee schedule template. Include either the shift name or the specific hours that each employee is expected to work. Then count the total number of hours assigned to each employee and add it to the “Total Hours” column.

Save your employee schedule template

Once you’ve completed each employee schedule, save the spreadsheet as a new document with a different file name. That way, your original blank employee schedule template will be ready next time you need it.

For example, Employee schedule [name of team/department] [month]

Share your employee schedule template

And that’s it! All you need to do now is share your schedule so that all your workforce has easy access to it. You can share it digitally via email, post it on your intranet, and pin a hard copy onto your noticeboard if you have one. The more accessible it is, the easier it will be for your employees to consult their schedules as soon as you have released them, helping your company run more smoothly.

How to create an employee shift schedule template in Excel or Google Sheets

The most commonly used tool for creating an employee schedule template is Excel (or Google sheets). An Excel timesheet or schedule template makes your life easier as you can add as many rows and columns as you need, the software is user-friendly, and you can easily update the digital spreadsheet if your shift patterns change. You can also use a number of formulas to automate your template.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of what you can do using Excel or Google sheets. These will work well for you if your employees follow regular shift patterns and working arrangements are not too complicated.

Personal daily schedule

Just follow these steps to create your automated Excel employee schedule template. This schedule template is best for individual employee schedules (one template per employee).

Remember, this is just an example. You can customize any of the below steps to suit the needs of your business:

  1. Open Excel and start a new blank spreadsheet
  2. Select cells A1 to E2 and click “Merge and Center”
  3. Type “Weekly Schedule” into A1:E2
  4. Choose your font size and align
  5. Select cells F1 to H2 and choose borders from the “Borders” dropdown
  6. Add “Daily start time” into F1, “Time interval” into F2, and “Start date” into F3
  7. Select all cells and resize accordingly
  8. Add “Time” to cell A3, shift start time to cell A4, and the time interval to cell A5
  9. In cell B3, enter the first day you want to start the week with e.g. Monday
  10. Drag from the bottom right-hand corner of B3 to the right to continue the sequence
  11. Select row 3 and adjust the text accordingly
  12. Then select column A and adjust the text accordingly
  13. Center align all cells
  14. Use fill colors to highlight different schedules
  15. Save your schedule as a template

Weekly Work Schedule for a Team

And here’s an example of what you need to do to create a weekly employee schedule template for a team. This template works well if you prefer to keep all employee schedules within the same document. Again, you can adjust the design as needed.

  1. Open Excel and start a new blank spreadsheet
  2. Select cells A1 to E2 and click “Merge and Center”
  3. Type “Weekly Schedule” into A1:E2
  4. Choose your font size and align center
  5. Select cells F1 to H2 and choose borders from the “Borders” dropdown
  6. Enter the dates on the y-axis, and employee names on the x-axis, leaving a space between each name so that you can add positions
  7. Add employee hours and positions
  8. Use fill colors to customize each row to your preferences
  9. Save your schedule as a template

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Types of Employee Schedule Templates

There are many different types of employee schedule templates. The right template for you will depend on your business needs and the needs of your employees. The most common types are daily, weekly, and monthly employee scheduling templates.

Let’s take a look at the biggest differences between them to help you decide which would work best for your scheduling needs.

Daily Employee Schedule Template

You can use a daily employee schedule template to manage shift patterns and calculate work hours and pay periods on a daily basis. These are best for tracking project activities and hours. You can also use this template as an employee calendar if you assign your employees to specific tasks during the working day and you want to specify break times (like a to-do list).

Weekly Employee Schedule Template

You can use a weekly timesheet if you prefer to calculate work hours and pay periods on a weekly basis. This template is best for contractors and part-time workers. It helps you avoid overtime and ensures that you don’t overschedule or underschedule your staff.

You can also use a weekly schedule template if your company uses a hybrid work schedule as it gives you and your remote employees a high-level overview of the entire week in advance so that you can plan accordingly.

Monthly Employee Schedule Template

Finally, you can use a monthly schedule template if you prefer to calculate work hours and pay periods on a monthly basis. These templates tend to be more detailed as they provide an overview of monthly hours and pay together with a weekly breakdown of data.

Employee Schedule Template Alternatives

If Excel isn’t your thing and you’d rather not play around with cells and formulas, you can keep track of shift rotation and calculate employee hours worked with this downloadable shift schedule template. This free template is fully customizable and can be adapted easily to the needs of your company. It also works well with our ready-to-print PDF Time and Attendance template which your employees can use to record their daily working hours and breaks.

Another great option that can make your life even easier is using shift scheduler software. Software solutions collect all the same data as a manual employee schedule template, but they offer a few extra perks.

For one thing, they streamline the process and ensure accuracy as there is less chance of human error. They give you a better overview of the entire company at a glance, and they help you ensure compliance with legal recordkeeping requirements. It’s also easier to identify trends or potential problem areas. And this, in turn, helps you become a more efficient and productive organization.

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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