The days of creating employees work schedules on pen and paper are thankfully over, though you would be surprised by the number of people who still actually do use this method. Gone are the days of handwritten schedules that would be copied and then distributed to staff in person or simply posted on some type of bulletin board for your staff to see.

Thanks to computers, there are now easier ways to create staff schedules for your employees.

And thanks to the Internet, there are also easier ways to distribute them to your staff. One obvious method that is better suited for handling the rigors of creating accurate and easy-to-distribute staff schedules is using spreadsheets.

If you’ve never used spreadsheets to create a schedule, we’ll be showing you the basics. Here’s how to create a basic 8-hour shift schedule for 5 days a week in a spreadsheet:

Creating an 8-Hour Shift Schedule in Excel or Sheets

The most popular tool for creating spreadsheets over the years has been Microsoft’s Excel program. However, not everyone has access to it, since Microsoft Office is not free. There are, however, many excellent free alternatives.

The best free alternative right now is probably Google Docs’s Sheets. One of the main advantages that Sheets has over other spreadsheet programs is the fact that Google Docs works entirely in the cloud, meaning that everything you create is already stored online and therefore easier to distribute.

If you have Microsoft Excel, you can create the schedule in that program. However, it would still be a better option to then transfer the spreadsheet into Google Docs, because it makes sharing and distributing the schedule with your staff much easier.

Using a Schedule Template

Another great thing about Google Docs is that it offers you many ready-made templates to choose from, especially when it comes to business documents. So if you’d like to save time on having to create an employee schedule template from scratch, there’s an excellent schedule template that Google Docs offers, which you can easily customize to fit your needs.

To use the Google Docs template go to your Google Drive, click the “New” button, and then go to Google Sheets > From a template.

Scroll through the General Template Gallery, find the “Personal” section and select the “Schedule” template.

To set the correct week for which you want to create your employee schedule, click on the date cell (C2) and set the correct date.

The easiest way to then create a schedule an 8-hour shift daily shift for your employees is to simply select the cells for that time period and then fill them so that it’s clear from when and until when they will be working.

You can then select the block you’ve created for Monday and then copy and paste that clock into the corresponding cells for the rest of the workweek.

Your employee schedule should now look something like this:

Distributing the Schedule to Employees

To send the new weekly schedule to your employee, click the share button and then enter that employee’s email address to send the schedule to them.

Make sure to check the permissions before you send the email link to your employee. You want the schedule to be read-only, meaning that the employee will not be able to edit his or her shifts.

What you need to do is make sure that you choose “can view” instead of “can edit” when determining permissions before sending off the employee schedule.

Creating a Staff Schedule Using Employee Scheduling Software

While using Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel to create and distribute employee schedules is certainly a serious step up compared to creating schedules using pen and paper, modern technology has given business managers an even better option.

Online employee scheduling software has revolutionized the process and made it easier than ever to create and distribute accurate work schedules to employees.

To see just how easy it can be using employee scheduling software, we are going to show you how to do the same thing we showed you how to do above – create an 8-hour shift schedule for 5 days a week – using Humanity employee scheduling software instead of Google Sheets.

Find the employee you want to schedule and click on the date you want to create a shift for in order to initiate the process.

Simply set the working hours (10am – 6pm) and click “Create Shift.”

Now click on the newly created shift to edit it.

Click on “Repeat Options,” set the frequency you want (Mon – Fri), when you want the repeat option to end (July 16) and then click on “Set to Repeat!” and save the shift changes.

In just a few clicks, you have created an 8-hour employee shift schedule for 5 days a week.

Simply click the Publish button up top and the new schedule will automatically be sent to your employee via email and SMS.

Using employee scheduling software, you can create and distribute a weekly employee work schedule in about five clicks and no more than 15 seconds. Welcome to the future!

Another advantage that employee scheduling software has over spreadsheets is that native mobile apps are available that give managers the ability to create schedules just as quickly on their smartphones and allow employees to always have the latest, updated schedule right in their pockets.