December 15, 2014

5 Reasons Why Scheduling With Spreadsheets Just Doesn’t Work


Whether you want to believe it or not, the fact of the matter is that there are still thousands of businesses out there that are using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet solutions to schedule their employees.

Spreadsheets are definitely great for a lot of things. They are great for storing, archiving and calculating data, especially when you are dealing with numbers. But scheduling is an entirely different story, it’s a very dynamic process and formulas can only do so much.

If you are a manager still using spreadsheets to schedule your team, or an employee getting shifts assigned to you via spreadsheet, it can’t be very fun.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, spreadsheets are not an optimal solution for employee scheduling, and this is why.

It’s Too Time-Consuming

This is, essentially, the biggest problem that comes with scheduling your team using spreadsheets – it takes too long! Shifts are rarely set in stone and are usually changing on a daily basis. So managers are constantly editing their spreadsheets and sending out new ones to staff.

The whole point of creating schedules is to save time and avoid confusion. Scheduling with spreadsheets can sometimes have the exact opposite effect.

It Can’t Be Automated

Spreadsheets are great for calculating data because you can enter formulas that allow you to perform calculations automatically. However, there are no formulas that can handle the intricacies of scheduling workers. Workforce management software solutions allow you to automate just about every process. You can set up recurring shifts to repeat, automatically get suggestions for workers who can cover open shifts, create timesheets for payroll, and much more.

Working with spreadsheets does not afford you these luxuries. Everything needs to be entered manually, which slows down the process and doesn’t help make your job any easier.

It’s Error-Prone

Spreadsheets are all subject to human error. You can use formulas to calculate some things, but if you make a mistake writing your formula, all of your data will be wrong. And when you have lots of information and tons of formula’s throughout your spreadsheet, locating the problem can be a huge hassle as well.

And the fact that you need to enter everything manually and constantly update your spreadsheets makes the likelihood of making an error even greater.

It’s Not Intuitive

Spreadsheets will not notify you if you have shift conflicts. They won’t tell you if you have an open shift that you haven’t assigned to anyone. They can’t help you do your job because there is simply no way to make your spreadsheets more dynamic and proactive.

Basically, all of the responsibility is on you and how diligent you are when creating and updating your spreadsheets. 

It Lacks Serious Analytical Capabilities

While you can make some basic graphs and charts out of your data when using Excel spreadsheets, it’s not exactly a robust analytical tool. Essentially, you have a lot of data about your business within the spreadsheet, but you aren’t using it to its full potential.

This information can be used to forecast labor costs, track your expenses, and generally help you run your business better. But it’s hard to harness this data if you are still using spreadsheets to schedule.


All of these shortcomings of scheduling employees with spreadsheets can be overcome by switching to a workforce management software like ours.

Humanity allows you to cut the time it takes you to schedule drastically, automate all your processes, receive automatic notifications when you’ve made scheduling errors, avoid shift conflicts, and analyze all of your business data using just one tool.