Best Employee Schedule Templates and a How-to Guide

You plan your working days and share your daily agenda with colleagues and friends. You plan your vacations, too. In the work environment, you provide time-off tracking tools and encourage transparency by implementing employee self-services. At any time, employees know who is at the office and who’s absent, and when is the best time for a vacation to avoid leave clashes and deadlines.

But do they know who is working on a task and for how long? Do they know who is assigned for a shift and when they get off? When you have the answers to any of these questions, you need an employee schedule template right now.

What Is an Employee Schedule Template?

An employee schedule template is a method of planning employees’ working days involving a calendar for a specific period. You can use employee schedule templates for one week, one day, or one shift to assign hours and tasks to each employee. The schedule considers tasks to be done, employee availability, time-off planning, possible events, and possible shift changes. All in one place, transparent, and efficient.

Why Is Using an Employee Schedule Template So Important?

There are several reasons why it is important, and you should use employee schedule templates. Like any work-related template, they help you organize working days efficiently and familiarize employees with a single format. You have all data in one place, usually an Excel file and you can generate reports and statistics quickly.

Furthermore, an employee schedule template grant employees access to their daily schedule, allowing them to communicate better, make informed decisions, and swap shifts when needed. It also makes things easier for the supervisors. They can find replacements faster when someone takes a sick day off, send reminders before the day starts, track labor and payments, and deal with custom working schedules easier.

How to Make an Excel Employee Schedule Template?

The employee schedule template you decide on should cover all your staff needs. At the same time, don’t add unnecessary columns and rows just because you saw them in other templates. For example, if your employees don’t work on weekends, you don’t have to add columns for weekends in your Excel template. 

If your staff does the same tasks by rotation (e.g., serving at the bar, serving at tables, cleaning tables, reception desk, etc.), you may want to mention what each employee does at what time in the schedule. But if they know what they must do or do different tasks, there is no need to complicate the schedule with task details. Check out the steps to create a basic employee schedule template in Excel and customize it to your staff’s requirements.

Step 1: Create a blank Excel document and personalize it

Create a blank Excel file and save it in a shared folder where your employees have access. Remember to give it a meaningful name, such as “Company_Name-Weekly-Employee-Schedule” or “Weekly-Employee-Schedule-by-Shift.”

Personalize the new spreadsheet with your company’s logo and colors to ensure that it fits your company’s culture and internal procedures. You may also want to add a title, the name of the person in charge, and the schedule’s starting date.

Tip: If you're looking to improve your Excel skills, start by checking the top 20 excel formulas.

 Step 2: Create column headings

The first column of the spreadsheet is reserved for your employees’ names. So write “Employee Name” as the head of the first column.

The following columns (seven if you need weekdays and weekends, five if you only need weekdays) are reserved for days of the week. You can automatically fill columns’ headings by using the schedule’s starting day provided in the first step. To do this:

•    Select the heading cells of all weekday columns.

•    Right-click and choose ‘Format Cells’ from the dropdown menu.

•    Select ‘Custom’ in the Category panel and ‘[$-409]ddd, mmm dd’ in the Type panel.

•    Click OK to apply the changes.

Then, select the heading for the first day of the week and enter the formula making it equal to the schedule’s starting date. The next day will be the first day +1, and so on until the last day of the week. Excel will have in each cell the correct date, formatted as “Day of the week, Day, Month.”

Step 3: Fill in employees’ names

List the names of your employees in the first column. You can add as multiple rows as necessary, adjust the column’s width to fit their names, and sort them alphabetically. You can also use other criteria for grouping employees, such as department, work schedule, or similarity of jobs.

Step 4: Fill in the weekly schedule for each employee

Go from one day to another and one employee to another, and add all relevant information to your schedule. Here too, you have multiple options. For example, you may enter clock-in and clock-out times. Or you may prefer to enter tasks’ names and the number of hours the employee will work on that particular task. Some employers prefer to write only ‘Daytime shift’ and ‘Night shift’ because the employees already know what that means. You may also include time off, holidays, and other special events.

Step 5: Share the schedule with your employees

Ensure your employees can access the schedule and receive notifications whenever something changes (e.g., shift change, sick colleague, etc.). Also, allow them to have a say in the scheduling process and provide feedback and suggestions.

Employee Schedule Templates

If you don’t want to lose time creating your own employee schedule template or need something more complex than the basic template, you can download one of our free Excel employee schedule templates. They are weekly schedules and focus on different aspects, such as clock-in/clock-out tracking, total working hours, and shift management. Feel free to customize them to fit your workflow.

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template with total hours

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template with total hours

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template with shifts

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template with shifts

Free Employee weekly employee schedule template with shifts, hours worked and weekly payment

Employee weekly employee schedule template with shifts, hours worked and weekly payment


Excel templates are a quick and efficient method to organize your work processes. They are the next best thing you can offer your employees without dedicated HR software. However, remember that an Excel file needs sharing and regular updates. You must ensure your staff has access to the latest version of the document and receives notifications when a change occurs. Employee schedules change from one week to another and sometimes from one day to another. Prepare a smooth notification procedure that keeps everyone up to date.


  • What are the different types of work schedules? 

    The most common types of work schedules are full-time (usually 8 hours/day), part-time (less than 8 hours per day but a fixed amount of hours: 4 hours, 6 hours, etc.), flexible (the same monthly number of work hours as the full-time schedule but without daily regulations), and rotating shifts (the same monthly number of work hours as the full-time schedule but with a rotating shift pattern: 12 work hours / 24 free hours, etc.).

  • What is a 9/80 work schedule?

    The 9/80 work schedule is a two-week schedule that divides the corresponding 80 work hours into 9 days. Usually, it means working 9 hours per day for 8 days and 8 hours per day for one day. The remaining day off can be taken every other week or divided into two shorter days over the two weeks.

  • What is a 2-2-3 work schedule?

    The 2-2-3 work schedule (aka the Panama schedule) is a 12-hour shift rotating schedule in which days with 12-hour working shifts alternate with days off on a 2-2-3 pattern. For example, an employee will work 12-hour shifts for two days, then take two days off, then work 12-hour shifts for three days, followed by two days off, two days of 12-hour shifts, and three days off. Then the pattern repeats. 

  • What is a hybrid work schedule?

    A hybrid work schedule is a flexible schedule that allows employees to combine in-office and remote work or 8-hour working days and part-time working days. The schedule also allows employees to have a flexible hour schedule (for example, to work in the afternoons or on weekends).

  • What is a 4/10 work schedule?

    A 4/10 work schedule is a weekly full-time compressed schedule that allows employees to work the corresponding 40 weekly hours divided into 4 days. The employees or the company decides if the remaining day off is linked with weekends (e.g., Friday) or taken in the middle of the 4 working days (e.g., Wednesday).