The number of businesses that rely on shift-based working schedules is enormous, and the various tasks and responsibilities related to managing such schedules is sure to prove time-consuming even for experienced managers. Software tools play a vital role in making scheduling easier, and inevitably, such tools have entered into the cloud space. EZShift is a prominent SaaS offering focused entirely on schedule management, and while the service doesn’t move beyond this basic scope, the variety of features and versatility of the system may make EZShift an attractive choice for anyone with frequent or intensive scheduling needs. An innovative central scheduling engine, useful add-ons, and a refreshing approach to support help make EZShift look promising, though less-than-ideal payment options may put a damper on the service’s overall package.
Working with EZShift
The last thing a manager needs during the course of schedule creation is an over-complicated interface, and EZShift prevents the need for a laborious orientation process or cumbersome navigation with an easy-to-use and good-looking interface. A basic dashboard area is available, and the small number of screens that allow for the service’s functionality are easily accessible. Unlike some interfaces that are littered with tabs and extraneous menu items, EZShift keeps things simple, and quick adoption is likely among management personnel and workers.
As the core functionality of EZShift relies on specific data about the user’s organization and its employees, there is unavoidably a moderate to large amount of information that must be inputted into the program before it can be meaningfully used. Though this process may take some time, it’s certain to be less involved than traditional processes that require data input and manipulation on a regular basis. Rather than simply storing data, EZShift actually creates schedules itself, and there’s very little effort required on the part of scheduling managers after the initial input of relevant data.
How Does EZShift Work?
The central attraction of EZShift is its “rules engine,” which allows users to define specific rules for the organization at large and for individual employees. This makes it easy to designate what hours need to be covered, how many employees should be on shift at different times and in different departments, whether certain conditions such as a specific mix of skills need to be present, and so on. Whereas many managers are probably used to having to juggle these many different requirements on their own, EZShift takes this data and effectively creates a schedule, allowing users to further modify the result if desired.
The software is also geared towards helping avoid mistakes in scheduling; if a rule is in danger of being broken within a given schedule, users are notified. Occasional issues such as employee emergencies or shifts that are suddenly uncovered because of illness are also addressed by EZShift, which can propose quick solutions such as shift replacements while still following the rules set out by the managing users. Though the software’s central functions may seem especially simple, their ability to eliminate time spent mulling over tricky scheduling requirements and sorting through available solutions is likely to grab the attention of experienced managers.
Supplementing the Scheduler
A handful of useful features are included in EZShift to enhance the basic schedule functionality. A particularly exciting component is the inclusion of employees themselves into the schedule creation and modification process. Most schedule creators are probably used to frequent requests from employees regarding vacations, shift movements, and other personal issues and desires. EZShift lets employees input requests into a personalized account, and managers can then review and incorporate the requests where appropriate. Cutting down on meetings and consultation time and helping employees feel better able to convey their requests to management, this feature is well thought-out and contributes value to the EZShift package.
Employees can also keep their personal and contact details organized within EZShift, making it easier to get in touch with workers and refer to any individual objectives or skills employees may have. Trading shifts, a common practice in many organizations, is also made more simple with EZShift’s swapping page. Extras such as overtime management can further contribute to a work environment that encourages employees to be involved in scheduling without sacrificing company policies or needs. Naturally, timesheet functionality is included, which can make managing human resources tasks less complicated, and eliminates the need for a timesheet-specific service. Loaded with useful extras, EZShift makes the most of its position within a fairly small niche.
Getting Help and Paying Up
As the service’s name implies, EZShift makes a notable effort to keep its offering simple and pleasant to use. As part of this effort, it puts a great deal of emphasis on good support, and users are likely to be impressed with the company’s help options. Though the on-site FAQ is somewhat disappointing in terms of scope, a thorough knowledge base is easily accessible and contains easily-found information on every aspect of the software. Traditional support requests are also available, as is a rare offer to provide live help to new customers as they implement and start to use EZShift. Partially resolving the potential issue of a large initial time investment, the EZShift team promises to get in touch with new users to help them create their first schedules personally.
EZShift’s pricing options aren’t quite as impressive. Though there are viable account types and payment schedules available, the four user and price levels have been split in a somewhat frustrating fashion. As is common in the cloud, the entry-level account is unlikely to be usable beyond its utility as an extended trial, and more expensive payment plans restrict users in terms of available features. A low cost per employee is sure to be an incentive for larger companies, though the “Premium” edition, which unlocks the full feature set and is probably best for big businesses, requires a personalized assessment and quote. Perhaps a little stunted in the payment department, EZShift is an otherwise exciting scheduling service that has already attracted the patronage of some rather popular businesses.
(review originally written in December 2011)
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