These days, small businesses can use a break wherever they can find one. Free business software that performs as well as pricey packages seems a good place to start looking. We've found one: DRoster Freeware Standard from Kappix. It's a full-featured employee scheduling suite that happens to be free. It's highly flexible and almost completely customizable. It has the ability to create, schedule, and track assignments; create, print, and export reports; plan shifts and schedules; and back up data to an included Firebird database. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but DRoster is far from intimidating, thanks partly to a user-friendly design that avoids the dull look and feel typical of business ware.
DRoster's installer prompted us to enter employee titles, names, and other setup data, all of which is easy to change later on as needed. The business end of DRoster's colorful, cleanly designed interface is the Home tab, which anchors five planners: Shifts, Hourly, Detailed, Employee, and Manage. DRoster opened in the Employee Planner with the Employee roster displayed, including spaces for each employee's address, home and cell numbers, e-mail, hours, and notations. Under Manage, we could access Positions, Recurrences, and Views; while the Shifts, Hourly, and Detailed Planners offered easy customizability. In fact, most fields can be changed or customized to suit specific needs. DRoster also generates highly specific reports in HTML, e-mail, or print form, or it can export data. The Reports options include Attendance, Duties by Positions, Employee Duties, and Employee Absences & Reasons (our favorite!) as well as a Duties Calendar and Overloaded Employees.
DRoster's motto, "It's about time," seems to apply just as well to its function as its functionality, since everything we tried worked well. The program's helpful wizards and other tools not only reduce the learning curve but also the time and keystrokes required to get the job done. If "personnel manager" is one of your many hats, DRoster Freeware Standard can take a load off your head as well as your sore bottom line.