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Price $6/user/month $6/user/month $7.20/user/month $7/user/month $7/user/month $9.99/user/month $6/user/month $9.99/user/month $150/licence/year $60/licence (lifetime)
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↪  Aligning tasks with employees’ peak times boosts productivity by 20% and reduces mistakes by half. 

↪  Fixed schedules often clash with natural productivity peaks, lowering performance. 

  Flexible schedules lead to greater job satisfaction and reduce burnout and turnover.

↪   Insightful identifies peak productivity times through automated tracking & real-time activity analysis.

Read time: 9 minutes

Did you know that aligning tasks with employees' peak times can boost productivity by up to 20%? It’s true, and why you should ideally schedule tasks requiring high cognitive function, creativity, or analytical thinking during these peak times.

This individual “peak productivity” time is called biological prime time. Knowing and working with these peak periods can be a huge asset to your organization. Employees working during their biological prime time make 50% fewer mistakes and report 30% less fatigue.

So how can you identify the biological prime time of your employees? In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of biological prime time, how to apply it to your scheduling, and how to identify it using Insightful’s workforce analytics and employee productivity software

What's wrong with traditional time management?

Traditional time management enforces fixed schedules, like the classic 9-to-5, ignoring individual productivity rhythms. This approach relies on a unified schedule for all employees, which does have its advantages:

  • Simplifies Management: Uniform work hours make scheduling straightforward.
  • Promotes Fairness: A standard schedule ensures everyone is available at the same time.
  • Predictability: Operating on a consistent framework can enhance efficiency.

This status quo provides some baseline benefits that are especially appropriate for certain industries or roles, but traditional time management also comes with challenges:

  • Reduced Productivity: Misalignment with personal peak times can hurt productivity, especially for complex tasks. Chronobiology studies show that mismatched schedules harm cognitive functions.

  • Employee Disengagement: Rigid hours can lower job satisfaction and boost turnover rates.

  • Health Risks & Burnout: Strict schedules raise stress and burnout risks, clashing with natural body rhythms.

  • More Errors & Delays: Working against one's biological clock leads to more mistakes and slower task completion. 

By recognizing these pros and cons, companies can better decide if traditional time management suits their needs or if a more flexible approach is warranted. Let’s explore the alternative…

What is biological prime time?


Biological prime time is similar to circadian rhythm but varies from person to person. It refers to the windows of time during a 24-hour day when a person is naturally most alert, energetic, and productive. 

For example, people who consider themselves “early birds” are most productive and alert in the morning, whereas “night owls” are in the evening. Every employee is different. When managers align work schedules to personal productivity peaks, it is hugely beneficial to employees and the efficiency of operations.

Why is biological prime time important?

When employees don't work during their peak energy times, it’s like trying to swim upstream. They're sluggish, distracted, and everything takes longer. Studies show that when people align their work with their biological prime time—the periods when they're naturally most alert and focused—they get more done in less time, and the quality of their work improve.

Imagine trying to tackle your hardest tasks when you're already running on empty. You make more mistakes, feel frustrated, and burn out faster. This mismatch doesn’t just drag down individual performance—it impacts the whole team. Projects take longer, deadlines get missed, and everyone’s stress levels go up.

Letting employees work when they’re at their best is a game-changer. They breeze through complex tasks, stay motivated, and feel more satisfied with their jobs. For companies, this means higher productivity, better morale, and lower turnover rates. It's a win-win: employees are happier and more productive, and companies get better results.

Aligning work schedules with natural energy cycles isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a smart strategy for boosting both performance and well-being.

How do I determine the biological prime time of my employees?

Determining the biological prime time of your employees can be achieved through objective observation, by asking individuals directly, or with the help of digital tools like remote monitoring apps and project management software. 

To find the peak productivity periods of each employee, follow these steps:

1. Survey Sleep Patterns: Ask your employees to track their sleep for a few weeks to identify their natural sleep and wake times. Tools like Sleep Cycle can help them with this.


2. Monitor Energy Levels: Have employees document their energy highs and lows during the day for three weeks. During this time, they should limit stimulants like coffee to effectively monitor their natural energy levels. 

3. Evaluate Productivity: Analyze when employees are most productive by looking at the completion of tasks and the quality of work during different times of the day.

4. Leverage Insightful: Insightful has advanced productivity and activity monitoring capabilities, identifying peak focus periods and analyzing work habits over time. This, coupled with Insightful’s advanced employee time tracker, allows managers to align work schedules with employees' natural productivity peaks.

Once you've gathered information about your employees' biological prime times, customize schedules to align with individual peak performance times as much as possible. Adjust start times or allow flexible scheduling where employees focus on critical tasks during their high-energy periods. 

Next, reorganize team tasks and collaborative efforts so that group activities occur during times when most team members are at their peak. Plan for breaks and less demanding activities during low-energy periods.

Keep in mind that biological prime time can shift over time, so it may be beneficial to evaluate periodically.

What does it look like in practice?

In a three-person team, let's say Alice is a morning person, Bob is an afternoon person, and Carol is an evening person. Alice handles critical tasks and strategic planning from 8 AM to 11 AM when she's most alert. Bob tackles complex problem-solving and project work from 1 PM to 4 PM, aligning with his peak energy. Carol focuses on detail-oriented tasks and creative work from 6 PM to 9 PM, her optimal time. 

For effective collaboration, schedule team meetings and group activities during late morning or early afternoon (e.g., 11 AM to 1 PM) when both Alice and Bob are at their best. During these periods, Carol can join for key discussions or brainstorming sessions. Plan breaks and less demanding tasks during low-energy periods (e.g., 3 PM to 4 PM for Alice, early morning for Carol) to maintain overall energy and focus throughout the day.

Scheduling According to Biological Prime Time: Challenges, & Best Practices

Many studies have shown that aligning tasks with employees' biological prime time offers many benefits for both employees and the organizations. That’s not to say it's not without its challenges, but with a clear understanding of these challenges and how to deal with them, managers can easily circumvent any potential issues. 


❗Complex Coordination

Aligning individual peak times with team collaboration needs can be tough. Ensuring everyone’s biological prime time aligns for key meetings or project milestones requires careful planning and flexibility​.

Solution: Use time tracking software for remote employees like Insightful, which integrates with project management software like Trello, Asana, and Slack, to automate and optimize meeting times based on everyone’s peak productivity hours. These tools help streamline the process by providing data-driven insights and ensuring that key collaborative activities happen during overlapping peak periods​​​.


❗Time-Consuming Data Collection

Figuring out each employee’s prime time means tracking sleep, energy, and productivity over several weeks. This process is a real time-suck and might make employees uneasy about being constantly monitored.

Solution: Streamline the process with automated tracking tools like Sleep Cycle for sleep patterns, Rise for energy monitoring, and Insightful for productivity tracking. Communicate clearly with employees about the purpose and benefits of the data collection, emphasizing the improvements in work-life balance and productivity​.


❗Balancing Flexibility & Consistency

While personalized schedules can boost individual productivity, they can disrupt team consistency. Managers must find a way to balance flexible work hours with the need for team sync-ups, which is no small feat.

Solution: Establish core hours for essential collaboration while allowing flexible work hours for other tasks. Tools like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar can help schedule these core hours and ensure everyone is aware of the essential sync-up times, maintaining a balance between flexibility and team cohesion

❗Uneven Resource Allocation

Personalized schedules can lead to uneven resource usage throughout the day. Ensuring that support staff, IT resources, and other necessary services are available during varying work hours complicates operational logistics and may require significant adjustments​>

Solution:  Implement staggered shifts for support and IT staff to ensure resources are available when needed without overwhelming any single shift. This approach helps maintain consistent support throughout different working hours​.

❗Technological Requirements


Making personalized schedules work requires cutting-edge tools to track, analyze, and sync schedules. Companies need to invest in advanced solutions and ensure they mesh well with existing systems.

Solution:  Invest in comprehensive software and employee monitoring solutions like Insightful, which offers seamless integration with current project management and HR tools. Using Insightful’s detailed analytics and integration capabilities with tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack, organizations can simplify the implementation process and reduce tech friction​

❗Securing Employee Buy-in

Securing employee cooperation for personalized schedules can be difficult. Some employees might prefer traditional work hours or resist changes in their routines, necessitating strong communication and effective change management strategies to achieve buy-in​.

Solution: Communicate the benefits clearly, involve employees in the planning process, and use change management strategies to ease the transition. Tools like Slack for open communication and Officevibe for employee feedback can help gather input and ensure everyone feels heard and involved in the process.

Is scheduling according to biological prime time right for my business?

Aligning work schedules with employees' natural energy peaks is great for some businesses but not so suitable for others. Scheduling according to biological prime time is perfect for roles and industries where high cognitive performance and flexibility are crucial, like: 

  • Creative Industries: Jobs in advertising, design, and content creation thrive when employees can work during their most creative times​.
  • Tech & Software Development: Developers benefit from uninterrupted blocks of time for deep work, making flexible schedules ideal​.
  • Research & Development: Scientists and researchers need to work when they are most mentally alert for complex problem-solving​.
  • Freelance & Consulting: These professionals often set their schedules, allowing them to work during peak productivity hours​.
  • Executive Roles: High-level decision-makers can handle critical tasks when they are most alert and effective​.
  • Remote Teams: Remote or virtual teams, already used to different time zones, can easily adapt to schedules that fit each member’s biological prime time​.

Some industries are better suited to fixed, traditional time management schedules where consistency, coordination, and immediate accessibility are key:

  • Customer Service: Staff must be available during specific hours for customer interactions, making a standard schedule essential​.

  • Manufacturing & Production: Continuous production lines rely on synchronized shifts for operational efficiency.

  • Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals and clinics require staff at specific times to ensure patient care continuity​.

  • Education: Schools need teachers and staff to align with set class schedules​.

  • Financial Services: Banking operations require employees to be available during market hours for customer service and transactions​.

  • Government & Public Services: Roles in this sector must align with standard business hours to effectively serve the public and coordinate with other agencies​.

If you manage teams in any of the above industries, than operating according to biological prime time is probably not right for you. 

Choosing between personalization and standardization in time management should consider the specific needs of the organization and its workforce. While personalized schedules can boost individual performance and satisfaction, they require more sophisticated management tools and flexibility. 

On the other hand, standardized time management simplifies administrative processes but may overlook individual productivity patterns, potentially affecting overall performance. A balanced approach might involve elements of both, offering core hours for collaboration with flexible start and end times to accommodate personal productivity rhythms.

Insightful: A Versatile Tool for Any Scheduling Strategy


Insightful is a powerful workforce analytics and productivity tracking tool that supports both flexible peak productivity-aligned scheduling and traditional time management techniques. Its comprehensive features make it an invaluable asset for organizations aiming to optimize employee performance and operational efficiency.

Here is how Insightful supports flexible peak productivity scheduling:

  • Automated Time Tracking: Insightful is an advanced employee time tracking app that tracks when employees start and finish their work, including breaks and idle times, helping identify individual peak productivity periods without manual effort​​.

  • Real-Time Productivity Insights: The tool provides live data on how employees use their time, highlighting when they are most focused and productive. This allows managers to align work schedules with employees' natural energy peaks, boosting overall efficiency and job satisfaction​​.

  • Detailed Activity Monitoring: Insightful tracks app and website usage, offering a comprehensive view of work habits. This data helps managers understand and optimize individual work patterns, ensuring critical tasks are scheduled during peak periods​​.

Here is how Insightful supports traditional scheduling:

  • Attendance & Compliance Monitoring: Insightful ensures accurate recording of work hours, breaks, and overtime, making it easier to manage and enforce standard schedules. This simplifies payroll processing and ensures compliance with labor laws​​.

  • Uniform Work Patterns: The tool helps maintain consistency across the team by tracking remote employees’ attendance and productivity. This ensures that everyone adheres to the fixed schedule, promoting fairness and predictability​​.

  • Resource Allocation: With real-time data, managers can better allocate resources and support during high-demand periods, ensuring consistent availability and support throughout the workday​​.

Whether your organization prefers flexible schedules tailored to employees' biological prime times or sticks with traditional fixed hours, Insightful is your go-to tool for optimizing performance and maintaining operational efficiency. With Insightful’s robust analytics and real-time monitoring, managers can make smart decisions that boost productivity and keep employees happy, no matter your scheduling strategy.

Ready to see Insightful in action? Book a demo or sign up for a free trial today!

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Productivity and Efficiency Improvements

Boost Productivity by 20%: Sync Work with Natural Energy Peaks

Written by
Kendra Gaffin
Published on
May 31, 2024

↪  Aligning tasks with employees’ peak times boosts productivity by 20% and reduces mistakes by half. 

↪  Fixed schedules often clash with natural productivity peaks, lowering performance. 

  Flexible schedules lead to greater job satisfaction and reduce burnout and turnover.

↪   Insightful identifies peak productivity times through automated tracking & real-time activity analysis.

Read time: 9 minutes

Did you know that aligning tasks with employees' peak times can boost productivity by up to 20%? It’s true, and why you should ideally schedule tasks requiring high cognitive function, creativity, or analytical thinking during these peak times.

This individual “peak productivity” time is called biological prime time. Knowing and working with these peak periods can be a huge asset to your organization. Employees working during their biological prime time make 50% fewer mistakes and report 30% less fatigue.

So how can you identify the biological prime time of your employees? In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of biological prime time, how to apply it to your scheduling, and how to identify it using Insightful’s workforce analytics and employee productivity software

What's wrong with traditional time management?

Traditional time management enforces fixed schedules, like the classic 9-to-5, ignoring individual productivity rhythms. This approach relies on a unified schedule for all employees, which does have its advantages:

  • Simplifies Management: Uniform work hours make scheduling straightforward.
  • Promotes Fairness: A standard schedule ensures everyone is available at the same time.
  • Predictability: Operating on a consistent framework can enhance efficiency.

This status quo provides some baseline benefits that are especially appropriate for certain industries or roles, but traditional time management also comes with challenges:

  • Reduced Productivity: Misalignment with personal peak times can hurt productivity, especially for complex tasks. Chronobiology studies show that mismatched schedules harm cognitive functions.

  • Employee Disengagement: Rigid hours can lower job satisfaction and boost turnover rates.

  • Health Risks & Burnout: Strict schedules raise stress and burnout risks, clashing with natural body rhythms.

  • More Errors & Delays: Working against one's biological clock leads to more mistakes and slower task completion. 

By recognizing these pros and cons, companies can better decide if traditional time management suits their needs or if a more flexible approach is warranted. Let’s explore the alternative…

What is biological prime time?


Biological prime time is similar to circadian rhythm but varies from person to person. It refers to the windows of time during a 24-hour day when a person is naturally most alert, energetic, and productive. 

For example, people who consider themselves “early birds” are most productive and alert in the morning, whereas “night owls” are in the evening. Every employee is different. When managers align work schedules to personal productivity peaks, it is hugely beneficial to employees and the efficiency of operations.

Why is biological prime time important?

When employees don't work during their peak energy times, it’s like trying to swim upstream. They're sluggish, distracted, and everything takes longer. Studies show that when people align their work with their biological prime time—the periods when they're naturally most alert and focused—they get more done in less time, and the quality of their work improve.

Imagine trying to tackle your hardest tasks when you're already running on empty. You make more mistakes, feel frustrated, and burn out faster. This mismatch doesn’t just drag down individual performance—it impacts the whole team. Projects take longer, deadlines get missed, and everyone’s stress levels go up.

Letting employees work when they’re at their best is a game-changer. They breeze through complex tasks, stay motivated, and feel more satisfied with their jobs. For companies, this means higher productivity, better morale, and lower turnover rates. It's a win-win: employees are happier and more productive, and companies get better results.

Aligning work schedules with natural energy cycles isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s a smart strategy for boosting both performance and well-being.

How do I determine the biological prime time of my employees?

Determining the biological prime time of your employees can be achieved through objective observation, by asking individuals directly, or with the help of digital tools like remote monitoring apps and project management software. 

To find the peak productivity periods of each employee, follow these steps:

1. Survey Sleep Patterns: Ask your employees to track their sleep for a few weeks to identify their natural sleep and wake times. Tools like Sleep Cycle can help them with this.


2. Monitor Energy Levels: Have employees document their energy highs and lows during the day for three weeks. During this time, they should limit stimulants like coffee to effectively monitor their natural energy levels. 

3. Evaluate Productivity: Analyze when employees are most productive by looking at the completion of tasks and the quality of work during different times of the day.

4. Leverage Insightful: Insightful has advanced productivity and activity monitoring capabilities, identifying peak focus periods and analyzing work habits over time. This, coupled with Insightful’s advanced employee time tracker, allows managers to align work schedules with employees' natural productivity peaks.

Once you've gathered information about your employees' biological prime times, customize schedules to align with individual peak performance times as much as possible. Adjust start times or allow flexible scheduling where employees focus on critical tasks during their high-energy periods. 

Next, reorganize team tasks and collaborative efforts so that group activities occur during times when most team members are at their peak. Plan for breaks and less demanding activities during low-energy periods.

Keep in mind that biological prime time can shift over time, so it may be beneficial to evaluate periodically.

What does it look like in practice?

In a three-person team, let's say Alice is a morning person, Bob is an afternoon person, and Carol is an evening person. Alice handles critical tasks and strategic planning from 8 AM to 11 AM when she's most alert. Bob tackles complex problem-solving and project work from 1 PM to 4 PM, aligning with his peak energy. Carol focuses on detail-oriented tasks and creative work from 6 PM to 9 PM, her optimal time. 

For effective collaboration, schedule team meetings and group activities during late morning or early afternoon (e.g., 11 AM to 1 PM) when both Alice and Bob are at their best. During these periods, Carol can join for key discussions or brainstorming sessions. Plan breaks and less demanding tasks during low-energy periods (e.g., 3 PM to 4 PM for Alice, early morning for Carol) to maintain overall energy and focus throughout the day.

Scheduling According to Biological Prime Time: Challenges, & Best Practices

Many studies have shown that aligning tasks with employees' biological prime time offers many benefits for both employees and the organizations. That’s not to say it's not without its challenges, but with a clear understanding of these challenges and how to deal with them, managers can easily circumvent any potential issues. 


❗Complex Coordination

Aligning individual peak times with team collaboration needs can be tough. Ensuring everyone’s biological prime time aligns for key meetings or project milestones requires careful planning and flexibility​.

Solution: Use time tracking software for remote employees like Insightful, which integrates with project management software like Trello, Asana, and Slack, to automate and optimize meeting times based on everyone’s peak productivity hours. These tools help streamline the process by providing data-driven insights and ensuring that key collaborative activities happen during overlapping peak periods​​​.


❗Time-Consuming Data Collection

Figuring out each employee’s prime time means tracking sleep, energy, and productivity over several weeks. This process is a real time-suck and might make employees uneasy about being constantly monitored.

Solution: Streamline the process with automated tracking tools like Sleep Cycle for sleep patterns, Rise for energy monitoring, and Insightful for productivity tracking. Communicate clearly with employees about the purpose and benefits of the data collection, emphasizing the improvements in work-life balance and productivity​.


❗Balancing Flexibility & Consistency

While personalized schedules can boost individual productivity, they can disrupt team consistency. Managers must find a way to balance flexible work hours with the need for team sync-ups, which is no small feat.

Solution: Establish core hours for essential collaboration while allowing flexible work hours for other tasks. Tools like Google Calendar and Outlook Calendar can help schedule these core hours and ensure everyone is aware of the essential sync-up times, maintaining a balance between flexibility and team cohesion

❗Uneven Resource Allocation

Personalized schedules can lead to uneven resource usage throughout the day. Ensuring that support staff, IT resources, and other necessary services are available during varying work hours complicates operational logistics and may require significant adjustments​>

Solution:  Implement staggered shifts for support and IT staff to ensure resources are available when needed without overwhelming any single shift. This approach helps maintain consistent support throughout different working hours​.

❗Technological Requirements


Making personalized schedules work requires cutting-edge tools to track, analyze, and sync schedules. Companies need to invest in advanced solutions and ensure they mesh well with existing systems.

Solution:  Invest in comprehensive software and employee monitoring solutions like Insightful, which offers seamless integration with current project management and HR tools. Using Insightful’s detailed analytics and integration capabilities with tools like Trello, Asana, and Slack, organizations can simplify the implementation process and reduce tech friction​

❗Securing Employee Buy-in

Securing employee cooperation for personalized schedules can be difficult. Some employees might prefer traditional work hours or resist changes in their routines, necessitating strong communication and effective change management strategies to achieve buy-in​.

Solution: Communicate the benefits clearly, involve employees in the planning process, and use change management strategies to ease the transition. Tools like Slack for open communication and Officevibe for employee feedback can help gather input and ensure everyone feels heard and involved in the process.

Is scheduling according to biological prime time right for my business?

Aligning work schedules with employees' natural energy peaks is great for some businesses but not so suitable for others. Scheduling according to biological prime time is perfect for roles and industries where high cognitive performance and flexibility are crucial, like: 

  • Creative Industries: Jobs in advertising, design, and content creation thrive when employees can work during their most creative times​.
  • Tech & Software Development: Developers benefit from uninterrupted blocks of time for deep work, making flexible schedules ideal​.
  • Research & Development: Scientists and researchers need to work when they are most mentally alert for complex problem-solving​.
  • Freelance & Consulting: These professionals often set their schedules, allowing them to work during peak productivity hours​.
  • Executive Roles: High-level decision-makers can handle critical tasks when they are most alert and effective​.
  • Remote Teams: Remote or virtual teams, already used to different time zones, can easily adapt to schedules that fit each member’s biological prime time​.

Some industries are better suited to fixed, traditional time management schedules where consistency, coordination, and immediate accessibility are key:

  • Customer Service: Staff must be available during specific hours for customer interactions, making a standard schedule essential​.

  • Manufacturing & Production: Continuous production lines rely on synchronized shifts for operational efficiency.

  • Healthcare Facilities: Hospitals and clinics require staff at specific times to ensure patient care continuity​.

  • Education: Schools need teachers and staff to align with set class schedules​.

  • Financial Services: Banking operations require employees to be available during market hours for customer service and transactions​.

  • Government & Public Services: Roles in this sector must align with standard business hours to effectively serve the public and coordinate with other agencies​.

If you manage teams in any of the above industries, than operating according to biological prime time is probably not right for you. 

Choosing between personalization and standardization in time management should consider the specific needs of the organization and its workforce. While personalized schedules can boost individual performance and satisfaction, they require more sophisticated management tools and flexibility. 

On the other hand, standardized time management simplifies administrative processes but may overlook individual productivity patterns, potentially affecting overall performance. A balanced approach might involve elements of both, offering core hours for collaboration with flexible start and end times to accommodate personal productivity rhythms.

Insightful: A Versatile Tool for Any Scheduling Strategy


Insightful is a powerful workforce analytics and productivity tracking tool that supports both flexible peak productivity-aligned scheduling and traditional time management techniques. Its comprehensive features make it an invaluable asset for organizations aiming to optimize employee performance and operational efficiency.

Here is how Insightful supports flexible peak productivity scheduling:

  • Automated Time Tracking: Insightful is an advanced employee time tracking app that tracks when employees start and finish their work, including breaks and idle times, helping identify individual peak productivity periods without manual effort​​.

  • Real-Time Productivity Insights: The tool provides live data on how employees use their time, highlighting when they are most focused and productive. This allows managers to align work schedules with employees' natural energy peaks, boosting overall efficiency and job satisfaction​​.

  • Detailed Activity Monitoring: Insightful tracks app and website usage, offering a comprehensive view of work habits. This data helps managers understand and optimize individual work patterns, ensuring critical tasks are scheduled during peak periods​​.

Here is how Insightful supports traditional scheduling:

  • Attendance & Compliance Monitoring: Insightful ensures accurate recording of work hours, breaks, and overtime, making it easier to manage and enforce standard schedules. This simplifies payroll processing and ensures compliance with labor laws​​.

  • Uniform Work Patterns: The tool helps maintain consistency across the team by tracking remote employees’ attendance and productivity. This ensures that everyone adheres to the fixed schedule, promoting fairness and predictability​​.

  • Resource Allocation: With real-time data, managers can better allocate resources and support during high-demand periods, ensuring consistent availability and support throughout the workday​​.

Whether your organization prefers flexible schedules tailored to employees' biological prime times or sticks with traditional fixed hours, Insightful is your go-to tool for optimizing performance and maintaining operational efficiency. With Insightful’s robust analytics and real-time monitoring, managers can make smart decisions that boost productivity and keep employees happy, no matter your scheduling strategy.

Ready to see Insightful in action? Book a demo or sign up for a free trial today!