Background Best Office Tools
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it’s important to understand the many different kinds of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time monitoring features for professional services companies. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only within bigger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you’re paying a lot more cash for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and change management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will discover pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Best Office Tools
Attributes and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves plenty of room on the right-hand side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which provides you an overview of the number of hours your employees have worked this day and the number of hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a strong PM data visualization which allows you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to attention projects which are getting more than sufficient focus and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two methods to add time in Hubstaff: You can build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop app. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log in your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog era of time tracking. Basically, if you work your shift, you add the time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard method of tracking time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they’re able to force users to require a motive to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set up the system to let users to start monitoring time if they haven’t clocked into the system in a while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we analyzed, this component is available within the boundaries of your internet browserevery alternative that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download a native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your own timer will start counting. When you’re done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the principal hub. The native app is going to take a picture at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour based on how frequently the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partly blurred to not capture sensitive information on each catch, but a lot of the display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a sense of if the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complicated and convoluted means to manually track time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must discover a way to bring the stopwatch and screengrab elements to the cloud-based architecture to simplify ease of use.
Tracking time in real time on Hubstaff’s Android and iOS programs is exactly the same as it’s on the desktop app. The mobile apps let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of just how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location data at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign times and dates for workers to do the job. You can put a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you can make it a recurring change. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report that allows you filter information from the above reports. In comparison to the PM options within this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to learn and evolve based on if and how your employees handle time, you would be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they have reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and created depending on the time each worker worked, in addition to their associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored inside the tool. Keep in mind: Consumers don’t have to send time for acceptance, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you’re worried about making false payments, then you can place PayPal payments to guide. Best Office Tools
Price And Options
Hubstaff has been constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you need to pay them when the work is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month program gives you access to easy time tracking tools, a worker payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences which may be managed on an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan enables you to keep track of whether your employees are working by letting you record screenshots while they function in addition to monitor keyboard and mouse activity during shifts. Of the five tools we analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument which offered this level of insight into how workers are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are useful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes all you’ll find in the Basic program, but you will also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third-party applications. The Premium bundle also has a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign shifts and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the tool to create invoices and create PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay annually will receive two months free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its closest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the extra tracking features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a basic free account, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee a month for teams who have fewer than 100 users, and an $80 base fee monthly for teams with more than a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you’re more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you’ll need to pony up a bit more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of consumers (which is a pretty good deal if you want all the excess PM attributes ). Wrike’s lowest time monitoring plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding action levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to be testing these attributes shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Besides its draconian screengrab and keystroke monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper shift supervision. By way of instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking company and you are less concerned about the number of hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to handle that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text area, but that data won’t be mixed into reports. This means that you can not use it to learn about who is working, how they are functioning, and what they’re producing (aside from the number of hours monitored ). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it gives you the ability to create six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You can even add a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to respond to the queries at the close of every change or else they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the tool does not allow for IP address limitations, which means your workers can say they are working from the workplace but they can actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they are using the mobile app to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to require users to snap a photograph when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to make somebody take a selfie right before you get started recording their display and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a necessity (which makes sense, especially if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, like electronic, construction, or entertainment work). The software also doesn’t let users clock in via a phone call, which can be an element TSheets along with other service providers make available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like features factor into time tracking. However, the platform also offers a lot of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and location tracking, and action screenshots.
Once you place your users and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop app not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, for example three screenshots per minute. This applies not just to the user’s most important display but any attached monitors as well. Hubstaff does not log keys but it will track the action provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, giving employers a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard in the Activity tab. This is where you can then select an individual in the drop-down menu to view their screenshots connected with action data.
When it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to learn what sites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they had been there. The Reports module may then run custom questions on vectors like app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific tasks or projects to track productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can’t take screenshots or catch mobile app and site activity, it allows you to track and log location for employees working in the field. While the thickness of tracking data and surveillance features can’t step up to a grid application such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff has a useful selection of features for employers that want a little more oversight. Best Office Tools
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clockthen there is no better software available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the extra mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. In addition, should you opt for another system, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to download a secondary app for monitoring time–particularly when you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the confines of their web-based UI. Best Office Tools