Intro Best Online Productivity Tools
When picking a time monitoring tool, it’s important to understand the many different kinds of tools out there. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time monitoring features for professional services businesses. However, the time monitoring features in these tools are available only within bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you’re paying much more cash for things like file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Best Online Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves plenty of room on the side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which gives you an overview of the number of hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also see a list of every member, their latest jobs, and how busy they’ve been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization that lets you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to focus projects that are becoming more than enough attention and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You can build manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop app. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog era of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your shift, you add the time to your own timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they’re able to force users to need a reason to guarantee they’re actually adding hours that they worked. Admins can also set up the system to let users to start tracking time should they haven’t clocked into the system in a while.
The next, and most bothersome, way of monitoring moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component is available within the confines of your internet browser–every solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download a native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, along with your own timer will start counting. When you are done, your action and your screenshots will be transmitted to the main hub. The native program is going to take a picture at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour based on how often the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially blurred to not capture sensitive information on every catch, but a lot of this 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 complex and convoluted means to manually track time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and screengrab components to the cloud-based architecture to simplify ease of use.
Tracking time in real-time on Hubstaff’s Android and iOS apps is exactly the same as it is on the desktop program. The mobile apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This provides you an summary of just how much movement was performed by your worker by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for workers to work. It is possible to put a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break interval, and you’ll be able to allow it to be a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting software is horribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports in addition to a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM options within this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is utterly embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on if and how your employees handle time, you’d be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve attained weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each employee worked, as well as his or her related pay rate. You can set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored within the tool. Keep in mind: Users don’t need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours that they worked. There is not any reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out so, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then you can set PayPal payments to guide. Best Online Productivity Tools
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you need to cover them when the job is done. The Basic $5-per-month program gives you access to simple time tracking tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user settings which may be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this plan lets you keep track of whether your employees are working by letting you record screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during changes. Of the five tools we’ve tested, Hubstaff is the only instrument that offered this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more on this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes all you’ll discover in the Basic program, but you will also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party software. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign shifts and delegate tasks from inside the console. Premium customers can also use the tool to create invoices and create PayPal payments automatically. Clients that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its closest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that charges a $16 base fee a month for groups who have fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 base fee per month for groups with over 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll need to pony up a little more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of users (which is a fairly good deal if you need all the excess PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking 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 major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage choices, and adding action levels and screen monitoring. We are going to be testing these features shortly and you will see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper change oversight. For instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to an empty text area, but that information will not be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to learn about who is working, how they are functioning, and what they are producing (other than the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it provides you the ability to make six extra customizable innovative tracking fields. You might even put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to reply to the queries at the close of each shift or else they will not have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the tool does not permit for IP address restrictions, so your workers can say they are working from the workplace but they could actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell app to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other instrument we analyzed. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph when they report to work. I guess it’s overkill to make someone take a selfie before you start recording their display and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to set this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, such as retail, construction, or amusement work). The software also doesn’t allow users clock via a telephone call, which can be an element TSheets along with other service providers make readily available for employees who don’t have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We have touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application tracking, GPS and place tracking, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your customers and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop app not only tracks time but will take screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, such as three screenshots per minute. This applies not only to the user’s main display but any attached monitors as well. Hubstaff does not log keys but it will monitor the action provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, giving employers a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This info all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then select a user from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with action data.
When it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what sites and apps an employee visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports module may then run custom queries on vectors like app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific tasks or projects to monitor productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it lets you track and log place for employees working in the field. While the thickness of monitoring data and surveillance features can’t step up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff has a useful selection of attributes for companies that want a bit more oversight. Best Online Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behaviour while on the clock, then there’s no better software accessible than Hubstaff. You will have the ability to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the extra mile to allow customization, irregular data entry, or a much more sophisticated reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. In addition, should you choose a different program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for tracking time–particularly when you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this possible within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Best Online Productivity Tools