Background Best Personal Productivity Tools
When picking a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the many different types 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 tracking features in these tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you’re paying much more money for things such as file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and change administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time monitoring tools like Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Best Personal Productivity Tools
Attributes and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves plenty of room around the side of your screen for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you will be taken to the main dashboard, which provides you an overview of how many hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they’ve worked over the past seven days. You’ll also see a list of each member, their latest tasks, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization which allows you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to attention projects that are getting more than sufficient attention and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways to put in time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper through the analog age of time tracking. Essentially, 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 monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to require a reason to guarantee they’re actually adding hours they worked. Admins may also set up the system to remind users to begin monitoring time should they have not clocked to the machine in a little while.
The second, and most bothersome, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this element is available within the confines of your internet browser–every solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download an native desktop application that resides within another window. In it, you can choose your project, press Start, and your own timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the principal hub. The native program will take a photo at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin would like to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to capture sensitive information on every catch, but a lot of the screen is left unsullied you’ll still get a feeling of if the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and convoluted means to manually monitor time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must discover a way to add 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 precisely 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 motion was done by your employee 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 set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you can allow it to be a recurring change. The program’s reporting software is horribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports as well as a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the above reports. When compared to the PM options within this course, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to learn and evolve according to when 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’ve attained weekly staffing and budget limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each worker worked, in addition to his or her associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked within the tool. Remember: Users don’t need to send time through for acceptance, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were right or wrong about the amount of hours that they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments move out so, if you’re worried about making false payments, then you can place PayPal payments to manual. Best Personal Productivity Tools
Cost 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 want to cover them when the work is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month program gives you access to easy time tracking tools, a worker payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences that may be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program enables you to keep tabs on whether your employees are working by letting you document screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard action during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only instrument that provided this amount of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring are useful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes everything you’ll find in the fundamental program, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third party software. The Premium bundle also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that gives 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 mechanically. Customers that pay yearly will receive two weeks free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the extra tracking features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a fundamental free accounts, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee a month for teams with fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 foundation fee monthly for teams with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll need to pony up a little more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time monitoring prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of consumers (that is a pretty solid deal if you want all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first review of Hubstaff, the business has released a significant upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting choices, and adding activity levels and screen monitoring. We’ll be testing these features shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Besides its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking company and you’re less concerned about the number of hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to handle this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text area, but that data won’t be mixed into reports. As a consequence, you can not use it to learn about who’s functioning, how they are working, 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 make six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You can even put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the user to respond to the queries at the close of every shift or they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about monitoring work, the application does not allow for IP address restrictions, so your workers can say they’re working from the workplace but they could actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the mobile program to monitor time). This is a normal feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to need users to snap a photo if they report to work. I suppose it’s overkill to make somebody take a selfie right before you start recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, such as electronic, building, or entertainment work). The software also doesn’t let users clock via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets and other service providers make available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also has many of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and location tracking, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your users and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop app not only monitors time but will take screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, for example three screenshots per minute. This applies not only to the user’s main screen but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys however, it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, giving companies a calculation of how busy the worker is. This info all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard in the Activity tab. This is where you can then select a user from 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 apps an employee opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section can then run custom questions on vectors like program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific projects or tasks to monitor productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log location for workers working in the area. While the thickness of tracking data and surveillance features can not step up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff has a helpful selection of features for employers that want a bit more oversight. Best Personal Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clock, then there’s no better program available than Hubstaff. You’ll have the ability to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route movements via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the extra mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. Additionally, in case you choose another system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this potential within the confines of their online UI. Best Personal Productivity Tools