Introduction Best Productivity Software 2017
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the various types of tools available. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time tracking features for professional services companies. However, the time tracking features in these tools are available only within bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying a lot more money for things such as file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll discover pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Best Productivity Software 2017
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves plenty of room around the right-hand 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 summary of the number of hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they have worked over the past seven days. You will also see a list of each member, their most recent tasks, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization which lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to focus projects which are becoming more than sufficient focus and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways to put in time in Hubstaff: You can build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet feature, you log in your hours as you probably did with pen and paper during the analog age of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your shift, you add time to your own timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a pretty standard method of monitoring time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff does not allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can force users to require a reason to ensure they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to start monitoring time if they haven’t clocked into the system in a little while.
The next, and most bothersome, way of monitoring time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this component is available within the confines of your web browserevery alternative that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download an native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, and your timer will start counting. When you’re done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native app will take a photo at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how often the admin would like to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to record sensitive information on each grab, but enough of this display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a sense of whether the display is on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and complicated means to manually monitor time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and also screengrab elements 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’s on the desktop app. The mobile apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an overview of how much motion was performed by your employee by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for employees to work. You can put a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break duration, and you’ll be able to make it a recurring change. The tool’s reporting software is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”habit” report that allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM options in this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to learn and evolve based on if and how your employees handle time, you’d be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they have reached weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each worker worked, as well as their associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time monitored inside the tool. Remember: Consumers don’t need to send time for acceptance, therefore automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right about the number of hours that they worked. There’s not any reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments go out so, if you are concerned about making bogus payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to manual. Best Productivity Software 2017
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been built to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you need to cover them when the work is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan gives you access to simple time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences that may be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program lets you keep tabs on whether your employees are operating by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor mouse and keyboard action during changes. Of the five tools we analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument that provided this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be desired (more about this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes all you’ll discover in the Basic plan, but you will also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third-party applications. The Premium package also has a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the power to assign changes and assign tasks from within the console. Premium customers may also use the tool to create invoices and make PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay yearly will receive two months free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its closest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a basic free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee per month for teams who have fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 foundation fee monthly for groups with over 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you will need to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time tracking prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 a month for an infinite number of users (which is a fairly solid deal if you want all the excess PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding action levels and screen tracking. We’ll be testing these attributes shortly and you will see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Besides its draconian screengrab and keystroke monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do an excellent job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking business and you’re 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 an empty text area, but that data will not be mixed into reports. This means you can not use it to learn about who is working, how they are functioning, and what they are producing (aside from the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this option, it provides you the ability to make six additional customizable advanced tracking fields. You might even put in a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to respond to the queries at the end of every shift or they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about monitoring work, the application doesn’t allow for IP address limitations, so your workers can say they’re working from the workplace but they could actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the mobile app to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in almost every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to need users to snap a photo if they report to work. I suppose it’s overkill to generate someone take a selfie right before you get started recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a necessity (which makes sense, particularly if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, such as electronic, building, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t let users clock in via a phone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We have touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like features factor into time tracking. But the platform also has many of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and location monitoring, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you place your users and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop program not only monitors time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important display but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys however, it will track the activity provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of how busy the employee is. This data all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then select an individual from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots connected with activity data.
When it comes to application and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to see what sites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section may subsequently run custom queries on vectors like program usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with project and task management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports by particular tasks or projects to monitor productivity.
One unique employee tracking feature offered 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 depth of tracking surveillance and data features can’t measure up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker tracking, Hubstaff has a useful choice of attributes for companies that want a bit more oversight. Best Productivity Software 2017
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clock, then there’s no better software available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path moves via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the extra mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or even a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. In addition, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary app for tracking time–particularly once you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this potential within the confines of their web-based UI. Best Productivity Software 2017