Introduction Best Productivity Tools 2016
When picking a time tracking tool, it’s important to comprehend the many different types of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time tracking features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you’re paying a lot more cash for things such as file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will discover pure play time monitoring tools like Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Best Productivity Tools 2016
Attributes and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots of room around the side of your screen 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 how many hours your employees have worked that day and the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You’ll also see a list of each member, their latest jobs, 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 becoming more than sufficient attention and jobs that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog age of time tracking. Essentially, 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 monitoring time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff does not let you add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to require a motive to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins can also set the system up to remind users to begin monitoring time if they haven’t clocked to the machine in a little while.
The next, and most bothersome, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we analyzed, this component can be found within the boundaries of your web browser–every solution that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download a native desktop application that lives within another window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, along with your own timer will start counting. When you’re done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the principal hub. The native program is going to take a photo at random intervals of up to three shots per hour depending on how often the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy not to record sensitive information on every catch, but enough of the display is left unsullied you’ll still get a feeling of if the display is really on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and complicated way to manually track time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must discover a way to add 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 program. The mobile apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an overview of how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location data at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for employees to work. It is possible to put a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break duration, and you can make it a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report which lets you filter information from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions in this course, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing consequently, if your target is to learn and evolve according to if and how your employees manage time, you would be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they have reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each worker worked, in addition to his or her related pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored within the tool. Remember: Users do not need to send time for acceptance, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours they worked. There is not any reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments move out so, if you are concerned about making false payments, then you can place PayPal payments to manual. Best Productivity Tools 2016
Price And Options
Hubstaff has been built to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you really need to cover them as soon as the work is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month program provides you access to simple time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan enables you to keep tabs on whether your employees are working by allowing you document screenshots while they function in addition to monitor keyboard and mouse activity during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool which offered this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen 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 program includes all you’ll find in the Basic plan, but you will also have 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 inside the console. Premium clients may also use the tool to make invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay yearly will get two months free (for both cost tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its closest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a basic free accounts, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that costs a $16 base fee per month for groups with fewer than 100 users, and an $80 foundation fee per month for teams with over 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM solutions, then you will need to pony up a little more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest program 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 consumers (which is a fairly solid deal if you need all the excess PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting options, and adding activity levels and screen tracking. We are going to be analyzing these attributes shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke monitoring, Hubstaff does not do a very good job allowing for deeper change oversight. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking company and you are less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that information will not be blended into reports. This means that you can’t use it to find out about who is functioning, how they’re functioning, and what they’re generating (other than the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it gives you the ability to make six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You can 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 respond to the queries at the close of every shift or else they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the application doesn’t allow for IP address limitations, so your workers can say they’re working from the office but they could actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell app to monitor time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photo if they report to work. I suppose it’s overkill to generate someone take a selfie right before you start recording their display and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, such as retail, construction, or entertainment work). The program also doesn’t allow users clock in via a phone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make available for employees who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also offers a lot of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and place monitoring, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you place your users and they download the timer program onto their server, the desktop app not only monitors time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not just to the user’s main screen but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of how busy the worker is. This info all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard in the Task tab. This is where you can then select an individual in the drop-down menu to view their screenshots connected with action data.
If it comes to application and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what sites and apps an employee opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section may subsequently run custom questions on vectors like app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with project and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific projects or tasks to monitor productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the cellular app can’t take screenshots or capture mobile app and website activity, it lets you monitor and log place for workers working in the area. While the thickness of tracking surveillance and data features can’t measure up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee monitoring, Hubstaff includes a helpful selection of features for employers that want a little more oversight. Best Productivity Tools 2016
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clockthen there’s no better program available than Hubstaff. You’ll 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 excess mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a more sophisticated reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. In addition, should you choose another system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary program for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Best Productivity Tools 2016