Background Business Productivity Suite
When choosing a time tracking tool, it is important to comprehend the many different types of tools out there. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time tracking features for professional services businesses. However, the time tracking features in these tools are available only as part of larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying much more money for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Business Productivity Suite
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots of room around the right-hand side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you will 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’ve worked over the past seven days. You’ll also see a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how active they’ve been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization which lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to focus projects which are becoming more than sufficient attention 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. With the timesheet attribute, you log in your hours as 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 pretty standard procedure of tracking time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can not use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they’re able to force users to need a reason to ensure they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins can also set up the system to remind users to begin tracking time if they have not clocked into the system in a while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of monitoring moment in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this element is available within the boundaries of your web browserevery solution that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download an native desktop application that resides within another window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your own timer will begin counting. When you’re done, your activity and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native app will take a photo at random intervals of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how often the admin wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially blurred to not record sensitive information on every catch, but a lot of the display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of whether the display is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and convoluted way to manually track time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to add the stopwatch and also 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 is on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an summary of how much movement was done by your employee by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign times and dates for employees to work. It is possible to set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you can make it a recurring shift. The program’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports in addition to a”custom” report that allows you filter information from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM options in this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is utterly embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to understand 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 attained weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made 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 lets you automate payments based on time monitored within the application. Remember: Users do not need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right about the number of hours that they worked. There is no reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out thus, if you are concerned about making bogus payments, then you can place PayPal payments to guide. Business Productivity Suite
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they’re doing while they operate, and what you need to cover them as soon as the work is finished. The Basic $5-per-month plan gives you access to simple time tracking tools, a worker payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences which can be managed on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this plan enables you to keep track of whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you document screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse activity during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only tool that provided this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although screen and keyboard tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a shift 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 find in the Basic program, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party software. The Premium package also has a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the capability to assign shifts and delegate tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the tool to make invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay yearly will get two months free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets supplies a fundamental free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee per month for groups who have fewer than 100 users, along with a $80 base fee per month for groups with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you will need to pony up a bit more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of users (that is a fairly good deal if you want all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first review of Hubstaff, the company has released a major upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature weaknesses or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding action levels and monitor monitoring. 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 tracking, Hubstaff does not do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking business and you’re less concerned about the number of hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to handle that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that information 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 are producing (aside from the number of hours monitored ). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it gives you the ability to make six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You might also add a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the user to reply to the questions at the close of each change or they will not have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about monitoring work, the tool doesn’t allow for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they are working from the workplace but they can actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they are using the cell app to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other instrument we analyzed. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it is overkill to make somebody take a selfie before you start recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, such as electronic, construction, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t allow users clock via a telephone call, which is a component TSheets and other service providers make readily available for workers who don’t have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We have touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and location tracking, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you set your users and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop program not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, for example three screenshots each minute. This applies not just to the user’s most important display but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does track the activity provided through the mouse and keyboard, giving employers a calculation of just how active the worker is. This info all winds up around 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 correlated with action data.
When it comes to application and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to see what websites and apps a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section may then run custom queries 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 particular tasks or projects to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log location for employees working in the field. While the thickness of monitoring data and surveillance features can’t measure up to a grid application such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff includes a helpful selection of attributes for employers that want a little more oversight. Business Productivity Suite
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clock, then there’s 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 trying to find a platform that goes the excess mile to allow customization, irregular information entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. In addition, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for monitoring time–especially once you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the confines of their web-based UI. Business Productivity Suite