When choosing a time monitoring tool, it’s important to understand the various types of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include powerful time tracking features for professional services businesses. However, the time monitoring features in such 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 chat, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll discover pure play time monitoring tools like Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Clockshark
Attributes and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room around the side of your screen for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which provides you an summary of how many hours your employees have worked that day and how many hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You will also see a list of each member, their latest jobs, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a strong PM data visualization which lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to focus projects that are becoming more than sufficient focus and projects that are being neglected.
There are two methods to put in time in Hubstaff: You can construct 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 in your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog era of time monitoring. Essentially, you work your change, you add time to your own timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff does not let you add future time, you can’t use the platform as a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to require a reason to ensure they’re actually adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set the system up to remind users to start tracking time should they have not clocked into the machine in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this element is available within the confines of your web browser–every alternative that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download an native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, along with your timer will start counting. When you’re done, your activity 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 3 shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to record sensitive information on each catch, but enough of the display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of if the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and complicated way to manually monitor time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must discover 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 precisely the same as it’s on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS monitoring. This gives you an summary of how much motion was done by your worker by capturing location information at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates for employees to do the job. You can set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you can make it a recurring shift. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM options within this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing consequently, if your target 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 once they have attained weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and created 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 tracked inside the tool. Remember: Consumers don’t have to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right about the amount of hours that they worked. There is not any reminder for supervisors to double-check every timesheet ahead of automatic payments go out so, if you are worried about making false payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to manual. Clockshark
Cost And Options
Hubstaff was constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you need to pay them as soon as the job is finished. The Basic $5-per-month plan gives you access to simple time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program lets you keep tabs on whether your employees are working by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse action during changes. Of the five tools we’ve tested, Hubstaff is the only tool which offered this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change monitor, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be desired (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes all you’ll find in the Basic plan, but you’ll also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third party applications. The Premium bundle also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the power to assign changes and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the tool to create invoices and create PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay yearly will receive two months free (for both cost tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a fundamental free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee per month for teams who have fewer than 100 users, along with a $80 foundation fee per month for groups with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more expensive than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you are more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you will need to pony up a bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time tracking prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of consumers (that is a pretty solid deal if you want all the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first review of Hubstaff, the company has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature weaknesses or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage choices, and adding activity levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to be analyzing 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 an excellent job allowing for deeper change supervision. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you run a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to a empty text field, but that data won’t be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can’t use it to find out about who’s working, how they’re working, and what they are generating (aside from the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it gives you the ability to create six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You might even put in a query for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to respond to the questions at the end of each change or else they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about monitoring work, the application does not permit for IP address limitations, so your employees can say they are 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 almost every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph when they report to work. I guess it is overkill to make somebody take a selfie before you get started recording their screen and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to set this as a necessity (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done outside of a computer, such as electronic, building, or amusement work). The program also does not let users clock via a phone call, which is a component TSheets and 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. However, the platform also has a lot of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place monitoring, and action screenshots.
As soon as you place your users and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop program not only monitors time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, for example three screenshots per minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important screen but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys but it will track the activity provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of how busy the employee is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then pick a user from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with activity data.
If it comes to program and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to see what sites and apps a worker visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports section may then run custom queries on vectors like app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff incorporates with job and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific tasks or projects to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and website activity, it lets you track and log place for employees working in the field. While the depth of tracking surveillance and data features can not measure up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker tracking, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of features for companies that want a bit more oversight. Clockshark
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking 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, monitor keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. Additionally, in case you opt for a different system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary app for monitoring time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Clockshark