Background Cloud Productivity Tools
When choosing a time tracking tool, it is important to understand the various kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time monitoring features for professional services businesses. However, the time tracking features in such tools are available only as part of larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you’re paying a lot more money for things like file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Cloud Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room on the right-hand 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 gives you an summary of how many hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You will also find a list of every member, their latest jobs, and how active they’ve been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization which allows you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to focus projects which are getting more than enough focus and jobs that are being disregarded.
There are two methods to put in time in Hubstaff: You can build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you probably did with pen and paper through the analog age of time tracking. Basically, if you work your change, you add time to your own timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a pretty standard method of monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to require a motive to ensure they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins can also set up the system to remind users to start monitoring time should they have not clocked to the system in a little while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component is available within the confines of your internet browserevery solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download a native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can choose your project, press Start, along with your 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 periods of up to three shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy to not capture sensitive information on each grab, but enough of this screen is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of whether the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and convoluted 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 components 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 provides you an overview of just how much motion was performed by your employee by capturing location data at different stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates for workers to work. You can put a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break duration, and you can allow it to be a recurring shift. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report which allows you filter information from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is utterly embarrassing so, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on when and how your employees handle time, you’d be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they have attained weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and created depending on the time each employee worked, as well as his or her associated pay rate. You can set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time monitored inside the application. Remember: Consumers do not have to send time for acceptance, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right concerning the number of hours that they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out thus, if you’re worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to guide. Cloud Productivity Tools
Cost And Options
Hubstaff has been built to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they’re doing while they operate, and what you want to cover them as soon as the work is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month program provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this plan enables you to keep tabs on whether or not your employees are operating by letting you record screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during changes. Of the five tools we analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument which provided this amount of insight into the way that 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 wanted (more about this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes everything you’ll find in the Basic plan, but you will also get 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 shifts and delegate tasks from within the console. Premium customers can also use the tool to create invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Clients that pay annually will get two months free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the added tracking features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets supplies a fundamental free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that charges a $16 base fee per month for teams with fewer than 100 users, and a $80 foundation fee monthly for groups with over 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in those hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll want to pony up a little more money. 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 unlimited number of users (that is a pretty good deal if you need all of the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first review of Hubstaff, the business has released a major upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding action levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to 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 a very good job allowing for deeper change supervision. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking company and you are less concerned about the number of hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text field, but that data won’t be blended into reports. As a consequence, you can not use it to find out about who is working, how they are working, and what they’re generating (aside from the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it gives you the ability to create six additional customizable innovative tracking fields. You might even put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to respond to the queries at the end of each change or they will not 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 employees can say they are working from the workplace but they could actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they are using the mobile app to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it is 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 necessity (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, like retail, construction, or amusement work). The program also does not allow users clock via a phone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make available for workers who don’t have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like attributes factor into time tracking. However, the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place tracking, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you set your users and they download the timer app onto their machine, the desktop app not only monitors time but will require screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, for example three screenshots each minute. This applies not just to the user’s main display but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys but it will track the activity provided via the mouse and keyboard, giving employers a calculation of just how active the worker is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then pick an individual from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with action data.
When it comes to application and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to see what websites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they had been there. The Reports section can then run custom queries on vectors such as app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific projects or tasks to track productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the cellular app can’t take screenshots or catch mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log place for workers working in the area. While the thickness of tracking surveillance and data features can not measure up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of attributes for employers that want a little more oversight. Cloud Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clock, then there is no better program accessible than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform that goes the extra mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or even a much more sophisticated reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. Additionally, should you choose a different program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary program for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Cloud Productivity Tools