Background Define Productivity Tools
When picking a time monitoring tool, it’s important to comprehend the many different kinds of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time tracking features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying a lot more money for things like file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and change administration. 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. Define Productivity Tools
Attributes and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves plenty of room on the 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 overview of the number of hours your employees have worked this day and the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how busy they have been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization that allows you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to focus projects which are getting more than sufficient attention and projects that are being neglected.
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 feature, you log in your hours since you probably did with pen and paper during the analog era of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your change, you add the time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a pretty standard procedure of tracking time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can’t use the platform as a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to need a reason to ensure they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to begin monitoring time if they haven’t clocked to the system in a little while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of monitoring time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component can be found within the confines of your internet browserevery solution that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are expected to download a native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your timer will start counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted 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 workers. Screenshots can be partially blurred to not record sensitive information on every grab, but a lot of this 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 can be an annoyingly complex 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 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 is on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of just how much motion was done by your employee by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for workers to do the job. You can set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you’ll be able to allow it to be a recurring shift. The program’s reporting applications is terribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports as well as a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM options within this course, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on when and how your employees manage time, you’d be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they’ve reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each worker worked, as well as their associated pay rate. You can set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time monitored within the tool. Remember: Users don’t need to send time for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right concerning the number of hours they worked. There’s not any reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to guide. Define Productivity Tools
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you need to cover them as soon as the work is done. The Basic $5-per-month plan provides you access to simple time monitoring tools, a worker payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this program lets you keep tabs on whether your employees are operating by letting 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 offered this amount of insight into how workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (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 have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third party software. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the power to assign changes and assign tasks from within the console. Premium customers may also use the application to make invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay yearly will get two weeks free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets supplies a basic free accounts, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee a month for groups who have fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 foundation fee per month for groups with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you are more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll want to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of consumers (which is a pretty solid deal if you want all the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s lowest time monitoring plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding activity levels and screen monitoring. We’ll 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 tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper shift supervision. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text field, but that data will not be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to find out about who’s functioning, how they are functioning, and what they are producing (aside from the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it provides you the ability to make six extra customizable innovative monitoring fields. You can even add a query for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the user to reply to the queries at the end of each change or they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the tool does not allow for IP address limitations, so your workers can say they are working from the office but they can actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell app to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in virtually every other instrument we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to need users to snap a photograph when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to make somebody take a selfie before you start recording their display and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re tracking tasks done outside of a computer, like electronic, building, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t allow users clock via a telephone call, which is an element 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 Big Brother-like features factor into time tracking. However, the platform also offers a lot of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application tracking, GPS and place monitoring, 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 take screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots per minute. This applies not just to the user’s main display but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it will track the action provided via the mouse and computer keyboard, providing employers a calculation of how busy the worker is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard in the Task tab. This is where you can then pick a user in the drop-down menu to see their screenshots connected with action data.
If it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to see what sites and apps a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section may then run custom queries on vectors like program usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific tasks or projects to track 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 catch mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log location for workers 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 employee monitoring, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of features for companies that want a bit more oversight. Define Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clockthen there’s no better program available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the excess mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. Additionally, should you opt for another system, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to download a secondary app for monitoring time–particularly when you consider that every other instrument we reviewed makes this possible within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Define Productivity Tools