When picking a time monitoring tool, it’s important to comprehend the various types of tools available. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time tracking features for professional services companies. On the other hand, the time tracking features in these tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you are paying much more money for things such as 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 such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Desktime
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves plenty of room around the right-hand side of your display 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 have worked over the past seven days. You’ll also see a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a strong PM data visualization that lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to attention projects that are becoming more than sufficient focus and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways to put in time in Hubstaff: You can construct manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet feature, you log your hours since you likely did with pen and paper through the analog age of time monitoring. Essentially, you work your change, you add time to your timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a pretty standard procedure of monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to require a reason to guarantee they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set the system up to let users to begin tracking time should they haven’t clocked to the machine in a while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we tested, this element is available within the confines of your web browser–every solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download a native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, and your timer will start counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be sent to the principal hub. The native app will take a photo at random intervals of up to three shots per hour based on how often the admin would like to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partly blurred to not record sensitive information on every grab, but a lot of this display is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of if the display is really on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and convoluted means to manually monitor time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring 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’s on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of how much movement was performed by your employee by capturing location information at different 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 interval, and you’ll be able to make it a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is terribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports as well as a”habit” report that lets you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions in this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on when and how your employees manage time, you would be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they’ve attained weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and created based on the time each worker worked, in addition to his or her related pay rate. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time tracked within the tool. Keep in mind: Users don’t have to send time through for approval, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the number of hours they worked. There is no reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you’re concerned about making false payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to manual. Desktime
Cost And Options
Hubstaff was built to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you really want to pay them as soon as the work is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month program provides you access to simple time monitoring tools, a worker payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user settings which may be managed on an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this program enables you to keep track of whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you document screenshots while they work in addition to monitor keyboard and mouse action during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only instrument that provided this level of insight into how workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring 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 fundamental program, but you will also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third party applications. The Premium bundle also has a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the capability to assign shifts and delegate tasks from within the console. Premium customers may also use the application to create invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets supplies a basic free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee a month for groups with fewer than 100 users, and an $80 foundation fee monthly for groups with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you’ll need to pony up a bit more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest program 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 users (which 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 original overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting options, and adding action levels and monitor tracking. We are going to be analyzing these features shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff does not do an excellent job allowing for deeper shift supervision. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking business and you are less concerned about the number of hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text field, but that data won’t be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to find out about who’s working, how they are working, and what they are producing (aside from the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it provides you the ability to make six additional customizable innovative monitoring fields. You can also add a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to respond to the questions at the close of each shift or else they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the tool 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 are using the cell program to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it’s overkill to generate someone take a selfie right before you get started recording their display and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to set this as a necessity (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, such as retail, building, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t allow users clock via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make available for workers 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 monitoring. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and place monitoring, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your users and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop program not only tracks 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 screen but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys however, it will monitor the action provided via the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of how busy the worker is. This data all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then pick an individual in the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with action data.
When it comes to program and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to see what websites and programs a worker visited or opened and how long they were there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom questions on vectors such as program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with job and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular projects or tasks to monitor productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the cellular app can’t take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log place for employees working in the area. While the thickness of monitoring surveillance and data features can’t measure up to a grid application such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker tracking, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of attributes for employers that want a bit more oversight. Desktime
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behaviour while on the clockthen there is no better program accessible than Hubstaff. You will have the ability to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and path moves via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or even a more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be perfect for you. In addition, in case you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to obtain a secondary app for monitoring time–particularly when you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the confines of their web-based UI. Desktime