Background Desktop Productivity
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the various types of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time monitoring features for professional services companies. 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 change management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Desktop Productivity
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots of room around the 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 that day and the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You will also find a list of every member, their latest tasks, and how active they’ve been over the past week. This is a strong PM data visualization that allows you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to attention projects which are getting more than sufficient attention and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You are able to construct manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours as you likely did with pen and paper during the analog age of time monitoring. Essentially, you work your shift, you add the time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Unfortunately, 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 previously submitted timesheets, and they can force users to require a reason to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set up the system to let users to begin monitoring time if they haven’t clocked into the system in a little while.
The second, and most bothersome, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component can be found within the boundaries of your internet browser–every alternative that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download an native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, along with your timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted 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 wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partly blurred not to record sensitive information on each catch, but enough of this screen is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of whether the display is on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and convoluted way to manually monitor time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must discover 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 apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an overview of just how much motion was done by your employee by capturing location information at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for employees to do the job. You can set a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break duration, and you can allow it to be a recurring change. The tool’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”custom” report which allows you filter information from the above reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to learn and evolve based on if 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 have reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each worker worked, in addition to his or her associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked within the application. Keep in mind: Users do not need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right concerning the amount of hours they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out so, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then you can set PayPal payments to guide. Desktop Productivity
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you want to pay them when the work is finished. The Basic $5-per-month program provides you access to simple time tracking tools, an employee payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user settings that can be handled in 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 as well as monitor mouse and keyboard action during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool which provided this amount of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a shift screen, 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 fundamental program, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party applications. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the capability to assign changes and delegate tasks from within the console. Premium customers can also use the application to make invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Clients that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the added tracking features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a basic free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee a month for groups with fewer than 100 users, and a $80 base fee monthly for groups with more than a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll want to pony up a bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of consumers (that is a pretty solid deal if you want all the excess PM attributes ). Wrike’s lowest time monitoring plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding action levels and screen monitoring. We’ll 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 monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do an excellent job allowing for deeper change oversight. For instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced tracking. 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 is no way to handle this in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to a empty text area, but that information will not be mixed into accounts. As a consequence, you can’t use it to find out about who is functioning, how they’re functioning, and what they’re generating (other than the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this option, it gives you the ability to make six extra customizable advanced monitoring fields. You might also put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to respond to the questions at the end of each change or they will not have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about monitoring work, the application does not allow for IP address restrictions, which means your employees can say they’re working from the workplace but they can actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell app to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in almost every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie before you start recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to set this as a necessity (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, such as retail, building, or entertainment work). The program also does not allow users clock in via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets and other service providers make available for employees who do not have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like features factor into time tracking. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and place tracking, and action screenshots.
Once you place your users and they download the timer app onto their machine, the desktop program not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, for example three screenshots per minute. This applies not just to the user’s most important display but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys but it will track the activity provided via the mouse and computer keyboard, giving companies a calculation of how active the employee is. This info all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard in the Activity tab. This is where you can then select an individual in the drop-down menu to see 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 apps a worker visited or opened and how long they were there. The Reports module can then run custom queries on vectors like program 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 monitor productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location tracking 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 workers working in the area. While the depth of tracking data and surveillance features can not step up to a powerhouse tool such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff includes a helpful selection of attributes for employers that want a bit more oversight. Desktop Productivity
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behaviour while on the clockthen there’s no better software available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to find a platform that goes the extra mile to allow customization, atypical information entry, or even a much more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. In addition, in case you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to download a secondary program for tracking time–particularly once you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Desktop Productivity