Background Email Productivity Tools
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it’s important to understand the many different kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time tracking features for professional services businesses. However, the time tracking features in such tools are available only as part of larger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you’re 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 will find pure play time tracking tools like Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Email Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with an attractive 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 overview of how many hours your employees have worked that day and the number of hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also see a list of each member, their most recent tasks, and how busy they have been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization that allows you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to attention projects that are becoming more than sufficient attention and projects that are being neglected.
There are two methods 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. With the timesheet feature, you log in your hours as you probably did with pen and paper through the analog age of time tracking. Basically, if you work your shift, you add time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of monitoring time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can’t use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to need a reason to guarantee they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins may also set up the system to remind users to begin monitoring time if they haven’t clocked to the machine in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of monitoring time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this component is available within the boundaries of your web browser–every solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are expected to download a native desktop application that lives within another window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, and your own timer will start counting. When you are done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native program will take a picture at random intervals of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to record sensitive information on each catch, but a lot of this screen is left unsullied that you’ll still get a sense of if the display is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complex and complicated means to manually monitor time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to add the stopwatch and 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’s on the desktop program. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This gives you an overview of just how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for employees to do the job. It is possible to set a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break interval, and you’ll be able to allow it to be a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting software is horribly basic: You will receive access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports in addition to a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to understand and evolve according to 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 when they have reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each worker worked, as well as his or her associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored inside the application. Remember: Users do not need to send time for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right concerning the number of hours they worked. There’s no reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out so, if you are concerned about making bogus payments, then you can set PayPal payments to guide. Email Productivity Tools
Price 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 really want to cover them as soon as the work is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan gives you access to simple time tracking tools, a worker payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan enables you to keep tabs on whether your employees are working by letting you document screenshots while they function in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard action during changes. Of the five tools we analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument that offered this amount of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring 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 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 package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the capability to assign shifts and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium customers may also use the tool to make invoices and make PayPal payments mechanically. Clients that pay yearly will receive two weeks free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the added tracking features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee per month for groups who have fewer than 100 users, along with a $80 base fee monthly for teams with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM alternatives, then you will 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 tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of users (which is a pretty good deal if you want all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage choices, and adding activity levels and screen tracking. We’ll be testing these features shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Besides its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff does not do an excellent job allowing for deeper shift supervision. By way of example, 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 handle that in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to a empty text field, but that information won’t be mixed into reports. As a consequence, that you can’t use it to find out about who is functioning, how they are working, and what they are generating (other than the amount of hours monitored ). TSheets not only provides you this option, it provides you the ability to create six additional customizable innovative tracking fields. You might also add a question for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the consumer to respond to the queries at the end of every shift or they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the application doesn’t allow for IP address restrictions, which means your workers can say they’re working from the office but they could actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell program to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other instrument 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 someone take a selfie right before you get started recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you set this as a necessity (which makes sense, particularly if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, such as retail, building, or amusement work). The software also does not let users clock via a telephone call, which can be an element TSheets along with other service providers make readily 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 features factor into time monitoring. But the platform also has a lot of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place monitoring, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you place your users and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop app 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 main screen but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys but it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of how active the worker is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from the Activity tab. This is where you can then pick a user from the drop-down menu to see their screenshots correlated with activity data.
When it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to see what websites and programs an employee opened or visited and how long they had been there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom questions on vectors such as program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with job and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports by particular projects or tasks to track productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can’t take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it allows you to monitor and log place for employees working in the field. While the depth of monitoring surveillance and data features can’t measure up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee monitoring, Hubstaff has a useful choice of attributes for companies that want a bit more oversight. Email Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behaviour while on the clock, then there is no better software available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path moves via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform that goes the excess mile to allow customization, atypical data entry, or a more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. Additionally, in case you opt for a different program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Email Productivity Tools