Introduction Free Online Productivity Tools
When picking a time monitoring tool, it is important to comprehend the various kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include powerful time monitoring features for professional services companies. On the other hand, the time tracking features in such tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you are paying much more cash for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Free Online Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room around the right-hand side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you 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 the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You’ll also find a list of every member, their most recent jobs, and how active they have been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization which lets 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 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 app. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours as you likely did with pen and paper through the analog era of time monitoring. Essentially, you work your change, you add time to your timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of monitoring time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff does not let you add future time, you can not use the platform as a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to require a motive to guarantee they’re actually adding hours they worked. Admins may also set up the system to let users to begin monitoring time should they haven’t clocked into the machine in a while.
The next, and most bothersome, way of monitoring time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this element is available within the boundaries of your internet browserevery alternative that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download an native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, along with your own timer will start counting. When you are done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the principal hub. The native program is going to 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 fuzzy to not record sensitive information on every grab, but a lot of this screen is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of if the screen is on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and complicated way to manually track time, particularly 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 precisely the same as it is on the desktop program. The mobile programs let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an overview of just how much motion was done by your worker by capturing location data 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 allow it to be a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report that allows you filter data from the above reports. In comparison to the PM options in this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to understand and evolve according to if and how your employees handle time, you’d be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve attained weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each worker worked, in addition to their associated pay rate. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored within the tool. Remember: Consumers do not need to send time for acceptance, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours that they worked. There’s not any reminder for supervisors to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments move out so, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to manual. Free Online Productivity Tools
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you need 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 program manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences that may be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan lets you keep track of whether or not your employees are working by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse action during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only instrument which offered this amount of insight into how employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change monitor, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more about this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes everything you’ll discover in the fundamental program, but you’ll also get 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 power to assign changes and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium customers may also use the application to make invoices and create PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay annually will receive two weeks free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee per month for groups with fewer than 100 users, and an $80 foundation fee per month for teams 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 level.
If you’re 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 tracking prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of consumers (that is a fairly good deal if you need all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s lowest time monitoring plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a internet timer, fleshing out reporting choices, 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.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do an excellent job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking business and you are less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to handle that in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to an empty text field, but that information will not be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can’t use it to find out about who is functioning, how they are functioning, and what they are generating (other than the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this option, it provides you the ability to make six extra customizable innovative tracking fields. You might also add a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to reply to the questions at the close of each shift or else they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about monitoring work, the application doesn’t permit for IP address restrictions, which means your workers can say they’re working from the office but they can actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the mobile app to monitor time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to need users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie right before you start recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, such as retail, construction, or entertainment work). The program also does not let users clock in via a phone call, which is an element TSheets and other service providers make readily available for employees who don’t have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like features factor into time tracking. But the platform also offers a lot of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring attributes include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and location tracking, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your customers 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, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not only to the user’s main display but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does track the action provided via the mouse and computer keyboard, providing companies a calculation of just how active the worker is. This info all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard in the Task tab. This is where you can then select an individual from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots connected with activity data.
If it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to see what websites and programs a worker visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports section may then run custom queries on vectors like app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular tasks or projects to track productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the mobile app can’t take screenshots or catch mobile app and website activity, it allows you to 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 powerhouse tool such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of features for companies that want a little more oversight. Free Online Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behaviour while on the clockthen there is no better software available than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and path moves via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the extra mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a much more sophisticated reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff won’t be perfect for you. Additionally, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary app for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Free Online Productivity Tools