Background Free Productivity Tools
When picking a time tracking tool, it’s important to understand the many different kinds of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time monitoring features for professional services businesses. However, the time tracking features in such tools are available only as part of larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying much more money for things like file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will find pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Free Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves plenty of room on the right-hand side of your screen for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which provides you an overview of the number of hours your employees have worked that day and how many hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You will also find a list of every member, their latest jobs, and how active they’ve been over the last week. This is a strong PM data visualization which lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to attention projects that are becoming more than enough focus and projects that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to put in time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop app. With the timesheet attribute, you log in your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper through the analog age of time monitoring. Essentially, you work your shift, you add time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a pretty standard method of tracking time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform for 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 that they worked. Admins can also set up the system to remind users to begin tracking time if they haven’t clocked to the machine in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this element can be found within the boundaries of your internet browser–every solution that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download an native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your own timer will begin counting. When you’re done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the main hub. The native program will take a picture at random periods of up to three shots per hour based on how often the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy to not capture sensitive information on every grab, but enough of the 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 is an annoyingly complex and complicated means to manually track time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must discover 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 apps let admins monitor movements via GPS monitoring. This provides you an summary of how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for employees to work. You can put a minimum number of hours to operate, a lunch break interval, and you’ll be able to make it a recurring shift. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”custom” report that allows you filter data from the above reports. When compared to the PM options within this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is utterly embarrassing consequently, if your target is to understand and evolve based on if and how your employees handle time, you would be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve 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. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked inside the application. Remember: Users don’t have to send time through for approval, therefore automatic payments will be made whether employees were right or wrong about the number of hours they worked. There’s not any reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments go out thus, if you’re concerned about making bogus payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to guide. Free Productivity Tools
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you need to cover them as soon as the job is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month program gives you access to simple time tracking tools, a worker payment program supervisor, 24/7 support, and user settings which can be managed on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this plan enables you to keep tabs on whether or not your employees are working by allowing you record screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard action during changes. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool that offered this level of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard tracking 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 Basic plan, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party software. The Premium package also has 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 create PayPal payments automatically. Clients that pay annually will receive two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets supplies a basic free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that charges a $16 base fee a month for groups who have fewer than 100 users, and a $80 base fee per month for groups with more than a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more expensive than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM solutions, then you’ll want to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 a month for an infinite number of users (which is a fairly good deal if you need all the excess PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking 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 significant upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding activity levels and screen 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 tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do an excellent job allowing for deeper change supervision. For example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking business and you’re less concerned about the number of hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to a empty text field, but that information will not be mixed into accounts. This means that you can not use it to learn about who’s working, how they’re functioning, and what they’re generating (other than the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it provides you the ability to make six extra customizable innovative monitoring fields. You might even add a question for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to respond to the queries at the close of every change or else they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the tool doesn’t permit for IP address limitations, so your workers can say they’re working from the office but they can actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they are using the mobile app 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 need users to snap a photo when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie right before you start recording their display and monitoring 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 electronic, building, or entertainment work). The program also does not let users clock via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make available for employees who do not have a smartphone.
Tracking 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 employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and location monitoring, and action screenshots.
Once you place your users and they download the timer program onto their server, the desktop program not only monitors time but will take screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, such as three screenshots per minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important display but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does monitor the activity provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This data all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task tab. This is where you can then select an individual from the drop-down menu to view their screenshots connected with action data.
If it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what sites and programs an employee visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports module can then run custom questions on vectors like program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with job and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular tasks or projects to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the cellular app can’t take screenshots or capture mobile app and website activity, it allows you to monitor and log place for employees working in the area. While the thickness of tracking surveillance and data features can not step up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee monitoring, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of attributes for employers that want a little more oversight. Free Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you’re diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clock, then there is no better software accessible than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the excess mile to allow customization, atypical information entry, or a much more sophisticated reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. In addition, in case you choose a different system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary app for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Free Productivity Tools