Background Hubstaff Virtual Assistant
When picking a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the many different types of tools out there. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust 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. Because of this, you’re paying much more cash for things such as file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and change administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will discover 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. Hubstaff Virtual Assistant
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room on the 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 overview of how many hours your employees have worked this day and the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You will also see a list of every member, their most recent jobs, and how active they have been over the last week. This is a strong PM data visualization which lets you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to attention projects which are getting more than sufficient attention and projects 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. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you likely did with pen and paper during the analog age of time tracking. Essentially, you work your shift, you add time to your timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard method of monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can let 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 can also set the system up to let users to start tracking time if they haven’t clocked into the machine in a while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of monitoring moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we analyzed, this component can be found within the confines of your web browserevery alternative that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download a native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, and your timer will start counting. When you’re done, your activity and your screenshots will be sent to the principal hub. The native program is going to take a photo at random periods of up to three shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy not to capture sensitive information on each catch, but enough of the display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of if the display is really 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 through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to add 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 apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This gives you an summary of how much motion was done by your employee by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for workers to work. You can set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you can make it a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is terribly basic: You will receive access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report that lets you filter information from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to learn and evolve according to when and how your employees manage time, you’d be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they have reached weekly staffing and budget limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and created based on the time each worker worked, as well as their related pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time tracked within the application. Keep in mind: Users don’t need to send time through for approval, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right about the number of hours that they worked. There is no reminder for supervisors to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments go out so, if you’re worried about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to guide. Hubstaff Virtual Assistant
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you need to cover them when the job is finished. The Basic $5-per-month plan provides you access to simple time monitoring tools, a worker payment program supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences which may be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program lets you keep track of whether your employees are operating by letting you document screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only tool that offered this amount of insight into how employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are useful (albeit over-reaching) features for a shift monitor, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more on this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes everything you’ll discover in the Basic program, but you will also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party software. 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 can also use the tool to create invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay yearly will receive two months free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its closest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, especially given the added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that costs a $16 base fee per month for teams with fewer than 100 users, and an $80 foundation fee monthly for teams with over 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM solutions, then you will need to pony up a bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 a month for an infinite number of users (which is a pretty good deal if you want all the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out reporting options, and adding action levels and screen tracking. We’ll be analyzing 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 change oversight. By way of example, Hubstaff does not allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking company and you’re less concerned about the number of hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text field, but that information won’t be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to learn about who’s functioning, how they’re working, and what they are producing (other than the number of hours monitored ). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it gives you the ability to create six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You can also put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the consumer to reply to the questions at the end of each shift or they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the application does not permit for IP address limitations, so your employees can say they’re working from the office but they could actually be working from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they are using the cell app to monitor time). This is a normal 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’s overkill to generate somebody 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 outside of a computer, like electronic, construction, or amusement work). The software also doesn’t let users clock in via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make readily available for employees 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 has a lot of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place tracking, and action screenshots.
As soon as you place your customers and they download the timer app onto their machine, the desktop app not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, such as three screenshots per minute. This applies not just to the user’s most important display but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys but it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, providing employers a calculation of just how active the employee is. This info all winds up around 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.
When it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what websites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section can then run custom questions on vectors like app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with job and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific projects or tasks to monitor productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and site activity, it allows you to track and log place for employees working in the area. While the depth of monitoring surveillance and data features can’t step up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of attributes for companies that want a bit more oversight. Hubstaff Virtual Assistant
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clock, then there is no better program available than Hubstaff. You will have the ability to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the excess mile to allow customization, atypical data entry, or even a more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. Additionally, in case you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to download a secondary app for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other instrument we reviewed makes this possible within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Hubstaff Virtual Assistant