Introduction It Productivity Tools
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the many different kinds of tools out there. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time tracking 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 money for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will discover pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. It Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created 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 gives you an summary of the number of hours your employees have worked that day and the number of hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You will also see a list of every member, their latest tasks, and how active they have 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 focus projects that are becoming more than enough focus and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two methods to add time in Hubstaff: You can construct manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop app. With the timesheet feature, you log in your hours since you probably did with pen and paper through the analog era of time tracking. Essentially, you work your change, you add time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff does not let you add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to require a reason to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to start monitoring time if they have not clocked into the machine in a little while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, 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 lives within a separate window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, and your timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the main hub. The native program is going to take a picture at random intervals of up to three shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin would like to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy not to capture sensitive information on each catch, but enough of the 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 complicated means to manually track time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and also 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 is on the desktop program. The mobile programs let admins monitor motions via GPS monitoring. This provides you an summary of just how much movement was performed by your worker by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates for employees to work. 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 applications is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports in addition to a”habit” report which allows you filter information from the above reports. In comparison to the PM options in this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to understand and evolve according to when and how your employees manage time, you would be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they’ve attained weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each employee worked, as well as their associated pay rate. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked inside the tool. Remember: Consumers do not have to send time through for approval, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours that they worked. There’s no reminder for supervisors to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments go out thus, if you are worried about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to guide. It Productivity Tools
Price And Options
Hubstaff has been constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they’re doing while they operate, and what you want to cover them when the work is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan gives you access to easy time monitoring tools, a worker payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user settings that may be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this program lets you keep track of whether your employees are working by letting you record screenshots while they work in addition to monitor keyboard and mouse action during changes. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument that offered this level of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features for a shift monitor, 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 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 power to assign shifts and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the application to create invoices and make PayPal payments mechanically. 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, especially given the added tracking features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee a month for groups with fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 base fee monthly for groups with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you are more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll want to pony up a bit more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 a month for an unlimited number of users (which is a pretty solid deal if you want all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan prices $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 upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting choices, and adding action levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to be analyzing 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 does not do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking company and you are less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to handle that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that data will not be mixed into reports. This means you can not use it to learn about who’s functioning, how they are functioning, and what they are producing (aside from the amount of hours monitored ). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it gives you the ability to make six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You might also add a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the consumer to respond to the questions at the close of every shift or else they will not have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the application doesn’t allow for IP address restrictions, so your employees can say they’re working from the workplace but they could actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell program to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in almost every other instrument we tested. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to require users to snap a photograph when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie right before you get started recording their display and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, like retail, construction, or entertainment work). The software also doesn’t allow users clock in via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets and other service providers make available for employees who don’t have a smartphone.
Monitoring 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 has a lot of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and application tracking, GPS and place tracking, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you set 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 display but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys but it does track the activity provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, giving companies a calculation of how active the employee is. This info all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from the Task 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 simply tracking time to learn what websites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they had been there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom questions on vectors like program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific tasks or projects to monitor productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can’t take screenshots or capture mobile app and website activity, it lets you track and log location for employees working in the field. While the thickness of tracking data and surveillance features can not measure up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff has a useful selection of attributes for employers that want a little more oversight. It Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clockthen there’s no better software available than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the extra mile to allow customization, atypical information entry, or even a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. In addition, in case you choose a different system, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to obtain a secondary program for monitoring time–particularly when you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the confines of their web-based UI. It Productivity Tools