When choosing a time tracking tool, it is important to understand the various kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time tracking features for professional services companies. However, the time tracking features in such tools are available only within bigger 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 management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll discover pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Officetime
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room on the side of your screen for data entry and analysis. When you 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 how many hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how active they’ve been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization that allows you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to focus projects which are becoming more than sufficient attention and projects that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You are able to construct manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. With the timesheet feature, you log in your hours since you likely did with pen and paper during the analog age of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your shift, 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 doesn’t let you add future time, you can’t use the platform as a shift planner. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they can induce users to need a motive to guarantee they’re actually adding hours they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to begin tracking time if they have not clocked into the machine in a while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we tested, this element is available within the confines of your internet browserevery solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download a native desktop application that resides within another window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your timer will begin counting. When you are done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native program is going to take a picture at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour based on how often the admin wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partly blurred not to record sensitive information on every catch, but enough of the screen is left unsullied 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 convoluted means to manually track time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must discover 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 precisely the same as it’s on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an summary of just how much motion was performed by your employee by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates for employees to work. You can put a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you can allow it to be a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is terribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”custom” report that lets you filter data from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to understand and evolve according to if and how your employees manage time, you’d be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve attained weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each employee worked, in addition to their associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked within the application. Remember: Users don’t need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right concerning the number of hours they worked. There is no reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments go out so, if you’re concerned about making bogus payments, then you can set PayPal payments to manual. Officetime
Price And Options
Hubstaff has been built 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 Basic $5-per-month plan provides you access to simple time tracking tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences which can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this program lets you keep tabs on whether or not your employees are working by letting you record screenshots while they function in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during changes. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument which offered this amount of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are helpful (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 plan includes all you’ll find in the fundamental 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 package also has a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the power to assign shifts and delegate tasks from within the console. Premium clients can also use the application to create invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its closest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, 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, along with an $80 foundation fee monthly for teams with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive 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 bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 a month for an infinite number of users (that is a fairly good deal if you need all the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan costs $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 upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage choices, and adding activity levels and screen monitoring. We are going to be testing these features shortly and you will see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Besides its draconian screengrab and keystroke monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that information will not be blended into accounts. This means that you can not use it to find out about who is working, how they’re working, and what they are producing (other than the number of hours monitored ). TSheets not only gives you this option, it provides you the ability to create six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You might also add a question for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to respond to the questions at the close of every change or else they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about monitoring work, the tool does not allow for IP address restrictions, so your employees can say they’re working from the office but they can actually be operating from a cruise ship in the Bahamas (unless they are using the mobile program to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to require users to snap a photo 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 place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, such as electronic, construction, or amusement work). The software also doesn’t allow users clock in via a phone call, which is a component TSheets along with other service providers make readily available for employees who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We have touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like attributes factor into time tracking. But the platform also has many of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place monitoring, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you set your users 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 per minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important screen but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of how active 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 in the drop-down menu to see their screenshots connected with activity data.
When it comes to program and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what websites and apps an employee visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports section can subsequently run custom queries on vectors like program usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff incorporates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by particular projects or tasks to track productivity.
1 unique employee monitoring feature supplied is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or catch mobile app and website activity, it lets you track and log location for workers working in the area. While the thickness of tracking data and surveillance features can not step up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of features for companies that want a little more oversight. Officetime
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clockthen there’s no better program available than Hubstaff. You will have the ability to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or a more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. Additionally, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to obtain a secondary app for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the confines of their online UI. Officetime