Background Productivity Gains
When picking a time monitoring tool, it’s important to comprehend the many different kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time monitoring features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in these tools are available only as part of larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you’re paying a lot more cash for things such as file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and change management. 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 tool for time tracking. Productivity Gains
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves plenty of room on the right-hand side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you log into the system, you will be taken to the main dashboard, which gives you an overview of how many hours your employees have worked that day and how many hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their latest jobs, and how active they have been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization which lets you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to focus projects that are getting more than enough attention and projects that are being neglected.
There are two methods to add time in Hubstaff: You can construct manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop app. With the timesheet feature, you log in your hours as you likely did with pen and paper through the analog era of time tracking. 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. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they can force users to need a reason to ensure they’re actually adding hours that they worked. Admins can also set up the system to remind users to start monitoring time if they have not clocked into the system in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of monitoring moment in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we analyzed, this component is available within the confines of your web browserevery alternative that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download an native desktop application that lives within a separate window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, along with your own timer will start counting. When you’re done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the principal hub. The native program will take a picture at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how often the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to capture sensitive information on each 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, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and also screengrab components 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 program. The mobile apps let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of how much motion was done by your worker by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign dates and times for workers to do the job. It is possible to set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you can make it a recurring shift. The program’s reporting software is horribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, project, and penis view reports in addition to a”custom” report which lets you filter information from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s reporting is utterly embarrassing so, if your goal is to learn and evolve according to when and how your employees manage time, you’d be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve reached weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and created depending on the time each employee worked, as well as their related pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time tracked inside the tool. Keep in mind: Users do not need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours that they worked. There is not any reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments go out so, if you’re worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to manual. Productivity Gains
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff was built to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you really want to cover them as soon as the job is done. The Basic $5-per-month program provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, a worker payment program supervisor, 24/7 support, and user preferences that may be handled on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program lets you keep track of whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse activity during shifts. Of the five tools we analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool which provided this amount of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a shift monitor, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be desired (more on this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes all you’ll find in the Basic plan, but you will also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party applications. The Premium bundle also has a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign changes and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the application to make invoices and create PayPal payments automatically. Clients that pay yearly will get two weeks free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its closest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a basic free accounts, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that costs a $16 base fee per month for teams with fewer than 100 users, and a $80 base fee monthly for teams with more than a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you’re more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you’ll need to pony up a bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of consumers (which is a fairly solid deal if you need all the excess PM attributes ). Wrike’s lowest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original review of Hubstaff, the company has released a major upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting choices, and adding activity levels and monitor tracking. 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 tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text field, but that data won’t be mixed into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to learn about who’s functioning, how they are working, and what they’re generating (aside from the amount of hours monitored ). TSheets not only provides you this option, it provides you the ability to create six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You might even add a query for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to reply to the questions at the close of each change or else they won’t be able 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 are working from the workplace but they could actually be working 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 almost every other instrument we analyzed. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie right before you get started recording their display and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a necessity (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, such as electronic, building, or amusement work). The program also does not allow users clock via a phone call, which can be an element TSheets and other service providers make available for workers who don’t have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also has many of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and location tracking, and action screenshots.
As soon as you set your users and they download the timer program onto their server, the desktop app not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, for example 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 but it will monitor the activity provided via the mouse and keyboard, giving employers a calculation of how active the worker is. This info all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from the Activity tab. This is where you can then select a user from the drop-down menu to see their screenshots connected with action data.
If it comes to application and URL monitoring, 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 section can subsequently run custom queries on vectors such as app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with project and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular projects or tasks to track productivity.
One unique employee tracking feature supplied is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the cellular app can’t take screenshots or catch mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log place for workers working in the field. While the thickness of monitoring data and surveillance features can not step up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff includes a useful choice of attributes for companies that want a little more oversight. Productivity Gains
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about tracking employee behaviour while on the clock, then there’s no better program available than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route movements via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to find a platform that goes the extra mile to allow customization, irregular information entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. In addition, should you opt for another system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the confines of their online UI. Productivity Gains