Intro Productivity Monitoring 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 powerful time tracking features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time tracking features in these tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying much more money 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 starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Productivity Monitoring Tools
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves plenty of room around 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 this day and how many hours they’ve worked over the past seven days. You’ll also see a list of every member, their latest tasks, and how active they have been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization that allows you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to attention projects that are becoming more than enough attention and jobs that are being neglected.
There are two ways 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 program. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you likely did with pencil and paper during the analog age of time tracking. Basically, if you work your shift, you add time to your own timesheet, and you also 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 planner. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they can force users to require a reason to ensure they’re actually adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set the system up to let users to start monitoring time if they have not clocked into the machine in a while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of monitoring time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this element is available within the boundaries of your internet browser–every alternative that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download a native desktop application that resides within another 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 sent to the main hub. The native program is going to take a photo at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour based on how often the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partly fuzzy to not capture sensitive information on every grab, but a lot of this display is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of whether the screen is on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complex and convoluted way to manually track time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to add 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 exactly the same as it is on the desktop app. The mobile apps let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This gives you an summary of just how much movement was performed by your employee by capturing location information at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for workers to do the job. You can put a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you’ll be able to allow it to be a recurring shift. The program’s reporting software is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports in addition to a”habit” report that allows you filter information from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing consequently, if your target is to learn and evolve according to if and how your employees manage time, you would be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they have reached weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each worker worked, as well as his or her related pay rate. You can set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time monitored inside the application. Remember: Consumers do not need to send time through for acceptance, therefore automatic payments will be made whether employees were right or wrong about the number of hours that they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you’re concerned about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to manual. Productivity Monitoring Tools
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you really need to pay them as soon as the job is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan provides you access to easy time tracking tools, a worker payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user settings that can be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program enables you to keep tabs on whether or not your employees are operating by letting you record screenshots while they function as well as monitor mouse and keyboard activity during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only instrument that provided this level of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are useful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes all 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 applications. The Premium bundle also has a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign shifts and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients may also use the tool to create invoices and make PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay yearly will get two weeks free (for both price 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 resources. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee a month for groups with fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 foundation fee monthly for teams with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more costly than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you are more interested in these hulky PM solutions, then you will want to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time tracking prices $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 need all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding activity levels and screen tracking. We’ll be testing these features shortly and you’ll 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 change supervision. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking business and you are less concerned about the number of hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to handle this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text field, but that information will not be mixed into reports. As a consequence, that you can’t use it to learn about who is working, how they are working, and what they are generating (aside from the amount of hours monitored ). TSheets not only provides you this option, it provides you the ability to make six extra customizable innovative monitoring fields. You can even add a question for every 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 they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the application does not allow for IP address restrictions, which means your employees can say they are working from the workplace but they can actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the mobile program to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to need users to snap a photo when they report to work. I guess it is overkill to make someone take a selfie right before you get started 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, like electronic, construction, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t let users clock in via a telephone call, which can be an element TSheets along with other service providers make available for employees who don’t have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We have touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time tracking. But the platform also offers a lot of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and place tracking, and action screenshots.
Once you place your customers and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop app not only tracks time but will take screenshots randomly or at custom intervals, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not just to the user’s most important screen but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys however, it will monitor the activity provided via the mouse and keyboard, giving companies 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 a user in the drop-down menu to see their screenshots correlated with action data.
When it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to see what sites and apps a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom queries on vectors such as program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular tasks or projects to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or capture mobile app and website activity, it allows you to track and log location for employees working in the area. While the depth of tracking surveillance and data features can not measure 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 bit more oversight. Productivity Monitoring Tools
Hubstaff is an 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 program accessible than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the extra mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or a much more sophisticated reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. Additionally, should you choose another system, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary program for monitoring time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we reviewed makes this potential within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Productivity Monitoring Tools