Introduction Productivity Software Landscape
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the various types of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time tracking features for professional services companies. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying a lot more money for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time monitoring tools like Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Productivity Software Landscape
Attributes and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots 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 provides you an summary of how many hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they have worked over the past seven days. You will also see a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how busy 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 becoming more than sufficient attention and projects that are being disregarded.
There are two methods to put in time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log in your hours since you likely did with pen and paper through the analog era of time tracking. Essentially, you work your change, 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 allow you to add future time, you can’t use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit formerly submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to require a motive to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to start tracking time should they haven’t clocked to the system in a while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component is available within the boundaries of your web browserevery solution that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re required to download an native desktop application that lives 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 transmitted to the principal hub. The native program will take a picture at random intervals of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially blurred not to capture sensitive information on each catch, but a lot of the screen is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of if the display is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complex and complicated way to manually monitor time, especially 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 precisely the same as it’s on the desktop program. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of how much motion was done by your employee by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign times and dates for workers to work. You can put a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you’ll be able to make it a recurring shift. The program’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, job, and member view reports as well as a”custom” report which lets you filter data from the above reports. In comparison to the PM options in this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is utterly embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on if and how your employees handle time, you’d be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they’ve reached weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each employee worked, as well as his or her associated pay rate. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time tracked within the tool. Remember: Users don’t need to send time for acceptance, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right about the amount of hours that they worked. There is not any reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out thus, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to guide. Productivity Software Landscape
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you really need to pay them when the work is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user settings which can be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program lets you keep tabs on whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse action during changes. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool that provided this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although screen and keyboard monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be desired (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes everything you’ll find in the fundamental plan, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third-party applications. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign changes and assign tasks from within the console. Premium customers can also use the application to create invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, especially given the extra tracking features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a fundamental free account, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that costs a $16 base fee a month for groups with fewer than 100 users, along with an $80 base fee monthly for teams with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium level.
If you’re more interested in those hulky PM alternatives, then you will need to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 per month for an infinite number of users (which is a pretty solid deal if you need all the extra PM features). Wrike’s lowest time monitoring plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first 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 coverage options, and adding activity levels and monitor tracking. We’ll be testing these features shortly and you’ll 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 change oversight. For instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced monitoring. If you run a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to a empty text area, but that information will not be blended into reports. As a consequence, that you can not use it to learn about who’s working, how they’re functioning, and what they’re generating (aside from the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this option, it gives you the ability to create six extra customizable advanced tracking fields. You might even put in a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an episode? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to respond to the questions at the close of every shift or they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about monitoring work, the application does not permit for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they are working from the workplace but they can actually be operating from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they are using the mobile program to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photo when they report to work. I guess it’s overkill to generate somebody take a selfie 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 tracking tasks done outside of a computer, such as retail, building, or entertainment work). The software also doesn’t let users clock via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets and other service providers make readily available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We have touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. But the platform also has a lot of the hallmarks of employee monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and application tracking, GPS and place monitoring, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your customers and they download the timer program onto their server, 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 just to the user’s main screen but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys however, it will track the action provided via the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of just how active the employee is. This data all winds up around 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 connected with action data.
If it comes to program and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what sites and apps a worker visited or opened and how long they had been there. The Reports module may then run custom queries on vectors such as app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with job and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by particular tasks or projects to track productivity.
One unique employee tracking feature supplied is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile program. While the mobile app can not take screenshots or catch mobile app and website 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 measure up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee monitoring, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of features for companies that want a bit more oversight. Productivity Software Landscape
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clockthen there’s no better software accessible than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route movements via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, irregular information entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be perfect for you. In addition, in case you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to obtain a secondary app for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other tool we reviewed makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Productivity Software Landscape