Background Productivity Software Tools
When picking a time tracking tool, it’s important to understand the various types of tools available. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature powerful time tracking features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying much more cash for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and change management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Productivity Software Tools
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots 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 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 past seven days. You’ll also see a list of every member, their latest jobs, 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 which are becoming more than sufficient attention and jobs 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. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log your hours as you likely did with pencil and paper through the analog age of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your shift, you add time to your timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff does not let you add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift planner. Administrators can let 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 up the system to let users to begin tracking time should they haven’t clocked into the machine in a while.
The second, and most bothersome, way of monitoring moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this component 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 lives within a separate window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, along with 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 depending on how often the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partly fuzzy to not capture sensitive information on each grab, but a lot of the display is left unsullied that you’ll still get a feeling of if the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and complicated means to manually monitor time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and 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 is on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS monitoring. This provides you an overview of just how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates for employees to do the job. It is possible to set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you’ll be able to allow it to be a recurring change. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports as well as a”custom” report which lets you filter data from the above reports. In comparison to the PM solutions in this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing consequently, if your target is to learn and evolve based on when and how your employees handle time, you’d be much better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they’ve attained weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and created based 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 monitored inside the tool. Remember: Consumers do not need to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether employees were wrong or right about the amount of hours they worked. There’s not any reminder for managers to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you’re concerned about making false payments, then you can set PayPal payments to guide. Productivity Software Tools
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff has been constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you really want to cover them when the job is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month program provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, an employee payment program manager, 24/7 support, and user settings which may be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan enables you to keep track of whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you document screenshots while they work in addition to monitor keyboard and mouse activity during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve tested, Hubstaff is the only instrument which offered this amount of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features 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 fundamental program, but you will 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 gives administrators the power to assign shifts and delegate tasks from inside the console. Premium customers may also use the application to make invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Clients that pay annually will get two weeks free (for both price tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a basic free account, 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 groups with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets slightly more expensive than Hubstaff, even at 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 prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 a month for an infinite number of consumers (that is a pretty good deal if you need all the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s cheapest time tracking plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Ought to Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the business has released a significant upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature flaws or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out reporting choices, and adding action levels and screen monitoring. We’ll 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 does not do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. By way of instance, Hubstaff does not allow advanced tracking. If you run a trucking business and you are less concerned about how many hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to handle that in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to an empty text field, but that data will not be mixed into accounts. As a consequence, that you can not use it to find out about who’s functioning, how they’re functioning, and what they’re producing (aside from the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this choice, it gives you the ability to create six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You can even put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the user to reply to the queries at the close of each shift or they won’t have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about monitoring work, the tool doesn’t permit for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they’re working from the workplace but they could actually be operating from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they are using the cell program to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in almost every other tool we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photo when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate someone take a selfie right before you start recording their screen and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you place this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done outside of a computer, like electronic, construction, or amusement work). The software also does not allow users clock in via a phone call, which is an element TSheets and other service providers make available for employees who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time tracking. However, the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program monitoring, GPS and place monitoring, and action screenshots.
Once you place your customers and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop program not only monitors time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, for example three screenshots per minute. This applies not just to the user’s main display but any connected monitors as well. Hubstaff doesn’t log keys but it will monitor the action provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing employers a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This info all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard in the Activity tab. This is where you can then select a user in the drop-down menu to see their screenshots connected with activity data.
When it comes to program and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to learn what sites and programs a worker opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports section may then run custom questions on vectors like app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools like Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific projects or tasks to monitor productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered is GPS location monitoring through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the cellular app can not take screenshots or catch mobile app and website activity, it lets you track and log location for workers working in the field. While the depth 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 selection of attributes for employers that want a bit more oversight. Productivity Software Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about tracking employee behavior while on the clockthen there is no better software accessible than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, monitor keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS monitoring.
Unfortunately, if you’re trying to find a platform that goes the extra mile to allow customization, atypical information entry, or a more advanced reporting arrangement, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. Additionally, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary program for monitoring time–especially when you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their online UI. Productivity Software Tools