Intro Productivity Tools
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 feature powerful time monitoring features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time tracking features in these tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying a lot more cash for things like file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will discover pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Utilization
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room around the side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you first 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 the number of hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent tasks, and how active 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 focus projects that are getting more than enough focus and projects that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet feature, you log your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog age of time tracking. Essentially, you work your shift, you add the time to your own timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t let you add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to require a motive to guarantee they’re actually adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set the system up to let users to start tracking time if they haven’t clocked to the system in a while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we tested, this component is available within the boundaries of your web browser–every solution 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 project, press Start, along with your timer will start counting. When you’re done, your action and your screenshots will be transmitted to the principal hub. The native program will take a photo at random intervals of up to three shots per hour based on how frequently the admin would like to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partly fuzzy not to record sensitive information on every grab, but enough of the display is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of if the screen is on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and complicated means to manually monitor time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must discover 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’s on the desktop app. The mobile apps let admins monitor motions via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of just how much motion was performed by your worker by capturing location data at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab enables you to assign times and dates 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 allow it to be a recurring change. The program’s reporting software is terribly basic: You will get access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report that allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions within this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to understand and evolve based on 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, in addition to their related pay rate. You can set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time tracked within the application. Keep in mind: Users don’t need to send time through for acceptance, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the amount of hours that they worked. There’s no reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you’re worried about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to manual. Productivity Tools
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they’re doing while they work, and what you want to cover them as soon as the job is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan provides you access to simple time tracking tools, an employee payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user settings that may be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this program enables you to keep tabs on whether or not your employees are working by letting you document screenshots while they work in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard action during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool that provided this level of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although screen and keyboard tracking 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 plan includes everything you’ll find in the fundamental program, but you will also have access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third-party software. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign shifts and delegate tasks from inside the console. Premium customers can also use the tool to create invoices and make PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay annually will receive two months free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, especially given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets supplies a fundamental free account, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges a $16 base fee per month for teams with fewer than 100 users, and a $80 foundation fee monthly for groups 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 level.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM alternatives, then you’ll want to pony up a bit more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time tracking costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of users (which is a pretty solid deal if you need all the excess PM attributes ). 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 business has released a major upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed certain feature flaws or omissions, such as adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding activity levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to be analyzing these attributes shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff does not do a very good job allowing for deeper shift oversight. For instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking business and you are less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there is no way to handle this in Hubstaff. Users may add notes to an empty text field, but that information will not be mixed into accounts. As a consequence, 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 gives you this choice, it provides you the ability to make six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You might even put in a query for every single clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the user to respond to the questions at the end of each shift or else they won’t be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the application does not allow for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they are working from the workplace but they could actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they are using the cell program to monitor time). This is a standard feature that’s available in almost every other instrument we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to require users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I guess it’s overkill to make somebody take a selfie before you get started recording their screen and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets lets you set this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, like retail, construction, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t allow users clock in via a phone call, which can be an element TSheets along with other service providers make readily available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We have touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also has many of the hallmarks of worker monitoring tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and place tracking, and activity screenshots.
Once you set your customers and they download the timer app onto their machine, the desktop app not only tracks time but will require screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not just to the user’s main display but any attached monitors as well. Hubstaff does not log keys but it does monitor the action provided through the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This info all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from 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 application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to learn what sites and programs an employee visited or opened and how long they were there. The Reports module can then run custom queries on vectors like app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific tasks or projects to track productivity.
1 unique employee tracking feature offered 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 monitor and log place for employees working in the area. While the depth of tracking surveillance and data features can’t step up to a grid application for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker tracking, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of attributes for companies that want a little more oversight. Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about monitoring employee behaviour while on the clock, then there’s no better software available than Hubstaff. You’ll have the ability to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the extra mile to allow customization, atypical data entry, or even a more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be right for you. Additionally, should you choose another program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary app for tracking time–especially once you consider that every other tool we examined makes this possible within the boundaries of their online UI. Productivity Tools