Background Software Productivity Factors
When choosing a time tracking tool, it’s important to understand the many different types of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time tracking features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time tracking features in such tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you’re paying much more money 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 tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice instrument for time tracking. Software Productivity Factors
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar which leaves lots of room around the side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you first log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which gives you an overview of how many hours your employees have worked this day and how many hours they’ve worked over the previous seven days. You will also find a list of each member, their most recent tasks, and how active they have been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization which allows you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to focus projects which are becoming more than sufficient focus and projects that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to put in 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 app. With the timesheet attribute, you log your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper through the analog era of time tracking. Essentially, you work your change, you add the time to your timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff doesn’t allow you to add future time, you can’t use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they’re able to induce users to need a reason to guarantee they’re really adding hours they worked. Admins may also set the system up to let users to start monitoring time if they have not clocked to the machine in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is by using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we analyzed, this component can be found within the boundaries of your internet browserevery solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download an native desktop application that resides within another window. In it, you can select your project, press Start, and your own timer will begin counting. When you are done, your action and your screenshots will be sent to the principal hub. The native app will take a photo at random intervals of up to three shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin wants to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partly fuzzy to not record sensitive information on each catch, but a lot of the screen is left unsullied that you’ll still get a sense of if the screen is on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated 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 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 programs let admins monitor motions via GPS monitoring. This gives you an summary of just how much movement was performed by your worker by capturing location information at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for employees to do the job. It is possible to set a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break duration, and you can make it a recurring change. The program’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports in addition to a”custom” report that lets you filter data from the aforementioned reports. When compared to the PM solutions in this class, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing so, if your target is to understand and evolve based on when and how your employees handle time, you would be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they’ve attained weekly staffing and funding limitations. Invoices are automatically calculated and made depending on the time each worker worked, in addition to his or her associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which lets you automate payments based on time monitored inside the tool. Keep in mind: Consumers do not need to send time for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right concerning the amount of hours they worked. There’s not any reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out so, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to guide. Software Productivity Factors
Cost And Options
Hubstaff has been built to give you Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you really want to cover them as soon as the work is finished. The Basic $5-per-month program provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, a worker payment program supervisor, 24/7 support, and user settings which can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan enables you to keep tabs on whether your employees are operating by letting you record screenshots while they function as well as monitor keyboard and mouse activity during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve tested, Hubstaff is the only tool which provided this amount of insight into how workers are progressing. Although keyboard and screen monitoring are useful (albeit over-reaching) attributes for a shift monitor, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be desired (more about this later).
The 9-per-user-per-month Premium plan includes all you’ll discover in the fundamental program, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the application with other third-party software. The Premium package also has a lightweight schedulingtool that provides administrators the capability to assign changes and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients may also use the tool to make invoices and make PayPal payments automatically. Customers that pay yearly will get two months free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its closest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets supplies a basic free account, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that costs a $16 base fee per month for teams with fewer than 100 users, along with a $80 base fee monthly for teams with more than a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more expensive 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 bit more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time monitoring prices $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time tracking plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of consumers (that is a pretty solid deal if you want all of the extra PM attributes ). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a major update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a internet timer, fleshing out coverage choices, and adding activity levels and monitor tracking. We’ll be testing these attributes 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 supervision. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking business and you’re less concerned about how many hours each trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage this in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that information won’t be mixed into accounts. This means you can’t use it to learn about who is functioning, how they’re functioning, and what they’re producing (aside from the number of hours tracked). TSheets not only gives you this choice, it gives you the ability to make six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You can also put in a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) And the system forces the user to reply to the queries at the close of every change or else they will not have the ability to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the tool doesn’t permit for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they’re working from the office but they can actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the mobile app to track time). This is a standard feature that’s available in virtually every other instrument we tested. Hubstaff also doesn’t enable admins to need users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to make someone take a selfie before you start recording their display and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, especially if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, like retail, building, or amusement work). The software also doesn’t let users clock in via a phone call, which is an element TSheets and other service providers make readily available for workers who do not have a smartphone.
Tracking Employee Work
We’ve touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like features factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also has many of the hallmarks of employee tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee monitoring features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and location monitoring, and activity screenshots.
Once you place your customers and they download the timer app onto their machine, the desktop program not only monitors time but will take screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots each minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important display but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it will monitor the activity provided through the mouse and computer keyboard, providing companies a calculation of how active the employee is. This info all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard in the Task tab. This is where you can then select an individual in the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with activity data.
If it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to learn what sites and apps an employee visited or opened and how long they were there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom questions on vectors like app usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff incorporates with job and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from particular tasks or projects to monitor 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 catch mobile app and site activity, it lets you monitor and log location for employees working in the area. While the depth of tracking surveillance and data features can’t step up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee monitoring, Hubstaff has a helpful choice of features for employers that want a little more oversight. Software Productivity Factors
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you’re diligent about tracking employee behaviour while on the clock, then there’s no better program accessible than Hubstaff. You will have the ability to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route moves via GPS tracking.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the excess mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be perfect for you. In addition, should you opt for another program, 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 examined makes this possible within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Software Productivity Factors