When picking a time monitoring tool, it’s important to comprehend the many different kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all include robust time monitoring features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in such tools are available only within bigger project management (PM) suites. As a result, you are paying a lot more money for things such as file storage, in-app chat, 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 a month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Tsheets
Attributes and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) was created with a appealing 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 will be taken to the main dashboard, which gives you an summary of how many hours your employees have worked that day and how many hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent jobs, and how busy they’ve been over the past week. This is a solid PM data visualization that lets you immediately differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it immediately calls to attention projects that 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 feature, you log your hours since you likely did with pen and paper during 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 pretty standard method of monitoring time. Regrettably, because Hubstaff does not allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform as a shift organizer. Administrators can let users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they can force users to require a reason to guarantee they’re actually adding hours they worked. Admins can also set the system up to let users to start tracking time should they haven’t clocked into the system in a while.
The next, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we tested, this component is available within the boundaries of your web browser–every solution that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are expected to download an native desktop application that lives within another window. In it, you can choose your job, press Start, along with your own timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be transmitted to the principal hub. The native program will take a photo at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour based on how often the admin wants to spy on workers. Screenshots can be partially fuzzy to not record sensitive information on each catch, but enough of this screen is left unsullied you’ll still get a sense of if the display is on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and convoluted way to manually track time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task throughout the day. Hubstaff must find a way to bring the stopwatch and 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 is on the desktop program. The mobile apps let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of how much motion was done by your employee by capturing location information at different 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 duration, and you can allow it to be a recurring change. The program’s reporting applications is terribly basic: You’ll receive access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports as well as a”habit” report that allows you filter data from the above reports. When compared to the PM solutions within this class, Hubstaff’s coverage is utterly embarrassing consequently, if your goal is to learn and evolve according to when and how your employees manage time, you would be much better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications once they have reached weekly staffing and budget limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and created based on the time each worker worked, as well as his or her related pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic payroll through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored within the application. Remember: Consumers do not need to send time for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were wrong or right about the number of hours that they worked. There is not any reminder for managers to double-check every timesheet before automatic payments move out thus, if you are concerned about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to manual. Tsheets
Price 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 operate, and what you really want to pay them as soon as the job is finished. The Basic $5-per-month program gives you access to simple time monitoring tools, an employee payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user preferences that can be handled in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this plan lets you keep tabs on whether or not your employees are working by allowing you document screenshots while they function in addition to monitor mouse and keyboard activity during shifts. Of the five tools we’ve analyzed, Hubstaff is the only tool that offered this amount of insight into the way that workers are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are useful (albeit over-reaching) features for a change screen, Hubstaff’s implementation leaves much to be wanted (more on this later).
The $9-per-user-per-month Premium program includes all you’ll find in the Basic plan, but you will also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party applications. The Premium package also comes with a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the capability to assign shifts and assign tasks from within the console. Premium clients can also use the tool to make invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay annually 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 added monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive resources. TSheets offers a basic free accounts, in addition to a $4-per-user-per-month accounts that costs a $16 base fee per month for teams who have fewer than 100 users, and a $80 foundation fee monthly for teams with over a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you’re more interested in these hulky PM solutions, then you’ll want to pony up a little more money. Mavenlink’s cheapest plan that includes time tracking 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 fairly solid deal if you want all the extra PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking plan costs $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant update in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, such as adding a internet timer, fleshing out reporting options, and adding activity levels and monitor tracking. We are going to be testing these attributes shortly and you will see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do an excellent job allowing for deeper change oversight. By way of instance, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced monitoring. If you operate a trucking company and you’re less concerned about how many hours a 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 data will not be mixed into reports. As a consequence, that you can’t use it to learn about who is working, how they’re working, and what they’re generating (aside from the amount of hours tracked). TSheets not only provides you this option, it provides you the ability to create six extra customizable innovative tracking fields. You might even add a question for every clock-out (i.e.,”Was there an incident? Yes. No.”) Along with the system forces the consumer to reply to the questions at the close of each change or else they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about tracking work, the tool doesn’t allow for IP address limitations, which means your workers can say they’re working from the office but they could actually be working 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 virtually every other tool we analyzed. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to need users to snap a photo when they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate someone take a selfie before you get started recording their screen and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done outside of a computer, such as electronic, building, or entertainment work). The program also does not let users clock in via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets and other service providers make readily available for employees who don’t have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how some of Hubstaff’s more Enormous Brother-like features factor into time monitoring. However, the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking attributes include keystroke logging, URL and application tracking, GPS and location monitoring, and activity screenshots.
As soon as you set your customers and they download the timer program onto their machine, the desktop app not only tracks 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 screen but any attached monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys but it will track the activity provided via the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of just how busy the worker is. This data all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard in the Activity tab. This is where you can then pick an individual from the drop-down menu to see their screenshots connected with activity data.
If it comes to program and URL monitoring, 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 section can subsequently run custom queries on vectors like program usage mapped against time and action. Hubstaff integrates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports from specific projects or tasks to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature offered is GPS location tracking through Hubstaff’s mobile app. While the mobile app can’t take screenshots or catch mobile app and site 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 tracking, Hubstaff has a helpful selection of attributes for companies that want a bit more oversight. Tsheets
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you’re diligent about tracking employee behaviour while on the clockthen there is no better program available than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path movements via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re looking for a platform that goes the excess mile to enable customization, atypical information entry, or even a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff won’t be perfect for you. In addition, in case you choose a different program, your employees will thank you for not needing them to download a secondary program for tracking time–particularly once you consider that every other tool we examined makes this possible within the confines of their online UI. Tsheets