Introduction Visual Productivity Tools
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to comprehend the various kinds of tools available. Tools like Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time monitoring features for professional services businesses. On the other hand, the time monitoring features in these tools are available only as part of bigger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying much more cash for things such as file storage, in-app discussion, progress reports, and shift management. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll discover pure play time tracking tools such as Hubstaff (which begins at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Visual Productivity Tools
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with a appealing left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves plenty 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 overview of how many hours your employees have worked that day and the number of hours they have worked over the past seven days. You’ll also find a list of each member, their most recent tasks, and how busy they have been over the last week. This is a solid PM data visualization that lets you instantly differentiate between workhorses and do-nothings, and it instantly calls to focus projects which are getting more than enough attention and jobs that are being disregarded.
There are two methods to put in time in Hubstaff: You are able to build manual timesheets with past hours worked, or you may use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet attribute, you log in your hours since you probably did with pencil and paper during the analog era of time tracking. Essentially, you work your shift, you add time to your own timesheet, and you also sign off on it. This is a pretty 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 can induce users to require a motive to ensure they’re really adding hours that they worked. Admins may also set up the system to remind users to start monitoring time if they haven’t clocked into the machine in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking moment in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In every solution we tested, this element can be found within the boundaries of your web browserevery alternative that is, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you are required to download an native desktop application that lives within another window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, and your own timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native app is going to 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 fuzzy to not record sensitive information on every catch, but a lot of this screen is left unsullied that you’ll still get a sense of if the screen is really on work-related or play-related content. This is an annoyingly complicated and complicated way to manually track time, especially if you’re jumping from task to task through 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 programs is exactly the same as it is on the desktop app. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS monitoring. This gives you an overview of how much movement was done by your worker by capturing location information at distinct stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for employees to work. It is possible to 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 software is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, job, and penis view reports as well as a”habit” report that allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM solutions within this course, Hubstaff’s reporting is downright embarrassing consequently, if your target is to learn and evolve based on if and how your employees manage time, you’d be better off working with Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they have reached weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each employee worked, as well as his or her related 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 have to send time through for approval, so automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong concerning the number of hours they worked. There’s not any reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet ahead of automatic payments move out so, if you are concerned about making false payments, then it is possible to place PayPal payments to guide. Visual Productivity Tools
Price And Alternatives
Hubstaff was built to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when employees are working, what they are doing while they operate, and what you really need to pay them as soon as the job is done. The Fundamental $5-per-month program provides you access to easy time monitoring tools, a worker payment schedule supervisor, 24/7 support, and user settings which may be managed in an employee-by-employee basis. Additionally, this program lets you keep track of whether or not your employees are operating by allowing you record screenshots while they work as well as monitor keyboard and mouse activity during changes. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only tool that offered this level of insight into how employees are progressing. Although screen and keyboard tracking are useful (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 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 has a lightweight schedulingtool that gives administrators the power to assign changes and assign tasks from inside the console. Premium clients can also use the application to make invoices and create PayPal payments mechanically. Customers that pay annually will receive two months free (for both price tiers).
In comparison to TSheets, its closest competitor in our roundup, Hubstaff is reasonably priced, particularly given the added tracking features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a basic free accounts, 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 groups with more than 100 users. The base fee, which Hubstaff doesn’t charge, makes TSheets slightly more costly than Hubstaff, even in Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you will need to pony up a little more cash. Mavenlink’s cheapest program that includes time monitoring costs $39 per user per month. Zoho’s cheapest time monitoring plan is $25 per month for an unlimited number of users (which is a pretty solid deal if you want all of the extra PM features). Wrike’s cheapest time monitoring plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our original review of Hubstaff, the business has released a major upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, including adding a web timer, fleshing out coverage options, and adding activity levels and screen tracking. We’ll be testing these features shortly and you’ll see the results in an upcoming update to this review.
Aside from its draconian screengrab and keystroke tracking, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper change supervision. For example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you run a trucking company and you are less concerned about how many hours a 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 data won’t be mixed into accounts. This means you can’t 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 gives you this option, it provides you the ability to create six extra 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 consumer to respond to the queries at the close of each shift or else they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is about monitoring work, the tool does not allow for IP address limitations, which means your employees can say they are working from the office but they can actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell app to track time). This is a normal feature that’s available in almost every other instrument we tested. Hubstaff also does not enable admins to need users to snap a photograph if they report to work. I suppose it is overkill to generate somebody take a selfie before you start recording their screen and monitoring their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to place this as a requirement (which makes sense, particularly if you’re monitoring tasks done out of a computer, like retail, construction, or amusement work). The program also doesn’t let users clock in via a phone call, which is a component TSheets and other service providers make readily available for workers who don’t have a smartphone.
Monitoring Employee Work
We’ve touched on how a number of Hubstaff’s more Big Brother-like attributes factor into time monitoring. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and program tracking, GPS and place tracking, and action screenshots.
Once you place your customers and they download the timer program onto their server, the desktop app not only tracks time but will take screenshots randomly or in custom intervals, such as three screenshots per minute. This applies not only to the user’s most important screen but any connected monitors too. Hubstaff does not log keys however, it does track the action provided via the mouse and computer keyboard, giving companies a calculation of just how active the employee is. This data all winds up on the Hubstaff dashboard from the Activity tab. This is where you can then select an individual in the drop-down menu to view their screenshots correlated with action data.
If it comes to application and URL tracking, Hubstaff goes beyond just tracking time to learn what sites and programs a worker visited or opened and how long they were there. The Reports module may subsequently run custom questions on vectors such as program usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff incorporates with project and job management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by particular projects or tasks to track productivity.
One unique employee monitoring feature offered 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 track and log location for employees working in the field. While the thickness of monitoring data and surveillance features can not measure up to a powerhouse tool such as Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for employee tracking, Hubstaff includes a helpful choice of features for employers that want a bit more oversight. Visual Productivity Tools
Hubstaff is a easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time tracking tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clockthen there is no better software accessible than Hubstaff. You will be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and path moves via GPS monitoring.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, atypical data entry, or a much more advanced reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. In addition, should you choose another system, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to download a secondary app for monitoring time–especially once you consider that every other instrument we reviewed makes this possible within the confines of their online UI. Visual Productivity Tools