Introduction Work Productivity
When choosing a time monitoring tool, it is important to understand the various kinds of tools available. Tools such as Mavenlink, Wrike, and Zoho Projects all feature robust time monitoring features for professional services companies. On the other hand, the time tracking features in such tools are available only within larger project management (PM) suites. Because of this, you are paying a lot more cash for things such as file storage, in-app chat, progress reports, and shift administration. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you’ll find pure play time monitoring tools such as Hubstaff (which starts at $5 per month per user) and TSheets, our Editors’ Choice tool for time tracking. Work Productivity
Characteristics and Usage
Hubstaff’s user interface (UI) is designed with an attractive left-rail blue navigation bar that leaves lots of room on the side of your display for data entry and analysis. When you log into the system, you’ll be taken to the main dashboard, which gives you an overview of the number of hours your employees have worked this day and the number of hours they have worked over the previous seven days. You will also find a list of each member, their latest 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 attention projects that are getting more than enough attention and jobs that are being disregarded.
There are two ways to add time in Hubstaff: You can build manual timesheets with previous hours worked, or you can use the stopwatch feature on Hubstaff’s native desktop program. Together with the timesheet feature, you log in your hours since you probably did with pen and paper through the analog era of time monitoring. Basically, if you work your change, you add the time to your timesheet, and you sign off on it. This is a fairly standard procedure of tracking time. Unfortunately, because Hubstaff does not allow you to add future time, you can not use the platform for a shift organizer. Administrators can allow users manually edit previously submitted timesheets, and they’re able to force users to require a motive to guarantee they’re actually adding hours they worked. Admins can also set up the system to let users to start tracking time should they haven’t clocked into the system in a little while.
The second, and most frustrating, way of tracking time in Hubstaff is using the stopwatch feature. In each solution we analyzed, this component is available within the confines of your internet browser–every alternative that’s, except for Hubstaff. With Hubstaff, you’re expected to download a native desktop application that resides within a separate window. In it, you can select your job, press Start, and your timer will begin counting. When you are done, your activity and your screenshots will be sent to the main hub. The native app will take a photo at random periods of up to 3 shots per hour depending on how frequently the admin would like to spy on employees. Screenshots can be partly fuzzy not to record sensitive information on each catch, but a lot of the screen is left unsullied you’ll still get a feeling of whether the screen is on work-related or play-related content. This can be an annoyingly complex and complicated means to manually monitor time, particularly if you’re jumping from task to task through the day. Hubstaff must find a way to add 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 programs is precisely the same as it’s on the desktop program. The mobile programs let admins monitor movements via GPS tracking. This provides you an overview of how much motion was performed by your employee by capturing location data at different stages.
The Schedules tab lets you assign dates and times for workers to do the job. It is possible to put a minimum number of hours to work, a lunch break interval, and you’ll be able to make it a recurring shift. The tool’s reporting applications is horribly basic: You’ll get access to weekly, daily, project, and member view reports as well as a”habit” report which allows you filter data from the aforementioned reports. In comparison to the PM options in this course, Hubstaff’s coverage is downright embarrassing so, if your goal is to understand and evolve according to if and how your employees manage time, you would be better off working using Zoho Projects, our Editors’ Choice for PM.
Admins receive notifications when they have attained weekly staffing and funding limits. Invoices are automatically calculated and made based on the time each worker worked, in addition to their associated pay rate. It is possible to set up automatic citizenship through PayPal, which enables you to automate payments based on time monitored within the application. Remember: Users don’t need to send time for approval, therefore automatic payments will be made whether workers were right or wrong about the amount of hours they worked. There is not any reminder for supervisors to double-check each timesheet before automatic payments go out so, if you are worried about making bogus payments, then it is possible to set PayPal payments to guide. Work Productivity
Cost And Alternatives
Hubstaff was constructed to provide you with Big Brother-level oversight into when workers are working, what they are doing while they work, and what you need to pay them as soon as the work is finished. The Fundamental $5-per-month plan provides you access to easy time tracking tools, an employee payment schedule manager, 24/7 support, and user settings that may be managed on an employee-by-employee basis. Moreover, this plan lets you keep track of whether or not your employees are working by allowing you document screenshots while they work as well as monitor mouse and keyboard activity during shifts. Of the five tools we tested, Hubstaff is the only tool that offered this level of insight into the way that employees are progressing. Although keyboard and screen tracking are helpful (albeit over-reaching) features 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 find in the Basic plan, but you’ll also get access to Hubstaff’s application programming interface (API) to integrate the tool with other third-party applications. The Premium package also has 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 automatically. Clients that pay yearly will get two weeks free (for both cost tiers).
Compared to TSheets, its nearest competition in our roundup, Hubstaff is fairly priced, particularly given the extra monitoring features that are unavailable in competitive tools. TSheets offers a fundamental free accounts, as well as a $4-per-user-per-month account that charges 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 a hundred users. The base fee, which Hubstaff does not charge, makes TSheets marginally more expensive than Hubstaff, even at Hubstaff’s Premium degree.
If you are more interested in those hulky PM solutions, then you will want to pony up a little 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 fairly solid deal if you want all the extra PM features). Wrike’s lowest time tracking plan prices $24.80 per user per month.
What Should Be Added
Editor’s note: Since our first overview of Hubstaff, the company has released a significant upgrade in late 2018 that specifically addressed specific feature weaknesses or omissions, such as adding a internet timer, fleshing out reporting choices, and adding activity levels and monitor monitoring. We are going to 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 monitoring, Hubstaff doesn’t do a very good job allowing for deeper change oversight. By way of example, Hubstaff doesn’t allow advanced tracking. If you operate a trucking company and you are less concerned about the number of hours a trucker drove than the distance driven, then there’s no way to manage that in Hubstaff. Users can add notes to an empty text area, but that data won’t be mixed into reports. As a consequence, that 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 choice, it gives you the ability to create six additional customizable advanced monitoring fields. You can even add a question 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 end of every shift or they will not be able to clock out.
As hardcore as Hubstaff is all about tracking work, the tool does not permit for IP address limitations, so your employees can say they’re working from the office but they could actually be working from a cruise boat in the Bahamas (unless they’re using the cell program to monitor 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 photograph when they report to work. I suppose it’s overkill to make somebody take a selfie right before you get started recording their screen and tracking their keystrokes, but TSheets enables you to set this as a necessity (which makes sense, especially if you’re tracking tasks done out of a computer, like electronic, building, or amusement work). The software also doesn’t let users clock in via a telephone call, which can be a component TSheets along with other service providers make readily 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 features factor into time tracking. But the platform also offers many of the hallmarks of worker tracking tools. Hubstaff’s employee tracking features include keystroke logging, URL and application monitoring, GPS and location monitoring, and action screenshots.
Once you set your customers and they download the timer app onto their server, the desktop program not only tracks 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 doesn’t log keys however, it will monitor the action provided via the mouse and keyboard, providing companies a calculation of how busy the worker is. This data all winds up around the Hubstaff dashboard from 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.
When it comes to application and URL monitoring, Hubstaff goes beyond simply tracking time to learn what sites and programs an employee opened or visited and how long they were there. The Reports module may then run custom questions on vectors such as app usage mapped against time and activity. Hubstaff incorporates with project and task management tools such as Asana and Trello to filter reports by specific projects or tasks 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 capture mobile app and site activity, it allows you to track and log location for workers working in the field. While the depth of tracking surveillance and data features can’t measure up to a powerhouse tool for example Teramind, our Editors’ Choice for worker monitoring, Hubstaff has a helpful selection of features for employers that want a little more oversight. Work Productivity
Hubstaff is an easy-to-administer, feature-rich, time monitoring tool. If you are diligent about monitoring employee behavior while on the clock, then there’s no better program accessible than Hubstaff. You’ll be able to log screenshots, track keystroke volume, and route movements via GPS tracking.
Regrettably, if you’re trying to find a platform which goes the excess mile to enable customization, irregular data entry, or even a more sophisticated reporting structure, then Hubstaff will not be right for you. In addition, in case you choose a different program, your employees will thank you for not requiring them to obtain a secondary program for tracking time–especially when you consider that every other tool we examined makes this potential within the boundaries of their web-based UI. Work Productivity