Hubstaff Review – Pricing, Reviews, Features…December 19, 2020
Tracking employees’ working hours, their work at work and the salary they need to pay after completing their work can be a complex task.
But must it be?
There are a large number of employee monitoring software on the market that allows you to observe employees’ work activities and methods.
But it’s not just about supervising employees’ work habits like a big brother. You can use this data to improve the productivity and overall efficiency of your team.
Using time tracking tools, you can truly understand how long certain projects will take, so you can better promise your customers a timetable.
It also gives you a deeper understanding of whether your team is spending too much time on a particular task.
Do you want to know who is doing what and how long have been working on the office computer?
Let us delve into a simple time tracking tool-Hubstaff.
What is Hubstaff?
Hubstaff is a time tracking software that allows you to monitor employee activities during working hours.
Hubstaff allows your employees to track time through its desktop application. Employees can choose when to record their time.
Once the application is running, it will monitor which websites and applications your team is viewing, their screen activity, and the time spent on the desktop.
Then, it will collect all this data and create separate reports for all employees. Your team members can also track how much time they spend on specific tasks or projects.
Hubstaff will add the login time of each employee and tell you the time it took to complete the entire project.
It also uses this information to automatically create invoices and allows you to charge customers based on the time spent.
Main functions of Hubstaff
Let us understand some of Hubstaff’s functions in detail and understand their role in monitoring employees.
Employee monitoring function
What exactly are your employees doing during working hours? These features can help you understand the work habits and activities of your team during office hours.
1. Application and website monitoring
Do you know which websites your team uses in their work?
About 67% of employees use social media regularly during working hours. As a result, your team loses 13% of its working time every day.
When your employees start tracking their time, Hubstaff will also track their website and app activity.
The software also displays the percentage of time they spend on each application or website. You can even view specific URLs that employees visit during the day.
Click these URLs to view screenshots of the website. You can visit this website to find out if employees are wasting time while working on projects.
This feature allows you to identify employees who are delayed during work.
2. Screenshot monitoring
You can’t always check if the employee is not there or at the desk. For remote teams, there is no quick way to find out whether your employees are working or performing personal tasks during working hours.
The employee monitoring tool allows you to take employee screenshots every 10 minutes. The screenshot feature allows you to view the entire team’s screen on one page.
Before using this feature, please inform your employees that the application will take screenshots of their work regularly.
If they are concerned about security or displaying sensitive information, they can enable the screenshot blur option. By blurring, you can check whether an employee is active without displaying the content of the page.
Your employees can even view their own screenshots to understand the information being shared.
Once your employees know they are being monitored, they will be more focused on their work during office hours.
3. Activity level monitoring
You can’t always lurch at employees’ desks to make sure they are working. If you spend a lot of time viewing their screens while they are at work, you may lose their trust.
Hubstaff will automatically monitor employee activities based on keystrokes and mouse movements.
In a span of 10 minutes, the software monitors every second and calculates the number of seconds the user is inactive (no keyboard or mouse movement), and compares it with the number of seconds the user is using the mouse or keyboard. This comparison determines the activity level.
If your employees’ activity level is 60%-94%, it means they are in the right direction. Activity levels below 60% indicate that your employees may be distracted or delayed in decision-making.
You can view the activity level of the entire team at a glance without browsing the workstation. You can also see how many people are working on a particular project at any given time.
As a result, you can spend less time monitoring your employees and focus more time on your deliverables.
4. Weekly work limit monitoring
Do some of your team members work overtime?
Most of us believe that the longer the working hours, the more efficient our work. However, many studies have shown that working more than 50 hours a week can cause fatigue, which may actually be counterproductive.
It is recommended that you limit your working hours to 40-45 hours because this can increase your team’s productivity by 25%!
You can set the maximum number of hours that employees can record throughout the week. When employees exceed their maximum working hours, the time tracking tool will stop recording working hours.
If the project deadline is fixed, you can always edit the time limit for a specific employee.
The system works well because it does not motivate your employees to invest too much time.
In addition, your employees will love this feature because it does not track them when they are not working.
5. Employee location monitoring
When managing remote teams, tracking the location of employees at any given time is very complicated. They may work at home or in a nearby cafe.
They may also take a break during lunch, and may not be available for status updates of the items you decide to set.
Hubstaff’s iOS and Android apps have location monitoring capabilities that can track the location of remote employees during working hours.
It can estimate how much time your employees spend commuting, doing personal tasks, or working from a specific location.
Based on their location and activities, you can determine the ideal time to communicate with remote employees and whether they are using their working time effectively.
Keep in mind that your employees may not want their every move to be monitored and recorded. Your remote team may think this feature is too intrusive. It is recommended to inform your employees about its functions before installing the iOS app.
6. Project status monitoring
The report provided by Hubstaff summarizes the work done by each employee in a week. It is difficult to track the progress of an individual employee, this is a quick way.
The team dashboard shows the working hours of each team member and summarizes the tasks and projects completed in the past 7 days. The dashboard also shows the members who are currently online and shows the level of activity in the past week.
The team dashboard allows you to view the status of the project at a glance, which can help you choose a strategy based on the team’s performance.
Project billing and invoice function
How much time do you spend managing the company’s finances?
Hubstaff’s billing and invoicing functions can help you easily manage your account, salary, and finances, so you can spend more time doing things instead of trading activities.
1. Timetable management
Most small and medium enterprises do not have a dedicated system to monitor check-in or check-out time, and there is no effective way to calculate working hours. Some employees may abuse this feature by logging in fraudulently.
The timetable software will automatically record the first activity (mouse movement or button press) and the last activity of the day. You can manually pause and resume the system to take a break.
You can browse the team’s daily or weekly timetables, which can be linked to the automated payroll system.
2. Salary management
Using excel sheets to track each employee’s working hours and salary, and then transferring their payments separately will take up a lot of your time.
The payroll software will calculate your consultant’s expenditure based on the number of hours recorded by the system. Then you can link their Paypal account and set a suitable time frame (weekly, monthly, etc.) to transfer payments.
Your team will be paid based on the work time they spend on the project, not how much time they spend in the office.
Of course, if the employee’s salary is fixed, this function is optional and can be disabled.
3. Invoice management
Creating invoices for customers is very time-consuming. You must summarize and summarize the time spent on each project by several employees at a time.
Hubstaff’s invoice generator software tracks the time required to complete the project. Then, it generates invoices based on the time spent on various tasks in the project.
You can charge customers based on hourly rates or fixed rates in the “Invoices” tab. The software allows you to modify invoices by adding tax rates and discounts. Then, you can send invoices in any format (pdf, HTML, doc) to customers.
After sending the invoice, you can check when the customer viewed the invoice. When you receive a payment from a customer, the software records the invoice as “paid” or “partially paid.”
This semi-automatic feature reduces the time it takes to send and track invoices. This gives you more time to focus on more complex tasks that really require your personal attention.
1. Customized employee settings
Other time tracking tools allow you to set fixed rules for all employees. However, each team member will be engaged in different types of tasks, and these tasks cannot be managed well with common settings.
For example, the “Idle Timeout” setting is used to select when to activate the inactivity warning. Tasks that require careful and meticulous decision-making (such as formulating marketing strategies) will require “idle timeout” to be higher than other tasks.
You can customize the settings for each user according to the specific requirements in the “Management Settings Tab”. The functions you can modify from these settings include screenshot frequency, weekly limit, inactivity timer, modify time activity, etc.
You can increase or decrease the monitoring settings according to the nature of individual users’ responsibilities. Adjusting these settings for specific employees can help fine-tune your team’s productivity.
2. Client access to project progress
How often do you update customers through the progress report?
Sometimes, the connection between the customer and the company may be disconnected because the customer does not know whether you are working on their project on time.
Hubstaff allows you to use the “Members” tab to add clients to monitor project activity. There is no limit to how many clients or viewers you can add.
Showing the internal processes in the business can increase the transparency of the organization, thereby increasing the trust and even loyalty between customers.
You can even use Hubstaff’s Android and iOS apps to check the progress of the team anytime, anywhere after getting off work.
Data from the mobile application is regularly synchronized with the PC application via the cloud.
1. Desktop application
Although most of Hubstaff’s settings and functions can be used on the web version, its desktop application is essential. The lightweight desktop client allows you to manually start and stop tracking the time of various items. Your team members can switch time tracking from one project to another.
The desktop application is available for Mac, PC, Linux, and Chromebook. You can also use Hubstaff’s chrome extension to track time in your browser.
2. Mobile App
As mentioned earlier, Hubstaff’s mobile app allows you to track the GPS location of your employees. Your team members can also track the time of various offline tasks, such as phone calls, meetings, etc.
The application information center receives real-time reports, allowing you to view timetables, see who is currently using, and change administrator settings via your phone. Information is synchronized to Hubstaff via the cloud.
The iOS and Android versions of the app also support management software integration, such as Basecamp and Quickbooks.
Set up Hubstaff
The steps to set up Hubstaff are as follows:
1. Sign up for a 14-day free trial on the website.
2. Fill in your organization details, including your team name, number of members, and logo.
3. Choose the right plan for your company based on the features and/or budget you need. You can choose basic or advanced plans.
4. Set up projects or departments within the organization.
5. Download the desktop application and test the time tracking tool.
6. Fill in the employee’s payment details and connect to the Paypal account as needed.
7. If you set up the software while working on an existing project, you can manually enter the project time.
8. Customize and change any employee’s settings.
9. Invite your team members to join Hubstaff and notify them of the desktop application.
10. Set the hourly rate for your employees (optional).
11. Set the maximum number of hours that can be recorded in a week.
During the 14-day free trial period, you can switch between plans to see which features are more suitable for your organization.
After the trial period, you can choose the basic plan or the advanced plan. If you choose the basic, you can upgrade to the premium plan at any time
The basic plan is for small businesses that need basic time and project tracking software. The cost is $5 per user per month and can support teams from 3 members to 250 members.
If you want to automate multiple functions in your business (such as payroll, invoicing, and budgeting), advanced planning is perfect.
The premium plan includes the following exclusive features:
- APP and URL tracking
- Automatic Payroll
- Weekly Maximum Limits
- Idle Time Control
- Attendance Scheduling
- Location Tracking
- Project Budgets
The premium plan costs $9 per user per month and can support teams of 3 to 250 members.
What about employee privacy?
Since users can directly control Hubstaff, they can choose the time period to monitor. They can do this by manually tracking project time and letting the app run in the background.
During this period, the administrator (you) can access all the information collected, such as activity level, application, and website usage. Once you stop tracking the project time, the software will not collect any information.
Your employees may be hesitant to take screenshots that contain sensitive information. To solve this problem, you can blur the screenshot so that only the webpage/application you are using is displayed, not the content. Your employees can view their screenshots.
If they object to a screenshot, they can delete the screenshot as needed. The screenshots are encrypted and stored in a secure cloud that can only be accessed by you or Hubstaff employees (for support purposes).
Your employees may be concerned that employee monitoring tools may record their keystrokes, as well as their passwords.
Does Hubstaff record keystrokes?
Hubstaff’s algorithm only checks if any keys are pressed to see if there is any activity. It uses this information to formulate activity levels. It does not record any keystrokes.
However, a particular feature may cause many security and privacy issues. Most employees do not want to monitor their location through GPS monitoring functions during working hours.
This feature can only be activated after both parties agree. However, we believe that you should avoid using this feature altogether unless you use it for an external sales team or field support team.
Before installing any time tracking or employee monitoring software, please inform your team of this decision. You should answer their concerns about privacy and security.
The function can only be activated after clarifying the information to be monitored. Being open and transparent about these policies can increase trust in the workplace.
Hubstaff has many useful functions for project management and finance, but due to some limitations, it is not really optimized for maximizing employee productivity.
These are some of Hubstaff’s biggest limitations and alternative tools.
You might want every time tracking tool to make tracking tasks very easy. Surprisingly, this is very complicated in Hubstaff. You cannot create tasks directly in the desktop version. You will have to log in to the web version to create tasks. You can track the task only when it is synchronized with the desktop version.
On the other hand, Time Doctor allows you to create tasks and projects directly in the desktop version. No need to bother to log in and create tasks.
Unlike the “Doctor of Time”, Hubstaff does not prompt to delay employees to focus on work through pop-up windows. When Time Doctor feels inactivity, it will ask you if you are still working.
Therefore, if you see a remote text on your phone, Time Doctor will prompt you to restart your work, or at least pause the task you are performing.
Time Doctor can also track whether you are distracted by websites, Facebook, YouTube, and other websites commonly used for entertainment. If you do, it will activate a pop-up window asking if you are still working on the current task.
This is a very useful feature that can prevent you from being distracted.
Bad time usage report
Time Doctor will also generate a “waste of time” report, which shows all non-work related websites and applications that your team has visited in the past.
The report is a direct way to check the efficiency of your employees’ time spent. In Hubstaff, you will have to browse multiple other reports and perform this analysis manually.
Since this is a very time-consuming process, you will most likely never do it.
This is an important advantage of Time Doctor over Hubstaff.
Report late or absent
Hubstaff is suitable for remote teams but lacks some essential functions in an office environment. If your employees are late or absent, you cannot mark their status on the timetable.