Hubstaff is a time tracking solution that does more than just time tracking. It offers online timesheets, internet monitoring, productivity measurement, employee payrolls, and much more.
The service is perfect for remote teams as allows employees to check in and check out. This can be used to monitor productivity. It can also be used to limit the number of hours an employee is working.
Although many features of Hubstaff are geared towards companies, the service can be used by individuals who want to be more productive by managing their time more effectively.
Let's take a closer look at what Hubstaff offers.
What Does Hubstaff Do?
Working remotely is very different from working in an office environment where your manager just sits at a desk across from you. Employees still need to be managed effectively, but how can you do that when they are working at home in a different city or even a different country.
Hubstaff addresses many of the problems that can arise from hiring remote workers by giving you the tools to monitor exactly what they do.
The goal of Hubstaff's tools is to reduce administration, increase productivity, and provide information about what employees are doing.
Tracking when employees are working allows you to see exactly how much time they have spent working and on what projects. This helps you track the development of projects
This system also ensures staff are always rewarded for their work as you can see when employees have worked overtime. You can then pay them for their overtime directly through Hubstaff.
Staff scheduling helps everyone see when they are supposed to be working. You can see the pay rate and bill rate for employees and you can set a limit on the number of hours someone can work in a particular week.
Scheduling is important for larger teams that always need someone online (e.g. to provide customer support). Being able to clearly see when people are working also helps you ensure that there is no confusion over hours.
One of the great things about Hubstaff is that payroll is integrated directly into the service. You can pay employees bi-weekly, weekly, or monthly. If you prefer, you can pay staff manually.
The software integrates with PayPal, Payoneer, and Bitwage. Payment reports are saved for staff and management to see and they can be downloaded and printed for reference.
At the heart of Hubstaff is the ability to track what employees are doing. Once a staff member is signed in, Hubstaff will automatically take screenshots of active applications so that you can see exactly what they are working on.
Reports are generated from activity and you can add or delete time if needed. For example, you could add time to a staff's activity if they forgot to clock in. Staff can also add notes to their sessions to describe what they are doing.
Hubstaff shows exactly what URLs staff were accessing when clocked in. This helps you see how long staff were on a particular website. A preview screen lets you quickly see what the website is about.
This tool is very useful for managing productivity. For example, it would show if someone was sitting for hours on Facebook every day.
Computer monitoring highlights exactly how long a staff member spent using each application. A detailed report is provided to you together with screenshots of the applications they used.
The main reason to monitor an employees activity is to ensure they are productive. If you use time as a metric, you can see how productive each staff member is. This is useful in identifying your hardest working staff.
Time does not tell the full story, so be sure to check each staff member's report to see if they have been wasting time reading news or chatting on social media.
The Hubstaff app can be downloaded to an employee's computer or to their phone. The mobile app has a GPS location tracker. This can be used to track where staff travelled to during the day.
Location tracking can be very useful when you're working with sales staff and other staff who work on the road (e.g. delivery drivers).
Invoices can automatically be generated for each staff member based upon their pay rate, bill rate, and hours worked. Invoices can be sent in HTML, PDF, or email format, and you can see when a staff member has viewed the invoice.
Tax and discounts can be applied to invoices automatically and you can customise reports with your own branding.
Managing the cost of your project is essential. Hubstaff lets you edit your budget and limit hours of employees so that you don't go over budget.
Graphs display how much of your budget you have spent. You can set up notifications so that are informed when you reach certain milestones.
After you sign up to Hubstaff you are asked to download the app. This is essential for tracking activity. The app can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, Linux, Chomebook, iOS, Android, and as a browser extension for Google Chrome.
During the installation process I was informed that the app only uses around 20MB of RAM when it is on.
I tracked my activity for a few hours to get a better understanding of how it all worked. The clock ticked away on my laptop screen whilst I worked away on my main monitor.
Hubstaff appeared to take screenshots every 10 minutes. At first I thought it wasn't tracking correctly as it was only showing my laptop screen, but clicking on a screenshot allowed me to scroll to the screenshot for my main monitor.
The service broke down my app activity to an hourly basis. Most of my time was divided between Google Chrome and Photoshop as I was working on an article.
After tracking my work for a few hours, I had a look around the Hubstaff user area. Since I am not using the service to track employees, I was not able to properly check how payroll, invoicing, and schedules worked.
I can say, however, that I impressed with everything I was able to test. By just tracking my app for a few hours I generated lots of different reports. It's quite amazing that the software can do that.
Through the dashboard area you can integrate Hubstaff with dozens of third-party services. This includes services such as Basecamp, Freshdesk, Trello, and Zendesk.
And if you're wondering about privacy, be aware that Hubstaff does not track keys and gives you the option to delete screenshots.
Hubstaff have a free plan that they call Solo Lite. This plan offers time tracking and activity monitoring for one user, however there is a limited amount of screenshot storage.
Their premium plans start from $5 per month per user.
A basic plan and premium plan are on offer. The premium plan offers additional features such as app and URL tracking, payroll, invoicing, and project budgets.
The basic plan is fine if you only want to track employee activity and make payments to them, though if you are looking for access to all of Hubstaff's tools, you should opt for the premium plan.
The pricing for Hubstaff seems a little strange.
With one team member the price is $5 per month for a basic plan and $9 per month for a premium plan. Three members per month costs $15 and $29 per month; which means the cost of the premium plan increases from $9 to $9.67 per user. Moving up to five members and the plans cost $25 and $49 per month; which means the premium plan costs $9.80 per year. The price of a premium user increased until it reaches $10 per user.
Clearly, they need to re-evaluate their pricing so that the cost per user decreases when more members are required. They should be rewarding customers who purchase higher priced plans, not punishing them.
Paying annually instead of monthly will earn you two months free service. You can sign up for a 14 day free trial without having to any credit card information and they have a 60 day money back guarantee if you are not happy with their service.
Hubstaff is admittedly the first time I have spent time testing time tracking software, but I really was impressed with the service.
I'm a little surprised that such an affordable service can be used to show you exactly how productive you and staff are. The free plan will help you monitor the activity of one user and the basic plan starts at only $5 per month. The premium plan doesn't cost much more.
I recommend giving the service a try if you are looking for a way to manage staff productivity. There is a two free trial and accounts can be deactivated easily via the account area so you have nothing to lose.