- Simple user interface
- Excellent time and productivity tracking
- Great range of integrations
- Takes regular screenshots
- Geotagging option
- Very limited free version
- Slightly pricier than some competitors
Score: Astart free trial
Hubstaff is probably the world’s most popular software dedicated to employee monitoring and time tracking. As you’ll see in this Hubstaff review, it grants employers insight into how many hours their workers have put in, measures employee productivity, and tracks their behavior during work hours.
Highly sought-after by managers and HR departments alike, Hubstaff automates and streamlines workforce oversight. Instead of spending hours on manual monitoring, you can rely on Hubstaff to keep track of employees, collect data, and present you with easy-to-read reports.
Since most of us are now working from home as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the need for such software has only increased. In our review of Hubstaff, we found it to be a superb example of its kind, with excellent tracking and monitoring features, all for an affordable price.
So, what does Hubstaff actually do? Like most employee time tracking software, Hubstaff’s main purpose is to keep tabs on the ways employees spend their working hours. Employee activity is monitored on several levels, including time and location tracking, web browsing behavior, and productivity.
Hubstaff’s core feature is its stopwatch. With it, Hubstaff tracks the amount of time an employee has spent on a particular task. All Hubstaff employee monitoring features require employees to download either Hubstaff for desktop or the mobile app, or use the browser-based dashboard. At the start of the day, employees need to fire up the software or access the web portal, log in with their credentials, then they’re ready to start the stopwatch.
If your company is using Hubstaff to track productivity, employees just need to choose the task they want to work on from the drop-down menu and click the big Play button. This will start the stopwatch, which will be neatly positioned in a taskbar widget, allowing you to always keep track of how long you’ve been working.
But be careful! During our Hubstaff tracking review, we were introduced to Idle mode – after 10 minutes of inactivity, the software will register that you’re not doing any work. This will stop the timer until you turn it back on. Employers can allow workers to edit time entries, including idle time. Furthermore, managers can toggle whether it’s mandatory for employees to elaborate on why they were idle or if it’s possible to edit time entries in general.
Of course, all the monitoring features of this activity tracking software only come into play when the stopwatch is activated. Otherwise, employers would be unlawfully infringing on the privacy of their staff.
The best employee time tracking software needs to track more than just hours clocked to determine how your workers are spending their time. While barebones time logs can tell you that they started the stopwatch a certain while ago, they don’t tell you if your employee was productive during that time – or if they were unproductive, either.
In an office setting, it’s easier to get a sense of how much your employees are working. But even then, you don’t want to be standing over their shoulder all the time, as this can only create a toxic, controlling atmosphere.
If you’re using Hubstaff for freelancers, the benefits are clear: Hubstaff reviews from those who employ freelance or remote workers are overwhelmingly positive, as the program provides them insight into whether every hour that was clocked was actually spent working.
Hubstaff tracks productivity by measuring keystrokes and mouse activity. The software analyzes 10-minute spans, comparing the time spent using the keyboard and mouse versus idle time. Productivity is represented on a 0-100% scale, with anything over 50-60% considered productive.
Browsing and App Usage Monitoring
Ok, so your workers are hitting those productivity goals, but your project isn’t coming along quite as quickly as it should. What’s the problem? Well, your employees might be using their keyboard and mouse a lot, just not for the right cause. Luckily, Hubstaff also reviews the websites and apps your employees choose to spend their time on.
In its reports, the software displays a list of apps and websites sorted by usage, along with the amount of time the employee spent there. Furthermore, the work time tracker shows, in percentages, what portion of their shift the employee has spent on a particular website or application.
The advantages are obvious, right? With this type of tracker, you can see whether your staff members spend most of their time working, communicating with colleagues via Slack or Teams, or procrastinating and wasting valuable time on Facebook or YouTube.
Next up in our Hubstaff review are automated screenshots. This feature is probably one of the most useful for employers, but also the most intrusive one for employees. Hubstaff takes a screenshot of an employee’s screen every 10 minutes, although managers can increase this setting. Screenshot monitoring ties in nicely with tracking browsing and app habits, as you can click on a specific website the employee visited and view screenshots captured while that site was being used.
By default, Hubstaff notifies employees whenever it takes a screenshot, but this can be turned off by the employees in Settings. Additionally, if you or your employees have concerns about privacy or any sensitive data being leaked, you can use the screenshot blur option.
Scheduling and Weekly Work Limits
One of the most practical Hubstaff features is the ability to create and schedule shifts. This isn’t merely an app that records keystrokes and other productivity metrics; Hubstaff can also be used for basic employee scheduling. You can set up specific working dates and hours for employees, or create recurring shifts, automating the time-tracking process.
To protect your employees from burnout, you can set up lunch breaks and impose limits on how many hours per week they can put in. This is important for several reasons. First off, it prevents overworking, thus saving your employees from exhaustion and you from an eventual loss of productivity. Secondly, it’s handy for staying within the confines of labor laws and preventing excessive overtime.
Hubstaff client invoicing is a feature most HR departments will be thankful for. Once you supply it with each employee’s pay rates, Hubstaff will automatically manufacture invoices based on hours clocked. Additionally, you can set up automatic payroll via PayPal. Still, this one feature can’t replace dedicated accounting software like QuickBooks Online.
The main way work itself is structured within Hubstaff is via projects. Managers create projects and tasks within projects, allowing them to assign employees to each of those and track their progress. On the Members and Projects tabs, you can see how a given project is progressing, and how much of a contribution an individual project member has made.
Features like these are why Hubstaff is often considered the best employee monitoring software. You can also share evidence of progress with interested clients, providing them with valuable insight into how the work you’re doing for them is coming along.
While these features may be great, they can’t compare to the functionality of specialized tools like Zoho Projects. Versatile as it is, Hubstaff probably won’t cut it in case you need a full-fledged project management solution.
To top off its employee time management and productivity monitoring capacity, Hubstaff can also grant employers access to their employees’ location. Through GPS tracking, Hubstaff can tell you where your employees have been during working hours. For this feature to work, employees need to have the Hubstaff mobile app installed on their phones. Geotracking enables you to see whether your remote employees are working from home, a cafe, a park, or if they’re using office hours to run personal errands.
Keeping track of commute time is another use for Hubstaff’s geotagging feature, as is finding suitable virtual meeting spots in their vicinity.
User Interface and Ease of Use
Hubstaff’s user interface is fully devoted to functionality. This does not mean that it’s ugly – far from it – but don’t expect any fancy shading or other sleek design solutions. From the Hubstaff dashboard, you have a clear overview of all the aspects of your projects and employee activity.
Upon signing up for Hubstaff, you first need to fill in some basic information about your company. This includes the organization name, team size, and so forth. Afterwards, you can customize the number of projects and tasks according to your needs, test out time tracking, and set up payrolls if you wish to do so. You can then invite other company members to use this monitoring software, introduce employee rates and shifts, and you’re ready to roll.
Most monitoring software reviews speak highly of Hubstaff’s tutorial process, and we feel the same. After the initial setup, there will be a “Get Started with Hubstaff” bar on your dashboard that guides you through all the core components for the first time. The dashboard itself is a shortcut to pretty much everything Hubstaff has to offer. On the left side, you’ll find project options, teams, reports, payments, timesheets, clients, app integrations, and more. Clicking on any of these allows you to quickly and easily fine-tune the settings according to your needs.
Employees also have a measure of control over how the app or desktop client behaves: they can toggle various notifications, alter widget positions on their dash, add time manually, and so forth.
Hubstaff employee reviews are comprehensive reports; you can see both how your projects are coming along and how each individual team member is performing. Hubstaff can also serve as a project management data visualization tool; you get a clear overview of project progress presented through various charts and tables.
Software dedicated to time tracking and employee monitoring isn’t worth much if it’s not supported by a wide array of platforms and operating systems. Unless you’re supplying all your employees with the same hardware (which is rarely the case with remote workers), you need a piece of software that can be universally integrated.
Thankfully, like all the best time tracking solutions, Hubstaff works on desktop, mobile, and as a web-based service. It’s available on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, Chromebooks, and as an extension for Google Chrome. The Hubstaff Chrome extension has somewhat limited functionalities – it can only measure time and activity, without automated screenshots or app/browser usage tracking.
With such a broad list of supported platforms, Hubstaff makes it pretty easy to monitor your employees across the board – during business hours, of course.
There are four different pricing plans to choose from here: Free, Basic, Premium, and Enterprise. Hubstaff pricing depends on the plan you opt for and the number of users you have. The only exception is the Free plan, which limits you to a single user.
The Free plan can be used indefinitely, but it only includes activity monitoring, time tracking, a limited number of screenshots, and a limited number of payrolls to be processed. Of course, this only covers one employee.
The Basic plan removes the screenshot limit, allows one integration with external software, gets you 24-hour support, and unlocks ‘per user’ settings. The price is $7/user/mo.
Of all Hubstaff plans, Premium probably has the best dollar-to-value ratio. This plan allows for unlimited integration, scheduling, and attendance settings, lets you track app and browser activity, unlocks GPS tracking, and enables invoicing and payroll functionalities. Additionally, you’ll be able to add unlimited teams and set weekly limits, breaks, and holidays, all for $10/user/mo.
Lastly, the Enterprise plan gets you VIP support, unlimited job sites, premium account setup, and higher limits on public API requests. The price for this package is $20/user/mo.
If you subscribe annually, your per user/month fee will be $2 to $4 cheaper, and you’ll get two months for free. A yearly Premium plan, for example, could actually cost you just $6.94 per user/month. During our Hubstaff review, we also learned that all of the plans could be demoed for free via the 14-day free trial.
Hubstaff doesn’t lack in the integration department either, as it can run in unison with a bunch of other widely popular corporate software.
Project management – Hubstaff Tasks, Asana, Breeze, Clickup, GitHub, GitLab, Trello, Wrike, Zoho Projects, and many more.
Communication – Slack.
Payments, accounting, and invoicing – Bitwage, Payoneer, PayPal, QuickBooks, FreshBooks, TransferWise, and Gusto.
CRM – Salesforce
Help desk – Freshdesk, Zendesk
Whichever software your company might be working with, there’s a high chance it can be found on the Hubstaff integrations list. Through integrations, Hubstaff allows for easier time tracking, invoice creation, and task management.
Some potential users may have concerns about privacy and security, as both managers and employees might be handling sensitive data that could end up leaking if Hubstaff lacks the necessary defenses. Additionally, data extracted from screenshots – both personal and project-related – could potentially be at risk.
Thankfully, the team over at Hubstaff is seriously devoted to maintaining security. The company uses encryption protocols to protect data both in transit and when it’s at rest. Hubstaff security measures include constant safety audits, strong multi-factor authentication, powerful passwords, and more. Additionally, via its bug bounty program, Hubstaff continuously allows third parties to try and find vulnerabilities in its protection system. Those who succeed receive a reward.
Though it may look like this app works by itself, even the most streamlined software is always under threat from performance issues. A severed connection to Hubstaff servers, the app not logging hours, and many other problems do occur, but even then the Hubstaff customer service team has your back.
All paid plans grant you access to 24/7 support. You can get in touch either by opening a ticket, or directly via email and live chat. Both our tests and other user reviews attest to the professionalism and kindness of Hubstaff’s support agents. Wait times were slightly longer on certain occasions, but at no point were they too long or unbearable.
Without a doubt, Hubstaff is the best time tracking and employee monitoring tool currently available, and its sheer number of features puts many of its competitors to shame. Hubstaff has even expanded into other territories with Hubstaff Tasks and Hubstaff Talents. The Talents program has become so popular that people are making Hubstaff vs. Upwork comparisons now, as it’s showing a lot of potential to usurp Upwork’s throne in the freelancing domain.
Hubstaff’s pricing is affordable, given the services provided. Cheaper alternatives can certainly be found, but the quality will probably suffer. Our suggestion is to go with the Premium plan, as it has all the features you might need for a reasonable rate; the Enterprise plan, on the other hand, does not offer enough to justify its price. All in all, we can wholeheartedly recommend Hubstaff to any company in need of robust employee monitoring software.
What is Hubstaff used for?
Hubstaff is primarily used by employers to monitor how much their employees are working and how productive they are. Check out the Hubstaff free trial and see for yourself whether this sounds like something that might be useful to you.
Is Hubstaff legal?
Hubstaff is completely legal to use according to US law.
How much does Hubstaff cost?
Besides the free package, the cheapest paid Hubstaff plan will set you back $5.83 per user/month (when subscribed annually).
Does Hubstaff work offline?
Yes. As long as the stopwatch is active, it will keep tracking time and storing screenshots and activity data, which Hubstaff uploads when you come back online.
What is the best employee time tracking app?
As you can see from our Hubstaff review, we were pretty impressed by its capabilities. Other good choices are TimeDoctor, Wrike, and Zoho Projects.