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If you have a business that is highly dependent on the internet, chances are you can hire competent online workers from other countries. This is a convenient and cost-effective way to scale, but how can you manage a team effectively when you’re oceans away?
In this article, we’ll talk about Hubstaff, our remote employee management app of choice, and the features that made us stick with it for years.
What Is Hubstaff and Who Is It For?
Hubstaff is a time-tracking and workforce management platform that automates many aspects of running a growing business. It was established in 2012 in Indiana and has since become one of the most popular time-tracking software for e-commerce business owners.
It is especially helpful if you follow a work-from-home arrangement or are employing people from other countries. Hubstaff allows you to see exactly what your employees are working on, what sites and apps they spend their time on, and, with its GPS feature, where they are during work hours.
Hubstaff works both for desktop and mobile devices and is compatible with the following operating systems. If you're looking to hire, you can ask candidates if their devices meet the minimum system requirements.
|Windows||Windows 8 or newer. Supports Windows 7 machines with TLS 1.2 enabled.|
|Mac||Version 10.9 (Mavericks) or newer. OSX Catalina (10.15) and above requires permissions before recording screenshots, apps, and URLs.|
|Linux||GNU C Library version 2.17 or higher. TLS 1.2 enabled and X11 display manager.|
|Chromebook App||Google Chrome 46 or newer|
|Chrome Extension||Google Chrome 46 or newer|
|iOS App||Version 8.0 (Okemo) or newer|
|Android App||Supports Android 5 (Lollipop or SDK 21) or newer. Android 4.x versions must have TLS 1.2 enabled.|
Table from Hubstaff
Hubstaff is useful to those who
- employ people on a work-from-home or freelance basis
- are looking to automate salary payments
- have employees who are always on the move (to check if they are where they should be at a given time)
- want to determine exactly how long a worker takes on specific tasks
Do You Really Need a Time Tracker?
Before we delve deeper into Hubstaff’s features, let’s tackle a basic question: do you even need to track your employees during work hours?
There are countless reasons to track what your employees are doing, including
- Ensuring productivity
- Determining if workloads need to be adjusted
- Complying with labor laws to ensure you have evidence to support your claim of a valid dismissal
- Calculating total work hours to determine the proper salary
These are crucial to ensure an overall smooth process, especially if you have employees who are paid by the hour. However, there are also some disadvantages. For example, employees may focus on the time worked rather than on their results. Sometimes, workers even use an auto clicker to trick the app into thinking they’re working.
Time tracking can also affect creativity and flow. When you use a time tracker such as Hubstaff, your employees have to constantly remind themselves to turn on their timers or change the projects indicated. This may be a small thing, but it does make a difference.
Finally, because most apps take screenshots, there’s a risk of leaking personal data and other critical details like a customer’s credit card information.
However, if you’ve determined that the pros outweigh the cons, then let’s look at what Hubstaff has to offer.
Hubstaff offers three options: Hubstaff Time, Hubstaff Desk, and Hubstaff Field. Each one has different features and prices.
|Hubstaff Plan||Description||Best For|
|Hubstaff Time||Simple time tracking and reporting||Those who don’t need to monitor their employees’ screens|
|Hubstaff Desk||Proof of work, time tracking, and team management||Office work with screenshot monitoring|
|Hubstaff Field||GPS location and team management||Businesses with field workers|
Here’s a look at some of the best Hubstaff features so you know what to expect.
Time Tracking and Project Management
Hubstaff has an app with a timer. You don’t need an internet connection to get the timer started, take screenshots, and monitor activity levels, but you do need one by the end of the workday to make sure the correct time is reflected on the report.
Based on experience, if you don’t get a stable connection before logging out for the day, the last recorded time when the app was connected will be reflected in the report. For example, if you’re supposed to work for eight hours but your connection was cut off at 7:55, that’s what Hubstaff will record. That’s why it’s important to remind your employees to always refresh the timer before they log off.
Hubstaff also allows employees to track specific projects as well as subtasks so you’ll know which project they spend their time on the most.
Hubstaff also allows you to integrate with some of the most popular project management tools available such as Asana and Trello.
|Hubstaff Project Management Integrations|
|Hubstaff Tasks||Active Collab||Asana|
One of the worst things that can decrease a team’s morale is not getting paid on time. Fortunately, Hubstaff allows automatic payments and integrates with the following:
|Hubstaff Payments and Accounting Integrations|
You can set the payment frequency and payment date for fixed salaries. However, you need to manually input bonuses if there are any.
Hubstaff not only allows you to view screenshots. It also shows you the activity level at a given time. So you’ll know when your employee is actually working on their devices.
However, remember that a low activity level does not always mean your employee is not working. It only means they are not using their devices. Take it from someone who used to stick to pen and paper to write drafts and would just move the mouse every now and then to avoid being tagged as idle.
Another good thing about Hubstaff’s time tracking system is it allows you to set time limits for idleness. For example, you can program the app to stop the timer when there has been no activity for 10 minutes. This way, when your employee is away from his device, he won’t be credited for the time beyond the set limit.
Easier Way to File Leaves of Absence
Your employees need vacations too, and it can be tricky to keep track of paid time off on a spreadsheet. That’s why Hubstaff provides a more convenient way for employees to take a leave of absence and for managers to approve them.
The app also tells you if the employee goes past the allotted leaves so you can reduce the salary accordingly.
Hubstaff Plans and Pricing
Hubstaff offers a 14-day trial for all three of their main products with a 60-day money-back guarantee. It also offers two free months for annual subscriptions.
Here are Hubstaff’s pricing tiers:
Hubstaff Pros and Cons
- Effective time tracking and activity monitoring
- Task hierarchy allows employees to track subtasks
- It’s easy to leave notes regarding breaks and discrepancies in time tracking
- Allows employees to request for scheduled leaves
- Works on mobile devices
- Shows activity sheets
- Tracks apps and sites visited (for Hubstaff Desk)
- Compatible with most popular integrations
- Email regarding members’ time rendered and activity percentage
- Lack of possibility to set different hourly rates per project and per team member
- Timer needs to be refreshed before logging off, especially if your connection is not that stable
For most e-commerce business owners who manage remote teams, having a reliable time-tracking app is a must. It ensures you and your team are on the same page and that your employees are being productive.
Hubstaff is an overall good option because of its integrations and additional features that allow you to run your business more efficiently. It is also EcomCrew’s app of choice, and we’ve been using it for years now.
Have you used any time-tracking apps for your business? Leave your recommendations in the comments section below.