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Hubstaff Review [2020]: Pros, Cons, and Alternatives

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Are you looking for an in-depth Hubstaff review? If so, you’re in the right place.

If you’re here, you probably have a business and you’re looking for a solution to manage your time better, bill your clients more accurately (for time-based contracts), and manage your team. 

We get it. 

It’s stressful to lead a team and get business done when you can’t work at the office anymore,or when half your team is halfway across the world.

You may have multiple tabs open all the time, send numerous emails all day, calling people to find out how projects are going, and never remember who was supposed to do what task.

You also have to add payroll to the list of things to be taken care of, making things hectic.

Hubstaff software could be the lifesaver you have been waiting for! Keep reading to get our honest Hubstaff review and find out if it’s a fit for you.

What is Hubstaff?

Hubstaff is a project management software that makes working together in a virtual space easier. It works as an online office where you can keep track of your projects, communicate with your team members, monitor tasks and progress, and pay accurately for completed work.

Hubstaff lets you assign tasks to team members, set up and monitor all the projects you’re working on, and see a breakdown of tasks needed for each project. It combines Project management, location and screenshot monitoring, invoicing, and payroll for managing teams.

Now let’s dive into how Hubstaff works.

How does it Work?

Hubstaff has three main Products: 

  1. Hubstaff Tasks

Have you ever heard of Agile project management? It’s where you have all the different projects you are working on, and you have multiple people working on it, and you can have a birds-eye view of how all the projects are going from start to finish. 

Hubstaff Tasks helps you use agile project management on your projects through its software. You can input your projects, assign them to different team members, and have a one-stop-shop that lets you keep tabs on the tasks, timelines and whether they are getting done. 

Hubstaff provides an interactive visual interface that lets you manage the project easily. You create a new project and divide it into tasks. You then put these tasks on different columns representing the lifecycle of your project from start to finish. For instance, you could start with a “backlog” column showing all the tasks that need to be done. 

You can then add an “Ongoing” column for all tasks in progress for the week or the month. 

Lastly, you can have a “Complete” column to move tasks to once completed.

Your tasks appear as cards under the column once you create them. Tasks can be moved from one column to the other by dragging and dropping.

Depending on your project cycle, you can customize the columns to meet your team’s needs.

  1. Hubstaff Time Track

Hubstaff Time Track is quite possibly the most popular product of Hubstaff. Its ability to monitor team members’ work can help you make more informed decisions and keep track of the team’s performance. Hubstaff’s time tracker does a couple of things:

Time Tracking

Hubstaff can track how much time each task takes or how much the person assigned to that task takes to complete it. You can know which tasks took longer than others and the project parts that take more time by looking through the time tracked. 

To track time, your team member needs to click on the task they are about to work on and start the timer, stopping it once they are done.

Activity Levels

When your team members log their time, Hubstaff also measures how active or inactive they are. The software records mouse movements and how often an employee types on their computer. 

When there are mouse and keyboard movements, they are recorded as active. Once there is a prolonged period of inactivity, about 20 minutes, Hubstaff records the person as inactive for those 20 minutes. These levels are then added up to get the percentage of activity.

Side Note: 

Hubstaff doesn’t record the exact information keyed in but rather the mouse movements and keystrokes’ frequency. Your team’s privacy and critical information such as passwords remain safe.

You can get percentages of each team member’s activity levels, which you can use to deduce productivity levels.

Just remember that the productivity levels only show how often they were typing and moving their mouse. If they were handling a task that didn’t require these actions, the activity levels can’t be used to gauge how productive the member was.

Screenshots 

Hubstaff time tracking also includes screenshots. When you start the timer on the desktop app, the software also takes your computer’s periodic screenshots. This comes in handy to keep people concentrated on the task at hand. 

You know how tempting it can be to go on social media even as people work. You have probably experienced it yourself where you start with just one peak, and hours later, you are still scrolling through social media while you should be working.

Hubstaff screenshots feature lets you know whether what your team members are doing is work-related or not.

Website URL Tracking

Apart from taking screenshots, Hubstaff can also track the web URLs that a team member visits. A report of the web URLs is available for your viewing once activated. 

TimeSheet Management

What time people clocked in and out is also available for your viewing. The software automatically records the first keystroke and the last keystroke once they start the time tracker. 

You can get to know what times your team members are working and learn when they are most productive.

Geo Tagging and Location

Hubstaff also includes a GPS tracker that can track your team members’ location, as well as the time that they arrived at that location. It also includes a Geo-fencing feature where you can set up a location to track each time the employee arrives and leaves that location.

  1. Hubstaff Talent

Hubstaff also has a talent pool that lets you hire freelancers through their site for free. You can post a job on the site and get either one freelancer or a team to help you complete your project.

With all these features, how much would you need to pay for it?

How much does Hubstaff cost?

Hubstaff prices are set according to how many people are in your team. For each team member you add to Hubstaff, it will cost you $7 to $20 per month. It has different packages that you can choose from depending on your budget and your needs. 

And how would you access Hubstaff?

Does it work offline?

You can access Hubstaff through three different platforms. There’s the Desktop app that you install on your laptop, the Mobile app for your smartphone and a Chrome extension for your browsers.

The Hubstaff Desktop App tracks time even when offline, while the rest need an internet connection to work.

Is Hubstaff Easy to Use?

Hubstaff is quite beginner-friendly. 

Its user interface is clean and straightforward, which means you don’t need extra developer knowledge. You can install it and start inviting your team members and creating projects and tasks right away. 

When it comes to paying your team members…

How do you Pay Team Members on Hubstaff?

You can set up automatic payments on Hubstaff to pay using online payment systems like Paypal and Payoneer. 

You can also make manual payments by exporting a payment file to the system you want to make the payment to. 

Is Hubstaff Safe?

One concern you or your team members may have is how safe the software is. Is your team’s privacy being compromised by using Hubstaff?

Well, your team members get to choose what times need to be monitored in their daily tasks. 

They need to start the timer and let it run in the back, stopping it when they shift to non-work-related activities. 

So if one member wants to watch cat videos in their free time, they can do so without worrying that you are snooping on them. 

The screenshot feature may also raise some privacy concerns. Hubstaff has a screen blur option that could help. 

Once activated, screenshots taken will appear blurred when you access them. 

You can choose to activate this feature to give your team members confidence that any sensitive information is kept safe. 

The Location tracking could also cause worry. You can choose not to use this feature, and in case you use it, you can talk to your team to figure out how to make it work. 

Hubstaff or any other software you use needs open communication for it to work for your team. Team members should know what the software is and isn’t doing, and they need to consent to it.

Hubstaff Pros and Cons

Here is a brief glance at the positive and negative things about the Hubstaff software:

Pros

  1. Simple, clean user interface
  2. Good reporting
  3. Ease of tracking multiple projects across teams
  4. Great payment automation
  5. Transparency between employee and employer. (You both have access to what is being monitored and when)
  6. Productivity tracking for remote workers
  7. Organized dashboard view 

Cons

  1. Screenshots only available on the desktop app
  2. Automatic payment doesn’t ask for approval of timesheets. You may need to set payment to manual if you want the option to approve timesheets before payments are made.
  3. Productivity tracking only works for people whose tasks need constant mouse movements and typing on a keyboard.
  4. Location tracking and Geofencing works only on Mobile software.
  5. You will probably need to install several versions of the software: One for the phone, a desktop app and a Chrome extension, depending on what you want to use Hubstaff for.

What Other Hubstaff Users are Saying

Now that you’ve seen its pros and cons, let’s find out what other people are saying about it, both the good and the bad.

Positive Hubstaff Reviews

Absolutely LOVE this software! After using Hubstaff, our productivity has nearly tripled for my company. The majority of our team are virtual employees, so keeping track of their productivity levels is key to refining our team and collaborating faster on projects.

Matt Callen, Co-founder EASYVSL

Improved Productivity

From spending up to 4 hours/week reviewing all timesheets to <1 hour now, thanks to Hubstaff.

Kurt Effertz, Director of Operations

Hubstaff has really helped us to build the level of trust required to have a remote team.

David Judge, Co-founder

This was the most usable product for my team in the lockdown period. We have successfully managed the team remotely in the whole lockdown period. The time tracking and screenshots of the screen is a most useful feature.

Mohit S.

Invoice Management

I use Hubstaff daily to track my clients, tasks, and invoices. They’re always there to help and very easy to work with. 100% recommended for any virtual workers!

Tia G.

Hubstaff is a great tool. It’s really simple to use and it’s even fun and motivating to check the amount that you are going to receive based on the work time.

Great for Collaboration

Hubstaff is really simple for our collaborators to use to track their work time. It’s nice because you can configure the hourly rate of the collaborator, and when the team member starts the timer, it automatically starts to calculate the total amount of money gained on that period.

Silvano J.

When I started working as a freelancer I tested most of the most famous time tracking software services out there. I always ended up coming back to Hubstaff! The free plan was perfect for starting out, and now it also works perfectly for our small team. And we hope the same will happen once the company grows bigger.

Arman S.

Negative Hubstaff Reviews

The only con I could say about this software is that every day during our 30 minute video conference meeting I have to keep telling Hubstaff that I am not idle since my mouse hasn’t been moving for that time period, and after 10 minutes or so it marks you as idle.

Anonymous User

It is a great product if you spent some time explaining the advantages to your colleagues. Otherwise, I might be seen as a tool that violates personal privacy and narrowly measures company productivity.

Dejan L, CEO

Needs more Metrics for Activity Tracking

My overall experience with this software is a very poor one. While I appreciate what you’re trying to accomplish with the software, especially for remote employees such as myself, it just isn’t working out for me personally. As I said earlier, it’s going to wind up costing me my job because the software is telling my management that I’m not working when I am. The software also doesn’t account for things like needing a lavatory break or taking our (legally required) paid time breaks. If I were to take my 30 minute paid time breaks every day, my productivity would just sink into the teens. There’s also no way to account for meetings or times I am on the phone where I am still being productive and working but since I am not clicking anything or typing it thinks I am sitting doing nothing

Diane S., Lead Generation Specialist

A Summary of Negative Hubstaff Reviews

The negative responses we found pointed to a misunderstanding of the features provided and a few bugs that Hubstaff’s team fixed or is fixing, as well as personal opinions on the software.

If your team’s tasks don’t require mouse movement or keyboard action, then the time tracking feature may not work as well for you. You can have your team input manual time for more accurate payments.

That leads us to who exactly Hubstaff works best for…

Who is Hubstaff for?

Hubstaff is best suited for:

  • Small and Medium-sized enterprises. The pay per user makes it less suitable for larger corporates as they may find a one-off payment for all their users better.
  • Remote workers in a team. If your team consists of remote workers worldwide, Hubstaff makes it easy to communicate, track productivity and manage tasks and payment for work done.
  • Managers trying to monitor employees in a virtual workspace.
  • Teams whose work is majorly online, requiring keyboard and mouse movement. If your team’s tasks are more manual or primarily based on calls, for instance, Hubstaff’s time tracker will not help you much.

What are the Alternatives? 

There are several alternatives to Hubstaff, depending on your budget and what you want out of the software.

Time Doctor

Similar to Hubstaff, Time Doctor is a time tracking and project management software. It offers pocket friendly prices based on how large your team is through their 3-tiered pricing plans.

For a small team of about 10 users, for instance, you would pay $98 per month. This lets you access time and activity tracking, payroll and integrations with other software that your team uses.

Quickbooks

Quickbooks Time, formerly known as Tsheets, is a higher-end alternative for around $20 to $40 per month, with additional fees for every new user added. Its features include:

  • Time tracking
  • Team management
  • Scheduling employee shifts
  • Generating reports of progress

It is especially suitable for tasks that don’t require one to be active on their computer.

Freshbooks

Freshbooks is an accounting and invoicing software that does the accounting work for you.

You get to create and send out invoices to your clients, track time spent on projects and add them to the invoices, and track your expenses for the business.

Freshbooks offers affordable pricing between $4.50 and $15 per month depending on the number of clients you invoice.

You can also work on projects with your team members by adding them for $10 per person per month.

Gusto

Gusto is a HR management software that lets you manage your employees, hire and onboard new ones and track time worked by the employees.

Gusto’s pricing starts at $45/month with $6/month per person added to the software.

Its features include:

  • Full payroll service (With filing and automatic deductions)
  • Employee benefits
  • Time tracking
  • Onboarding tools for new employees
  • A Gusto wallet to help save and track spending doe employees

Our Verdict: Recommended

At How to Entrepreneur, we currently use Hubstaff for task management, tracking our team hours, and seeing how we can improve our efficiency. It’s been extremely helpful for us. 

We Recommend it for small and large teams (especially if you work remotely). It helps if you want to save time on projects and human resource management to focus on the project instead. 

Get started with a free 14-day trial of Hubstaff and see if it can be a good option for you. Create your free account here.

Hubstaff - Time-Tracking & Productivity Software

9.3

Ease of Use

9.8/10

Reliability

9.5/10

Customer Satisfaction

9.0/10

Features

9.0/10

Pricing

9.0/10

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Takes screenshots, tracks key and mouse activity
  • Tracks location
  • Integrates with other productivity, accounting, payroll, and other business apps
  • Awards efficiency and completion of tasks

Cons

  • Difficult to track desk employees who do tasks off of the computer
  • Some feel that it violates privacy
  • Breaks, team meetings, or activities with low mouse or keyboard movement can be triggered as idle time
  • Some integrations are glitchy (like the Gusto integration)
  • Only offers Monday payroll

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Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

Hey there! I'm Leah Ngari.

I am a Copywriter/Blogger that's very passionate about helping others. I joined the How to Entrepreneur team in 2021 and my goal is to help entrepreneurs and business people grow by informing and educating them through written content.
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