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Hubstaff Review

By Lori Fairbanks, Business News Daily Writer | Updated Jun 03, 2020

Hubstaff is the best employee monitoring software for productivity because its monitoring features focus on activity rather than strictly surveillance. It comes with time-tracking tools, with easy-to-use web and mobile apps that make it an especially good option for businesses that work with independent contractors, freelancers, and remote workers who are paid on an hourly basis. It offers an affordable selection of plans, including one that's free, and it has a low-minimum user requirement for its paid plans, making it accessible for even very small businesses. 

Hubstaff

Hubstaff

The Best Employee Monitoring Software for 2020

The Verdict

Hubstaff is an easy-to-use employee monitoring software solution that is primarily focused on time-tracking, project management and productivity.

To understand how we selected our best picks, visit our best picks page to find our methodology and a list of the 28 other employee monitoring software applications we considered. 

Pricing

Hubstaff offers four plans, including one that's free, and all paid plans give you the option of month-to-month or annual subscriptions. If you pay annually, you get two months of free service. 

A 14-day free trial lets you take the software for a test drive before you make a purchasing decision, and if you buy the software and then decide within a few weeks that it's not right for you, you may qualify for a refund, as Hubstaff offers a 60-day, money-back guarantee. 

Here is a breakdown of each plan: 

    • Free: Hubstaff's free plan is rather limited. It only supports one user and includes time tracking, one screen capture every 10 minutes, and a measurement of activity based on keyboard and mouse usage. It retains "detailed activity" – screenshots, activity levels, the ability to edit time and make team payments – for one month.

    • Basic: $7 per user, per month, with a two-user minimum ($14). The basic plan builds on the features offered in the Free plan. It increases the number of screenshots to three per 10-minute interval and adds one third-party integration with the software of your choosing. It also offers 24-hour technical support and individualized settings for each user. Detailed activity is retained for six months.

    • Premium: $10 per user, per month, with a two-user minimum ($20). This plan most closely resembles the more comprehensive employee monitoring software we reviewed. It includes all the features of the basic plan, plus unlimited third-party software integrations. It also includes application and website monitoring, employee idle time prompts, mobile GPS tracking, fleet tracking, time-off and holiday tracking, scheduling and attendance, timesheet approvals, invoices, payroll, client and project budgets, and weekly work limits. Detailed activity is also retained for six months.

    • Enterprise: $20 per user, per month, with a two-user minimum ($40). This plan includes all the features of the Premium plan, plus higher limits on public APIs, unlimited job sites, VIP support and concierge account setup. 

Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

Features

Hubstaff's employee monitoring tools are more basic than many of the other solutions we considered. It doesn't filter content, log keystrokes, track files sent to the printer or detect when USB drives are inserted into the computer. But it comes with activity monitoring and productivity features that make it a solid option for small businesses that don't want to monitor everything their employees do, view or type, but do want to make sure their team members aren't wasting time. 

The software doesn't run stealthily in the background, though, like most employee monitoring software. Instead, users interact with it, using its tasks and time-tracking tools to report their time worked. Hubstaff only tracks computer usage when time is running, so if you work with freelancers or contractors who use their personal computers, they won't have to worry about their computer usage outside of work hours being tracked. 

Here's an overview of Hubstaff's monitoring features 

  • Activity monitoring: Hubstaff uses keyboard and mouse movements to determine activity levels for your employees. You can then combine this data with other user information, such as which apps and websites the employee used and screenshots to see if the employee is using their time productively.

  • Time tracking: Hubstaff's emphasis on productivity is most evident in its time-tracking feature, which allows managers to view not only the amount of time an employee has worked but also to which task or project they were working on. By assigning employees tasks and having them track their time for each task separately, Hubstaff serves as both an employee monitoring tool and a project management aid.

  • Idle prompts: If your employee's timer is running, but the software hasn't detected activity for a certain amount of time, Hubstaff gives your employee a nudge with an idle prompt popup. It asks if the employee would like to keep or remove the time they were idle from their daily report – for instance, if they were on the phone with a client, they could choose to keep the time, or if they forgot to stop the timer when they stepped away for a break, they could remove the time from their daily time report. The software then asks if the employee wants to continue or stop tracking time.

  • Screenshots: Hubstaff captures random screenshots to show you what your employees are looking at while they're on the clock. It supports multiple screens, and you can choose to have the software take one, two or three screenshots for each 10-minute interval – or, you can disable this feature. You also have the option of using a blur mode for screenshots, which may be useful if your staff regularly accesses sensitive data, such as client health or financial information.

  • Web and app tracking: This feature shows what websites and applications your employees use and how long they use them. Website activity monitoring is one of the most critical functions of an employee monitoring software solution, as it allows you to see how much time employees are wasting on unproductive activities.

  • Reporting: Hubstaff's reporting tools help you analyze how your employees are spending their time and how much projects cost, based on the time spent on them. The data is filterable by week, employee, client or project. If there's a certain report you want to see at set intervals, you can schedule it to be automatically sent to you.

  • Mobile app: Your employees can download the app on their Apple and Android phones and tablets to track time when they're on the go. It can also track location, showing you where they travel while they're on the clock and how long they spend at each destination. You can also set up geofencing, which automatically starts the timer when the employee arrives at a job site and then automatically stops it when they leave.

  • Integrations: You can connect Hubstaff to more than 30 third-party applications, including project management solutions like Asana, Basecamp, Jira and Trello; accounting software like QuickBooks and FreshBooks; payroll and payment solutions like Gusto and PayPal; and the CRM platform Salesforce. 

Hubstaff Pros

Hubstaff has an attractive user interface, and although it can sometimes take a few clicks to find a specific tool or feature in one of its dropdown menus, it's still easy to navigate and use. It does a good job bringing together all the data points it captures, making it simple for managers and admins to review employee activity and assess productivity levels. 

Reporting can be filtered by user, dates or the type of activity, and all are affixed with a percentage that identifies how active employees were during their work hours. 

Hubstaff Cons

Because Hubstaff focuses on measuring employee productivity, as well as monitoring behavior and communications, it lacks some features that are commonly included with other employee monitoring software. For example, Hubstaff does not filter content, log keystrokes, track files, track printing or flag the use of portable devices like thumb drives. It also doesn't allow you to view monitored activity in real time – another common ability of other employee monitoring solutions. 

Hubstaff has a lot of useful features, and if you're primarily concerned with employee productivity or if you want a less-invasive employee monitoring software, it's one you should definitely consider for your organization. But if you're looking for a surveillance program strictly to monitor employees' behaviors and the content of their communications, Hubstaff probably isn't the right solution for you. 

Customer Support

Hubstaff offers 24/7 support with all of its plans and suggests that submitting a ticket is the fastest way to get help, though the website says the estimated turnaround time is 90 minutes. You can also reach the company via email. The Enterprise plan includes VIP support and concierge setup with personalized onboarding assistance. The company provides a strong selection of self-help resources that include FAQs, a knowledgebase and video tutorials. 

Ready to choose an employee monitoring software solution? Check out the rest of our coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for information on employee monitoring software? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need.

Image Credit: Prostock-Studio / Getty Images
Hubstaff

Hubstaff

The Best Employee Monitoring Software for 2020

The Verdict

Hubstaff is an easy-to-use employee monitoring software solution that is primarily focused on time-tracking, project management and productivity.

Lori Fairbanks: Mosaic Hub Expert
Lori Fairbanks,
Business News Daily Writer
See Lori's Profile
Lori Fairbanks has years of experience writing and editing for both print and online publications. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Arts in English, she worked as a magazine editor and then as a freelance writer and editor for a variety of companies, including marketing firms and a medical university. She now writes about small business finance, including accounting software, credit card processing and point-of-sale systems for business.com and Business News Daily.