Hubstaff FAQs

Frequently asked questions

We’re here to help you make the most of Hubstaff and reach new levels of efficiency.
Frequently asked questions
  • General
    • What is Hubstaff?
      • Hubstaff Time
      • Hubstaff Desk
      • Hubstaff Field
    • How does Hubstaff's time tracking work?
    • How does Hubstaff track activity?
      • How does Hubstaff calculate activity rates?
      • How does idle timeout work?
    • Does Hubstaff record my screen?
    • Does Hubstaff record voice and video?
    • Does Hubstaff track location?
    • How does it track my team's productivity and efficiency?
    • How often does Hubstaff take screenshots?
    • Where are screenshots stored?
    • Does Hubstaff run 24/7?
    • Can Hubstaff track IP addresses?
  • Compliance, privacy, and security
    • How does Hubstaff address privacy concerns?
    • Is Hubstaff legal?
      • US employee monitoring laws
      • EU monitoring laws
      • Canadian monitoring laws
    • Best practices for employee monitoring
    • Is Hubstaff HIPAA compliant?
    • Is Hubstaff GDPR-compliant?
    • Is Hubstaff SOC-2 compliant?
    • What companies use Hubstaff?
    • Can I hide Hubstaff from my staff?
  • Operating systems and connections
    • Does Hubstaff work offline?
    • Which operating systems does Hubstaff support?
    • Does Hubstaff offer mobile apps?
    • What are Hubstaff’s integrations?
    • Does it work via proxy?
    • In what countries is Hubstaff available?
  • Pricing
    • Can I use Hubstaff for free?
    • Can I cancel at any time?
    • Can another entity redistribute Hubstaff?
    • Do you offer a la carte pricing?
    • Is there a Hubstaff affiliate program?
    • Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
    • What happens if I cancel my annual plan?
    • What happens if I remove or add users during my annual plan?
    • I don't track time. Do I need to pay for myself?
  • More questions
    • Can we help with anything else?
  • General

    • What is Hubstaff?

      Hubstaff is a time tracking and workforce management platform that automates many aspects of running a growing business.

      Teams can track time to projects and to-dos using Hubstaff's desktop, web, or mobile applications. You'll be able to see how much time your team spends on different tasks, plus productivity metrics like activity rates and app usage through Hubstaff's online dashboard.

      Most of these features are customizable on a per-user basis, so you can create the team management tool you need.

      With Hubstaff, you'll get a clear picture of your team's performance based on actual data instead of guesses and rough estimates.

      Hubstaff offers three products: Hubstaff Time, Hubstaff Desk, and Hubstaff Field. Hubstaff also offers Agile project management software called Hubstaff Tasks and a free remote talent platform called Hubstaff Talent.

      • Hubstaff Time

        Simplify work tracking and boost your efficiency with Hubstaff Time. Hubstaff Time streamlines time tracking, timesheets, and payments so you and your team can get more done in less time.

        Read more

      • Hubstaff Desk

        Simplify work tracking and boost your efficiency with Hubstaff Time. Hubstaff Time streamlines time tracking, timesheets, and payments so you and your team can get more done in less time.

        Read more

      • Hubstaff Field

        Simplify work tracking and boost your efficiency with Hubstaff Time. Hubstaff Time streamlines time tracking, timesheets, and payments so you and your team can get more done in less time.

        Read more

    • How does Hubstaff's time tracking work?

      Tracking time is incredibly easy with Hubstaff. After setting up your organization and its projects, team members can use Hubstaff's desktop, web, or mobile apps to track their time. You can also create to-dos within projects for more precise tracking.

      Once you start tracking time to a task, Hubstaff will quietly run in the background as you work, consuming virtually no resources. You can easily switch between tasks or stop tracking with just a few clicks. When Hubstaff isn’t tracking time, no other data is being recorded. The goal is only to track work done on a device, not to watch someone at all times.

    • How does Hubstaff track activity?

      Hubstaff tracks the applications and websites your team spends time on while the app is running. Then it calculates your team members' activity rates based on keyboard and mouse usage, which helps establish a baseline for each team member's average productivity.

      We call these proof of work features, and they’re only included in Hubstaff Desk or Desk + Field plans. These features can be customized for each person or turned off altogether. Read more about how tracking works.

      • How does Hubstaff calculate activity rates?

        Hubstaff detects input from your keyboard and mouse to measure your activity over ten-minute periods (600 seconds). For example, if you typed on your keyboard and moved your mouse for 300 total seconds while the timer was running, that would equal an activity rate of 50%.

        Take note that Hubstaff does not record your keystrokes. The app only checks if there is keyboard or mouse activity or if there isn’t.

      • How does idle timeout work?

        In order to cut down on inaccurate timesheets, Hubstaff can prompt a notification when a user goes idle (no mouse or keyboard activity). Idle intervals can be set to notify after 5, 10, 20 minutes, or never. After those periods, your team members can choose to keep tracking time or stop the timer and keep or delete the idle time.

    • Does Hubstaff record my screen?

      Hubstaff can take screenshots once, twice, or three times per ten minutes, but we do not record video of your computer display while you are working.

      Hubstaff offers the option to blur your team members' screenshots, allowing you to track their progress without risking access to sensitive information.

      This is another proof of work feature that can be customized or turned off if you choose.

    • Does Hubstaff record voice and video?

      No, and we never will. Hubstaff is a productivity tool, not surveillance software. We will never record sounds from your microphone or videos of your screen or webcam.

    • Does Hubstaff track location?

      Hubstaff's mobile apps have built-in GPS capabilities that allow managers to track their team members' locations. Similar to its proof of work features, this will only work while you're tracking time or through fleet tracking. Hubstaff will stop uploading live data when you stop the timer and instead report your last recorded location. Your team will have to grant permissions on their device when they download the app, so they’ll know what’s being tracked.

    • How does it track my team's productivity and efficiency?

      Tracking your team's efficiency can be a challenge, but we've equipped Hubstaff with several great features to help you determine how they perform.

      For example, a video editor could have low activity rates over short but recurring periods of time throughout the day. However, the app usage report will show that they spent almost all of their time on video editing software. This would make sense as rendering videos takes time but involves no keyboard or mouse input.

      Another example is a writer working on an extensive article. A low activity rate doesn't immediately imply that they're inefficient. Heavy research and web browsing typically precede writing, so be sure to review the websites they visited before making a conclusion.

      Hubstaff works best when you have clear expectations for your team. It helps you determine each team member's average productivity levels to identify improvements or declines in their performance over time. In other words, the more you use Hubstaff, the better the results you'll get.

    • How often does Hubstaff take screenshots?

      Hubstaff can take as many as three screenshots every 10 minutes through the desktop apps. You can reduce the frequency at which Hubstaff takes screenshots or turn the feature off entirely on a per-user basis. By default, Hubstaff will send a desktop notification every time a screenshot is taken, but the team member can turn that notification off.

    • Where are screenshots stored?

      Hubstaff follows the best security practices. All screenshots are uploaded via SSL over HTTPS. Our apps do all screenshot uploading directly to Amazon S3 (screenshots never pass through our server). Additionally, your screenshots are obfuscated on Amazon's servers. For more information, please read our privacy policy and security policy.

    • Does Hubstaff run 24/7?

      No, Hubstaff will work only if the timer is running or if you have fleet tracking enabled through Hubstaff Field. It will stop tracking your work and uploading data as soon as you stop the timer and/or quit the app.

    • Can Hubstaff track IP addresses?

      No. Hubstaff does not track your IP address on any device, as it’s unnecessary for the app’s intended use.

  • Compliance, privacy, and security

    • How does Hubstaff address privacy concerns?

      Protecting employee privacy is one of Hubstaff's cornerstones. Employees have complete control over when they want to track time. You will also receive a notification when you start tracking time and when Hubstaff takes screenshots.

      Additionally, employees have full access to their tracked data. For instance, if you accidentally tracked time to non-work-related tasks, you can delete the data (including screenshots) in your activity dashboard — even without admin permissions.

      Transparency, access, and control over your own data are some of our guiding principles. Read more about how tracking with Hubstaff works.

    • Is Hubstaff legal?

      Yes, Hubstaff is legal and does not violate any privacy guidelines and regulations when used correctly. We will not track your activity without your consent, and protecting your data is one of our top priorities.

      We highly recommend disclosing when and how you are using Hubstaff to any employees or contractors before they download the app. This helps ensure transparency and gives them a chance to fully understand what the software does.

      Please note: This is not legal advice. Consult with your legal counsel should you have concerns regarding your business and its employees.

      • US employee monitoring laws

        Employee monitoring is generally legal in the United States, with the requirement being employee consent. This is covered in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, which allows monitoring in the workplace under 18 U.S. Code § 2511:

        “(iv) such use or endeavor to use (A) takes place on the premises of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce; or (B) obtains or is for the purpose of obtaining information relating to the operations of any business or other commercial establishment the operations of which affect interstate or foreign commerce;”

        Federal laws don’t require businesses to get permission to monitor their employees, but it ultimately depends on the state in which you’re operating.

        For instance, New York requires businesses to provide a written notice to employees upon hiring — and once per year — that they will be monitored (NY A1920A). How they will be monitored should also be clearly specified.

        Hubstaff does not violate any laws in this scenario (or in other states with the same guidelines as New York), as only your team members have control over when to track their work. They’ll also have to give consent and grant permissions when they download the apps.

        However, it’s best to consult with legal counsel before proceeding should you have questions or concerns.

      • EU monitoring laws

        EU monitoring laws are heavily dependent on the GDPR law, which permits the act as long as employee consent is present and users have full access to their data. Hubstaff will never track activity without your knowledge and you are given full control over your data. Read more about our GDPR compliance.

      • Canadian monitoring laws

        Businesses in Canada are also allowed to record their employees’ work, provided that you establish a clear monitoring policy and get consent from your employees. Employees have the right to refuse to be monitored and they should be given full access to their collected data.

        In Hubstaff’s case, this would mean their tracked time, screenshots taken from their devices, and activity reports. According to section 5(3) of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA):

        “ An organization may collect, use or disclose personal information only for purposes that a reasonable person would consider are appropriate in the circumstances.”

    • Best practices for employee monitoring

      Employee monitoring laws are different in each country, but a good rule of thumb is to make sure your employees know why, how, and when you're tracking their data. The best thing to do is to have them review and sign a written consent form before proceeding.

      • Create a policy. Having clear guidelines on employee monitoring is essential. This includes specifying which devices and software they're allowed to use and what data you'll be monitoring.
      • Be transparent with your intentions and expectations. Your team should know the exact reason behind the monitoring, what you aim to achieve, and if the tracked data impacts their performance reviews.
      • Don't go beyond your scope. If you agree that you will not track your team's screens or keyboard activity, then don't — no exceptions, even if you do have the means to do so.

      TL;DR: Obtain written consent from all your team members before monitoring their devices — even if they are company-provided. Keep in mind: Written consent shouldn’t be a factor in whether you hire someone or keep them on your team. Be as clear and transparent as possible but also flexible should you need to modify expectations.

      Disclaimer: This information is not professional legal advice. Please refer to your specific state or country policies or dedicated legal counsel.

    • Is Hubstaff HIPAA compliant?

      Yes, Hubstaff is HIPAA-compliant. For teams working in the health care industry, Hubstaff can blur screenshots to protect medical records and confidential patient information. Screenshots can easily be deleted through the web app if needed.

    • Is Hubstaff GDPR-compliant?

      Yes, Hubstaff is GDPR-compliant. The GDPR requires businesses to get a person's consent before collecting their data. Hubstaff tracks your data only when the app is actively running, which you have control over. Users can access, delete, or export the data collected by Hubstaff. Read more or request your data.

    • Is Hubstaff SOC-2 compliant?

      Yes, Hubstaff is SOC2 Type 2 compliant. We have taken steps to ensure that our data is strongly protected against unauthorized access, especially customer information. All of our team members have taken security training programs and are equipped with the proper tools.

    • What companies use Hubstaff?

      Companies of all sizes from several industries use Hubstaff every day to save time and increase their profitability. Some examples:

      • Rise, a Philadelphia-based web development agency with remote staff, was losing track of who was doing what. As a result, they found it difficult to deliver on client demands. With Hubstaff, they were able to accurately track where time was being spent and manage their remote team much more smoothly.
      • ENC Construction, a Chicago-based construction company, struggled with tracking their crew members' attendance. They also found the process of collecting and verifying time cards time-consuming and unreliable. Hubstaff's geofencing feature made it possible to track when and where crew members were working. Clocking in and out and managing timesheets became fully automated, saving them a lot of time.
      • Terran is an e-commerce business that spent too much time on team management processes like time tracking, attendance scheduling, and payroll management. Since they were performing these processes individually, everything was disconnected and complicated. Hubstaff made it possible to perform all of these functions (and more) in one platform, making their workflow much more efficient.

      Read more customer case studies here.

    • Can I hide Hubstaff from my staff?

      No. There is no way to monitor your employees' activity unless they track time on their devices.

  • Operating systems and connections

    • Does Hubstaff work offline?

      Yes, you can use Hubstaff without an internet connection. Hubstaff will store your time and activity data locally while you're offline and will upload it to the server once a connection is available.

    • Which operating systems does Hubstaff support?

      Hubstaff runs on macOS, Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS. You can also track time using the web app or the Chrome browser extension, but these versions don't offer proof of work features.

    • Does Hubstaff offer mobile apps?

      Yes, Hubstaff has apps for iOS and Android. Hubstaff's GPS location tracking and geofencing capabilities are only available on our mobile apps.

    • What are Hubstaff’s integrations?

      Hubstaff integrates with over 30 platforms so you can streamline your workflow even further. Some of these apps include:

      • Project management: Hubstaff Tasks, ClickUp, and Asana
      • Payments and accounting: PayPal, FreshBooks, and Gusto
      • Help desk: Freshdesk and Zendesk

      Hubstaff also integrates with popular apps like Zapier and Slack, and we're always working on adding more. See our full list of integrations.

    • Does it work via proxy?

      No, Hubstaff does not work with connections run through a proxy server. Check out this page for more information.

    • In what countries is Hubstaff available?

      Hubstaff is available in all countries.

  • Pricing

    • Can I use Hubstaff for free?

      Yes. Hubstaff offers a free plan with basic time and activity tracking features for solo users. See our pricing page for more details.

    • Can I cancel at any time?

      Yes. There are two ways to cancel your Hubstaff subscription:

      1. Contact [email protected] and request for your subscription to be canceled.
      2. Archive the organization associated with your subscription. Doing so will automatically cancel it.
    • Can another entity redistribute Hubstaff?

      No. We do not allow the renting or redistribution of our products or services (i.e., Hubstaff Time, Hubstaff Desk, Hubstaff Field, Hubstaff Tasks, and Hubstaff Talent), as stated in our terms of service:

      "You may not rent, lease, lend, sell, redistribute or sublease the Service. These Terms will govern any upgrades provided by Hubstaff that replace and/or supplement the original Service. You agree to use your best efforts to protect the Service and upgrades from unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, publication, or alteration."

    • Do you offer a la carte pricing?

      No, we do not. Hubstaff offers affordable pricing plans for different team sizes and needs, plus annual payment options so you can get the most value out of our products.

    • Is there a Hubstaff affiliate program?

      Yes, Hubstaff offers an affiliate program. Affiliates earn 30% of revenue from referrals who sign up for a Hubstaff paid plan for one year. Joining the program is completely free. It only takes a few minutes to sign up for our affiliate program.

    • Do you offer a money-back guarantee?

      Yes, we offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, excluding our 14-day free trial. You can reach out to us at [email protected] and request a refund within 60 days after getting a paid plan.

    • What happens if I cancel my annual plan?

      Depending on the circumstances (e.g., if you haven’t been using the app for months but forgot to cancel your subscription), you may be eligible for a limited refund. If you decide to cancel your annual plan, please contact our support team at [email protected].

    • What happens if I remove or add users during my annual plan?

      If you add users in the middle of an annual plan, you will be charged the prorated fee per user from the time you added them until the end of the current billing period. When you remove a user, the unused time will show up as credits on your next bill.

      As an example, let's say you're using Hubstaff's Premium plan, which costs $100 per user when paid annually. If your billing period started in January and you added a new member halfway through the year, the amount to pay will be $50.

    • I don't track time. Do I need to pay for myself?

      Yes. Hubstaff charges per user. This means that even if only two out of your three team members are using its tracking features, you will still have to pay for all three members.

      Users who don't want to track time and only want to view activity reports can be assigned the Project Viewer role, which is free. Please read our guide on Hubstaff roles and permissions for more information.

  • More questions

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