Hubstaff Quick Start Guide for Owners and Managers

Important Note: You are Currently viewing the technical guide to getting started for new owners.

We also have an updated version that includes more information on how to onboard your team, use our payroll system and more.

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Step 1: Set Up Your Organization(s)

Organizations are a critical aspect of Hubstaff.  They are a way to organize your projects, tasks, and access levels. For example, let’s say that you manage a virtual staff, and you have 3 different clients. In this scenario, the best thing to do would be to create 3 organizations within Hubstaff.

  • Netsoft Holdings, LLC
  • Airsoft org
  • Client 3

At this point you could invite the clients to view the work being completed, or you could simply use these organizations to manage which projects your team is working on if you do not want your clients to have access to screenshots, activity levels, and time tracking.

To Start a new organization in Hubstaff is very simple (you can have unlimited organizations).

Step 1

Click on the “Organizations” tab on the left sidebar, then click “Add organization.”

Step 2

Name your Organization, start a project (at least one project is required to start an organization), and click save. *Important Note – Do not worry too much about projects at this point.  Just select a project name that makes sense to you (something for your people work on), and if you need more help here, please see the next step in this document.

Step 2: Set Up your Project(s)

Now that you have your organization set up, the next thing to do is to start your first project.  Projects are meant to organize the work within an organization. Projects can be organized however you want to see them, but typically they would be something like this.

  • Marketing
  • Development
  • Graphic Design
  • Accounting / Bookkeeping

Or you could for example have several website properties under one organization.  In this scenario, you could break down projects like this…

  • www.site1.com
  • www.site2.com
  • www.site3.com

You can really set up projects however you want, and you can always change down the road.

In order to set up a project you just need to follow these two simple steps.  

Step 1

Click on “Projects” on the sidebar menu.

Step 2

Click the “Add project” button on the right.

Step 3

Choose names for your projects (you may add multiple project names, separated by lines) and assign/add members to them. You are allowed to type the member’s name in the text boxes, select/deselect all, click the “x” next to a member to remove project membership and even drag & drop the members across the different roles.

Add as many or as few projects as you like.  Your users will be able to see these projects in their desktop app, and they can select a project from the list and start tracking their time.

Users then will be shown a project menu that corresponds with the projects that you have set up in Hubstaff.

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As I said earlier in the document, please organize these projects as you work in your organization.  If you want to simply have one project called “Work” that is completely fine.  You can have a “General” project.  It all depends on your management style and relationship with your team.

Step 3: Configure Settings

This page allows you to customize your organization settings. You will be able to change these settings later. Click here to learn how to access the organization settings.

  • Track apps & URLs – See which apps team members use when working. View detailed reports of time spent using each app. View detailed reports for URLs accessed and time spent on each. You may choose to track just Apps or Apps & URLs at the same time.
  • Track Locations (Mobile only) – This give you access to our mobile-based (iOS) time tracking (GPS enabled) application. Our GPS time tracking iOS application allows your team to track their time when they’re on the road or out of the office. The app will allow you to always know where your team is through sophisticated location monitoring.
  • Screenshot frequency – ​This setting allows you to choose how many screenshots should be taken from the users computer every 10 minutes.
  • Screenshot blur – This allows you to obfuscate the image being capture. Note that the blurred image is from the actual screenshot being taken and uploaded to the server.
  • Delete screenshots – This setting allows you to assign a value (Yes or No) to your organization as a whole or to individual users as to whether they can delete individual screens that was previously recorded through the Hubstaff time tracker.
  • Modify time – This setting allows you to assign a value (Yes or No) to your organization as a whole or to individual users as to whether they can delete activity that was previously recorded through the Hubstaff time tracker.
  • Idle timeout – This setting allows you to choose when the inactivity warning kicks in.
  • Record activity – Allows you to turn activity tracking ON or OFF.
  • Keep idle time – It allows you to choose if idle (inactive) time gets added or removed from the user’s work log automatically. The “Idle timeout” option always prompts the user and asks them if they want to keep idle time or remove it. Please click here to learn more.

Step 4: Invite Your Team Members

Now that you have some structure to your work, it’s time to invite your team.  In order to invite a team member you simply have to complete three simple actions.

  1. Their email address
  2. Select their “role” or access level (just use “user” if you are unsure) – you should be able to change this later and adjust settings down the road.
  3. Assign a project to them (in order for your team to track time, a project needs to be selected).

You can invite a user by following this simple process.

Step 1

Click “Members” on the left menu, then click the “Invite member” button (if you have multiple organizations, you can select the organization using the top menu).

Step 2

Then you should see a modal that allows you to invite your team.  Simply enter their email, select a user role and choose the projects that you want to assign to the team member. Email addresses can be separated by comma, space, semicolon, or new line.

You’ll then want to select the role the users will be within the organization, and choose individual projects to add them to, or click “Select all” to add them to all projects at once. Roles and permissions are explained in detail here.

Once you invite your team they should receive an email that looks like this.

Step 5: Download App

The first step to start tracking your teams work hours and activities is to have them download the Hubstaff Desktop Client.  You can always download the Hubstaff client by navigating to our download page in the Hubstaff web interface.

There are two options for downloading the client. You can navigate directly to https://hubstaff.com/download or you can find the link in the Hubstaff Web interface.

Hubstaff supports Mac, Windows, Linux machines and iOS devices. You should download and install the corresponding client for your machine.

Pay rates

You can set pay rates for your team members individually:

Weekly limits

On the free trial/premium plan, you can also specify weekly limits to limit the amount of time your team can track each week.

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Reassign projects

Step 1

To reassign projects, click the edit button next to the “Projects” column

Step 2

Then choose the new project and assign a role.


Screenshots and activity

Every time you work on a project and have Hubstaff’s client/app timer running, a screenshot will be taken. How many screenshots depends on the organization’s settings (the options are 1-3 per 10 minute period, and you can also turn off screenshots as well).

Screenshots will be uploaded to Hubstaff’s servers and you’ll be able to see them on your Activity page on hubstaff.com.

How are activity levels calculated?

Hubstaff calculates the % of mouse and keyboard strokes and therefore the % that you will see on the activities page. Click here to learn how we measure productivity.

How is Time Tracked and Calculated in Hubstaff? 

Unlike some other time tracking systems, Hubstaff doesn’t just assume that an employee is active for every 10 or 15 minute segment. Instead Hubstaff only credits workers with the actual time that was spent in front of the computer and active. Click here to learn more about how we calculate time.

How to Delete Screenshots?

ONLY the organization owner/manager or “Users” with a project manager role can remove screenshots. Click here to learn how to delete screenshots.

Want to add or remove time for your team manually?

You can edit time manually in the “Timesheets” page. Please learn more here: http://support.hubstaff.com/how-to-add-delete-and-edit-manual-time-entries/

You can also remove activity from the “Activity” page:  http://support.hubstaff.com/can-activity-be-deleted/

In order to remove activity or edit time manually, you need to go to your organization settings and enable “Modify Time Allowed”. Learn how to access those settings here.

Integrations and Tasks

Hubstaff works closely with more 20 project management applications. We have an integration-first approach so that you can spend time in your favorite project management tool and still reap all the benefits of the work flow that you already have established. You can add tasks to your projects in Hubstaff and view time spent on those tasks in your “Time & Activities” report page. Please click here to learn more about how to set up tasks for your organization.

It’s generally a good idea for you to follow up with your team to make sure that they have received and accepted your invitation. This lessens the chance that they will ignore the email.

At this point your team should be all set up.  It may be a good idea to give your team members our training manual on the desktop client and how to use it.  You can find that here.

If you have any questions at all, you can always find us at http://www.hubstaff.com or our help desk at http://support.hubstaff.com

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