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 article on how to transition your business to Hubstaff.

Getting Started with Hubstaff:

Setting Up Your Organization

Organizations 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
  • VMO Corporation
  • Elixir Marketing

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.

Starting a new organization in Hubstaff is very simple, and you can have an unlimited number of organizations in one account.

Note: Each organization requires a separate subscription plan.

Step 1

Click on the Organizations drop-down on the top right corner of the screen, then click on Organizations menu.

Click on the “Add Organization” button if you haven’t created your organization yet.

Step 2

Name your organization, select your industry and team size, then add a project (at least one project is required to start an organization), and click Continue.

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.

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Setting Up your Projects

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:


You can also set it up by client if you plan to bill each project to a specific client, for example:

  • Client 1
  • Client 2
  • Client 3

Click here to learn how to add clients to a Hubstaff project.

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

In order to set up a project 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.


Organize these projects as you work in your organization.  If you want to simply have one project called Work that is perfectly fine.  You can have a General project.  It all depends on your management style and relationship with your team.

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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.

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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.


Once your team member accepts the invite, they will be asked to create their own Hubstaff account. Upon completion, you will receive an email informing you that they have successfully joined your organization.

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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 download the Hubstaff client by navigating to our download page in the Hubstaff web interface by clicking on your avatar located at the bottom left of the page, then select Download.

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

Pay rates/Bill Rates

You can set pay/bill rates for your team members individually. Pay rates are the rates you pay your team, and Bill rates are the rates which you can bill your clients. Click here to learn more about this feature.

This will open the Payment dialog. Add a Pay rate and Bill rate and then hit “Save.”

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Weekly limits

You can specify weekly limits to limit the amount of time your team can track each week.

The Create weekly limit dialog will open. Add a recurring weekly limit then click Create.

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Reassign projects

Step 1

To reassign projects, go to Members, then on the Projects column, click the pencil icon to edit.

Step 2

Choose the projects you wish to assign as well as their role on that project.
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Screenshots and Activities

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

How are activity levels calculated?

Hubstaff calculates the % of mouse and keyboard strokes over the total time tracked which yeilds the percentage 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:

You can also remove activity from the Activity page:

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

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Integrations and Tasks

Hubstaff works closely with more than 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 users might 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.

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If you have any questions at all, you can always find us at or our help desk at

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