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 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
  • 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.

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 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

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.

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.

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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.

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 feature applies to team members who track time through our mobile-based iOS and Android time tracking (GPS enabled) application. Our GPS time tracking iOS and Android 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 were previously recorded through the Hubstaff time tracker.

Require reason – This setting allows you to control if you’ll require your users to provide a reason whenever they edit their timesheets. It applies to the entire organization and it has an option to set it to individual users.

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 and add, remove or edit time manually.

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.

Shift alerts – This applies to the Attendance Scheduling, which sends alerts when someone is late, misses, or abandons a shift. You may choose if management or the user receives alerts. You may also choose both.

 Auto-add users – It allows you to auto-add organization members to every project that you create and assign them a specific role automatically. Click here to learn more.

Allowed apps – This allows you to prevent your team from tracking time through the mobile app or the Chrome extension and requires them to track time through the desktop app for Windows, Mac OS X, or Linux.

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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.

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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 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 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:

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Weekly limits

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.
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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 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:

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 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.

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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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