Hubstaff Quick Start Guide for Owners and Managers

Quick Start guide owner managers2

Quick Start Guide for Owners and Managers

Welcome to Hubstaff! We’re glad to have you on-board one of the leading remote platforms for time tracking, activity tracking, and team payroll. This quick start guide for owners and managers should provide you with all the tools you need to get started quickly.

Hubstaff gives you the tools to see how much time your team spends on specific projects and tasks, shows screenshots of what they’re working on, and more.

It can be hard to learn a new platform, but don’t worry! This guide will provide you with all the information you need to be successful in optimizing Hubstaff for your business.

We also have an article on how to transition your business to Hubstaff.

Setting Up Your Organization

Organizations are a way to organize your projects and tasks.

For example, you manage a virtual staff and you have 3 different clients that require exclusive access only to data they own. In this scenario, the best thing to do would be to create 3 organizations within Hubstaff, so all recorded activity on each organization is accessed separately.

  • 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.

Each organization requires a separate subscription plan.

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

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

Step 2

Select your industry, name your organization, and select your team size.

Step 3

Select which features you’d like to activate (this can be changed at a later time) then hit Continue.

Step 4

Use the pre-defined projects, or add and remove projects then hit Continue.

Do not worry too much about projects at this point. Simply 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.

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 Project management > Projects on the sidebar menu.

sidebar menu project management projects item

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) then specify if this project is billable on invoices, or add a client if needed (available on Premium and Enterprise plans).

new project dialog 2

Step 4

On the MEMBERS tab, assign/add members to them. You can 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.

desktop app play button

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 one General project.  It all depends on your management style and relationship with your team and how you’d like to view data within reports.

Integrations and Tasks

There are two types of tasks you can assign under projects:

  1. Native Tasks – tasks or to-dos created within the Hubstaff (time tracking) platform. To add native tasks, click here.
  2. Integrated Tasks – tasks that are connected with project management apps.

Hubstaff works closely with various 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 workflow that you already have established.  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.

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.


Invite Your Team Members

Now that you have added 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 sidebar menu, then click the Invite member button (if you have multiple organizations, you can select the organization using the top menu).

invite member button

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 a comma, space, semicolon, or a 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, as well as add pay rates. Roles and permissions are explained in detail here.

invite members dialog

Step 3

Once you have sent the invitation, you get access to additional actions.

Click on the People > Members > Invites tab on the left sidebar. Near the invitation, click on the Actions button (1), and you will see several options.

Hubstaff invitations actions menu

Edit role and membership

In this dialog, you have the following options:

  1. Name – allows you to add a member’s name the way you want. It only works if the invited member didn’t have an account with the email address used for the invitation, and will create it after accepting the invitation. If they already have an account with Hubstaff, this field will be pre-filled.
  2. Role – allows you to choose the invited member’s role.
  3. Projects – this allows you to assign the invited member to the needed projects.

Edit payment details

Here, you may change the payment details:

  1. Pay rate – allows you to edit the pay rate.
  2. Pay period – here you may select the required pay period.
  3. Timesheets approval – may be enabled here.

Edit weekly limit

In this dialog, you may set a weekly limit to control the maximum number of hours a member will be able to track per week.

Resending invitations

If the person no longer has the invitation and needs to be sent another one, click on Actions > Resend invite.

Deleting invitations

If you don’t want to add the invited member, you still may delete the pending invitation. For this, click on Actions > Delete invite and confirm it.

Step 4

Once you invite your team they should receive an email invite.

Step 5

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.

Download App

The first step to start tracking your team’s 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.

avatar download 1

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

Each app has its own tracking limitations. For a full list, click here.

Installation Guides:

Mac Desktop Client

Linux Desktop Client

Windows Desktop Client

Android Mobile Client

iOS Mobile Client

Chromebook Client

Chrome Extension

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.

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 that you can bill your clients. Click here to learn more about this feature.

members payment edit pencil

This will open the Edit member dialog under the PAYMENTS tab. Add a Pay Period, Pay Type, Require timesheet approval (optional), Pay rate, and Bill rate, and then hit Save.

edit member payment

When a pay period is set, the system will automatically make a payment/mark the user’s hours as paid at the end of the designated pay period.

User limits

Hubstaff lets you set weekly and daily limits, where you can limit users to track a specific amount of time every day or week. Click on the links below to learn more:

Daily Limits

Weekly Limits


Reassign projects

Step 1

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

members projects column

Step 2

The edit member dialog will open automatically under the PROJECT & ROLES tab, choose the projects you wish to assign, and their role on that project.

edit member projects and roles

Screenshots and Activities

The app records screenshots as long as the user is tracking time. You may change how frequent screenshots are recorded by navigating to the organization’s settings page, where you can disable screenshots or record 1, 2, or 3 screenshots every 10-minute period.

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

activity screenshots

How are activity levels calculated?

Hubstaff calculates the % of mouse and keyboard strokes over the total time tracked which yields 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 on the Timesheets page. Please learn more here:

You can also remove an 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.

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

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