Hubstaff is showing low activity levels

In this article, we will talk about how activity in Hubstaff is calculated, activity benchmarks as well as some common reasons why users have low activity.

low activity sample

Table of contents

How are activity levels calculated?

To understand what causes low activity levels, we need to know how activity is calculated in Hubstaff.

Activity levels are calculated based on the percentage of keyboard and mouse strokes over the total time tracked for a specific time period.

How we calculate activity levels:

  1. For every second, we label the user as active or inactive. A mouse movement or keyboard stroke = active. No keyboard or mouse = inactive.
  2. We add all of these numbers up and give a total % of activity for that 10-minute segment using this equation: Active seconds / 600 = activity rate %
  3. Also, we track if the user was active or not. By default, 20 minutes without inactivity triggers an inactive status, in which case the desktop client gives the contractor the option of removing that time from their log because they were inactive.

To learn more, click here.

Hubstaff does not record actual keystrokes, only if there was keyboard/mouse activity.

Common causes of low activity

These are a few possible reasons why you are seeing low activity levels and percentages:

  1. Low actual keyboard/mouse activity – this is the most common cause of low activity.
  2. Hardware issues with peripherals – in this scenario, the usual suspects are usually the user’s keyboard/mouse malfunctioning. Common issues we’ve found are stuck keys (causing idle time), defective or intermittent issues with the computer mouse.
  3. Workers being hit with inactivity/idle time warnings and then “keeping” the timeDetails here
  4. Small blocks of time recorded – so for instance, if the person logs in at 12:59 PM and work for 30 seconds, they could be not very active but since our server communicates every 10 mins, this 30 seconds may not be very indicative of overall performance.

The average percentage would be in the 60% range. Time tracked as idle will cause the activity percent to drop, as no activity is recorded (hence why we detected Idle).

Also, here is a short explanation on how “activity %” is computed with Hubstaff. It represents the percent of seconds that the mouse or keyboard was interacted with on a specific time frame. So if you used the keyboard continuously for 30 seconds, then watched a training video for 9 minutes 30 seconds the activity % would be 5%. Because you only interacted with the computer directly for 5% of the total time.

Another example would be if you were reading different articles online, the only ‘active’ time reported would be the few seconds it takes you to get to the next article, or to scroll down the page. So if you read 4 different pages for a total of 10 minutes its very likely that you only “interacted” for 20 or 30 seconds total.


Below is a quick guide that you can use to evaluate your staff.

These percentages are referring to trends that managers can observe based on daily/weekly/monthly data. Do NOT evaluate an employee based on a specific segment or by a period of only a few hours.

Also note that activity level averages differ based on the type of work each employee performs on a day-to-day basis. For example, a worker who takes calls most of the day will usually have lower activity levels compared to a data entry specialist, who works with their input devices more frequently.

Activity Level Description
80% – 100% Employees in this level are exceptionally efficient. Note that this activity level is not sustainable over a period of more than 30 minutes or so for most employees.
60% – 79% This is the activity that you could expect from an extremely active employee. If they reach these percentages on a consistent basis, they are working at a very good pace.
40% – 59% This is still a very acceptable activity level for a good employee – especially if they are working at these levels consistently across the day.
20% – 39% These are relatively low activity levels and the employee may be taking frequent breaks or doing things away from the computer.**
0% – 19% This is very low activity, and it means the employee is not doing much on the computer.**

** These are Hubstaff benchmarks based on customer data. We do not recommend evaluating employees solely on activity level alone. Backing activity data with proof, or other metrics for performance should always be taken in consideration when making staffing decisions.

For further understanding of activity levels and time tracking in Hubstaff, please take a look at the following articles:


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