I am back working on my own again. So I thought I’d give the online Time sheets an explore.
I generally just do an excel timesheet and then add an invoice to it when I am contracting. Keeping a note of my hours on a notepad. Also, a lot of companies want me to do their online timesheet so I can record project, phase, and activity for their billing processes. These systems usually do not have a simple download so I end up doing it twice, their one and the one I use for invoicing.
I came across Tsheets and this looked quite interesting. It gives you a free account for one user. It has a number of interesting features, a couple of them I would be a bit uncomfortable with, one being GPS tracking and the other is facial recognition for sign in for clock in/clock out process. Who’s to know that they are not tracking you after hours? And facial recognition? If mistrust is at that level then how can they trust what you do when you clock in? It says it is employee friendly but these type of things tend to lean towards ” big brother is watching you”. So I’m not convinced of their marketing angle.
I watched a couple of overview videos on the Tsheets and set up an account which was pretty easy. It has an app for the phone which is handy too. It gets good reviews too.
In my fossicking (jargon “research”) I came across toggl which, for its free offering offers up to 5 free users for team management. Here is their comparison of features from paid versions.
Well, this could expand for free so I decided to try Toggl rather than Tsheets.
It has a mobile app, an add-in extension to Firefox and the web pages as well.
I found it easy to use the app for creating a project and pushing a button to run so that it will clock your time for a project. If you do a silly start on something that is wrong its easy to delete and if you ran over time and forgot to change the task for timing you can go back and alter it.
So from the point of actually using it to monitor tasks, a very good tool. But what it delivers/exports for the free tool is absolutely rubbish. It is totally unusable and to make it useful you would have to export your time for each day separately which would not be very efficient and would stop any productivity gains you may have thought you had.
So the free plan is one of those that does nothing but put frustrations in your way. This is the kind of free plan that completely turns me off. I would vilify this app if anyone asked me about it as it has wasted my time completely. If their product was that good then its free features would be good enough to use such that you’d upscale to the paid plan.
I would definitely not recommend anyone wasting their time on this app. If this is how they treat people their paid service could be absolutely incredible but I still would not recommend it. I will be uninstalling it straight away. 0/10 for wasting my time.
So I will go and try Tsheets. This is a one person free account, so you have an administration login and an employee login.
The one thing that irritated me at the beginning was the sign in that requires your specific sub-domain that is created for your company. They have created it and it has some odd numbers in it. I had to go back to the email welcoming me to find it. A bit of a nuisance but once past this barrier it has a nice interface that is quite logical.
It is easy to set up projects with sub-projects. There is also a location for taking notes. Very nice in both the Mobile App & The Web Page.
As it is a single free account you can log in as either administrator or employee. In the normal course of events, this will not usually be the same person.
The pricing structure is logical but I’m a little confused for the 2 to 99 people, is it $5 each per month for each employee and $20 base fee for 2-99 or does each incur a base fee? So for 2 employees (I suppose you lose your free account ) it becomes 2x $5 +$20 = $30/month, then I suppose it would be 3x $5 +$20 = $35/month. I’d need to check if I were to do some projects with this app.
The interface is a bit dated but its pretty rich in features. As I haven’t got enough data in there at present I couldn’t generate an invoice. Also while wandering around into the different areas I couldn’t see the Tax/GST (VAT) area for fiddling with that, but I will explore some more. Nope, this is for payroll so just does hours and puts a rate next to it. It can link to accounting packages if you require.
Also, there is a place in the process where, as a “manager” you can go and alter times for people. That is good as it will take a while to get used to the app on my phone for start/stop and start another project.
It did keep asking me to turn on location for my mobile app that I declined, I’ll need to find somewhere to disable that in the programme.
A nice thing with the mobile app is it stays in your notification that it’s currently active, so if you check your phone after finishing tasks, or you are heading out to lunch or something, then you see it displayed and can act on it. Useful and not too intrusive.
Tsheets I’m impressed with. I would consider using this for some projects if I was working with a group of people as it is quite a comprehensive tool. This is so far over and above what toggl (should be renamed twaddle as its free version is definitely rubbish). I’m not sure how this will be for starting up, using for a project, then closing down again and for going from one team member to 3 say then down to 1 again. I suppose you’ll be locked into its process. I dislike this type of lock-in process and would have to research how to export data, close the account and start up again with a different account if I needed it.
I got an email to be an ambassador or something for Toggl so gave them my views that they should look at their opposition Tsheets and what a good, honest service that offers.