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oDesk Team Application

What is the oDesk Team application?
The oDesk Team application is a free suite of tools to help you create a virtual office on your desktop. It has 4 primary tools and a variety of additional features to make your work life on oDesk easier. (Download now.)
  • Team Room: See who's working, what they're doing, and chat in real time.
  • Time Tracker: Log time to your Work Diary.
  • Screensnap: Take, upload, annotate and share screenshots.
  • ShortURL: Shorten URLs to share.
  • Memo: Tell the employer what you're working on.
  • Meter: View time/earnings on hourly contracts.
  • Camera: Enable webcam snapshots while logging time.
  • Cache: Continue logging time even when your connection is interrupted.
  • Error Log: Help our support reps to better diagnose any problems.
The oDesk Team application is available for Windows, Mac and Linux/Unix. Download yours - free - today!
Do you have the latest version of the oDesk Team desktop application? To ensure you can continue recording time and collaborating with your team, download now. Old versions of oDesk Team no longer work. Learn more on the forum.
Who uses the oDesk Team application?
The oDesk Team application is for everyone! All employers and contractors can take advantage of the Team Room (chat), Screensnap and ShortURL tools. The Time Tracker is primarily used by contractors logging time on hourly contracts (required to receive guaranteed payment), but any user with team room access can use it to record a Work Diary (only hourly contracts are billed and included in reports).
The oDesk Team application is available for Windows, Mac and Linux/Unix. The application's features vary by operating system, but all offer verified time-tracking including upload of screenshots to the Work Diary. Privacy controls such as deleting screenshots, setting chat status and setting camera options are also included.
An oDesk app for iPhone is also available. However, it is a team management tool only (no Time Tracker).
What is the app's Team Room tool?
The app's Team Room tool is an extension of your team room on the oDesk web site. It shows you all the team members online right now in any team to which you have access. You can chat with them live, see their latest work activity, and access information about them with a single click.
Click the status icon and a menu will pop up where you can start a live chat conversation, view their Time Analyze report, Work Diary, or open tasks.
We recommend all users - employers and contractors, fixed-price and hourly - run the app while they're at work. Even when you're not logging time, it's good to keep in touch through the Team Room. Just don't forget to turn on the Time Tracker to upload your activity to the Work Diary and qualify for guaranteed payment.
What do all the status icons mean?
In the app's Team Room tool, and on the app's icon in your system tray, you'll see a number of icons that tell you the time-tracking, chat, and connection status of users.
Please pay special attention to your connection status. The app can only cache a limited amount of time of Work Diary screens that will be uploaded as soon as your connection resumes. (Learn more about the cache.)
In addition to these icons, balloon notifications will pop up to help you track important changes in your status like switching to caching mode.
What is the app's Time Tracker tool?
The Time Tracker tool tells the app to start and stop logging your activity for your team's Work Diary. It is primarily used by contractors on hourly contracts, but anyone with team room access can run the Time Tracker to keep a track of their own activities. Only the time logged on hourly contracts will be included on reports and accrue as oDesk hours on the contractor's profile.
On hourly contracts, start the Time Tracker when you begin work and stop the Time Tracker when you're done (or taking a break). Your activity is automatically uploaded to the Work Diary, enabling automated billing and our payment guarantee. This time is also used to create weekly Timelog reports for which the employer is automatically billed.
When the Time Tracker is on, you'll be asked to enter regular memos describing your work. (More about the Memo feature.)
You must log all working time on hourly contracts with the oDesk Team application to qualify for our payment guarantee. Logging time on fixed-price contracts is optional.
What does the Time Tracker record?
The Time Tracker records:
  • Work diary screenshots - a screenshot of the active monitor 6 times per hour - so anything visible on your screen may be captured in a screenshot.
  • Activity levels - the application counts the number of mouse clicks and keystrokes, but does not record where you click or what you type.
  • The name of the active window and application at the time of the screenshot.
  • [Optional] Camera snapshot along with the screenshot 6 times per hour if enabled. Camera snapshots can even be deleted separately from your other recorded activities.
For maximum privacy control, the application allows you to delete any screenshot when it is captured (click the trash can before uploading) or afterwards in the Work Diary (until the end of the work week). Time and activity are deleted together with the screenshot. So keep in mind that your employer will not be charged for the time you delete, and you won't get paid for it. Only the optional camera snapshots can be deleted separately. You can delete the camera snapshot from your Work Diary but still get paid for that time segment.
What does the Time Tracker not record?
  • What you click on.
  • What you type.
  • Files and applications you access.
  • Video surveillance footage through your webcam.
The oDesk Team application and its Time Tracker are not a surveillance system. You have full control over what it records, can turn it on and off at any point and you can choose whether or not to share screenshots and activity levels. Its main purpose is to act as your hassle-free automated billing system and log your Work Diary as your proof of work (Verified Work = Guaranteed Payment).
What is the app's Screensnap tool?
The app's Screensnap tool allows you to take a screenshot, annotate it (if desired) and share it with others. After you upload your annotated screeshot, you're given a ShortURL that you can share. The uploaded screensnaps can be public, viewable by your team only, or password protected. The tool is available anytime you're running the oDesk Team app - you don't need to be working or have the Time Tracker on to use Screensnap.
Annotated Screensnaps are perfect for online collaboration. oDesk's staff use them constantly - and you might get hooked, too. When in a regular office you'd point at the screen and say "change that to this." Instead, especially when working online, just use Screensnap to take a picture and annotate with some arrows, boxes and a few notes. After all, a picture's worth a thousand words. And better than pointing to the screen, a Screensnap is available to refer to whenever it's needed. So you can move on while they work on your changes.
When sharing a Screensnap that contains private information, we recommend you set a password or save the file to share via your preferred secure method.
What is the app's ShortURL tool?
The ShortURL tool takes a long URL and makes it shorter and easier to share. This tool was designed to help keep the links from breaking when emailed, sent via chat or added to documents because line wraps don't always play nice with URLs. But maybe you need to add a URL and just don't have room to write it out in full. ShortURL works great for that too.
This tool is similar to other URL-shortening services becoming increasingly popular for sharing links on social networking sites like Twitter. With ShortURL you can have this tool at your fingertips without leaving the site whose URL you're trying to shorten. It's available anytime you're running the oDesk Team app - you don't need to be working or have the Time Tracker on to use ShortURL.
What is the app's Memo feature?
The memo feature allows you to tell the employer what you're working on while you're logging time with the Time Tracker. It's used to describe generally what the employer would expect to see in the the screenshot for that billing segment.
On the memo form you'll have the chance to select from a list of previous memos (a true time-saver) and set a reminder for when to ask for a new memo. Set the memo reminder to pop up frequently if you don't expect to be working on the same thing for long. Depending on the nature of their work, most contractors set the reminders to every 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or 1 hour. The memo form also allows you to select a task you've been assigned so the employer can more easily log your work.
You can go back and edit your memos in the Work Diary until the end of the work week.
What is the app's Meter feature?
The meter feature helps you keep track of the time you logged (and Dollars you earned) today and this week. You can show and hide it anytime. It's great for those who need to watch their hours to stay under a weekly limit, but most users prefer to not leave it up all the time.
What is the app's Camera feature?
The camera feature allows you to upload webcam snapshots along with screenshots when the Time Tracker is running. This is completely optional as far as oDesk and billing are concerned, but a lot of teams like to enable their webcams to make the Team Room a bit more like a regular office. Because this feature is optional, we allow you to delete your webcam snapshots without affecting your Work Diary screenshots.
We do not stream a video of you to your teammates. Only the still snapshots taken in sync with your time-tracking screenshots are uploaded to your Work Diary and team room. To protect your privacy, you can enable and disable the camera feature in the oDesk Team app preferences as needed. By default, it is turned off.
Which webcams are supported by oDesk? Most PC, Linux, and Mac compatible webcams should work with oDesk Team App. Some older models may not work. Please make sure to download and install the most recent webcam drivers from the manufacturer’s site.
What is the app's Cache feature?
The app's cache feature allows the Time Tracker to function despite a loss of Internet connection (or during an oDesk maintenance period). It can save up to two hours of working time logged with the Time Tracker. When your connection resumes, the cache is automatically uploaded to your Work Diary. The uploaded cache is still considered "online time" that qualifies for guaranteed payment. You will not be able to change the team you are logging time to while in caching mode.
The oDesk Team app, and especially the Time Tracker, are intended for use with a stable Internet connection. For best results, please avoid working under caching mode when unnecessary. Please do not use it as a long-term solution for an inadequate Internet connection.
In the event of a connection failure, be sure to upload the cache prior to locking of the week's Work Diary. (Learn more about the weekly work schedule.) The cache should upload automatically when the Internet connection stabilizes. In some cases, restarting the computer and the app then logging back in will help.
An unstable Internet connection that sends the Time Tracker into caching mode can also interfere with the upload of the cache.
What is the app's Error Log feature?
The app can record an optional error log to assist the Customer Support and Engineering teams in troubleshooting an error or other problems. The log file can be attached to a help ticket and shows the oDesk representative exactly what the app was doing when the problem occurred. This greatly improves the chances of a fast diagnosis and solution to your problem. The error log is for diagnostic purposes only. It cannot be used to recover time lost due to a cache upload failure.
Please enable error logging in the app's preferences (Advanced > General > Log.) It's optional, but it's strongly recommended, just in case.
I have a problem with the app. How do I get help?
Do you have the latest version of the oDesk Team desktop application? To ensure you can continue recording time and collaborating with your team, download now. Old versions of oDesk Team will not work after October 13, 2010. Learn more on the forum.
If you have the latest version and still receive an error message, think you've found a bug, or otherwise require technical support, please use the app's Help > Submit a Support Ticket feature. Please be as descriptive as possible - you may want to include a screensnap to help illustrate the issue. We also encourage you to include your log file with the ticket for a faster resolution.
Most problems can be resolved by reviewing the oDesk Team help page for your operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux.) You can also visit the community forums to ask for advice.
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