Upwork’s Work Diary: Separating Myth From Fact

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In a time when technology is everywhere, we understand the need to be careful about its use— like we are ourselves. Sometimes misunderstandings can turn caution into alarm, so we want to provide some clarifications about Upwork’s Work Diary.

Why use the Work Diary?

Before discussing the myths, remember that using the Work Diary is optional. It’s up to freelancers and their clients to agree to use it before a project begins. Although time trackers are commonly used in the industry, Upwork’s Work Diary provides more than easier accounting. Our time tracker is designed to provide Payment Protection and enable freelancers to spend more time billing on their clients’ projects rather than manually tracking hours and writing detailed invoices.

Freelancers and their clients usually aren’t working side-by-side, so the time tracker’s designed to help protect freelancers by making sure they get paid for their work. And help protect their clients by assuring they only pay for authorized work done.

[See more: How to use the Upwork time tracker]

5 common myths—busted

Myth 1: The Work Diary watches freelancers

The Work Diary activates only once the freelancer turns it on. About once every 10 minutes, a snapshot of the computer screen is captured. If the freelancer uses the webcam option, which is rare, they must manually turn it on in their Work Diary, for that specific project. The freelancer can also turn the webcam option off at any time during the project. The screen and webcam images are uploaded into the Work Diary along with corresponding mouse clicks and keystroke activity.

Both screen and webcam shots are completely opt-in. Freelancers can also delete screenshots and webcam shots before they’re uploaded, or before the Work Diary is submitted for invoicing.

Myth 2: Freelancers who don’t opt-in to use screenshots, or who delete screenshots, won’t get paid

Keeping in mind that most projects do not use time tracking, talent can get paid without using screenshots. When freelancers use time tracker they may delete a screenshot because they were working, but they were doing something other than work for that client at that given moment. Freelancers can manually add that time into their Work Diary. Their client must agree to this manual time entry, which a majority do.

Myth 3: Time tracker records what’s typed

The time tracker only logs the freelancer’s activity level. It does this by counting mouse clicks, scroll actions, and keystrokes made, but not what the specific keystrokes are.

Myth 4: Clients can request webcam shots of freelancers

The freelancer’s clients can never request pictures of freelancers without that person’s permission. In rare instances, a freelancer may also choose to use the webcam option where images of the freelancer are taken along with the screenshots. Remember, the webcam shots are completely optional and disabled by default. Upwork created the webcam feature from requests by our community.

Myth 5: If you use Upwork, you must use the Work Diary

There are many ways you can use Upwork without the Work Diary. Clients and freelancers can agree to hourly, manual hourly, or fixed-priced invoicing. The Work Diary is only used for hourly agreements, when the parties choose to do so. It’s used for these projects because:

  • It enables freelancers to spend more time billing on their clients’ projects rather than manually tracking hours and writing detailed invoices.
  • Upwork is the only freelancing website that offers Payment Protection. The Work Diary provides the proof of work underpinning this protection. It helps ensure freelancers are paid for their work and their clients only pay for authorized work done.

However, Upwork also offers protection on fixed-price projects. In these arrangements, clients deposit milestone payments into escrow at the outset. Upon receiving and approving the work, payment is released to the freelancer. This helps assure freelancers get paid for the work completed, and their clients get the work they asked for.

Upwork’s vision is to connect businesses with great talent so that people can work without limits. The Work Diary provides our community more than protection. It also helps people collaborate with greater ease and work more efficiently.

Upwork is a freelancing website where businesses of all sizes can find talented independent professionals across multiple disciplines and categories. Upwork Enterprise is our most comprehensive offering combining technology with talent sourcing and compliance services.  

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by @upwork

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