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Upwork's inaugural Annual Impact Report

A message from Upwork's President and CEO, Hayden Brown

At Upwork, our foundation is built on helping customers achieve success and economic prosperity. By utilizing the opportunities available on Upwork, independent professionals deliver critical skills to a global set of companies, including more than 30 percent of the Fortune 500, that have embraced modern, dynamic practices for leveraging access to the world’s best talent, on demand. 

We’re in an unprecedented moment in time, and it’s still too soon to say what the full, lasting effects of the coronavirus pandemic will be on the global workforce and how it will alter the ways we work. As we see economic instability unfolding around the world, our mission — to create economic opportunities so people have better lives — has become all the more urgent. With a network of independent professionals located in more than 180 countries offering skilled expertise across more than 80 categories of work, now more than ever, we are proud to offer a solution that connects businesses with a talented workforce that is already highly adept at working remotely to deliver great outcomes. 

In the face of the current crisis, we are also mobilizing our organization to help our customers in every way that we can, including helping them adapt to the new remote working reality. Upwork has been facilitating remote working relationships for our customers for more than 20 years, and we are putting that expertise to its greatest use today. We have adjusted our business to best support the pressing needs of our independent professionals, clients, team members and the communities where we live and work, as we believe that fulfilling our responsibilities as a mission-driven organization is key to our success. 

It is on this foundation that we present Upwork’s inaugural Annual Impact Report. We have always believed that to be a successful business we must also be an accountable one. I am proud of the steps we have taken, and the impact we made in 2019, particularly in these key areas: 

  • Giving: Upwork is at the forefront of how work is changing, creating economic opportunities with knowledge-based work. We also recognize that not everyone is set up to thrive in the new economy. Through The Upwork Foundation Initiative, we are fostering an inclusive future of learning and opportunity by serving those at risk of being left behind by the changing nature of work.
  • Environmental Impact: Commuters spent an average of 87 minutes in traffic in 2019. Upwork is helping to minimize businesses’ and individuals’ ecological footprint by reducing, and in some cases eliminating, commuter travel that leads to carbon emissions.
  • Community Impact: We dedicate time and resources to helping independent professionals refine their business skills so that they can thrive in the global workforce. Through our Upwork Ambassador Program, we held events in 13 cities across seven countries to help individuals build and grow their online freelance businesses.
  • Inclusive Culture: Our values-based approach to culture puts our people and their experiences first. We foster belonging via our Employee Resource Groups and by equipping managers with the right tools to build and lead amazing teams. Consistent with these values, we delivered over 40 workshops to more than 500 employees to foster inclusion and belonging in our distributed workplace.

As we navigate the new challenges ahead, our commitment to have a positive impact on our planet remains at the core of everything we do. I am honored to share this report on behalf of our incredible team members, who work tirelessly every day to bring our mission to life by supporting the talented professionals and committed clients who discover better ways of working every day by using our platform.


Hayden Brown
Chief Executive Officer

Click here to download a PDF of the report