How To Use Upwork Messaging To Collaborate More Effectively

How To Use Upwork Messaging To Collaborate More Effectively

Good communication and easy access to critical details can make all the difference in a project’s success. Whether you’re an independent professional or a client, our messaging platform gives you the tools to work together safely, keep everyone in sync, and build strong working relationships.

Sending messages on Upwork is a reliable way for you to connect from anywhere on your own time and track project details or contract-related activity with speed and clarity. You don’t need a stack of different apps to collaborate effectively, you just need to learn how to use our platform to get things done.

Let’s explore how messaging can support your productivity and allow you to invest your energy where it matters most: getting and keeping your most important work moving forward.

Ready from the moment you start a new connection

A new thread of messages, what we call a message room, is created as soon as a connection is made on Upwork—such as an initial inquiry about a service on Project Catalog™, a proposal submitted for a job post, or a direct message sent to you by another member of the Upwork community.

This means you’ll have one message room for every connection you make on Upwork, whether you have an active contract with them or not. If you work with the same contact on more than one project, each new project will generate a new message room.

Upwork messages

As your relationships and projects evolve, there are many other features you can use to speed up your day-to-day work. As a client, for example, there’s a shortcut for you to view a submitted proposal and another link to quickly hire—or rehire—talent directly from the messaging platform.

You can also use messaging to:

One of the most popular ways to access messages is through the web, with some tools available only through Chrome, Edge, or Firefox browsers. You’ll find a link to “Messages” in the navigation at the top of the page. You can also access messages through Upwork’s desktop application and mobile apps.

See how to get your project started

Move forward with confidence with a step-by-step guide to starting work that changes contextually: one journey if you’re an independent professional, and a different perspective if you’re a client. We’ve mapped out the critical stages to a new project—from proposal to contract start—so everyone involved can track progress and see what the next steps will be.

Get project started

Share text messages and project-related files

At its most basic, messaging is a way for you to securely share information with new contacts, either in real-time or through asynchronous communication. As you exchange information, messaging will automatically save text, files, and links so you can later find anything you need.

Make voice and video calls

Connect with your project collaborators easily, knowing that everyone has access to the same application. With Upwork’s Zoom integration, you can make voice or video calls anytime, directly from the messaging platform—even if you don’t have an existing Zoom account. With recorded meetings, you can focus on important conversations without the need to take notes.

Start a recorded or non-recorded meeting directly from the message room. Recorded meetings are available to download for seven days and accessible to anyone who has the link and password. The Zoom integration doesn’t include the chat function so share any written comments directly through messages.

Make video calls

Get quick access to project details

Every project has a contract workroom, an organized focal point that gives you access to project-related information, activity, and actions from one location. This prevents you from having to flip back and forth between screens or browsers, streamlining your workflow.

In addition to direct access to messaging and its tools, you may also be able to:

  • See the original job post, proposal, and contract terms and conditions
  • Review payment history and invoices for that contract
  • Check the work diary and timesheets for hourly projects
  • Coordinate the project to-do list for hourly projects
  • Share completed work and adjust milestones for fixed-price projects

The contract workroom is contextual, with different parameters for hourly versus fixed-price projects and a slightly different view for clients and independent professionals.

Streamline the scheduling of meetings and interviews

Real-time meetings are an important part of good working relationships, but fitting a meeting into everyone’s schedule can be a headache—especially if you’re working across different time zones. Avoid all the back-and-forth coordination by using the built-in scheduling tool. Easily share your availability with project collaborators and automatically update your calendar if your availability changes.

Share video and screen recordings

Save time and add clarity to your communication by showing someone what you’re talking about. With Loom, available through the desktop and web apps, you can easily create and share video and screen recordings in your messages room. Use features like voiceover and camera bubble to further enhance your message.

Loom is free to use and doesn’t require an account to get started. However, you’ll be able to make more recordings and get additional features if you sign up for a free account.

Capture screenshots easily

Like video and screen recordings, a screenshot can help clarify a complex explanation, enhance accuracy, or provide a visual point of reference. The messaging platform has a built-in tool that lets you capture and annotate screenshots so you can drop images into a message thread without flipping between software. (Desktop app only.)

Add your own private notes

Keep private notes—visible only to you—in a personal notepad you can find within any conversation. There are a lot of ways to use your private notes, from capturing ideas, to recording your observations during an interview, to making short to-do lists for yourself. Any notes you add will automatically be saved to that specific message room so you can find them later.

Customize your notifications

Upwork will automatically send you notifications for activities such as new messages, direct mentions, payments, or contract adjustments. These alerts make it convenient for you to respond quickly. However, you can also customize the notifications you receive from the desktop app, mobile app, and email alerts.

Put other features to work for you

Upwork’s messaging experience has many other features built in to help your project run more smoothly. For example, you can:

  • Share links and files
  • Add attachments via Dropbox (web only)
  • Search messages for keywords
  • See a list of collaborators and contact them individually
  • Review files and links that have been shared
  • Set an out-of-office responder when you’re unavailable

Including messaging in your work process helps all the collaborators stay informed, track progress, and find critical project assets from the very beginning.  But communicating within the Upwork platform also helps keep you safe by reducing your risk of exposure to fraud, scams, and other harmful behaviors. How? Let’s take a look at the protections that are built into the Upwork platform.

Extra protection for new working relationships

A new connection on Upwork is full of potential. But there’s also a risk, especially while you establish rapport and lack the protections offered by a formal contract. While exchanging contact information before a contract is in place is against Upwork’s Terms of Service, keeping your business operations on Upwork also gives you stronger protections and better options in case of fraud.

Upwork’s extensive trust, safety, and security program constantly evolves to identify and meet new threats head-on. Our team leverages machine learning and human expertise to make the most accurate decisions possible when potentially fraudulent activities come to our attention.

When you limit your communications to messaging, we can better track, verify, and help address issues that may come up—including dispute resolution if a project doesn’t go as expected. Your message history is a trusted source in disputes and, as explained in our Terms of Service, can be used as supporting documentation if you enter into arbitration.

You also benefit from security controls built into the Upwork infrastructure, including:

  • Data encryption using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS)
  • Data protection, including multi-factor authentication
  • Malware and spam protections, such as scanning attachments in messages before you download them
  • Meeting stringent privacy and security industry certifications, including adherence to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • Platform architecture that’s optimized for security, availability, and performance

Moving communication off Upwork means you no longer benefit from those protections. It’s also important to note that moving payments off Upwork is considered circumvention and continues to be against the Terms of Service.

Ready to get started?

When you’re ready to kick off your next project, Upwork’s messaging platform will be there to help keep you connected, organized, and secure. From day one, you’ll have the communication tools to stay productive, work with speed, and keep your collaborators in the know.  Start collaborating now.


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Author Spotlight

How To Use Upwork Messaging To Collaborate More Effectively
Amy Sept
Writer & Editor

Amy Sept (@amysept) is an independent writer, editor, and content marketing strategist who’s dedicated to helping businesses of all sizes navigate the future of work. As a Canadian military spouse and slow traveller, she has a lot of hands-on experience with remote work, productivity hacks, and learning how to "go with the flow."

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