The oDesk Work Diary is a tool riddled with controversies – at least for contractors. Employers love it because it is a great way to monitor and check if the contractors they hired are spending quality time to accomplish the job assigned to them. It is their assurance that they are not paying for time spent surfing the net or visiting social networking sites.
It is a different story for contractors though. Let me give you the two sides of it.
Invasion of Privacy
On one side, a lot of contractors did not like the oDesk Work Diary. They feel that it is an outright invasion of their privacy.
Here’s the thing. When you work from home, you give up on a lot of benefits. You give up paid holidays, the employer’s share in taxes, health care benefits and other relevant perks that comes with being employed.
You give all that up for one thing: freedom. That is, freedom to work where and when you want to. The where part is not really the problem – it’s the when part that is bothering some contractors.
Truth is, freedom is your one big benefit when you work remotely from home. With the oDesk Work Diary, you take that away from us. You get to see when we work – how fast or slow we do it. The basis for payment is no longer reliant on the quality of the work but also how long it is accomplished.
On the other hand, contractors cannot object to the fact that the Work Diary does guarantee payment. If the screenshot shows an image connected to the job at hand, then the employer does not have a reason NOT to pay you.
Using this tool gives contractors an arguable proof in case of disputes. And we call know that in disputes, proof is everything. Since you have screenshots of what you did during the work week, the employers does not have a choice but to pay their dues – simply because you were true to your end of the bargain. You worked hard for it.
Personally, I like the Work Diary. I started out getting fixed priced projects and I can still remember the anxiety every time I submitted a project. Will I get paid or not? It is not a stress-free feeling.
This is why I am now opting for hourly jobs only – because of this feature. I strongly believe that it is a win-win situation on both parties.
Re the freedom to work when I want to, I still have that. I make it a point that I get employers who understand that I need to work day hours MY TIME (UTC+8). If they want me to work during THEIR work hours, I usually decline the job offer. Rare cases like meetings and telecons are acceptable.
So all in all, the oDesk Work Diary is a good tool. It is effective in the sense that it offers assurance for employers and guarantees payment for contractors. I believe that is the bottom line when you work remotely.