Hi Jennyfer, thanks for raising this. I work in product at Upwork and can confirm we're exploring solutions to support scheduling. If you're willing to DM me, I'd love to bounce a few ideas off you to test our approach. We're trying to narrow in on the top needs to solve for: finding a time slot on calendars across timezones? Auto-generating a calendar invite on personal calendars? Sending reminders via email and/or pop ups? All of the above?
My understanding is your team is looking for input regarding how you are approaching meeting the needs of scheduling. I have listed my thoughts below sharing options I think would be very helpful for your team to consider regarding scheduling, as I use scheduling on a regular basis as a freelancer and appreciate the efforts your team plans to make to have a scheduling tool in place.
Important Scheduling Solution for Upwork to Consider:
Other systems, such as Calendly and ScheduleOnce have already thought through most of my notes above and additional scenarios I did not mention. I recommend having your team check the API documentation for these companies and consider how you may be able to tap into what someone already has built to reduce the complexity of what it could take to make a reliable solution.
Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything else. I'm also curious to hear what other freelancers would like to see in a scheduling app when thinking about this through the lense of what Upwork needs to provide.
I absolutely agree with Tim. I have used Calendly both professionally, and for my freelance work for many years. It was a major game-changer when I switched to an automated scheduling approach. I had far fewer issues scheduling appointments (I worked in sales for a SaaS company and saw my sales increase since it was much easier to book with prospects). Now, as a freelancer, I have already felt the effects of not having an automated schedule when trying to be hired by people in different time zones, or with busy schedules that don't always have a lot of availability. My top requirements:
1. Ability to set availability windows. This might the same every day, different depending on the day of the week. of specific to a calendar date. Ex. Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, Mon-Thur 10-4+Fri 10-1. Aug 7th unavailable.
2. Outside of general availability, check the actual calendar such as Google or Office 365 to remove any already busy slots from a day. These are for appointments scheduled outside of Upwork with existing clients, as well as personal appointments that come up.
3. TIME ZONE AWARENESS. With people on Upwork often being in different time zones, and different regions handling time zones at different times of year, an awareness of the scheduler's local time is critical.
4. Saving the appointment to my calendar automatically. This will both let me see all my appointments in one place, and remove the availability from my calendar regardless of the scheduling tools I use outside of upwork. The prospective client should also getting an option to save the appointment to their calendar.
5. Setting buffer time so appointments are not scheduled back to back.
6. Setting scheduling parameters to indicate how far in advance an appointment must be booked (ex. at least 4 hours in advance) and how far out they are allowed to book (within the next two weeks).
7. Easy cancel and reschedule links that allow the prospective client to adjust when their availability changes. This should also remove the appointment from my calendar and place the new appointment on my calendar.
8. Email reminders and better yet, text reminders to both parties (if opted in) to reduce likelihood of appointments being forgotten.
9. Nice to have: Ability for the client to add additional guests to the appointment. Frequently I'm meeting with multiple staff members as part of the "interview" for larger projects.
Does this sound like a lot? Well, yes, it is. There are several companies that make just this one critical business feature their business. Trying to recreate best in class functionality is a lot. Doing anything less short-changes both clients and freelancers who in any other world are able to choose the tools that work best for them.
LOL Well, it turns out that I cannot DM you either.
This is what I intended to DM you
You said you'd be interested in bouncing ideas regarding scheduling. let me know when is a good time for us to discuss further. I'm on the East Coast, so I'm like 4 hours ahead.
I am going to go full disclosure hoping this doesn't bite me in the arse, yesterday I had a meeting and we tried using upwork share screen. It was awful, to say the least. We had no choice but to go to zoom as both of us were booked back to back and didn't have the time to figure what's going on. In my experience, this is a very common issue with upwork communications features. There are many times where I don't even get a notification on screen or via email that someone messaged me. So I think all of that needs to be fixed as well.
Anyway, IDK if I should send you a booking link but here you go **Edited for Community Guidelines** lol so feel free to pick a time that would work for you.
Thanks for following up. Anna's private messages should be working now and you should be able to PM her. I'll also let her know about your reply here.
Upwork, what's the right way according to TOS to act when I'm on a call with a prospect (no contract yet) using your platform video feature and the quality of the service is so bad as to not be able to communicate properly? Can we switch to Zoom in such cases?
Have you experienced an issue recently during a call?
If you open a call but experience audio issues, it may be a permissions problem. Make sure you have granted permission for Upwork to access your microphone and speakers. Please follow the troubleshooting steps shared in this Help article, which you can also access in the call window.
If the problem persists, you can contact Customer Support directly within the call application by selecting the gear icon > “Contact Upwork Support” > fill in the provided form. Our team will follow up on your ticket as a priority and assist you further.
Taking communication off the platform would be a TOS violation and we strongly encourage you and other users who might experience similar issues to follow the process we have in place in order to resolve the problem and be able to continue their communication in line with Upwork TOS.
I have had problems recently on an Upwork call. These have been quality issues. So the audio was OK but at times would garble or have a delay. The video quality was almost always pixelated. And screens sharing did not sync...it only showed the first screen I displayed and did not show the subsequent screens as I clicked links within the same window. I have had the same issues two different times using the platform in the last week. I did report the problems at the end of the call via the feedback box.
Thanks for sharing your feedback and I'm sorry to hear about the issues you experienced, Jessica. I'd suggest reaching out to our team ideally during or right after the call via the option in the call window, so our dedicated team could help troubleshoot the issue and provide further assistance asap. In the meantime, could you please check the tips shared in this Help article in order to confirm your audio and video permissions are up to date?