My clients allow me to enter manual time and do not require screenshots. A popup asking "what are you working on?" every 10 minutes is annoying to say the least and very disruptive to my thinking process while writing code.
Elance had the option to disable screenshots when using their time tracker. That recorded time was not guaranteed to be paid and there was a disclaimer to that effect. The time entries did show they came from the time tracker. Something like that from Upwork would be very welcome. Screenshots "on" would be the default and could be turned off.
I don't see what the big deal is for Upwork to provide that to their clients (us Freelancers).
You can turn the reminders off by clicking on your name at the bottom of the App, going to Settings> Reminders.
The client is charged based on the time you log either using the App or manually. There is no option to log time but not charge the client for it as it happens automatically.
I am going to add to this is indeed intrusive and may even break NDA with other clients, or even just break consultant's privacy. Example: bookmarks and browser history. If you happened to open your history tab, it will clearly show the websites, tickets you have fixed for other clients. As others have pointed out, this screen captures can potentially captures a snippet of sensitive data like passwords.
If you can control when the screen capture triggers. Fine. You can't. It just pops in automatically. What if other clients decided to send you an email and part of that email just pops in and screen capture happens?
I don't care if "nobody" is going to see it. If it's saved and stored somewhere, that is a security leak.
Find other ways, but not automatic screen captures. This is terrible. I can't belive this discussion has been going for over 4 years but Upwork hasn't done anything about it.
In order for freelancers and clients to benefit from Upwork Hourly Protection, the time needs to be logged using Upwork App properly with snapshots that can be checked by Upwork Dispute Team in case or a dispute or a failed charge.
What does happen if it snaps a screenshot right as I am opening a new tab or program and there's nothing on the screen because something is loading? Will that block of time still be guaranteed? Or if it snaps a screenshot right when I get a pop-up notification with personal information (text from a spouse, or web bowsing history (Safari shows most visited sites on the New Tab screen), for example)? There are loads of examples of times when a screenshot might be taken at a time when there is private content on the screen and I don't find that fair to the freelancer to not get paid because the screenshot had content they were not willing to allow the client to see, through no fault of their own.
Lauren, these things you describe do not affect pay. Upwork pay-calculating algorithms do not "look at" screenshots.
Screenshots are only for humans to look at.
If there is a screenshot you are concerned about, you may manually delete it along with the ten-minute block of time it is associated with. Your pay will automatically be adjusted accordingly.
re: "and I don't find that fair to the freelancer to not get paid"
Yes, but what If the client says that she doesn't think it is fair that she is being billed for time you spend reading email from your friends?
What if I were to tell you that some people avoid this by setting their computer to not display private messages all the time, but they have a phone or tablet next to their computer that does not get seen by the time-tracker screenshots?
Imagine doing cubicle work where your manager is literally standing behind you for all 8 hours of the day, never moving. Is that realistic or fair? No. The screencaps are literally no different, not to mention if you check your email for 5 seconds and it takes a screengrab for the 10 minutes, you lose 10 minutes pay over 5 seconds of downtime. I think it is extremely unlikely that the cubicle worker with no manager looking over their shoulder has never taken a break on the clock to check email, message someone, look at twitter, etc. Why do freelancers need to be scrutinized every minute of their work like they're a bunch of toddlers?
I understand you concern and a lot of freelancers choose to use fixed-price contracts or manual time for same reasons. However, many freelancers prefer to work on hourly contracts and log time using Upwork App for many reasons as well. Upwork Hourly Protection is one of those reasons.