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Time Tracker inactivity

neilsargent
Active Member
Neil S Member Since: Oct 8, 2020
1 of 14

I was in a two hour Zoom meeting with the client and some other parties on time chargeable to the contract. The host was screen sharing and the rest of us dicussing the presentation. Every now and then I needed to open a file or document that was being discussed.

 

After the meeting, I discovererd that the time tracker had missed a number of segments and I needed to fill in the gaps with manual time entries.

 

I understand that the tracker will skip any segments with no keyboard/mouse activity at all. Does this mean that I need to wiggle my mouse at least once every 10 minutes to keep it recording?

 

Frankly I'd rather concentrate on the meeting rather than the time tracker.

 

Also, when I went to complete the manual time it was really clunky. I could not simply add manual time from 5pm until 7pm and let it filll in the gaps. It objected to the times that were already recorded. I had to select each gap in turn and copy and paste the same memo into each chunk of manual time. But first I had to go and show the work diary so that I could see where the gaps were. And for each entry I have to scroll down a drop list all the way from midnight to 5pm. No type ahead. No start from last entered value. A truly dreadful user interface making the whole priocess take about 10 minutes!

 

I will probably turn the tracker off for meetings in future and do a single manual time entry. But then I lose the payment protection that the tracker gives me.

 

Is there a better way?

 

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
2 of 14

yeah it's either manual time or find a way to show activity. I open Word and type notes and add that to the memo.

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
3 of 14

Hi, Neil S.

 

There should be no need for you to invoke TimeTracker when you are on calls via Upwork's VOIP or Zoom functions. Or to have to enter this important work time manually, without Upwork's hourly pay protection.

 

The exact usage time when you are using the Upwork VOIP app or the Zoom function to speak to a client is already precisely tracked by Upwork. The duration of each call appears in your Upwork message list for a project after each call related to that project is over.

This VOIP or Zoom usage time already being tracked by Upwork should automatically be added to each project's database of work time that now includes a) properly documented TimeTracker-tracked time and b) manual time, if you decide to add any.

You should not have to move your mouse or use your keyboard during these calls; there is also no need for TimeTracker to take any screenshots.

A client cannot contest such work time tracked by Upwork - Upwork only tracks these time segments when both the client and you are on a call. If one of you leaves the call, the tracked time for that call ends. This leaves no room for a client to contest whether you were working on his/her project for a specific time period if Upwork's own records show that you were on a call with the client at that time.

 

I hope Upwork fixes this obvious problem soon. Not doing so is losing earned income for both freelancers and Upwork.

neilsargent
Active Member
Neil S Member Since: Oct 8, 2020
4 of 14

Thank you for your suggestion. I hadn't realised that the Upwork video messaging was powered by Zoom. At least I know that if I ever get to use it, it should work OK.

 

But there's the rub. I haven't used it because it is simply not practical to use it in many situations. In general a client already has established and preferred communication methods, as do I. Their life and mine does not revolve soley around Upwork, so why would we use Upwork for our conferencing when we deal with everything else using Skype, TeamViewer and Zoom?

 

In this case it was a meeting of five participants in four locations and I was not the host so I couldn't even choose to use Upwork as the conferencing system if I wanted to.

 

I've just had another 2 hour meeting and although I tried to remember to keep wiggling the mouse, I've got three gaps that I must now go and fill with manual time.

 

With this client I am confident that I can use manual time without dispute. In the future, I will turn off the tracker so that I can charge for these meetings in a single chunk of manual time. But it may not be the case with every client.

 

If only Upwork would improve the interface for entering manual time so that it is not such a clumsy and arduous task. Perhaps it's acceptable for the website to be so limited, but there is really no excuse for the time tracker app.

 

 

wlyonsatl
Community Guru
Will L Member Since: Jul 9, 2015
5 of 14

Problems with getting paid in full (or at all) for manual time is one of the most frequent complaints we see on this board from new users.

 

But some experienced posters here have said they regularly use manual time entries with their clients and that works fine for them. So if you're dealing with the right kind of clients then manual time, as clunky as it is, might be your best bet if you want to find new projects to work on through Upwork. 

 

I don't think anyone should expect Upwork will make any significant changes to the functionality of the  TimeTracker app itself in the foreseeable future.

tlbp
Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
6 of 14

Neil S wrote:

Thank you for your suggestion. I hadn't realised that the Upwork video messaging was powered by Zoom. At least I know that if I ever get to use it, it should work OK.

 

But there's the rub. I haven't used it because it is simply not practical to use it in many situations. In general a client already has established and preferred communication methods, as do I. Their life and mine does not revolve soley around Upwork, so why would we use Upwork for our conferencing when we deal with everything else using Skype, TeamViewer and Zoom?

 

In this case it was a meeting of five participants in four locations and I was not the host so I couldn't even choose to use Upwork as the conferencing system if I wanted to.

 

I've just had another 2 hour meeting and although I tried to remember to keep wiggling the mouse, I've got three gaps that I must now go and fill with manual time.

 

With this client I am confident that I can use manual time without dispute. In the future, I will turn off the tracker so that I can charge for these meetings in a single chunk of manual time. But it may not be the case with every client.

 

If only Upwork would improve the interface for entering manual time so that it is not such a clumsy and arduous task. Perhaps it's acceptable for the website to be so limited, but there is really no excuse for the time tracker app.

 

 


The Time Tracker isn't suitable for every situation and it is frustrating when it fails. But, really, the only thing you are "losing" is an added benefit that is not required for you to work or to get paid. Payment Protection is like insurance, and we all know insurance companies require strict adherence to every requirement or they won't pay. 

edgreen731
Active Member
Ed G Member Since: Dec 15, 2020
7 of 14

I am an engineer, my activities don't always include screen time. I have had problems with the time tracker losing multiple segments of time during Zoom calls through Upwork, during phone calls with my client, other team members, vendors and also while doing hand calculations the old way with pencil and paper. Once I realized that I lost many billing hours I started wiggling my mouse every once in a while when doing these activities to let the time tracker know I was still at my desk and still on the clock. This weekend I just got a notice from Upwork telling me they audited my account and that I was in violation of their policies. So just wiggling the mouse doesn't seem to be an answer to an obvious weakness in the time tracker

lysis10
Community Guru
Jennifer M Member Since: May 17, 2015
8 of 14

Ed G wrote:

I am an engineer, my activities don't always include screen time. I have had problems with the time tracker losing multiple segments of time during Zoom calls through Upwork, during phone calls with my client, other team members, vendors and also while doing hand calculations the old way with pencil and paper. Once I realized that I lost many billing hours I started wiggling my mouse every once in a while when doing these activities to let the time tracker know I was still at my desk and still on the clock. This weekend I just got a notice from Upwork telling me they audited my account and that I was in violation of their policies. So just wiggling the mouse doesn't seem to be an answer to an obvious weakness in the time tracker


Do you mean you did not qualify for payment protection or you got your account flagged? I do the same thing (keyboard though) in zoom calls. That's not a ToS violation but it might not qualify for payment protection.

edgreen731
Active Member
Ed G Member Since: Dec 15, 2020
9 of 14
My account was flagged during a routine audit. I was given 48 hours to respond to the audit, not sure what is going to come of it but at the moment my financial transactions are limited.Ed
g_vasilevski
Moderator
Goran V Moderator Member Since: Mar 24, 2017
10 of 14

Hi Ed,

 

I'm sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you. I can see that you're communicating with our team on your ticket and that you have followed up with additional questions. Rest assured, our team will update your ticket as soon as possible and will assist you further directly on your ticket. Thank you.

~ Goran
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