Hello! So, freelancers from the Philippines must know what I'm talking about: every year, when a particularly devastating typhoon results to massive power outages, flooding, landslides, tidal waves, etc., Upwork sends out an email to freelancers informing them that Upwork is concerned and have already sent out emails to the freelancer's clients to let them know that there might be some work delay due to the typhoon. The Philippines gets anywhere from 15 to 20 typhoones (aka cyclones, hurricanes) every year, from May to November, and at least one of those is deadly. That's why the email from Upwork is very, very helpful. And that's why I was expecting the same email to have reached my clients before I could get to them, because we've not had power and internet for days and the road was not passable to vehicles until yesterday afternoon.
So I was surprised to find out upon logging in today that two of my clients are worried I've gone AWOL and one is threatening to end my contract if she doesn't hear from me by the end of the week. That's where Upwork's email could have helped. Anyone knows what happened to those? Has anyone received any emails like that lately? How can we ask Upwork to reinstate those?
PS: For those who think I should have informed my clients ahead of time that there was a typhoon coming, I didn't because 1) there were already several typhoons in previous weeks and though strong, none of them caused power failure; 2) typhoons are part of our life in the Philippines, and if I have to inform my clients every time a typhoon comes, I'll be informing them twice or thrice monthly--and that's not sending a good message about my reliability as a freelancer, especially considering not every one of those typhoons actually interferes with my work; and 3) there are several coworking spaces in the city so even if there's a power outage where I live, I can easily go someplace else to work; problem was, over the weekend, it was plain from the look of things that going outside is both stupid and fatal. There's enthusiasm for work and there's stupidity. The winds were pulling the pine trees by the hair and the electric wires were jumping like skipping ropes. I wasn't going to go out in that weather. I placed my trust on Upwork. I hoped they sent my clients that very important email so I don't come back to work and find myself without work.
A more professional or considerate client would have asked about your welfare, and not threaten to end the contract.
Not sure if upwork needs to send out information about hurricanes, that is available on every news network....
Thanks Martina. 🙂 I can't really blame my clients because they apparently weren't aware of the typhoon; from their perspective, their contractor seemed to have just upped and gone one day without notice. I would have panicked too if I were in their place. That's why that email from Upwork is very, very important for contractors like me. I've attached a screenshot of the email they sent out in 2015; it didn't have specifics of the typhoon but it didn't need to, really. It just needs to inform my clients that something may cause me to lose contact or become unavailable for work for a day or two.
People in some countries are not very aware, nor interested, about what's going on elsewhere on the globe.
A more professional or considerate client would have asked about your welfare
Perhaps, but that is not an effective assumption. Professional or not, considerate or not, at the end of the day it is a (nearly) lost contract.
You are correct that Upwork isn't required to send out information about hurricanes and such. But the fact is that this lady (and presumably others) almost lost their clients. It may or may not be in Upwork's best interest to avoid that regardless of presumed responsibility.
All of us at Upwork send our best thoughts to those affected by the recent devastating typhoon in the Philippines, as well as other countries in its path. We are always looking to help communicate the information about unfortunate events like these that affect our users.
We've posted the notification below on our website about a week ago and in addition, our Customer Support team will be able to assist by sending a note to the other party, informing them about the typhoon and how it might affect their freelancer's/client's availability.
As a client who has many freelancers from the Philippines, I did see your notification - however, I would say it lacked exposure as I found it a bit too late. My advice for future hurricanes is that you show this message in the relevant chatrooms, because they are the primary medium a client will use when trying to inquire about a freelancer's unresponsiveness.