freelancers being watched by big brother

by Jeremy Gatica 21 replies
I came across this story here

I found it disturbing to know that if I work through a freelance site that I may have to schedule a bathroom break.

I can understand the need to make sure that a client gets what they pay for
but to take screenshots , keylogging, count keystrokes and get phone calls often enough to make sure you cant leave your desk/home office seems a bit extreme to me.

Most freelancer work at home to be able to have a more flexible schedule, not to turn your home into another cubicle.

Jeremy
#main internet marketing discussion forum #big #brother #freelancers #watched
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  • Profile picture of the author thatgirlJ
    Yikes...I wouldn't pass the "Child background noise" test, lol
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    • Profile picture of the author jcoolbaugh
      Originally Posted by Jenn Dize View Post

      Yikes...I wouldn't pass the "Child background noise" test, lol
      LOL! I'm right there with you, Jenn My three year old makes it virtually impossible to talk to anyone for very long... luckily, most of my clients have little ones, so they're very understanding.

      Isn't the entire reason for becoming a freelancer is to break away from the stress and politics of the office? I know one thing for certain - the first time a client asked me how many washroom breaks I took while working on their project... would definitely be the last!
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
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    • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
      I work from home and can understand the reason for this type of monitoring. It's easy to get distracted and employers want the proper return on investment.

      The concept is flawed, however, since anyone can simply set up a 2nd computer for 'play' and the employer will never know.
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      • Profile picture of the author schabotte
        I always find that being up front about expectations works best but then that is a one on one situation with no middleman to deal with. Sort of a pay based on results model.

        It also works with people you pay hourly. You should know what amount of work the person can do per hour and if it is not happening, you can either fire the person and move on or work with the person to understand the bottlenecks - which happens more often than you might expect. (Something about me knowing the job cold and the other person sort of feeling their way through somewhat unfamiliar territory.)
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        • Profile picture of the author thatgirlJ
          Actually, this is kind of funny...as many of you know I am a ghostwriter, and I charge by the word or project. I occasionally do virtual assistant work where I charge by the hour.

          I always feel like I should be working faster (even though I'm very, very fast) and getting things done faster...like, someone hired me for 10 hours upfront and their one project took me about 5 hours to complete because of various issues with their host, etc that had nothing to do with my ability or speed. Because I felt like I planned/wanted to get it done faster, I only took off for about 2 hours

          That's why I rarely work by the hour...people always get way more than they pay for because I'm too nice, hehe

          With that being said...I will never touch ODesk with a 10 foot pole. What goes on in my house and on my keyboard is not their business so long as I am ethical about hours and work completed.
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          • Profile picture of the author schabotte
            Back when I did custom programming jobs, I always quoted by the job with an hour justification to back up the bid if the client asked. I always preferred that as it took pressure off - no tracking hours, no dealing with the customer wanting to know why I spent X hours on something, etc.
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          • Profile picture of the author yank714
            Monitoring "home workers" seems more realistic than mointoring "freelancers". I think most of us who perform work as freelancers charge by the project rather than by the hour, at least I do.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dave Ryan
              As a copywriter who delivers great results to all of my clients... If someone ever wanted to install things on my computer to monitor my activities I'd tell them "Good doing business with you, but you're no longer a client".

              People need to focus on results generated from an activity, not the amount of time. I feel sorry for anyone who looks at the latter as method of measuring success in any way.

              Dave
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              • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
                Banned
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                • Profile picture of the author Jason Dolman
                  My response to this article:



                  HUH?

                  That's crazy talk from the crazy people.

                  If I wanted someone looking over my shoulder I'd go back to the corporate world.


                  Jason


                  P.S. I'm going to LOVE adding images and all that good stuff to posts... good times!
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      • Originally Posted by BlueSquares View Post

        I work from home and can understand the reason for this type of monitoring. It's easy to get distracted and employers want the proper return on investment.

        The concept is flawed, however, since anyone can simply set up a 2nd computer for 'play' and the employer will never know.
        I look at it from an employer's viewpoint. Do I want to spend all MY time babysitting my employees? No way. I wouldn't participate in this sort of thing if I were an employer. I would keep the people on who got the job done in time and the people who didn't would be spoken to about it, and if they still couldn't keep up, I'd find someone who COULD. It's as simple as that. The boss' time is valuable, too. I wouldn't want to spend my time babysitting.
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    • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
      Originally Posted by Michael Oksa View Post

      as long as the work gets done on time, what difference does it really make?
      You nailed it right there!

      I used to manage teams of software developers for some of very large IT consulting companies. This was always one of the things that drove me nuts (both with my employers as well as clients)!

      I think it's a sign of managers not knowing what the hell they are doing - they don't know how to lead and inspire their team, don't know how to get the best out of their people, so they simply revert to monitoring lunch breaks, etc.. They don't know to actually manage RESULTS.

      Want to get promoted? In most companies, simply have a bossy and abrasive personality, sit in the office for 10+ hours a day (regardless if there's actually any work to do), and get frantic under pressure..

      I could vent for hours on the subject
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      -Jason

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      • Profile picture of the author GuruGazette
        Uggg... This is the perfect example of the "reporter" and employers not knowing the difference between a telecommuting employee and a freelancer.

        Telecommuters are payrolled employees who have been granted permission to do some or all of their work from home. They are treated just like in office employees, and they get a paycheck, get taxes deducted, get vacations/sick leave, etc. So yes the employer has every right to put in restrictions and monitoring for that employee.

        Freelancers on the other hand, are independent contractors/business owners who are responsible for buying and maintaining their own equipment, paying their own taxes and insurance, etc. And as such they should be FREE to work when and how they want. Within the law of course and with certain reasonable contract specifics.

        Sometimes I think corporations want the benefits of freelancers, with the control of employees. If they hire freelancers they save a heck of a lot of money: No equipment to buy or maintain, no insurance to contribute to or cover their butts with, no paid time off, etc etc. But they want to still control those freelancers as if they were employees, and that should be completely unacceptable to any freelancer or home business owner.
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        • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
          Massive invasion of privacy, its almost as bad as commuting. No thanks! If you can't trust people to work properly, then that relationship is toast from the get go. It doesn't surprise me though. Employers are always looking for more more more and giving less less less. Some companies I've been in actually get very upset when you have an emergency or try and sked a vacation. Its work to live not live to work. Darn all of them.
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          • Originally Posted by cypherslock View Post

            Massive invasion of privacy, its almost as bad as commuting. No thanks! If you can't trust people to work properly, then that relationship is toast from the get go. It doesn't surprise me though. Employers are always looking for more more more and giving less less less. Some companies I've been in actually get very upset when you have an emergency or try and sked a vacation. Its work to live not live to work. Darn all of them.
            Which is exactly why I am looking to get out of the line of work I have been in for 20 years. It pays extremely well, but I am no longer 22 and single without a life. I no longer want to live and breathe work. In my industry, top level managers are expected to live to work. And with the exception of Christmas and Thanksgiving (which at my old company were also "work" days) we could be called in at a moment's notice any day, any time, and are expected to come in.

            It's not uncommon for managers to be called home from vacation to come back to work. The company "ownes" you and they let you know it, too.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kay King
              I just read the article a little closer, and some of it does go too far, IMHO. Listneing in on random phone calls, and you're right, scheduling bathroom breaks
              I don't agree - as those items were mentioned in relation to "phone bank" type businesses such as telemarketing, customer service, etc. If you were in a physical office you would have calls monitored for quality and you would not be able to just get up and walk away without clearing your absence.

              If a company is paying you by the hour, it's a totally different set of rules. Some employees appreciate the non-commute aspect while others may view working at home as "doing what I want whenever". It could also help set realistic quotas for new employees.

              For freelancers, I'd expect it applies mostly to those doing high end or major subcontracting with companies for specific projects. It could work both ways as someone overly demanding or with expectations far too high might become more realistic about timelines if they see the freelancer is diligently working. The freelancer knows he'll be paid quickly and can likely charge higher fees if he's willing to be monitored.

              Excuses for failure to meet deadlines would be hard to make if the company contracting the job knows you spend 6 hrs a day on YouTube. What's important is that the person doing the work would KNOW about the monitoring and the extent of it before they start.

              kay
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              • Guys, you do recognise a press release when you see one don't you? I appreciate the issues it brings up, and it's good for a debate, but this article is exactly news worthy in my opinion. By that, I mean it reflects a vested interest's desire for publicity, not a straightforward look at what actually goes on with employers and freelancers?
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                • Profile picture of the author verdaga
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                  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
                    Gatica (OP) is still upset because I made him wear a leg clamp when he did some work for me. I must admit, I enjoyed sending the 20,000 volt shock through his system every time he took his hand off the mouse. All worked well until I overloaded him with too long a jolt and had to wait until he peeled his face off the keyboard.
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        • Profile picture of the author TheManicMarketer
          Originally Posted by GuruGazette View Post

          Uggg... This is the perfect example of the "reporter" and employers not knowing the difference between a telecommuting employee and a freelancer.

          Telecommuters are payrolled employees who have been granted permission to do some or all of their work from home. They are treated just like in office employees, and they get a paycheck, get taxes deducted, get vacations/sick leave, etc. So yes the employer has every right to put in restrictions and monitoring for that employee.

          Freelancers on the other hand, are independent contractors/business owners who are responsible for buying and maintaining their own equipment, paying their own taxes and insurance, etc. And as such they should be FREE to work when and how they want. Within the law of course and with certain reasonable contract specifics.

          Sometimes I think corporations want the benefits of freelancers, with the control of employees. If they hire freelancers they save a heck of a lot of money: No equipment to buy or maintain, no insurance to contribute to or cover their butts with, no paid time off, etc etc. But they want to still control those freelancers as if they were employees, and that should be completely unacceptable to any freelancer or home business owner.

          You hit the nail on the head!
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  • Profile picture of the author samphillips
    That's why I am so appreciative of freelancing from my office on my own time schedule. I am a pretty hard taskmaster on myself though.
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  • Profile picture of the author Una1
    Corporate office cubicle > house working in this case then. What the hell.
    Freelancers should be given the freedom to work in a project-oriented manner without these kind of unnecessary pressure to keep their productivity in optimum level. The concept of being a freelancing isn't just about the location that a person is working, but also minding the comfort and flexibility of work schedule on freelancer's part.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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    When I've hired freelancers and when I freelanced myself, I always paid or got paid for the job when it was finished. I would not pay by the hour, nor would I work by the hour. My time is my time and I only charged for a completed product.
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