The boss staring at your screen
Upwork, which connects freelancers with work opportunities, has tracking software that logs the keystrokes a user takes while working on a job. It also takes regular screenshots, and can even take images from their webcam if they opt in (hardly anyone does, funnily enough).
This is more ‘Victorian workhouse’ than ‘21st century flexible working utopia.’ Aside from the invasion of privacy, it likely leads to work of a lower standard than would otherwise be produced.
Part of the creative process for many people involves going out for a walk, taking a shower, or other activities away from a screen that get the brain working in different ways, and take you away from the process of tapping keys and clicking a mouse. Creatives in an office wouldn’t produce great work if the boss regularly stared over their shoulders and took photos of their screens. It’s no different with freelancers.
Upwork says the software exists to help resolve disputes if a client doesn’t pay. It can prove the work took place, and Upwork can pay the freelancer out of its own pocket if needed.
That’s fair enough, but they can’t expect the quality of work freelancers produce to be as high as if they weren’t being spied on, and everyone trusted each other and paid their invoices on time.