This story was submitted as part of the #Pledge1Gives GivingTuesday campaign, which celebrates the many ways our member companies are having an impact around the world.

COVID-19 has been nothing if not a time of uncertainty and worry for workers and businesses around the globe. For freelancers in particular, that uncertainty can feel ratcheted up as budgets get cut and project pipelines dry up.

Despite that, their resilience has been so inspiring. They’ve leaned into these challenges and adjusted their hustles to lend expertise and remote work savvy during this time. Which is why we’re using all of the tools at our disposal to continue improving our platform, to give independent talent plenty of visibility, and to fast-track clients and talent alike to the best opportunities available.

Some programs we’ve participated in and launched so far include:

  • The Freelancers Relief Fund. Upwork is a founding partner of the Freelancers Relief Fund alongside the Freelancers Union, which is helping assist independent workers experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic.
  • Work Together Talent Grants are helping create economic opportunities for independent talent engaged on grantee projects that have missions directly tied to mitigating COVID-19’s impact. The program offers $1 million in talent grants to selected organizations (up to $25,000 in talent credits each) to be used on Upwork, where they’re matched directly with remote professionals who have the skills they need.
  • Partnerships with companies around the world to help match remote talent to urgent, high-value projects. The focus is on projects and skills that are helping further business continuity and other critical COVID-19 initiatives, so we’re working to fast-track projects in web and mobile development, e-Learning, sales, content writing, UX design and more to help businesses and independent contractors get matched to the opportunities they need.  View current COVID-19 jobs
  • A virtual event series to promote remote work and Upwork talent. We’ve launched monthly webinars to offer tips and guidance for working in the new norm, and we’re hosting virtual talent showcases to introduce Upwork talent and open the floor for them to discuss how they’re succeeding during COVID.
  • Branded ad campaigns and email campaigns. To boost visibility of talent on Upwork and the stellar work they do, we’ve ramped up our digital marketing campaigns. Now is the time to show the world what independent talent can do!

We’ve also made improvements to Upwork’s platform based on feedback and the evolving COVID situation, including:

  • Direct Contracts to help independent contractors grow their business with non-Upwork clients. New Direct Contracts let independent talent easily create fixed-price contracts with clients who aren’t on Upwork, while still benefiting from features such as escrow services, dispute assistance, simplified contract management, and instant payments. Learn more about Direct Contracts here. 
  • Faster access to payments on hourly contracts. We heard from our community that faster payments would be helpful right now so we implemented a change that allows all Top Rated freelancers and agencies working on hourly contracts to receive their funds in half the time.
  • Better, faster onboarding. Huge numbers of new professionals are joining Upwork every day. We streamlined the talent onboarding experience so we can better identify qualified professionals with in-demand skills and fast-track them to open opportunities.
  • Improvements to voice and video calls. We’ve smoothed out the UX and improved call and connection quality to make it easier to collaborate and communicate on Upwork.

Also, we’re publishing freelancer-focused articles weekly on the Remote Work Resources page, including a recent profile of Upwork talent helping businesses get through COVID, as well as

As we navigate the challenges ahead, our commitment to supporting the freelance community remains our top priority. We’re working around the clock to ensure that the independent professionals have the best access possible to the opportunities they need.