What's New

New For Employers – My Contractors Hub

Last week we released a new navigation scheme and shared with you our plans for creating a new platform that promises to personalize your oDesk experience and deliver more successful online work relationships. The initial step in these plans is to create more useful and tailored applications for our users. The first of these, announced last week, is oDesk Recruit which combines everything employers need to find, evaluate, and connect with their next remote worker.

Today, we unveil our 2nd application for employers, oDesk’s Manage My Team, which combines everything employers need to monitor work across their teams, manage their team rosters and payroll, and easily communicate and collaborate on current assignments.

This new application comes with a brand new My Contractors hub – one simple control panel to manage all your current remote work. Look for the opt-in link to this new Manage home page from your Team Room to explore this new hub and quickly and easily:

Manage Active Contractors

  • See your team roster, know who is online and review the latest activity
  • Quickly see the total amount worked to ensure you’re on budget
  • Send a message, make a payment, or edit a contract using quick links

Review Payroll

  • See all weekly hours billed (to date)
  • Review last week’s timelog & get notified before payment is due
  • Quickly access all other reports

Get Help

  • Alerts tell you when a contractor started working, when to review a timelog, and when a payment is pending
  • Tips and advice help you know what to do each step of they way

My Contractors Hub

And, we’ve still got more to come in the next few weeks with our new navigation. Up next, a new application for contractors to help you grow and manage your remote work career.

We’d like to hear from you. What’s working and what’s not working with our new navigation and our new applications? Visit our community forum post to discuss with other users, or send us direct feedback via our survey (see the link at the top right of the My Contractors page).

A Powerful New oDesk

A little over a month ago we quietly rolled out a Beta of our new site navigation.  We’ve received tons of great feedback and it’s now time to let everyone in on our little secret.

Starting tomorrow, all active users will see the new oDesk when you log in.  We are in the midst of creating a whole new platform on oDesk that allows us to deliver rich, personalized working environments.   It’s a new, highly tailored world on oDesk, and we think you’re going to love it – now, and even more in the months to come!

To start, employers and contractors are no longer mixed together and served the same dual-purposed pages.  Instead, we have built specific applications for employers and contractors to give you everything you need and nothing you don’t.

Also, team members can be given role-specific permissions.  As a manager of others, you can set up your team to only give access to the areas of your oDesk application that workers need to effectively do their jobs.  You set who sees what, giving you a whole new level of privacy and control.

And, best of all, this is a platform we can all grow with.  As employers and contractors, as teams of one and teams of hundreds, you have unique needs.  Rather than a one-size fits all, or a few added features, we will be giving you powerful new applications tailored to your specific work situation.

Today we also launch our first application, oDesk Recruit – a great example of where we’re going with the new platform.  oDesk Recruit is designed specifically for employers and gives them everything they need to find, evaluate and connect with their next remote worker.  Read more about it here.

Stay tuned for more!  In the coming weeks, we’ll be unveiling several more rich applications for contractors, employers, and agencies.

For details on how the new platform is organized, and what’s already available, read our previous announcement.

Have feedback?  Visit our community forum post to discuss the new oDesk platofrm with other users, or send us direct feedback via our survey (see the link at the top of every page in the new oDesk).

New For Employers – oDesk Recruit

Today we announced a whole new platform we’re developing to give our users personalized work environments tailored to their specific needs.  With this new platform, we are excited to announce the first of our new applications, oDesk Recruit.  This application, designed specifically for employers looking to hire, combines everything an employer needs to find, evaluate and connect with their next remote worker.

oDesk Recruit offers employers a brand new hub – a kind of command central for all your hiring needs.  Everything you need on one, simple page to make finding your next contractor simple and effective:

Manage active jobs

  • Get vital information at a glance, e.g., see when you have new applicants and messages awaiting your response.
  • Take action on your job with links to edit your post, make it private or public, or close it.

Find contractors

  • Post a new job
  • Start a new search
  • Access your saved contractor list (yes, this is now easy to find!)

Get Help

  • Helpful alerts when you need to take action on your account
  • Relevant tips to make a great remote hire


And, this is just the beginning.  Coming very soon, we’re launching a new work management application to help employers more easily manage your work and stay in touch with your team.  And, for contractors, we’ve got something in store for you too!  Look for the first contractor specific application, launching in the next few weeks. It’s designed to help you more effectively manage your career and find your next great work opportunity.

Have feedback?  Visit our community forum post to discuss oDesk Recruit with other users, or send us direct feedback via our survey (see the link at the top of every page in the new oDesk)

Know what’s happening on your job – an improved Work Diary

The Work Diary is a critical tool used by employers and contractors alike to understand and literally see what work is being done. Experience has shown – those who regularly review the Work Diary have fewer surprises and are happier with the work they get done.

Yesterday, we released an enhanced Work Diary making it even easier to track work being done and stay in lock step with your team.

Bigger snapshots
We know, those little snapshots are hard to view and clicking to see the full screen version takes time. Now, simply hover over a snapshot to see a larger view with additional activity information.

Clearer blocks of time
Memos now span across time segments, quickly showing you how time is being spent. All non-working time segments are left empty to make the important working hours easier to read.

Calendar with clear activity markers
Quickly see what days had time billed and know where to drill down.

Clearer time categories
Bolder formatting makes it easier to differentiate between each category of time to be reviewed. Please note, we’ve also simplified the terms we use for each category of time:

  • Auto-tracked time (green): Logged through the oDesk Team application, containing snapshots and activity levels. Subject to the oDesk Guarantee.
  • Manual time (yellow): Entered manually in the Work Diary. As always, this time in not covered by the oDesk Guarantee.
  • Over Weekly Limit time (brown): Not billed. See Overtime alerts feature below.

New preferences
Choose to view window titles for more information on applications being used.

Overtime alerts
You get alerted at the top of the Work Diary if any time during the week goes over your weekly limit. Hours over the weekly limit are not billed, but employers and contractors should discuss why time went over the limit, whether a bonus is warranted for the extra hours worked, and whether a higher weekly limit is needed or hours need to be cut back.

Check out the new Work Diary today!  It’s a highly effective tool to see when and what work is being done, and to signal when you need to check in for an update with your team. Please visit our forum post if you have any feedback or questions.

Bigger snapshots
Work Diary Hover Preview

Clearer blocks of time
Work Diary Block of Time

Calendar with clear activity markers
Work Diary Calendar

BYOC: Bring your own contractor

New! Bring your own contractors onto oDesk & manage everyone on one platform.

oDesk has made it quick and easy to bring any contractor you work with onto oDesk.

  • Manage all your contractors in one place
  • Only pay for hours worked with the oDesk Work Diary and Work Guarantee.
  • Automated payments to contractors anywhere in the world

To add your contractor, all you need is your contractor’s email address:

  • Click “Bring Your Own Contractor” from the oDesk Team Room
  • Fill in your contractor’s email address and the terms of your contract
  • Your contractor will receive an email with your contract terms.  They will click to create an account and instantly be added to your team.

Have feedback? Visit our community forum post to discuss this new feature with other users.


Our New Navigation – A simpler, faster way to use oDesk.

Over the next few days, we will be rolling out a simplified navigation.  The new look is simpler, less cluttered, and makes working with oDesk faster and easier than ever before.

We know you are busy building businesses and taking on challenging work from all over the world.  You need a site that can keep up with you!  Now you’ll find that:

  • The site is organized around major task areas (e.g., recruiting or managing a team for employers; finding work or managing your jobs for contractors.)
  • The things you use most often are now easily accessible.
  • You get instant views into new messages and notifications.

To see the new navigation for yourself, log in and look for the “New Navigation” link at the top of the page.   If you don’t see it right away, don’t worry.  To ensure everything runs smoothly, we’re turning this on for all users over the next few days.

This has been in the works for many months and we want to thank all our beta users for your incredible feedback and support .  With your help, we were able to quickly iterate on the design and create a new version of oDesk that is better organized, more intuitive, and really slick to use!

Please note, the new navigation is currently optional.  We wanted to give you a chance to explore the new site on your own time, but we think you’re going to find it an overall easier way to work on oDesk.  If something about the new navigation isn’t easier for you, we want to hear about it. Look for the “Share Feedback” link at the top of every page in the new navigation — we’ll be using your input to iterate and continually improve the site.

You’ll also see us adding new functionality and updating many other pages in the weeks and months to come – including some new landing pages that will display for each critical task area the most vital information at a glance.

Have questions?  Get more details for Contractors and Employers, including FAQs and a “Where Is. . .” directory.

Have feedback?  Visit our community forum post to discuss with other users, or send direct feedback via our survey (see the link at the top of every page in the new navigation).




oDesk increases security with full encrypted site

Starting today, we have enabled HTTPS across the entire oDesk site, giving our users an extra layer of security.  Our logged in pages were already fully encrypted, and thus your logged in sessions have always maintained a significant level of privacy.  But, as people spend more time on the Internet, many banking and e-commerce sites are adding SSL encryption across their sites – both logged in and non logged in pages – as a standard practice.  We too want to ensure our users have the highest level of protections available across our entire site.

To use the new fully encrypted HTTPS wide site, just go to www.odesk.com as you normally would.  We will default you to our new full HTTPS site.

For more information on HTTPS, see the “HTTP Secure” article on Wikipedia for complete details.  Basically, HTTPS is a protocol that establishes a secure connection between your browser and our servers.   In contrast, HTTP is unsecured and is subject to man-in-the-middle and eavesdropping attacks which can let attackers gain access to website accounts and sensitive information.  HTTPS is designed to withstand such attacks and is considered secure against such attacks.

Special information for API users. All of our public APIs are currently available over HTTPS.  To start using the HTTPS versions, please just update your app to use HTTPS rather than HTTP.

Special information for Internet Explorer Users (IE 7 & IE 8). We are aware of a Security Warning box that appears when you land on one of the contractor search or contractor profile pages.  This is not actually a security issue and you are safe to view the oDesk pages.  We have made these changes specifically to improve security.  We will be fixing this issue over the next 24 to 48 hours.  In the meantime we recommend using Firefox or Chrome as your browser.  Or, you can disable this warning message in IE by going to the Tools menu, selecting Internet Options, and clicking the Security tab.  Select Custom level, and scroll down half way to “Display mixed content” and change the button to Enable.

To share your feedback and discuss these changes with the community, please visit our forum post here.

Find the contractor you need – check out our latest enhancements!

Finding the right contractor to work on your job is job #1 on oDesk. We are continuously working to improve how easy it is for you to locate the contractor that best meets your needs. This month, we’re introducing new ways to find contractors scoring in the top of their class, and returning the applicant list sorting capabilities you’ve asked for!

They say they have the skills. But are they top of their class?

The tests contractors take on oDesk help verify a contractor’s skill level. You’ve always been able to see whether a contractor has taken a particular test and what they’ve scored. But now, we’re making it super easy to target your search results to those contractors who have scored well on the tests most relevant to your job.

Now, when you search for a contractor, you can limit your search to contractors scoring in the top 10% or top 30% on any number of tests you specify. You are no longer limited to searching just one test at a time, and we will automatically suggest the top 5 tests for the category you are searching in. Simply select all the tests you feel are relevant, and whether you want to see the top 10% or top 30% of scorers. You will instantly see a list of contractors meeting your test criteria. Try it today!

Sorting is back

We heard you loud and clear: you want to be able to sort your applicants based on rates, feedback scores, hours worked, and when they applied. We’ve put back into place this sorting ability for your applicant list. And, we’re not stopping there. We’re working to give you even more control over how you review your applicant lists. For example, we’re building tools to enable you to set targeted ranges of rates or feedback scores, allowing you to quickly narrow your list to your top candidates. Look for this in the next couple of months!

We’d love to hear your feedback. Please see our forum post on these topics if you’d like to discuss with the oDesk community!

Mandatory Upgrade for oDesk Team

Do you have the latest version of the oDesk Team desktop application? To ensure you can continue recording time and collaborating with your team, download now.

Old versions of oDesk Team no longer work.

Do I need to download the new version?

If you rely on oDesk Team to track time and collaborate with your team, and you do not have the latest version, you will need to upgrade.

Here is a list of the minimum required versions of oDesk Team based on operating system:

  • Windows 3.2.79
  • Mac 3.2.41
  • Linux 2.0.0

If you have this version already, no action is needed. To check what version you are on, open the oDesk Team application, go to Help > About oDesk Team. If you do not have one these versions, please download it now.

What’s in the new version?

With the new version of oDesk Team, you get full chat functionality, an improved interface, a full team roster, and more! And, with your whole team on the same version, you will help ensure you can continue to check in with each other and stay in touch.

How do I download?

Downloading the new oDesk Team application is a simple process and takes just a few moments. Visit our downloads page now.

What if I have questions?

First, please visit our general Team app and platform specific (Windows, Mac, Linux) help pages.

For Windows and Mac users: if you have any additional questions, please reach out to customer support by going to Help in the oDesk Team application, and submitting a ticket. By going through oDesk Team rather than the oDesk website, your ticket will include log files that will help our support reps resolve your problem more quickly.

For Linux users: if you have questions, please submit a ticket to customer support here.

Thanks for your help. By having everyone on the same version, it helps us help you! We can spend our time enhancing oDesk Team to make your life easier, rather than supporting outdated versions.

If you have any comments, please visit our community forum.

The oDesk Team

A Better Way to Review, Connect with and Hire Your Next Contractor

After you post a job on oDesk, you want to evaluate applications and make a great hire – quickly and easily.  We have introduced new applicant tracking tools to help you do just that!

  • No more hunting for interview threads. All messages between you and your applicants are now embedded in the candidate detail page.  Review the applicant’s cover letter and profile, read incoming messages and reply to them – all in one place.
  • New negotiation tool. Get to an agreement fast with contractors you wish to hire.  Easily propose a new hourly rate, weekly salary or other terms.  No back and forth messages – just a simple offer screen.
  • Views to easily manage your applicants. Separate tabs for candidates who have applied and those you have begun interviewing. Declined applicants are also kept out of your way in their own tab.
  • More responsive interface. You’ll notice significantly faster performance, allowing you to zip through the hiring process faster than ever.

Building your own global dream team of top contractors at reasonable rates is what oDesk is all about.  Our new applicant tracking tools are one more way we help you to easily leverage the power of remote work.  Check out the new tools and let us know what you think! Post comments to our community forum.

Quickly see an applicant’s cover letter, experience and qualifications.

Quickly see an applicant’s cover letter, experience and qualifications.

Send messages, hire, offer new terms, or decline a candidate. . . all from one page!

Send messages, hire, offer new terms, or decline a candidate. . . all from one page!