Freelance Balance

This research study aims to explore the perceived work-life balance of freelancers who use the platform Upwork to conduct freelance work. We are particularly interested in how freelancers go about establishing work and personal boundaries. To do so, we will ask you to take part in a diary study with a post-interview. Please read all this information carefully. This research project is funded and organised by Northumbria University and has no relation or association with Upwork in any form. If you have any questions, you can always reach out to us at:

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Who can take part?

We are recruiting professionals that use the Upwork platform regularly to complete freelance services. To take part you must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Use the platform Upwork regularly to conduct freelance work and have successfully completed at least one job through the platform.
  • Intend to use the Upwork platform as a freelancer during the period of the study (upcoming months).
  • About the study

    We will ask you to take part in a 14-day diary study with a post-interview. You will use WhatsApp to capture diary entries. In the interview, we will discuss your diary entries, experience using Upwork, and preferences to combine Upwork with other life activities. In detail, the study consists of the four stages detailed below.

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    1. Registration Survey

    In this survey, you will share some details about yourself, your experience with Upwork, and your work-life balance preferences. This survey will determine if you are a suitable candidate for participating in this study. The survey takes between 5-10 minutes to complete. All this information will be kept confidential.

    2. On-Boarding call

    This call is aimed at explaining in detail the captures you will complete during the diary study. The lead researcher will reiterate the purposes of the study and clarify any questions you might have. This call will last between 10-20 minutes and will take place over Microsoft Teams at a time of your and the researcher’s convenience, taking into account time zones.

    3. Diary Captures

    Starting the day after the on-boarding call, you will be asked to capture short diary entries for 14 days. Each day, you will receive a diary prompt on WhatsApp, as well as a reminder to capture your entry and share your response back. Capturing your diary entries should not take you more than a few minutes to complete, and you should capture them when is most convenient during the day. You can capture your diary entries using different formats supported by WhatsApp, such as taking photos, recording voice notes, filming yourself, or simply typing down your answers.

    The diary prompts will vary across the 14 days and cover the following themes:

  • perceptions of your work activities and use of the Upwork platform,
  • non-work activities that you enjoy and help you recover from work, and
  • perceptions of your work-life boundaries.

  • * If you do not have access to WhatsApp, you can still take part in the study by completing the activities and sharing them with the researcher via email.

    4. Post-Diary Interview

    Within a week of completing your diary, you will take part in an interview. The purpose of this interview is to talk through your diary captures, provide more details, and more contextual explanations. The interview will last around 60 minutes and will take place over Microsoft Teams at a date and time of your and researcher’s convenience, taking into account time zones.


    Once you complete all four stages of the study (survey, on-boarding call, 14-day diary, and interview), you will receive an Amazon voucher worth £30 as a compensation for your time.

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    Do I have to take part?

    No. Participation is entirely voluntary. If you take part, you are still free to withdraw at any time. You do not have to give a reason. If you withdraw, we will delete any data you would have provided.

    How much time will I dedicate to the study?

    The estimated time for each of the study stages is as follows:

  • Registration survey – 5-10 minutes
  • On-boarding call – 10-20 minutes
  • Diary captures – a few minutes per day for 14 days
  • Post-diary interview – around 60 minutes

  • Will I be compensated for taking part?

    Once you complete all study stages (survey, on-boarding call, 14-day diary, and post-diary interview), you will receive an Amazon voucher worth £30 as compensation for your time.

    Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential and anonymous?

    Yes. Your name will not be written on any of the data we collect; the written information you provide will have an ID number – not your name. Your name will not be written on the recorded interview, or on the typed-up versions of your discussions from the interview, and your name will not appear in any reports or documents resulting from this study. All the data collected from you in this study will be confidential, taking especial care of any media you might share during the diary captures.

    Download the participant information sheet for more details on what type of data we will collect and how we will protect it.

    Who is Organising and Funding the Study?

    This study is organised and funded by Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. This study has no relation to Upwork in any form.

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    Interested in taking part?