Working settings of Amazon Mechanical Turk workers

We asked 317 experienced Amazon Mechanical Turk workers about their physical and digital working settings.

We asked the participants to think about the equipment that they use for work (e.g., ’Which software items from this list do you use to aid your Amazon Mechanical Turk work?’) and to think more broadly about the space they work in. In particular, we were keen to understand whether crowdworkers are happy with their working environment and equipment or have to put up with them of necessity. Do they have to work in a busy space with roommates chatting or do they have somewhere quiet to work Which workspace do they prefer?

When asked about where they complete AMT tasks most of the time, 296 participants (97%) said that they complete AMT from their homes. In the home, work is spread across the home office, bedroom and living room. 19 of the workers (6.22%) split their time equally working from both home and work. 10 participants (3.27%) said that they completed AMT tasks solely from work. Our sample had more participants working from private spaces (60%) than from shared spaces (40%). 55% of the workers recruited (N = 168) worked on AMT from their home offices.

The majority of the participants who reported having good levels of focus worked in private spaces that allowed them to concentrate on the task at hand. These spaces would lack distractions or only allow for a few.

When asked what changes they would make to their workspaces, out of the workers who do not already work on AMT from a private space in their home (N = 128), half (70, 55%) said that they would like to have a separate space in their home for working on AMT due to noise issues and interruptions: “I would first and foremost move it into a private room. I miss out on numerous hits because I am unable to record audio or video due to the fact others are making noise around me or would be in the webcam video. It also provides many distractions since it’s in the front room. A personal private room would be the best upgrade.” – P92

In the paper, we go into more details about the working settings of the workers and provide recommendations on how we can support workers’ working preferences, behaviours and habits.

As part of the same project:

Work management strategies of Amazon Mechanical Turk workers

Research-based recommendations for requesters, platform designers and workers