Moonlighting has been of prime focus currently for many blogs, news platforms, and organizations. At the same time, there is polar opposite feedback on the concept of moonlighting. When we talk about high ownership, transparency, and creating an employee-first culture, isn’t trust an aspect of it? This has been quite a running debate for some time now. The pandemic has changed the way we work by introducing us to permanent remote, hybrid jobs with increasingly modern workplaces.
With a prime focus on flexible working hours and better work-life balance, employees are getting the freedom to focus on other things apart from work.
So what exactly is moonlighting?
Moonlighting is defined as having a second job apart from the primary full-time job they’re a part of.
With this fundamental change in the way we work – remotely and distributed, there is no location barrier that allows employees to take up side projects. But a logical question here would be why companies enable employees to work elsewhere while working with them.
According to a survey conducted by Carta, an employee spends 37 months on average in a startup. With this limited time of an employee being associated with the company, it is natural that he/she wants to explore.
Within this time, is it not wrong to allow employees to work for them? Well, no. When we talk about allowing moonlighting, there are certain basic expectations that need to be set straight.
Once those are cleared and the employee is aligned with the productivity and the responsibilities the role demands, they should be free to take up any responsibilities they want outside of the company’s working hours. People are looking to grow and learn constantly, they may take on entirely new responsibilities and roles within an organisation or explore hobbies, consulting, freelancing, and side businesses. Hence, Springworks also allows internal transfers, read more about it here (add link)
Companies like Swiggy have recently announced that they will allow employees to moonlight with some guidelines. This includes employees having to declare that they will be working with a different company in any capacity. And that they are free to do it outside of working hours or on weekends.
“Organisations must understand that letting employees pursue something that interests them in their spare time, whether being done for money or otherwise, can turn out to be more productive for them.” – Vineet Nayar, the former CEO of HCL Technologies
If we take a look at how things work right now, CxOs, founders, and folks in leadership have always been working as consultants, board members, authors, angel investors, etc. For fair and right practice, people can disclose where they work and in what capacity.
We at Springworks don’t know if the job outside work is a passion, hobby, side hustle, an emergency and we don’t want to restrict it for our employees.
Is moonlighting ethical and legal?
Ethics is beliefs about what is morally correct or acceptable. While companies have polar opinions when it comes to moonlighting, calling it completely ethical or unethical is wrong.
Moonlighting can be acceptable to a company that is growing at its own pace with a stable flow of revenue, while it may be unacceptable to an early-stage startup still getting a hold of the market. Hence the question of ethics comes into the picture if your organization allows it or disallows it.
While Indian law does not totally ban moonlighting, dual employment is still illegal in India. Mostly when we talk about moonlighting we talk about part-time work in a consultant capacity or as an advisor while still holding your day job. Since the law does not specify part-time work it does not become illegal to indulge in Moonlighting.
What are the things one should keep in mind while allowing moonlighting?
It is natural that allowing moonlighting might pose some risks to the company’s policies and functioning. A few of them can be:
- Employees might fail to prioritize their primary tasks expected out of their job roles. The ownership and productivity might be reduced/lost.
- There are chances of leakage of confidential information.
- Engagement with competitors can also be a potential risk.
But none of these risks are not preventable. There are a few steps organizations should take as basic hygiene practices before permitting moonlighting:
Convey taking ownership of tasks as a primary objective while moonlighting
This is a primary guideline necessary when you allow moonlighting. Employees will be allowed to work on different projects only when they fulfill the duty they were hired for. Make sure that employees understand what productivity is and set a benchmark for the same. Companies shouldn’t worry about what the employee does with their time as long as they meet the anticipated milestones and receive the output from their workforce.
Employees should abide by the Non-Disclosure Agreement
Certain information is very sensitive in nature. While allowing moonlighting, companies have to ensure that employees understand that the leakage of sensitive information is strictly restricted. This can lead to larger repercussions.
Clarify guidelines around engaging with competition
While employees are free to choose whom to work with, it should be made clear to not engage with direct competitors as it may lead to an exchange of sensitive information. For this, companies can clearly mention the list of such organisations or employees can be asked to disclose the work they engage in outside the organisation.
What does moonlighting look like at Springworks?
At Springworks, we removed the non-compete clause from all our offer letters for new as well as existing employees. We have always clarified to our employees that whatever they do outside of their working hours and on weekends is not our concern.
We want to ensure that our employees have the right skill set in the market and they can pick up any side hustle to increase their knowledge or skill set. Of course, having said that some feasible clarifications as mentioned above have been made clear to the employees.
Along with this we also focus heavily on work-life balance. Our aim is to provide employees with enough time to spend with their families and also be able to spend these little side hustles.
Why do people do moonlighting?
There are multiple reasons why a person may choose to moonlight: it may be to pick up new skills or have an extra source of income or maybe better security. They also might be looking to change their fields.
A survey by ResumeBuilder.com revealed that 37 percent of people accepted that they had a second full-time job and 32 percent said that they had a side hustle.
Pros and cons of moonlighting?
Better financial stability – With a side hustle also comes to side income, which leads to better financial stability for the individual
Learning new things while on the job – Especially when changing fields a second hustle on the side will be proven beneficial to learn and grow more while having the security of the main job.
Engaged employee – With employees free to do their own thing chances of burnout or boredom goes down. Employers have to spend less time and effort to engage the employee in the job.
Time – With remote work spending time on commute has drastically reduced, but in some cases so has the time spent on leisure and fun. With a side job individual may find it difficult to
Performance slippage – Naturally with a time crunch and with 2 jobs it may be hard to maintain the same level of output or performance, one has been putting in.
Does it make sense to have two jobs?
It totally depends on the individual career goals and plans. If one feels that they have enough time and energy to learn as well as earn something other than a regular salary then yes it does make sense.
Moonlighting should be carefully considered with a clear objective and goals to be achieved.
Why are companies against moonlighting?
Companies are worried about the loss of productivity at the main job. Moreover, since it is a very new topic, legality and ethics also come into the picture for a lot of companies.
With the way the modern workspace has been shaping up to be remote/hybrid, moonlighting also is becoming increasingly easy for employees. That being said, the idea of whether moonlighting should be allowed is totally a matter of opinion on individual companies and where they are at a current stage.