HR Management & Compliance, Startup HR

Remote Work and Moonlighting

One of the top concerns for managers with respect to widespread remote work was that employee productivity would suffer, in part due to the related concern that the ability of managers to oversee subordinates would be diminished if they weren’t physically in the same location.

By and large, however, companies have found that productivity hasn’t taken the major hit they had feared. However, it’s hard to deny the practical reality that it’s generally more difficult to closely supervise workers remotely than in person.

Source: fizkes / shutterstock

Double-Dipping Employees

Employers fearing workers aren’t spending their time on the clock appropriately may be alarmed to hear that recent survey data from ResumeBuilder found that roughly seventy percent of remote workers actually have a second job! Thirty-seven percent of those with a second job have a second full-time job. “Additionally, most people with two full-time jobs work fewer hours than the standard for full-time employment,” according to a ResumeBuilder press release.

“Forty-seven percent of respondents from this group say they work 40 hours or less per week at both jobs combined. In contrast, only 23 percent of remote workers, with two full-time jobs, log 80 or more work hours each week.”

At first glance, this might seem like a manager’s worst remote-work nightmare: not only are millions of remote workers relatively unsupervised compared to in-office workers, but most of them are actually working for someone else at the same time!

Establish and Communicate Ground Rules and Expectations

Of course, just because a remote worker has a second job doesn’t mean they’re slacking off at their first job or that an employer is paying them to work for someone else. There is generally nothing wrong with an employee working at more than one job—even multiple full-time jobs—provided certain ground rules are respected.

Employers should be open and candid with remote staff, and staff in general, about policies around multiple employers. It’s perfectly reasonable, for example, for companies to enforce policies against disclosing confidential information outside of their organization.

Furthermore, it’s reasonable to prohibit employees from moonlighting for competitors, moonlighting during certain times essential to their job responsibilities or from using company equipment (i.e., laptops, company-paid internet service, etc.) in support of a second job. At the end of the day, what is most important is that the employee can fulfill their job duties and not violate any fiduciary or confidentiality obligations.

It might seem shocking to some employers to learn that so many remote employees are working at more than one job; however, there’s nothing inherently illegal about moonlighting. The key for employers is to have clear and fair policies in place to put guard rails around the practice to ensure staff are meeting their obligations, regardless of whatever activities they engage in off the clock.

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