People Leadership

Managing moonlighting: What to do if your employee has multiple jobs

July 4, 2022

The rise of remote work has come with many benefits, from better work-life balance to less stress from commutes. But it’s also brought on an unexpected new trend: more employees are taking on multiple jobs, with some even working two full-time jobs at the same time.

Inflation for consumer prices has increased as high as 5.7 percent in February 2022. Wages have risen more slowly, with average hourly wages increasing just 3.1 percent. Even after annual pay raises, many employees have less disposable income as the cost of living increases. Some have turned to additional work to make ends meet.

Balancing multiple jobs isn’t a new phenomenon. However, the popularity of remote jobs and remote work technology is now allowing people to work anywhere, anytime. It’s easier than ever for employees to get a second job without their primary employer knowing—otherwise known as moonlighting.

What is moonlighting?

Moonlighting is when an employee works an additional part-time or full-time job on top of their regular full-time job. Moonlighting is characterized by the phases of the moon. Each phase indicates how much secondary work an employee has. For example, quarter moonlighting often occurs when an employee takes on a part-time job outside their regular job, like tutoring students on weekends or working as a server at nights. Full moonlighting is when an employee works two full-time jobs at the same time. This type of moonlighting affects businesses the most since it takes the employee away from their primary job duties.

Why employees moonlight

While finances are one of the top reasons employees may turn to another job, there are many reasons why a second job can be tempting, such as:

  • Earning additional income;
  • Gaining skills or experience in a new field to broaden career opportunities;
  • Pursuing a passion project;
  • Fighting boredom and use spare time; or
  • Feeling dissatisfied with their current role and responsibilities.

The effect of moonlighting

Moonlighting and overworking can be extremely damaging and disruptive to your business. Employees working multiple jobs have an increased risk of burnout, dulled motivation, and lack of engagement. These employees may also face wellness risks, like lack of sleep, poor work-life balance, and chronic stress. And it’s not just that one employee who is affected—moonlighting can trickle down and affect your entire workplace.

  • Decreased productivity and performance: If an employee is working two jobs at once, it’s more likely they will become distracted and neglect their duties. The added stress of two jobs can lead to absenteeism or fatigue. 40 percent of Canadian employees said their productivity and performance were worse on days they felt tired.
  • Conflict of interest: If an employee’s second job is in the same industry, they could end up sharing confidential information with their other employer. Even if they keep sensitive information under wraps, they are still helping your competitor potentially generate more business than you.
  • Low team morale: Team members may grow resentful if they see someone not pulling their weight. It can be harder to keep other employees motivated if they start to notice how disengaged their colleague is—and they may even turn to moonlighting themselves.

How can you manage overworked employees?

There are many benefits to remote and flexible work arrangements. However, some employees may take advantage of it by working additional jobs during work hours. Especially in a time of labour shortage, it’s important that you do everything you can to retain employees and foster wellbeing.

Engaging employees and fulfilling their big-picture goals can help mitigate the need for a second job. Consider initiatives like offering employee education plans to further professional growth or taking actions to help reduce financial stress and promote mental wellness in the workplace.

Many employees don’t want additional employment—it’s often a means to an end. To prevent your employees from taking on another job, you can play an active role in recognizing overworked employees, increasing job satisfaction, and setting boundaries and expectations. To help you get started, download our FREE Guide to Managing Overworked Employees for tips and advice from our team of HR experts!

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