What is moonlighting? 

Moonlighting describes when workers take on another job without their primary employer knowing. There are varying degrees depending on how much secondary work someone takes on. Full moonlighting (such as a remote employee working two full-time jobs at once) affects businesses the most as it directly takes the employee away from their primary job duties; moonlighters often continue their primary job at a lower capacity to facilitate working more jobs.  

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 effects

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.

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!

Are you concerned about employees with secondary employment at your organization? Read more on this topic and get advice from our experts in our blogpost, Managing Moonlighting: What to Do If Your Employee Has Multiple Jobs.

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