For many years, moonlighting was the term associated with someone who held a job outside of their ‘regular’ 9-5 undertaking. It felt a little dated though, which is probably where the rise of the term ‘Side Hustle’ has come from.

Side Hustling, whether it simply be a hobby, or something undertaken for monetary gain is rising in popularity, with 1 in 4 workers surveyed by Henley Business School admitting to their own form of it. The same survey stated that this figure is expected to rise to 50% of workers by 2030, but why the rise in popularity?

 

What’s caused the spike?

We’ve identified three key causes for a rise in side hustling to help understand what exactly has caused it to become so much more popular than it once was.

 

Wages can’t keep up:

Whilst most organisations and public sectors still stick to yearly increases in pay, often in line with inflation, many simply cannot keep up with the ever-changing cost of living.

Whilst many employees would probably much rather a guaranteed pay rise in line with the cost of living, rather than having to take on extra work, the fact this is no longer the case has seen many look in to exploring new avenues of income.

 

Avenues to market increasing:

Let’s be honest, the majority of us fancy ourselves as entrepreneurs. Programs on television such as The Apprentice, Dragons Den and ones focussing on restoration of goods/property have led to a rise in the desire to set up our own businesses.

One of the reasons setting up your own business seems more accessible is down to the avenues to market increasing and becoming more competitive.

If one of your employees’ fancies making and selling their own ‘Handmade Artisan Soap’ they don’t have to worry about trying to get a meeting with John Lewis or Boots, or even contemplate setting up their own bricks and mortar shop, they can simply set up on amazon, eBay or Etsy and they’re good to go with almost no overheads!

This increase in accessibility has led to many more small businesses being set up from home and in peoples spare time such as evenings and weekends, again another of the key reasons for a spike in side hustling and one that’s sure not to slow down anytime soon.

 

A younger workforce:

There’s no escaping the fact that younger members of the workforce are having a greater impact on how that organisation shapes its people management policies. From more comfortable working environments with a focus on health and wellbeing, right through to flexible working and working from home, new policies point to a new way of working in the coming years.

Interestingly the majority of these policies such as working from home, flexible working and four-day work weeks all support employees in having a side hustle alongside their full-time employment.

The tie in between workplace flexibility and side hustling fits in well with a younger workforce, as these employees are the ones who are currently struggling the most with debt, cost of living and a need to earn extra cash wherever possible.

 

Are there advantages for employers?

When looking into side hustling, we identified two key advantages for employers and also looked into one major disadvantage to supporting side hustling through HR policies.

 

Advantages:

 

  • Transferable skills/experience

Whilst undertaking side hustles, employees are constantly learning and developing just as they are in the workplace. Keeping the mind ticking over and learning new skills which can be transferred back into their organisation must be seen as an advantage for employers who are considering supporting these out of work activities.

  • Hireable traits

It can be easy to be put off by indications of side hustling on an employee’s CV, with worries about employees being distracted or not focussed on your organisation as much as you’d wish.

However, looking beyond these fears, could being a part time football coach make someone a better leader? Could working freelance in marketing for B2C firms make someone a better marketing allrounder for a B2B firm? The simple conclusion to make is that it certainly couldn’t hurt…

 

Disadvantages:

 

  • Lack of commitment/long termism

Of course, an employer’s first thought when tackling issues surrounding the support of side hustling would be how committed an employee actually is to their organisation, and perhaps this is a relevant concern.

An employee’s side hustle could prove fruitful enough to replace the need for their full-time employment, at which point employers are left with substantial rehiring costs to replace them.

 

Finding the right balance, how can employers support employees?

Perhaps surprisingly, a lot of employers don’t currently stipulate in employment contract whether or not they support side hustling, leaving employees in the dark on whether or not them doing so is breaking any rules.

There’s also a number of organisations that favour now quote antiquated contract clauses that state side hustling is not allowed under any circumstances.

The real need is to find a balance here, employers need to meet somewhere in between having a written policy, but not having a restrictive written policy. With the rise in flexible working side hustling will carry on increasing in popularity and therefore HR and organisations in general need to be prepared for this occurance.

Whilst we have identified a couple of disadvantages, early indications are that encouraging side hustles will bring far more positives than negatives to an organisation, perhaps it’s time to adjust those HR policies to support side hustlers to reach their full potential and benefit your organisation further.

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