RKW Law Group Logo

10075 Red Run Boulevard
Suite 401
Owings Mills, MD 21117
(443) 379-4900

10 North Jefferson Street
Suite 200
Frederick, MD 21701
(240) 220-2415

3 Simple Tips for Managing Employees with Side Hustles

October 19, 2022

Laura L. Rubenstein

I joke that ever since my youngest child has taken up golf, my “side hustle” is acting as his caddy on the weekends. All kidding aside, side hustles are on the rise. Side hustles, for those who are new to the term, are basically second jobs that bring in supplemental funds. For those of us who have been around for a bit, it’s the more modern term for “moonlighting.”

If you’ve worked in an office setting, you may have noticed Avon or Arbonne catalogues conveniently left in the lunchroom by a co-worker who doubles as a beauty sales rep. Some common side hustles these days are driving for Lyft or Uber, bartending, tutoring, taking on-line surveys, blogging, on-line freelancing, selling hand-made crafts, dogsitting and babysitting.

A May 2022 survey of 2,032 workers found that 40% had a side hustle.[1] An earlier survey in October 2021 found that 69% of 1,250 fully remote U.S. workers had a second job. Of that number, 37% had two full-time jobs.[2] Many of those holding a second job reportedly did so out of financial necessity rather than simply enjoyment.

So, what should an employer do if they suspect they are not their employee’s one and only?  

1. Communicate.

Managers and HR should be constantly communicating with workers - whether a formal documented check-in or a casual conversation around the water cooler/video chat. Employees need to know that the company cares about them, so asking (and not prying) about how they spent their weekend, or if they went anywhere interesting after work last night, demonstrates an interest in them as individuals beyond the 9-5. These conversations may reveal interests, hobbies, relationships and what the employee may be doing for extra income. If a trusted relationship has been established, the employee may reveal their lack of motivation for the work they’re currently assigned or disclose other passions they’re pursuing. Having an open discussion about the employee’s side hustle and treating them like an adult, demonstrates respect. That respect should be mutual.  

2. Keep an Eye on Performance.

Signs an employee may have a second job include: missed deadlines, falling asleep on the job, clocking in late, leaving early, being MIA during the workday, hocking outside services or products in the workplace, or researching issues unrelated to work during worktime. A lack of productivity is a sure sign that something else is interfering with their primary duties and responsibilities. An experienced HR professional will know how and when to approach the employee and whether to issue a warning, discipline or address it in another way altogether.

3. Consider Creating a Policy.

Higher level executives are expected to focus their time throughout the entire day on their employment and thus, would not seem to have time for outside employment. Many employment contracts state that executive leadership cannot have other employment without the express permission of the employer. But companies need to think carefully about whether they want to limit what their other employees do on their free time. One approach is to have a policy that prohibits employees from working for competitors or taking on outside work that interferes with their role with their primary employer. An opposite approach is to treat employees like adults and trust that they will be loyal and devote their full time and attention to their full-time job. Sometimes the more rigid the policy, the more apt the employee is to hide their side hustle.  


For questions on how to manage employees in your workplace, contact us at www.RKWlawgroup.com

[1] Source: Zapler, June 2022, as reported by Susan Ladika in her article Side Hustles, published in SHRM Magazine, Fall 2022.

[2] Source: ResumeBuilder.com as reported by Susan Ladika in her article Side Hustles, published in SHRM Magazine, Fall 2022.

© 2024 RKW, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy

Sign up for our weekly newsletter