What do employee side hustles mean for your SME business?

As the chaos of the cost of living crisis continues, many people are turning to side hustles for extra income. But how do side hustles affect your business and are they legal?

A growing trend
A recent survey by Aviva found that one in five adults in the UK have started a side hustle since March 2020; and almost 16% of them claim to earn more than £1,000 a month from their extra role.

Most people surveyed said they were financially motivated to start a side hustle alongside their regular full time job. Digging deeper, this could have been to monetise a hobby, make ends meet, become financially independent or to pay off debts.

Recent Office for National Statistics (ONS) data shows that regular pay has fallen at the fastest rate in more than ten years. So, it’s no wonder that employees are choosing to use their spare time supplementing their main income – especially in the face of the current economic climate.

How do side hustles affect your business?
If you find out your employees have a side hustle outside of their main job, you may initially question the effect it will have on your business.

You may be concerned about staff breaching the Working Time Regulations 1998, requiring them to work no more than 48 hours per week on average.

As an employer you must ensure that working hours are not causing a risk to employees or other members of staff. The risk of accidents increases if staff are tired, particularly if they operate machinery or drive.

Other potential concerns include

  • Employees’ performance suffering.
  • Employees working on their side hustle during the time in which they are contracted to be working for you.
  • Damaging your business’s reputation.
  • Employees using company equipment to work on their side hustle.
  • Intellectual property rights.
  • An employee working two jobs could be breaching their contract with you.
  • Potentially competing with your company if their work is in the same sector.
  • Their side hustle may target the same customers/leads as your business.
  • Employees having multiple identities on networking platforms can be confusing and may look unprofessional to your customers.

Are there any benefits to side hustles?
Your business could also positively benefit from your employees taking on side hustles. These include:

Using new skills in their role with you. Employees could gain transferable skills which could end up being beneficial to your business.
A boost to well-being. Usually, side hustles take the form of something someone enjoys, so your employees spending time doing something that makes them happy could be good for their mental health.

More money at the end of the month. If your employees are worried about money, being able to have a bit extra may make them less stressed about the cost of living.

Can you do anything as an employer?
In your contract of employment, have a clause stating that any work undertaken outside of their role is declared. Also make the terms of allowing them to do it very clear, such as not competing and not using your tools and equipment. You also need to understand the number of hours that will be spent.

Read more.

What do employee side hustles mean for your SME business?

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