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Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today, HR Solutions - Thomson Reuters

Employment Today Magazine

The panel—Should we welcome the world of the ‘side hustle’?

Having one employer and one source of income is fast becoming ho-hum for a new generation of white-collar workers, according to a recent Sydney Morning Herald story. More and more full-time workers now have a part-time gig on the side for extra income, security and freedom. Welcome to the world of the “side hustle”.

HR Grapevine reports that as many as one in four workers in the UK now have a “side hustle”, and that figure is expected to grow to 50 percent by 2030. The rise in side hustles is generating £72billion for the UK economy, according to research from Henley Business School.

But this changing approach to how people work means HR might need to rewrite the workplace rulebook. Currently, 49 percent of UK businesses do not have a policy on side-working and a further 54 percent are indifferent to the issue, according to the Henley research.

Dr Rita Fontinha, lecturer in Strategic Human Resources Management at Henley Business School, says side hustles are here to stay and this will have huge implications for HR. She says firms need to be flexible to attract and retain people who are increasingly looking for flexibility, more money and the chance to upskill.

MetroBank’s chief people officer Danny Harmer told HR Grapevine that the bank has hired some employees purely because of an activity or out-of-work venture. “The transferable skills people bring in and learn through a side-hustle can really benefit an organisation. They can also help candidates get a better job,” she says.

Harmer says rather than having company policies that prevent people engaging in extra-curricular activities, HR should instead have guidelines and ask staff to be sensible with the out-of-work hustle and ensure it doesn’t detract from their main employment.

Investment writer Tony Featherstone says in his SMH article, however, that for all the perceived benefits, side hustles create more problems than solutions—for companies and employees. He lists a number of downsides, from conflicts of interest, use of a firm’s resources and reputational damage to team harmony, lack of commitment and lowered output.

We asked the panel for their thoughts. Should employers embrace side hustlers and the benefits they bring, or should they discourage anything that may distract from the work at hand?


HR/Administration Manager – Gore District Council

Hustle! I am a bit ambivalent on this issue. If a full-time worker has the energy to work a part-time job on the side, then good on them, especially if they are young and are wanting to save extra money for a home or other big ticket item. I have no real problem with it as long as the part-time job doesn’t materially impact on their other employment. There could well be benefits for both parties as a result. Health and safety also comes to mind and the possible fatigue that could set in with working an extra job, but I guess that needs to be sensibly managed by the person concerned.


HR consultant – Wellington

Hustle! If a side-hustle is in pursuit of a passion (whether paid or unpaid), doesn’t conflict with the business or any employment obligations, and may leave the “hustler” happier and more engaged in their primary employment—why not at least sit down and have a conversation about how it might work for all involved? Of course, some industries might not lend themselves to side-hustling—I can’t envision our spooks running a weekend garden-market stall …


HR consultant – Dunedin

Hustle! Some employers don’t pay well and people need second jobs. Other employees have a skill set or hobby which provides an income in their spare time. With portfolio careers (aka the side-hustle) this is the future. You might have to intervene if it’s affecting individual performance or it’s a conflict of interest otherwise, in my view, it’s a win/win.


HR consultant – Essential HR Ltd

Hustle! It may be a charity, a community organisation, a sports team … or private business. Many we want, but not funded surreptitiously by their employer. So don’t push it underground, but pro-actively guide them on what resources they can use and how to avoid conflicts of interest. The loyalty it can build is amazing.

Thomson Reuters

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