- The subject matter need not be considered as anything new or as a novelty factor since the practice is quite prevalent among white-collar employees for quite some time now. This is widely seen in both the public as well as private sectors and irrespective of positions or categories of employment. Of course, there are guidelines and policies clearly mentioning unauthorized undertaking of works apart from the official ones that are debarred leading to disciplinary action. However, it is an open secret that the majority of the employees do not adhere to the diktat in letter and spirit. You may be aware of the coining of employees doing jobs on the side of their contracted full-time work. Yes, the practice is accorded the term moonlighting.
- We know how the moniker work-from-home (WFH) gained tremendous prominence during the pandemic, particularly among techies and other white-collar workers as an alternative mode of working without physically visiting the place of work. As is its wont, the grey zone outside of office hours in which pre-pandemic moonlighting operated, really flourished with Covid blurring home and office. Also known as a side hustle, moonlighting is in the crosshairs of some major employers, who are also keen to restore white-collar work to its pre-pandemic definitions. With employees in many places resisting status quo ante, the open secret of moonlighting in the IT sector had to be confronted head-on by employers.
- As reported, Infosys has called it two timing and the Wipro chairman called it cheating, plain and simple. But Swiggy and Cred are greenlighting moonlighting offering an alternative narrative. It’s a reflection of how employer-employee relationships are in great churn right now. As can be seen, this turbulence is not the same across white-collar jobs. Mind you, WFH made stark the deep fault line between white-collar workers and the rest. Likewise moonlighting opportunities gravitate to specific groups, especially where outstrips supply. A survey by PwC found that 54% of respondents strongly/moderately agree that India faces a shortage of skill sets. No wonder, the complexity surrounding the matter has left the HR managers divided vertically.
PC: James Caan
- Understandably, some are worried about side hustles lowering office productivity and causing IP leaks and conflicts of interest. Few HR managers are open to the idea of companies working productively with employees without having exclusive ownership of them. Needless to mention, all managerial positions and employee options will ultimately be decided by unsentimental market forces at play. Remember, in a booming sector that’s short of skilled people, employers will be hard-pressed to punish moonlighting. On the other hand, in a sectoral labor market where employers call the shots, moonlighting will probably be punished. Which one are you by the way? Depends on the collar you wear on the person.