Coping with a Side- Gig – The Employer’s Perspective

Not a day goes by hearing about the rises in unemployment or for the for those with jobs, salary cuts with the onset of COVID-19. Enter the side-gig industry. Side gig is a term used to describe a job, hobby or practice that is meant to generate an income in addition to one’s full time job. This has given rise to what is termed also as the ‘gig-economy’ thanks to platform such as Grab, Freelancer and TaskRabbit amongst others. In theory, side gigs are fun, easy ways to make some fast cash on the side but in reality, they're a bit harder to pull off.

There really are only two ways for most companies to get by this with the second approach requiring more work to manage well.

1. Letting go of some staff but everyone else keeps their same salaries.

· By letting go of some staff , you are creating bottlenecks soon when the same amount of work is now being concentrated on fewer employees.

· This isn’t a major concern especially in this downturn if there is less work to start with.

· This will force employees to be more productive at work having to do more with less

2. Try to keep more staff but enforce salary cuts

· A more team-spirited noble approach of keeping the team together to face the challenges  during this downturn but how long can it last ?

· One of our clients chose to take this route. By imposing a 23% salary reduction so that they keep more employees. Little did they know , staff were suddenly having to leave work early or at worse the number of leave applications rose for various reasons.

· It turned out, they had to moonlight working side-gigs to make ends meet. This meant driving as a freelance driver come evening and or making parcel deliveries before going for work in the morning.

· In this scenario, one employed said “ Boss, I gotta leave work sharp at 5.30PM, this will leave me with enough time to get to my 2nd job at the warehouse for the evening.” How would you respond to this ?

Times are tough and there is no right answer to the above. As an employer would you want to retain talent hoping things will turn bright soon ? Some companies have decided to even shut down altogether and re-assess the situation  come 2021. Only time can tell.

What new policies will you keep in place to manage employees going for side-gigs ? We suggest the key being as long as it is not in the same industry where there is no conflict of interest at the very least.