What is Moonlighting? What Are the Pros and Cons of Moonlighting?

The market has opened as a result of globalization and country liberalization. Human resources can easily work for companies overseas with utmost ease. The work is not the particular 9–5 jobs that we had earlier or the work-from-office requirements. Now, with a laptop and a good internet connection, one can easily serve the company from anywhere and get the work done. Part-time opportunities, freelancing opportunities, or internship opportunities are in style. This brings us to the problem of moonlighting.

Introduction to Moonlighting

The times are changing. With organizations hiring and firing their employees without proper strategies or resource management plans in place, job security has become a sham. The quality of life has also been improved. Now it is difficult for families or individuals to sustain one source of income. Employees generally prefer having multiple sources of income. Moonlighting is a situation in which a person has a primary 9–5 full-time job, and along with this, he also devotes his time to working on the weekends or overnight for other companies. The work can be an internship opportunity, part-time work, or freelancing work.

In this article, we will be understanding the concept of moonlighting in-depth and its legal and ethical impact on individuals.

Moonlighting is when an employee takes up a side hustle and does that work in his or her time outside working hours. The employers are not informed about employees taking on extra work. This is done in secret. Employees generally take on some side work for extra income or to expand their knowledge.

The Benefits of Moonlighting

  • It provides an extra source of income to the employees. They no longer want to depend on one source of income. These part-time or freelancing opportunities provide them with an additional source of income. This helps them meet their needs more comfortably.

  • It is directly linked to the satisfaction of using your leisure time productively. Many times, employees are stuck in a role or job in which they know they cannot get better. There is a lot of potential that are not being utilized. With moonlighting, individuals get an opportunity to use their capabilities and prove their worth. It helps with having more personal satisfaction.

  • It increases the knowledge base and skill set of the employees. Since the employees are taking on new projects or helping the company develop, they can enhance their skill set. Being a part of a multinational company restricts an individual's holistic growth. The only way to generally move up is through specialization in a particular skill. With moonlighting, employees can learn and implement their different technical and non-technical skill sets at work.

  • It allows different startups and small companies to get professional resources at a minimum cost. With companies going online, there is a huge need for tech people. However, it is difficult for start-ups or small companies to get the resources full-time. For example, what will a start-up do with a UI or UX designer after the applications and the website are in place? Moonlighting helps these companies by allowing workers to get professional help without worrying about their employment. Small businesses can use freelancers as needed.

  • bridges the gap between demand and supply. Moonlighting helps companies get professional, trained, and excellent resources for getting the work done. It assists the recruiter in meeting the requirement in the short term. There are no long-term liabilities for the company. Employers only pay for the productive hours, and they do not need to worry about their future utilization, induction process, training needs, etc. The demand and supply are met with utmost efficiency.

The Disadvantages of Moonlighting

Decline in employee performance

Employees are bound to get mentally drained with a 9–5 job and other part-time work. This mental fatigue will lead to a decrease in the productivity of employees. Employees may also steal a working hour to do freelance or part-time work. Employers are now paying for the hours that employees are investing in freelancing. A decrease in productivity will lead to long-term losses for the company as employees are now too tired to innovate or think outside the box.

Employees Might Work for Competitor Companies

There is a direct conflict of interest arising here. Employees are working for competitor companies, i.e., helping them grow and get bigger at the minimum cost and with knowledge of the current company.

Data Breaches or Privacy Breaches

In this digital era, big blows for companies are data breaches, privacy breaches, or internal information leakage. An employee might sell the data or technology to other companies at a negligible cost, which the parent company has built-in after investing thousands of rupees, man hours, and efforts.

No Work-life Balance

When employees are utilizing their weekends or after-hours work to work on another project for different companies, attaining a work-life balance is impossible. This will lead to psychological, mental, emotional, and physical fatigue for the employees or individuals. In the long term, they might be extremely burned out and unproductive for the company and themselves.

Tips to Make Moonlighting Work

  • Choose a field that is unrelated to your job. In this case, the conflict of interest will not arise. The field will be different, hence allowing you to discover and learn. For example, an HR professional can work as a freelance content writer.

  • Consult your Human Resources team. Instead of hiding about your second job, be bold and upfront. Consult the HR team and seek guidance to ensure no legal actions are taken against you in the future.

  • Think before you do. As there are high chances of exhausting oneself while working a second job. Ask yourself questions like, "Why am I doing this?" How will I be able to manage? And others.

There are unresolved dilemmas both in the legal and ethical filed that an individual faces while moonlighting. For instance, Wipro and IBM consider moonlighting to be unethical, illegal, and a reason for an employee's termination.

Rishad Premji, the chairman of Wipro, considers moonlighting to be cheating, plain and simple. Around 300 employees were terminated as well in the month of August by Wipro for moonlighting. Whereas C. P. Gurnani, the CEO of Tech Mahindra, welcomes it. He says it is necessary to keep changing with time. Now we believe that you are in a better position to understand and adapt yourself to moonlighting and work accordingly.

Updated on: 20-Dec-2022

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