The U.S. hiring landscape is more complex than ever, as baby boomers retire in droves and millennials enter the workforce with new approaches to work structures. We’re seeing a major shift towards workers holding multiple jobs or becoming full-time freelancers. Studies predict that by 2027, most of the U.S. workforce could be freelancing.
These changes aren’t surprising. Working more than one job has long been frowned upon – especially when one of them is a full-time commitment. But this view is evolving. Nowadays, holding multiple jobs doesn’t just mean extra income; in fact, side jobs may not necessarily pay well. It’s the combination of flexibility, hyperconnectivity, financial prospects and project variety that prompts workers to manage multiple jobs in their “career portfolio.”
Technological advances have made it easier than ever to work from just about anywhere at anytime, while the gig economy has shined a new, positive light on temporary and contract projects. Millennials are working hard to carve their own niche as many traditional career paths narrow or disappear altogether.
The reality is: multiple job holders represent an increasingly significant portion of the American skilled workforce. As an employer, you should aim to embrace them.
Accepting multiple job holders and recognizing their positive contributions can boost employee morale and create a more productive, healthy work environment.
Those who hold multiple jobs may bring benefits to your organization in ways you haven’t imagined. Let’s look at two big reasons why.
They’ll introduce new skills and perspectives into your workplace.
Employees who explore new interests or technologies are more likely to be an asset to your teams.
Millennials often report feelings of stagnation or boredom in jobs that don’t allow them to exercise the breadth of their skills or ambition. It’s not a slight to you as their employer, rather a product of circumstances; the millennial generation was raised on a can-do ethos that, when coupled with exorbitant costs of education and a poor job market, has commonly led to feelings of disappointment in the workplace. Millennials’ freedom to challenge traditional 9-5 work structures and bring in fresh perspectives might just be among their most essential contributions to your company – but only if you allow it.
The nature of work itself is also changing with the acceleration of human augmentation, connectivity and cognitive technology. Keeping your general workforce up to speed with these advancements is imperative, and yet just 17 percent of executives report that they are ready to manage people and AI working side-by-side. Multiple job holders are more likely to dive into new skills and work methods, which keep the doors of innovation and evolution open in your organization.
They’ll be focused less on money and more on quality of work.
Financial problems can be a source of stress that affects both quality of work and productivity. If an extra job is bringing your employees added income, they will be less likely to worry about money – no matter if it’s for monthly rent or retirement savings.
Moreover, their multiple sources of income put fewer restrictions and stress on you as an employer. While it’s never an ideal situation to let someone go or cut back hours, these events become less dire and can be taken in stride if the individual has another job to fall back on.
It’s also important to mitigate the challenges that may come with working multiple jobs.
The invigoration and excitement of working multiple jobs can easily venture into exhaustion and imbalance if not managed correctly. Time becomes scarcer when juggling schedules and tasks, as does the ability to unwind and de-stress when necessary.
Unfortunately, many employers add to the chaos for multiple job holders – sometimes inadvertently. Extend a hand to your employees to help them bridge any difficulties that come with exploring their talents or taking on multiple roles. You can do this by getting to know their needs, recognizing the warning signs of potential burnout or unhappiness and taking precautionary measures to set up a healthy environment.
Provide freedom with flexible schedules.
We’ve already seen how multiple job holders can benefit your company, but it’s important to give something to them in return: flexibility. Allowing for a four-day workweek with longer hours each day, for example, may give them the option to work on a passion project. This means an increase in morale as soon as they walk through your doors.
But let’s also look at those employees who don’t work multiple jobs by choice. Providing for a family or fulfilling other financial obligations can be stressful, only to be compounded by rigidity in a primary job. Listen to your workers’ preferences, and adjust schedules accordingly.
Prevent burnout with wellness programs.
Employee wellness programs are on the rise, and for good reason. Evolving work patterns can mean added physical and mental stress – both of which can be alleviated by integrated, company-sponsored wellness offerings. Mid-morning yoga classes can be a reset button on holistic health, while time management skills workshops can be a valuable resource for non-stop go-getters. Whatever you decide to offer, be sure to also educate and incentivize your employees about why it’s important to be proactive in their well-being.
Multiple job holders are an ever-increasing force in the talent pool, and we should no longer be restricting their potential or overlooking their value. Maintaining flexibility and understanding of their needs will help keep your company at the forefront of the competition while allowing for the free flow of innovation.