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How to manage freelancers

Data suggests it’s inevitable that managers will have workers with side gigs: 33% of career professionals do freelance work outside of their regular job, according to a 2021 survey from Zapier, a work automation company. workplace in Sunnyvale, California.

The motive for getting a freelance job is often financial. Annual increases don’t always keep pace with inflation, for example, and unexpected expenses can decimate personal savings.

“While workers might receive a few more dollars per hour in their weekly pay, their childcare, rent, grocery and utility costs are rising by tens or even hundreds of dollars a year,” said said Lester Mclaughlin, vice president of operations at Blue National HVAC in Wilmington, Del. “In many cases, their regular full-time jobs are simply not enough to pay for the bare minimum of goods and services to survive, and they are forced to obtain side work.”

This independent work can have a big impact on the practitioner’s day-to-day work and on managers who find themselves dealing with a team member who may be preoccupied with secondary agitation.

Managers who discover that a talented worker is running freelance work after hours (or worse, during the workday) may have to deal with a sleep-deprived employee. They may also risk losing key talents to successful side hustle. Therefore, business leaders need a plan to deal with employees who have side jobs before issues arise within the business.

These tips can help avoid conflicts between managers and staff members with side hustles:

Think about clarity. Whether a side hustle is allowed by a company depends on a few key factors, according to workplace experts.

“Side hustles, also known as ‘moonlighting,’ are generally considered a no-no for salaried employees if your side job competes with the interests of your current company,” Kelly DuFord Williams said. , founder of Slate Law Group in San Diego. “For example, if you are a lawyer working for a law firm as a W-2 employee, you cannot also work for another law firm, because the work conflicts with the work you made for your [first] solidify.”

Other than that, preventing someone from having a second job is not legal. “However, if you’re an employer and you’re really trying to prevent this from happening, it’s best to state that clearly in the employee handbook or policy. [for W-2 employees] or, for 1,099 employees, in their contracts,” DuFord Williams said.

A manager should clarify what is allowed and what is not allowed at the start of a worker’s employment.

“It helps establish a high level of transparency and increases trust,” said Jared Stern, founder of Uplift Legal Funding in Los Angeles. “An employee may also choose not to reveal any plans regarding the concert for any reason. Such a personal boundary should be adhered to.”

Practice awareness. “Just like after a bad breakup, employers often tell me the signs were still there, they just didn’t pay attention,” said Michael Elkins, Esq., Founder and Partner of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. MLE law. “Employees who have a successful side hustle may begin to show less enthusiasm, may begin to lose focus drastically, and may become more irritable.”

In Elkins’ experience, it’s easier to spot the signs if the side hustle is successful.

“If it’s very successful, you have an employee who can [soon] be at the door and will act as such,” he added.

Pay attention to the limits. An employee with self-employment cannot cross certain thresholds in the workplace.

“For example, if an employee is using office time and resources to pursue their side job, a manager has every right to legally prohibit them from doing so,” Stern said. “If the employee is using your company’s confidential documents, data, and tools for the side gig, you can avoid the headaches by having them sign a nondisclosure agreement.”

Although labor laws may differ from state to state and contract to contract, an employer may terminate an employee whose self-employment is prohibited by the terms of the employment contract or whose side work has an impact on employee performance.

“Employers are within their rights to require their employees to fully comply with their obligations during working hours,” said Hutch Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management in San Francisco. “The wording of a contract on employees doing outside work should be quite simple, and it will primarily prevent an employee from operating his own business during working hours, absent an agreement with his employer to the contrary.”

Outside working hours, outside activities are often governed by rules prohibiting conflicts of interest and direct rivalry.

“The critical point is to avoid using the employer’s intellectual property, resources or confidential information and to ensure that the activity does not create a conflict of interest. Direct competition is not allowed,” Ashoo said.

Stern said he was dealing with an employee who had a side hustle.

“Once I saw the employee finishing up documents for an upcoming meeting,” he recalled. “At a glance, I understood that it was not work related. I had a one-on-one conversation with the employee to understand what these documents were. I made it clear that there were strict limits on office time and office work. It is also crucial to handle these issues with a good level of sensitivity.”

Harness the energy. Employees who participate in side gigs often exhibit the character traits companies seek. They are hardworking, not afraid to take risks and are ready to learn new skills and trades.

These are attributes that a smart manager can exploit.

“A side job may not be done by an employee just for the money,” said Ruben Gamez, CEO of SignWell, a Portland, Oregon-based technology company that advises B2B clients on business contracts and e-signatures. . “They might want to develop new skills. It might also be something they are passionate about [outside] of work.”

Gamez thinks managers should encourage such creative staff. “It adds to the diversity of the team,” he said. “It’s also helpful to have someone who has a variety of skills.”

Brian O’Connell is a freelance writer based in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. A former Wall Street trader, he is the author of the books CNBC Build Wealth (John Wiley & Son, 2001) and The Career Survival Guide (McGraw-Hill, 2004).

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