How moonlighting has changed the dynamics of company policies


Moonlighting has touched upon several aspects including ethics, work-life balance, conflict of interest, contractual obligations, etc. From the time employees have got the flexibility to work remotely or in hybrid set-ups, the instances of moonlighting have increased substantially. According to a recent report by Indeed India, one out of five employees in India is inclined towards side gigs alongside their current job. It also mentioned that more than 40% of employees in the Indian IT sector find moonlighting favorable. This justifies why companies are reevaluating their existing policies to efface any complications and safeguard employees as well as business interests. 

But every company’s perspective on moonlighting remains divided. Some companies have no qualms about moonlighting and want it to happen within their knowledge and with reasonable restrictions. While some are quite apprehensive about it, citing it as ‘unethical’ and ‘cheating’. Many are deeming the moonlighting model incompatible, especially for sectors like IT, as there are higher concerns around data privacy and confidentiality breaches.

Moonlighting – Putting Companies In A Tough Spot

Data breaches, conflicts of interest, and low productivity are major tribulations of moonlighting. There are possibilities that employees engaged in a similar line of job with rival companies might divulge confidential information unofficially and breach contractual regulations. Moreover, indulging in multiple jobs result in short attention spans and distraction. Fear of escalations and work commitments puts them under immense pressure to work long hours. This means physical fatigue, burnout, and disturbed work-life balance, pre-eminent for organizations in today’s times. Some employees utilize company resources which leads to increased operating expenditures.

In this scenario, conducting background checks through robust digital platforms to track moonlighting can save companies from getting into a worse whirlpool of distress. Third-party background verification enablers like AuthBridge can help in checking en masse the employee data and report the moonlighting cases to the employer for further action. Using proprietary algorithms and drawing inferences from financial data – EPFO deposits and tax deductions are also being done to check for dual employment. Companies that are at odds with the concept of moonlighting must resort to background verification firms for additional checks on employees for moonlighting and take preventive actions against it.

Moving Towards Ethical Moonlighting

There are two sides to a coin and another side is that many companies are accepting moonlighting as a new way of working and rethinking modern work policies. The paradigm shift has made companies think creatively about providing new advancement opportunities to employees within organizational constraints.

For some companies, permitting employees to take external assignments, work after office hours, or on a contractual basis is acceptable as long as productivity is not compromised. They want to be aware of their moonlighting staff and are up for renegotiating employment conditions and making prior consent agreements to ensure adherence without any conflict. For instance, disclosure of confidential information is impermissible. Working for some set of competitors is not allowed. Misusing a company’s assets and intellectual properties (IPs) is not acceptable. Devoting ‘defined hours’ to the company is compulsory for employees, for example, 40 hours a week. This way, companies can ensure ethical moonlighting and protect the company’s and employees’ interests. 

Feasibility of ethical moonlighting can be ensured with strict background checks so that not a single case goes unreported in an organization. This implies to organizations of all sizes and all business types. Partnering with third-party background agencies can help companies conduct these checks, get data-driven insights into candidates’ past and current employment, and assert a degree of control with new regulations.

Tracking Moonlighting – Need of the Hour

Dual employment may or may not be a major threat to some companies, but it’s imperative for the key decision makers to keep tabs on the moonlighting instances and take disciplinary action right at the initial stages to prevent unforeseen issues in the future. By proposing transparent policies, companies can deal with moonlighting and be prepared for the future of work.

With moonlighting checks, companies can find dual employment and mitigate risks around data privacy, employee disengagement, low productivity, and most importantly, revenue loss. Companies, whether they are in support or against, must adopt cutting-edge technologies for background checks to gain higher visibility of their employees, detect red flags, and ensure continuous compliance, transparency, and trust within the workplace.

Source: The Economic Times

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