Who Cares If an Employee is Working Two Jobs?

July 1, 2024

With the rise in remote work comes a new fear - employees working multiple jobs. Managers have called this practice theft, unethical, and deceptive. 

But who cares?

As we dive deeper into the future of work, top talent is increasingly taking a portfolio approach to work - picking and choosing the projects and jobs that best suit them. Instead of hunting down every double dipper in the organization, companies should instead be re-evaluating their traditional staffing practices and determining if outsourcing and fractional workforces could better fit their needs.

The Reality: Remote Work is a Catalyst to Multiple Job Holding Amid Weak Global Economic Conditions

The traditional boundaries of employment have blurred after the COVID-19 pandemic that forced millions of employees to work from home. Since then, the reality is that workers have had more flexibility working from their homes, and are empowered to take on multiple jobs and projects, thanks to the advancements in technology that enabled remote work during the pandemic.

Now, 36% of the U.S. workforce  has become freelance contractors in one way or another. After two years of remote work, people realized the flexibility and time savings benefit of working from home, and that they can take on two or more jobs – even multiple low-paying jobs – to help pay for their living expenses.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic altered our work dynamics, the U.S. Census reported that 8.3% of workers, equivalent to 13 million individuals, held multiple jobs. Unless there is a specific restriction in the employee’s contract, they are completely free to work additional jobs and are under no obligation to disclose it.

Future of Work is a Portfolio Approach

In the future of work, top talent is increasingly taking a portfolio approach. Workers prefer to pick and choose the jobs they want to do based on what will challenge them and what fits their growth goals. This has created an increase in contract workers joining a project for a short period of time and then leaving once their work is complete.

If your organization has a position that you suspect someone could “double-dip” on, perhaps it's time to stop blaming the employee and start evaluating the position itself. Perhaps that role would be better suited to a fractional, contract worker that can immediately fulfill the requirements of the role, move on to another job, and then come back when the task is needed again.

This is the type of work that employees are finding more attractive in the future of work and it is the kind of work companies should consider.

Read More: The Future of Work: What it Means for Your Business

So What Should Companies Do?

It is up to companies and organizations to challenge the traditions associated with the workplace and re-evaluate their often outdated staffing practices. The key is to embrace flexibility and reap the benefits of the future of work.

1. Adapt new strategies and avoid outdated thinking

It’s time to break the mold and challenge traditional staffing practices, which result in a restrictive mindset that limits growth possibilities for companies and individuals. Instead of hunting down and investigating employees who “double dip”, why not allocate the resources to re-assess and update staffing practices to be more open and bring in better quality talent that can contribute to the company’s growth? Companies might miss out on the opportunity to tap into a wider and more experienced talent pool, while also creating a more flexible and dynamic organization.

Rather than viewing employees with multiple jobs with skepticism or discrimination, companies must recognize the benefits that these workers bring to the table. Employees who choose to work multiple jobs often possess a diverse skill set and a unique perspective gained from their varied experiences. Diversity helps unlock innovation and drive market groups. It also helps improve overall performance, drawing from a wider pool with different points of view and ideas and improved skills base.

When employees feel trusted by their employers, they are more likely to feel valued and invested in their work, therefore producing work and ideas that are higher quality, more creative, and innovative. Employees who receive proper recognition generate twice as many ideas per month and are 33% more likely to innovate proactively compared to those who aren’t recognized. Collaboration and teamwork are also anchored on trust which leads to better innovation, problem-solving, and overall team performance.

2. Set new performance expectations

Building a system of trust does not mean turning a blind eye to dishonesty or poor performance. Companies should set clear expectations and hold employees accountable for their performance.

In fact, in a future of work where managers have less visibility of their employees on a day-to-day basis, it is even more important to set clear goals and measure employee performance using quantifiable metrics. Turn away from biased and subjective performance reviews and instead leverage technology that can provide a more accurate picture of employee performance.

While this may seem a little “Big Brother,” we’ve found workers actually prefer it. Gigster conducted a study with Stanford University on Algorithmic Ranking Systems. We found that when there is transparency and consistency in how employees are tracked and graded, workers had an extremely positive response to the system.

Data-driven engineering databases such as METRX can also make organizations more effective, predictable, and transparent by providing instant insights into development projects. Replacing the physical visibility of engineers with organized data on efficiency, productivity, and outcomes creates a more data-driven and effective organization.

Read the complete study: When a Bot Scores Your Karma: Algorithmic Ranking Systems as Uncertainty Reducers in Platform Gig Work. [2]

3. Take advantage of new collaboration technologies

There have been massive shifts and mass adoption in technology in recent years, from generative AI to cloud computing.

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These technological tools have helped facilitate the smooth functioning of distributed teams, ensuring workers can effectively contribute to projects regardless of their physical location. Organizations must learn to adapt to these changes to enhance productivity, improve collaboration, and accommodate the unique needs of their development. This is the key to helping businesses improve their processes, facilitate efficient and productive work sessions and interactions at a distance, and help stay agile and ahead of competitors.

As workers are increasingly taking on multiple jobs, companies need to understand that this is the direction of the future of work. It is time to catch up on new staffing practices and innovative organizational approaches to stay relevant.

Final Thought

By embracing the changing dynamics of the workforce and leveraging outsourcing and fractional workforces, companies can tap into top talent, increase productivity, and foster a culture of innovation. Ultimately, by being more open and accepting of this new reality, organizations can position themselves for success in the future of work.


1.Digital, J.P.O. (2021). Story from Ascend Agency: Why more people are choosing the gig economy. [online] USA TODAY. Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sponsor-story/ascend-agency/2021/09/01/why-more-people-choosing-gig-economy/5650195001/.

2.Lix, K. and Valentine, M. (2020). When a Bot Scores your Karma: Algorithmic Ranking Systems as Uncertainty Reducers in Platform Gig Work. [online] Available at: https://mvalentine.github.io/pdfs/karma.pdf.

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