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Techies moonlight as WFH is in vogue

Surging gig work culture, work from home, startup eco system giving a fillip to the phenomenon;

Techies moonlight as WFH is in vogue
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Techies moonlight as WFH is in vogue

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Bengaluru: Prevalent work from home (WFH) operating model has given rise to moonlighting or having a second job apart from a regular one among IT sector employees. While many of these works done by IT workers are revealed to their companies, many are not, which is leading to compliance issues within companies.

Experts are of the opinion that rising gig economy and growth of startup ecosystem are seen as the key factors behind this rising moonlighting among white collar professionals, especially technology workforce.

"The pandemic and the resultant WFH have brought many employee issues to the forefront, and one of them is that of employees moonlighting on a regular basis. Particularly prevalent in the IT sector, many employees have taken up gig work along with their full-time employment as way to increase not just their income, but also experience and skill set. In some cases, employees have declared this to the employers, but in most, this information is not divulged, thus leading to discipline and compliance issues," Neeti Sharma, Co-founder and President of TeamLease Edtech told Bizz Buzz.

Other experts watching this space said that moonlighting has always been prevalent among IT employees and gig economy has given fillip to this phenomenon.

"Working on some assignments (for outside agency or company) apart from job has always been there in IT industry. The pace has picked up due to the WFH operating model. This is an outcome of the rising importance of gig economy across the world and India. Also, early stage startups usually engage IT workers on assignment basis. As India sees more number of startups, such work model is likely to get further boost," said Pareekh Jain, an IT outsourcing advisor & Founder of Pareekh Consulting.

In recent years, several crowdsourcing platforms have come into operation, which provide short-term project-based services through hiring IT professionals. Topcoder, for instance, is one such platform that provides customised technology services to corporates and mid-size businesses through an open global community of designers, developers, data scientists, and programmers.

"Various crowdsourcing platforms are formalising this trend globally. This should be seen in positive light as many of the founders test their ideas through such short-term gigs before taking the entrepreneurial plunge. As we know, many of the startup founders of today in India have moonlighted with their ideas. But, this process should be transparent with no conflict of interest with present employer," Jain added.

However, with WFH coming to an end soon with many companies starting to calling back their employees in phases, moonlighting is likely to reduce. "Many companies are intending to bring back employees to office to bring back the collaborative ways of work, but also reduce instances of indiscipline, etc. However, this does not necessarily indicate that employees will completely stop moonlighting even after going back to office. Employers will have to make stringent policies to avoid such instances. With the gig economy on a rise, the chances of more and more tech workforce taking up multiple assignments regularly may go up," said Sharma of TeamLease Edtech.

Debasis Mohapatra
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