One of the latest trends in the workforce is overemployment, a trend in which people hold multiple full-time positions. This is beyond moonlighting with a small, part-time job. It’s as extreme as someone holding two, sometimes three full-time positions – meaning they are “on the clock” for multiple employers at once - unbeknownst to the employers.
After researching this a bit, I found there are actually websites such as overemployed.com that actually help people find these jobs. On their home page they boast, “Overemployed is a community of professionals looking to work two remote jobs, earn extra income, and achieve financial freedom. Be free from office politics and layoffs. Instead, improve your mental health and negotiate a severance.”
There is also a reddit channel – r/overemployed. Here workers help each other navigate holding multiple remote jobs such as ways to avoid getting caught. They label each job: Job 1(J1), Job 2 (J2), Job 3 (J3, etc.
The overemployed even go so far as to freeze their employment data on Equifax’s The Work Number (TWN). I didn’t even know this was possible!
The overemployed are not just working a side job in their off hours, they are working multiple jobs during the same hours behind each of the employers’ backs. It’s highly unethical and when found out, they are typically terminated.
How can employers avoid hiring someone who might be seeking a Job 2 or Job 3 and how can we spot them once hired? Detecting cases of overemployment can be challenging for organizations, particularly when employees engage in skilled, intricate tasks that don't require constant supervision or micromanaging.
There are certain behaviors that employers should be attentive to as potential 'red flags.' While each behavior may not necessarily indicate a problem on its own, collectively, they might suggest overemployment.
These signs include:
- Making their LinkedIn profile private after accepting a job offer, rather than updating it to reflect their new position.
- Choosing not to enroll in employee benefits.
- Consistently turning off their camera in meetings.
- Demonstrating slow response times on Slack, email, etc.
- Frequently being late to or absent from meetings without providing an explanation.
- Having previously worked for very large companies, where it might have been easier to coast through work and go unnoticed for inactivity.
By paying attention to these behaviors, employers can be more proactive in identifying potential cases of overemployment and addressing them appropriately.
Discovering an employee's involvement in multiple full-time jobs raises questions about appropriate actions. While it's not illegal without a non-compete or exclusivity contract, some business leaders disapprove, especially if it impacts performance. As overemployment is relatively new, effective prevention and monitoring methods are still evolving.
Tips for Discouraging Overemployment:
- Establish Clear Policies: Create internal policies that clearly express the company's stance on overemployment, including intellectual property protection standards, non-compete agreements, and expectations for employee responsibilities.
- Conditional Approval Process: Develop an external employment policy with a transparent approval process and conditions for gaining approval. Encourage employees to disclose and seek approval before taking on additional roles.
- Regular Performance Reviews: Implement regular reviews to assess performance levels, ensuring that productivity and efficiency in delivering results haven't been compromised by additional roles.
By adopting these measures, companies can discourage overemployment, maintain transparency, and address the issue proactively.
Have you ever dealt with an overemployed employee? I’d love to hear about how you discovered and handled it. Email me at [email protected].