Despite bigger paychecks, more and more full-time employees search for ways to earn extra money for a number of reasons. Some may simply be forced to do so to make ends meet (one source of income is not enough), while others need more financial resources for their expenses (they build the so-called disposable income) or are just trying to boost their savings (with the future in mind). Side hustles, also known as side gigs, aren’t of course off-limits. However, the question is, how does an increased number of working hours affect workplace productivity? And is this impact substantially negative?

Impact of side hustles on workplace productivity – table of contents:

  1. Are side hustles more popular than ever?
  2. What are the downsides of side hustles?
  3. The influence of side hustles on productivity
  4. A side hustle – should you fight for it?
  5. Summary

Are side hustles more popular than ever?

Recent research clearly indicates that making money on the side is a growing trend. In Great Britain, 19% of respondents admitted to having a side hustle (Aviva, 2022), while in the United States this proportion is as high as 40% (Zapier, 2022).

The trend is undoubtedly a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the shift to remote work, which has opened the door to new ways to earn a living. At the same time, the current global economic crisis is also pushing people to look for new sources of income, so that they could keep their standard of living or build a financial cushion.

side hustle

What are the downsides of side hustles?

It might seem that a side hustle is an excellent solution when you need a new source of income, after all, you can spend your spare time in any way you want to, and in such a case, you can decide by yourself how much work you can take.

In fact, however, the situation is much more complicated. The first thing that you need to consider is a possible non-competition clause in your contract, and whether you might expose yourself to financial penalties. As it is unacceptable to neglect your regular duties, the second concern is whether, with your side hustle, you’ll be productive enough in your full-time job.

The influence of side hustles on productivity

Does our productivity dwindle when we work more? The answer is yes – a survey conducted by Bankrate revealed that 28% of Americans felt the negative impact of having a side hustle on their personal relationships, physical health, as well as productivity at work. This has been confirmed by a study conducted at Stanford University by a British economist and academic, John Pencavel, in 2014. The obtained results indicate that:

  • productivity per hour drops drastically when a person works more than 50 hours a week,
  • after 55 hours, productivity drops so much that working more hours is pointless,
  • people who work up to 70 hours a week do only as many tasks as those who devote 55 hours a week to their duties.

A side hustle – should you fight for it?

Whether a side job will have a negative impact on your employees’ productivity depends on their individual predispositions. While some employees may experience an immediate slump in productivity, others may show lower efficiency after some time, and some may not be affected at all.

However, what can you do as an employer when, based on comparative data, you spot that your employees’ productivity dropped, and discover that their side job is the cause? First of all, you should talk to them openly about the reasons for taking on extra tasks. Then, you can consider the following solutions:

  • offering them education and training opportunities that can help them get promoted and earn more,
  • giving them extra assignments so they could get a bonus,
  • suggesting paid overtime that can benefit both the employee and the company,
  • introducing a side hustle policy, which will outline the scope of acceptable extra work (however, there’s a risk that such a procedure will be perceived by some employees as an attempt to control their income).


For many people, a side job is a much better solution than asking a boss for a raise, taking overtime, or switching to a different career field. However, it’s important to remember that pursuing a side hustle means spending more hours to complete commissioned tasks in one’s personal time.

This may lead to exhaustion and have a negative impact on their productivity. If you notice that your employees are struggling with such a problem, think how you can solve it and ensure that they can fully focus on your company. Perhaps, you’ll be able to come up with a mutually satisfactory solution.

Read also: How to learn self-discipline?

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Exploring the impact of side hustles on workplace productivity mira bodhi avatarbackground

Author: Mira Bodhi

Knows all the pros and cons of working as a Freelancer and still makes the best of it. Time management and self-motivation are her biggest advantages. She is now a digital nomad and works traveling all over the world.