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One in four employees has a business on the side

6 November 2018

One in four employees has a business on the sideEmployees admit that they spend time on their own money-making projects while they're supposed to be doing their day job.

A new workplace study by HR software provider CIPHR has found that so-called "side hustles" by employees are damaging productivity and could be costing UK employers some £15 billion a year.

CIPHR polled more than 1,400 UK workers in full-time employment to investigate the impact that the side hustle phenomenon is having on UK businesses. Data released earlier this year by Henley Business School found that 25% of UK workers have an active side hustle, such as selling goods or providing services online.

Now, CIPHR's poll findings show that 62% of workers who have a side hustle admit to working on it during their main employment, 60% of them devote up to two hours per day to their other business while at work and 36% admit that they use their employer's equipment.

In addition, 32% of workers with a side hustle say they have pulled a sickie to devote more time to running their own business. It means that up to 26% of an employer's wage bill is potentially being spent on employees who are working on their own projects for their own benefit, says the report.

In fact, 33% of people with a side business say the activity is the same or similar to their main role or employer's business; 65% of workers with a side hustle earn up to £6,000 a year while 24% of workers earn up to £12,000 of extra income.

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"The concept of the side hustle or moonlighting, or whatever you want to actually call it, has become a reality of the modern workplace that simply cannot be ignored," said Chris Berry, ceo of CIPHR.

"Online platforms for selling your professional services as a freelancer or by the hour are commonplace and the ease with which people can conduct business has removed a barrier to entry for workers that simply would not have been accessible to them previously. Employers really need to take notice as the cost of lost productivity to UK employers is staggering."

The most common reason for having a side hustle is financial, with 31% of respondents saying they do so because their main employer doesn't pay them enough. However, the entrepreneurial spirit runs a close second with 28% of those polled saying they want to run their own business.

Chris Berry added: "Employers need to actively address employees' use of company equipment and time for personal gain … The boundaries need to be set out clearly and where broken, enforced. This is not a new issue in reality but it's one made all the easier by modern technology."

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