The pandemic changed the lives of employees forever. Remote and hybrid positions have risen to prominence, and the way people view work has shifted dramatically. An example is the “quiet quitting” trend, which sees more and more workers setting strict boundaries as they only do work activities during defined work hours. Another trend that has caught people’s attention is moonlighting, which has become a topic of debate and prompted Wipro to fire 300 employees in recent months.
Wipro is an IT services giant with its headquarters in Bengaluru, India that employs over 250,000 employees from dozens of nations. Now, Wipro has fired 300 employees for moonlighting for competitors, which the company points out as an “act of integrity violation.”
Rishad Premji, the chairman of Wipro, gave his opinion on moonlighting, saying, “there is no space for someone to work for Wipro and competitor XYZ and they would feel exactly the same way if they were to discover the same situation.”
Many share Wipro’s stance on moonlighting, with those who admonish the practice speaking out about the expectations for workers. IBM condemned the practice as “unethical,” saying that their employees signed an agreement to work full-time for the company. Others simply say it is unprofessional or unacceptable, with many large tech firms seeming to take a stance against the practice.
Despite that, it has gained a lot of momentum around the world. It is fueled by the increase in remote work, which allows people to work more flexible hours and have a larger degree of freedom in how they work.
The change has led to a growing number of workers taking up additional jobs, especially in the white-collar sector. Not only does it allow them to prepare for potential layoffs, but there is a definite economic advantage to working multiple jobs when you do not need to leave your home to do so.
Of course, not every company is against the practice. In India, there are companies that stand opposite Wipro, including Swiggy, an Indian food delivery startup that embraces moonlighting as a perk with internal approval.
Another startup in Bengaluru, Slice, allows employees to work a second job as well. In fact, the company went so far as to offer new hires a three-day week with a salary at 80% of the market rate so they could do so comfortably.
To an extent, it seems like startups are more willing to embrace the trend. Perhaps it is because the talent crunch is more keenly felt by up-and-coming companies looking to grow quickly and make a name for themselves. The fact that some startups are passion projects started on the side is another factor.
Rob Reeves, the president and CEO of Redfish Technology, has spoken out on his experience with an employee moonlighting. He said the employee in question worked two jobs, but he did so without missing a beat. Reeves went on to say, “If your employee is able to meet the needs of two companies at once, maybe he’s a talent worth holding onto!”
But that is precisely where the line between the two sides sits, with one side believing it is fine as long as they meet expectations and the other firmly against moonlighting. Though, it might be part of a bigger issue where many companies expect their employees to be devoted to the job, even after hours.
For now, there is no clear winner in the debate, but workers worldwide have a new perspective and priorities, and they are driving change as they pursue happiness and better work conditions.