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Work for several jobs, the phenomenon of overemployment. Monika Smulewicz, Sebastian Drzewiecki and Mateusz Styburski comment

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Parallel remote work for several different companies was considered one of the most important challenges facing employers. Especially in the IT industry. – It was a plague here. The record holders boasted that they worked up to four jobs – says Monika Smulewicz, a partner at Grant Thornton, in an interview with TVN24 Biznes. Currently, the problem is a bit smaller, because the market is slowing down. According to Mateusz Styburski, the president of G-Group, artificial intelligence may be a defense against a repeat of the pathologies of 2020-2022 in the next bull market.

– We hired a very experienced programmer on a b2b contract, who, as it turned out later, was also employed in another company. The application project was so large that no one realized that two related areas were provided by the same person – says Mateusz Styburski, president of G-Group, co-host of the Deal with IT podcast in an interview with TVN24 Biznes. – It was only after some time, after analyzing the reports, that someone realized that something was wrong. That one man plays two roles, does the same things, but gets money from two sides – he reports.

According to him, the main reasons for this phenomenon in the IT industry were “the transition to remote workthe shortage of specialists during the boom, the pressure to hire anyone who can program, and the decline in expectations regarding the effectiveness of programmers.

Sebastian Drzewiecki, vice president of SoftServe, author of the podcast Modern Leader and co-author of the book “Leader good enough”, calculates in an interview with TVN24 Biznes that “a remote worker with three laptops on the desk, each from a different company, can earn three times the salary of an intermediate programmer” .

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In his opinion, regardless of whether someone has an employment contract or a contract settled on an invoice (b2b), the employee always performs work for a given company under the agreement. – And here, efficiency matters, which decreases, because a person is distracted by many threads – he explains.

Four-time job

Monika Smulewicz, partner at Grant Thornton and author of the HR blog on high heels, points out that the problem of overemployment, i.e. working multiple jobs, is not new. In her opinion, it was common among IT employees even before the pandemic. – It was a plague here. The record holders boasted that they even work four full-time jobs, he says in an interview with TVN24 Biznes.

Overemployment usually concerns the so-called knowledge workers, specialists, consultants, but also managers. – Such groups include IT specialists, business consultants, graphic designers, journalists, copywriters, but also specialist doctors working simultaneously in several institutions, both public and private. It is important that most often they do not notify employers about the fact of working at the same time in another company – lists Smulewicz.

How many employers do we work for?Central Statistical Office

According to the expert, in professions based on project work, settled on the basis of results, which can be successfully performed completely remotely, overemployment can spread very quickly and easily.

“Employers must therefore be particularly careful and ensure that their interests are adequately protected,” he warns.

These few jobs can be a problem

Sebastian Drzewiecki points out that he is in favor of the so-called old school of work. – The value is that we can focus on work and develop it. Where the relationship with the employee is not just about carrying out a project. The human part is important. That is, that we meet, talk, that we have development plans for a given person – he explains.

– Then we are emotionally connected to the company. If we work in several places at the same time, there is no time to talk, to exchange ideas together. There is work to be done and that’s it. I would prefer to work with people who have the will to act, energy and time to look for new ways, because thanks to this the company becomes more attractive to everyone – he emphasizes.

He also refers to the fact that Poland was at the top of many IT rankings and built a leading position, and recently “it has become blurred”. – We have very good competences and provide high quality solutions. But over the past 18 months, that has blurred as companies have lowered their expectations of workers in favor of them coming to work at all. There were so many projects. Today is inflation jobs, quality inflation. The market has changed, there is a design stagnation, which means that there is much less room for overemployment.

He also states that “if someone is not trustworthy, does not approach his duties professionally, he will not find a job quickly. Last year, companies were more flexible so that they needed hands to work.”

According to him, in the area of ​​contact work, settled B2B, there are still more fields to maximize profit, i.e. to create opportunities to work for several companies. Also during the hours when the employee is obliged to work for a given employer.

– If we receive an invoice from an employee at the beginning of January and it has number 1, and in February the next one is number 18, then something must have happened in terms of business. This means that the employee has performed some activities for other entities. Of course, this work can be done on weekends, after hours, but from the employer’s perspective, we lose commitment and focus, he says.

Drzewiecki claims that if someone is employed to come up with new solutions, these few jobs can be a problem.

Artificial intelligence and pathological situations in IT

Mateusz Styburski is of a similar opinion and believes that the consequences of overemployment are very destructive. – The profitability of a project or a given position decreases, it also affects the image of the company, the trust of customers and mutual relations within the company. This is unequivocally negative. It also works to the detriment of the entire industry and ultimately all those working in it, he points out in an interview with TVN24 Biznes.

– Today, companies face the challenge of engaging employees in the life of the company. All the more so if someone works in several places, it will be difficult for him to establish a relationship with the employer, because he simply does not have time for it – he explains.

He describes that these topics were the subject of the industry a year ago. He emphasizes that at meetings at SoDA, an organization associating Polish technology companies, or at IT Corner, overemployment was indicated as a clear problem and it seemed that in the near future it could be one of the most important challenges that companies will face.

– Today, however, the technology market has started to slow down, there is a correction in the market, which has caused more attention to be paid to the efficiency of employees. And programmers have become more accessible than a year ago – he noted.

He added that forecasts indicate that the IT sector will grow again in late 2024 or early 2025. – I put forward the thesis that with the next bull market in the industry, we may not notice such an increase in the problem of overemployment thanks to artificial intelligence that will support software development and balance staff shortages that led to pathological situations in 2020-2022 – he assesses.

Non-competition agreement

Monika Smulewicz adds that the current provisions of the Labor Code do not directly prohibit an employee from taking up employment with another employer. From a formal point of view, it is permissible to be bound by an employment contract with one company and e.g. B2B contract with the other.

– A separate issue is the way such a person reconciles work for two entities, which he often performs at the same time. Most employers expect loyalty from the employee, which is associated with exclusive work – he points out.

It means employers they secure themselves by concluding a non-competition agreement during the employment relationship (Article 1011 Kp). It explains that it consists in a separate agreement between the employer and the employee specifying the scope in which the employee may not conduct activities competitive to the employer or perform work under an employment relationship or on a different basis for the benefit of the entity conducting such activity.

Supreme Court The employer has the right to oblige the employee to inform the employer about taking up additional employment. The employer also has the option of introducing such an obligation, for example, in the work regulations, in the employment contract, and even give an oral instruction to the employee. The refusal to provide information or the employee’s dishonesty in this area may be the basis for terminating the employment contract in disciplinary proceedings, he emphasizes in an interview with TVN24 Biznes.

Read also: How Much Do Developers Really Earn? “I started with three thousand gross on a contract for specific work”

Main photo source: Shutterstock



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