My staff are moonlighting from work. Should I tolerate it?

Dear Aunty B,

I run a web business and a number of my staff have small web businesses on the side. I have never been comfortable with it (I pay well) but tolerate it because IT staff are in very short supply, they work hard and stay back when they need to.


But lately it’s got out of hand. They talk about their businesses quite openly, use our office equipment to print things out and make calls from our office.


The other day one of my staff emailed in to say she had an appointment (for her own business) and would be in late but she would work back.


I feel this has got out of control but don’t know what to do because I have been very tolerant up to now. Any suggestions?


Warwick D,



Dear Warwick,


Any suggestions? Change your business model. You could set yourself up as an incubator for web businesses! Oh, but that wouldn’t make sense would it? Because they are not paying you for all the services you are providing them like premises, phone, printer facilities, kitchen etc. And if they are getting it all for free now, they are unlikely to pay you in the future.


In fact – and let me get this straight – you are paying them! Yes? And you are paying them well, yes?


Are you batty?? Of course, you should not tolerate it. Well paid staff, who are fully engaged, will work hard and stay back when needed, regardless.


I suggest you look at your management skills. Are staff fully engaged with your business? Do they see the future vision and are working hard towards it? Can they see how they will be rewarded as the company grows?


These are tough times and you need full buy-in from your staff – not distracted people using your company as a base while they start other businesses.


You need to do some tough talking to the culprits. Many companies don’t tolerate their full time staff doing other work anyway – it could be in competition to you – so don’t feel you are being too tough.


I suggest you point out that times have changed and it is all hands on board.


Good luck,

Your Aunty B

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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