The Side Hustlers
February 2, 2023

The Side Hustlers: The emerging trend of the side hustle culture.

Many people, particularly Gen Z, are embracing the ‘side hustle’ culture. A side hustle can either be a secondary business or job that brings in, or has the potential to bring in, extra income. People are increasingly taking on a side hustle to complement their day job. For the purpose of this blog, I will be using research published by the Henley Business School. Their white paper, ‘The Side Hustle Economy,’ investigates the emerging side hustle economy and how it has impacted working practices across the UK. The study includes 500 C-suite UK business leaders and owners and 1,100 UK adults. 

There are numerous reasons why many are choosing to have a side hustle. Usually, taking a second job was for financial purposes. However, times are changing – research has found that 73% of people who start a side hustle do so to follow a passion or explore a new challenge. This entrepreneurial spirit is coming from deep within – 69% of people with a side hustle have claimed that their hustle fulfils something that their main job cannot, which is that it makes life more interesting. 

The side hustle trend really took off during Covid – understandably so; many wanted to fill their time or recoup the money they were losing. Therefore, it may be tempting to see this trend eventually die down. However, research shows that this trend is here to stay. Those who already have a side hustle find the lifestyle desirable, and two-fifths of those who haven’t taken part in the trend are interested in starting their own business. 

As you can imagine, if your main job takes up to 40 hours of your week, there is not a lot of time to give a second job. 45% of employees with a side hustle work more than 40 hours a week, and 25% work more than 50 hours a week, which means that the average UK employee is putting in an extra day or more per week for their side hustle. 30% of those who run their side business use annual leave to work on their hustle. People are generating a substantial amount of income – Research by 118 118 Money has shown that, on average, Britons are making £411 per month from their side hustle. It’s no wonder why the trend is so lucrative – these funds can keep up with the cost of living or fund a life’s ‘extras.’

However, are there tax implications? Well, that entirely depends on how much an individual earns. HMRC introduced introduced a tax-free allowance to cover ‘self-starters.’ The allowance means that the first £1,000 earned (gross, before expenses) is tax-free. Nothing is paid on the income; individuals do not need to report it, either. However, should an individual earn over the allowance, they are required to submit a self-assessment tax return. As research has found, Britons are making an average of £411 per month, which means there would be no tax implications – no wonder side hustles are appealing!

However, we all have moments at work. The beauty of ‘main’ jobs is that most of us can switch off once we go home. So, wouldn’t side hustles cause more stress? Employers are worried that this trend could take their employees away from their main job. On the contrary, a side business is motivational. Henley Business School found that 69% view life positively as they have two roles, and their side hustle gives them a sense of fulfilment. In fact, 47% said they would stay in the job even if their business took off.

Research has proven that a side hustle cannot take away from an employee’s attention from their ‘main’ job. But does that mean employers shouldn’t prepare for this trend to become increasingly popular? Employers may want to prepare their workforce as a safety blanket. 30% of businesses record and monitor side-working, and 26% require their staff to notify them. The research found that the public and non-profit sector had more policies in place around working outside their job. However, smaller businesses (with 9 or fewer employees) support the side hustle trend. However, it becomes an issue when businesses grow. 29% of businesses (10-49 employees) have an active policy that prevents side-working, which suggests that when a business is in its growth phase, leaders are likely to hold onto talent by restricting their outside interests.

Businesses in a growth phase may be concerned about compliance. If their employees are working from home or on flexible hours, there is a concern that employees may be conducting their business on company time or using company property. Therefore, there needs to be mutual trust, especially if the employee is meeting the performance requirements, as their side hustle is not taking them away from their ‘main’ job. Rather than refraining employees from their interests, businesses can safeguard their concerns with policies and agreements. 

What do you think of the side hustle culture?

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