Some call it the side hustle, others call it the side project, but the official term for the practice of working other jobs while on the clock at your full-time job is "daylighting.”
And for the next generation of business thinkers, it's become a way of life.
Blogger Neil Bennett calls this young and hungry workforce the “slash/slash generation,” a group he describes as: “Do it all teens and 20-somethings that undertake multiple careers - often creating brand names for themselves. In the age of online communities and digital media, the mash up of platforms empowers online creatives to be good at a number of things rather than just one.”
Lines are blurring, and it's no longer enough to just focus on work/life balance. Companies today also need to focus on the work/work balance. Side projects reflect the different interests and passions of each employee. Rather than suppressing creativity, we must nurture it, knowing that a happier workforce is proven to be more productive, and loyal. By encouraging "daylighting" in working hours, companies are making an investment in more well-rounded employees, whose increased knowledge and experience is bound to give back.
Of course, daylighting needs to be transparent to one's team, and it can't be in a competitive product or service. The obligation to exceed expectations in one’s full-time job must come first. There is also a fine line between daylighting and procrastinating from other stuff that has a deadline. Daylighting should not happen at the expense of other responsibilities. Instead, it should fill the time when an employee might otherwise daydream or zone out.
Done right, daylighting should serve one’s full-time job just as much as it serves the worker. Google has taken measures to encourage outside interests, enacting the 70/20/10 rule, which allows employees to spend 20% of their time on "Innovation time off" pursuing their own ideas that relate to Google and then 10% of their time on stuff completely unrelated to Google. This could be reading a book, drawing in Photoshop, or going to a museum. In this way, Google builds employee loyalty and captures the innovative thinking that comes from seemingly random stimulation.
Other companies such as 37signals have gone as far as "paying for employee passions, interests, and other curiosities. We want our people to experience new things, discover new hobbies, and generally be interesting people."
We believe that all companies should encourage daylighting. Here are a few related tips to help you nurture the new talent coming up in the ranks.
1. Set aside 10% of each day for "daylighting." Encourage your employees to pursue their own passion projects (whatever they may be).
2. Fund outside projects. Create a fund for each employee to pursue their passions. Behance offers each employee $500 to always continue to learn.
3. Mentor the side projects. Set aside a bi-weekly / monthly meeting to mentor employees on entrepreneurial side projects. Have employees present their findings / experience in front of the company.
***This article is adapted from the research and writing of Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the Action Method project management application, the Creative Jobs List, and develops knowledge, products, and services that help creative professionals make ideas happen.