By Suzie Coen
It might seem surprising that amid the so-called “Great Resignation” in which a deluge of workers changed or quit their jobs, we also saw the rise of job juggling, especially in the tech industry.
Taking on side hustles is a common feature of modern employment, particularly for gig workers, but for many software developers and tech professionals, “polyworking” – aka the practice of holding down multiple full-time jobs – has become a permanent lifestyle.
Double (or triple) jobbing makes sense financially. Faced with stagnating wages and increased living costs, the practice of having more than one form of employment has risen steadily over the past decade in the US.
According to recent data compiled by Owl Labs as part of its State of Hybrid Work 2023 report, almost half of the employees surveyed (46 per cent) said they had at least one additional job or side hustle outside of their main full-time job, with an additional 20 per cent admitting that they’d like one.
And it made sense on a practical level. The share of techies working fully remote is higher than in other sectors, and was so even before the pandemic. As long as you have a computer and a good internet connection, you can work from pretty much anywhere in the world.
That’s what draws a lot of people into coding, to begin with. And of course, without managers physically looking over their shoulders, some remote workers were holding down more than one full-time job – usually with overlapping hours – without alerting their employers.
From a tax standpoint, polyworking is technically legal in the EU.
Here, having a second job could change a worker’s tax code, but this wouldn’t explicitly be flagged to the first employer’s payroll department as a second full-time role, and would probably go unnoticed in larger companies.
However, polyworking could violate contracts or “non-compete” agreements. Getting caught could cost you your full-time job and potentially make securing another job in the future more difficult.
And you need to ask yourself how sustainable, in the long-term, is this type of working lifestyle? It could affect you personally via potential burnout, and professionally as there is large potential for subpar productivity in at least one of your other jobs.
The curveball smashing into the polyworking lifestyle is that for the last year remote work globally has had a target on its back.
Big tech firms have been first in line to crack the whip. Google’s return-to-work mandate threatens to track attendance and factor it in performance reviews.
Amazon, Meta, and Lyft want staff back at their desks, demanding at least three days of the week in the office. And X (formerly Twitter) mandated that employees work from the office at least 40 hours a week.
Ironically, even video messaging platform Zoom announced that it would be taking a “structured hybrid approach” to work.
What workers want
Yet all the pressure from above has done little to dent tech employees’ appetite for remote and hybrid working. What workers want is for employers to show them the money, drop the strict working hours, and give them flexibility.
According to a recent Young Generation in Tech report (which surveyed 2,000 20-30-year-olds working in tech across seven European countries), beyond compensation, those surveyed valued hybrid and flexible shifts the most, followed by budgets for learning and development and health benefits.
A four-day work model and the possibility to work from anywhere for a while ranked fourth and sixth.
So, which European countries are the most open to hybrid or remote work? The Netherlands has the highest percentage of its workforce involved in working remotely at over 50 per cent, which is four times higher than in the UK.
Last summer, the Dutch parliament approved legislation to establish working from home as a legal right, making the Netherlands one of the first countries to grant remote working flexibility by law.
With the new legislation, employers must consider requests for remote working and provide a reason for denying it.
Germany ranks as the second most popular country in the bloc to move to for tech jobs––and for good reason. The German tech market is currently forecast to increase by $30.34 billion (€27.4 billion) by 2027, and there is an increase in German SMEs adding tech solutions to their businesses, driving IT jobs to the market.
3 companies to check out for flexible work
Check out current opportunities on the Euronews Jobs Board with Trusted Shops AG, which has several open positions for engineering and IT roles. All offer you the option to work up to 100 per cent mobile (or on-site/hybrid) within Germany.
Trusted Shops is proud of its international and diverse workforce, supporting colleagues from over 40 nations who work for 13 markets in five offices across Europe.
A fully remote or on-site/hybrid working model is also available at Ingolstadt-based company Star Cooperation, a specialist in automotive electronics. A wide range of roles is available at the company, right across Germany.
Still, waiting to find a European city that sings to you? Why not investigate a company such as EBA Clearing, which develops, manages, and operates pan-European payment infrastructure solutions.
Owned by 48 major banks operating in Europe, and based on a country-neutral governance model, its payment systems are pan-European by design, developed in close co-operation with multinational user community and its best-of-breed technology partners.
The company offers jobs across the bloc, including in Paris, Brussels or Frankfurt.