Question: Do you encourage employees to have side projects? Why or why not?
Yes: They Prevent Burnout
"As long as it doesn't interrupt their workflow, I actually find having side projects prevents burnout from the stressful life of a startup. As entrepreneurs get burned out, employees are also susceptible to do so as well. Being able to express yourself in other creative side projects allows you to learn more (whether it's a soft skill or hard skill) and apply it to your full-time job."
Yes: Side Projects Inspire Innovation
"I encourage side projects as a way to inspire innovation. Often new technology or tools start off as a side project that may not fit into a businesses roadmap, but end up becoming a catalyst for new approaches or methods. Side projects tap into the empowering creative side of people, which often ends up crossing over into the everyday tasks at hand."
Yes: Side Projects Hone Skills
"We definitely encourage side projects. I especially love it when employees take what they've learned on the job and apply it to their own business. This demonstrates ingenuity and the ability to apply their skills to a different use case. It's also a great way for employees to sharpen the skills they've learned, and find new ways to apply those skills within their role at the company."
Yes: It Clears the Mental Slate
"When you spend even a few hours a week doing something you love (that is different from your day-to-day profession), you get a similar mental reaction as those who take a vacation. Physiologically, it is like a mini-vacation. If I am choosing between two employees, I will chose the one with projects every time. They will be more energized, refreshed and do better work."
It Depends: Be Cautious
"Side projects do have downsides, such as conflicts of interests, potentially rubbing co-workers/management the wrong way (despite a reluctance to admit it), causing extra stress and becoming distracting. So while side projects have their merits, consider implementing guidelines to keep them beneficial for all."
Yes: But With Clear Expectations
"Side projects, while great for creativity and learning, can sometimes take precedence over the actual job and become an excuse for sub-optimal performance. So as long as expectations around side projects are clear, they can be great for skill and confidence building!"
Yes: With an Understanding of Clarity and Loyalty
"I encourage employees to pursue side projects because they can inspire new ideas, passions and potentially partnerships. As long as loyalty is intact and clarity is upfront, supporting creative endeavors is key to a company's and individual's success."