Industry insights

The Future of Work in Oil and Gas: Embracing Flexibility and Side Gigs for Win-Win Scenarios

Alan Mourgues
September 10, 2023

Unleashing Hidden Potential and Creating Win-Win Opportunities

In the fast-paced world of the Oil & Gas industry, where innovation and adaptability are key, a thought-provoking question arises: Is it time for companies to consider allowing their employees to work for others? Recently, I conducted a poll to gauge the appetite of skilled professionals in this industry for freelance work on the side, and the results were eye-opening.

It came as no surprise that 80% of the respondents expressed a strong interest in engaging in freelancing. However, what was intriguing was the remaining 20% who had reservations due to concerns about associated risks and liabilities with their current employers. This prompted me to dig deeper and explore the potential benefits of granting employees permission to freelance for others, assuming there were no conflicts of interest.

To my astonishment, when I reran the poll with the added assumption that companies granted their employees permission to take on side hustles, 100% of the participants indicated their keenness to embrace freelancing opportunities in their spare time. These findings should undoubtedly capture the attention of Oil & Gas companies, hiring managers, and HR departments alike.

Imagine a scenario where companies not only acknowledge but actively encourage their employees to pursue freelance work while ensuring the absence of conflicts of interest. It's a potential game-changer that could elevate engagement, loyalty, and overall organizational success. By allowing employees to explore additional challenges and generate extra income, they can feel secure in their primary work while simultaneously broadening their horizons.

The question then arises: Why would companies deny their employees this possibility, given there are no conflicts of interest? The answer, as it turns out, is not as simple as it may seem. Allowing employees to work for other companies, often referred to as moonlighting, brings both advantages and disadvantages to the table. Let's delve into these factors and consider the potential impacts for Oil & Gas companies.

Advantages: Expanding Horizons, Boosting Motivation, and Retaining Talent

1. Enhanced skill development: By working for other companies, employees gain exposure to different projects, technologies, and work environments. This not only broadens their skill set and knowledge but also enhances their value as assets to your organization. Their newfound expertise can bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to existing challenges.

2. Increased motivation and engagement: Allowing employees to pursue their interests outside the organization can have a remarkable impact on their motivation and engagement levels. By enabling diverse experiences and opportunities, they become more fulfilled individuals, bringing heightened creativity and dedication to their primary role.

3. Retention benefits: In an era where attracting and retaining top talent is paramount, offering flexibility and supporting personal and professional growth can be a winning strategy. Employees who have the chance to explore their passions while remaining employed by your company are more likely to stay committed and loyal in the long run.

Disadvantages: Balancing Risks, Workload, and Compliance

1. Conflicts of interest: The foremost concern when permitting employees to work for competitors or related companies is the potential for conflicts of interest. Intellectual property, trade secrets, or sensitive information could be compromised, posing a significant risk to your organization. Mitigating this risk requires robust confidentiality agreements and thorough vetting processes.

2. Workload and productivity issues: Juggling multiple jobs can undoubtedly impact an employee's availability and focus on their primary responsibilities within your organization. The risk of decreased productivity and potential burnout is a valid consideration. Striking a balance between workload management and setting realistic expectations becomes crucial in maintaining a healthy work environment.

3. Compliance and legal considerations: Legal and contractual restrictions, such as non-compete or exclusivity agreements, may hinder employees from working for other companies. It is essential to review and update employment contracts and policies accordingly to ensure compliance and avoid any legal pitfalls.

In light of these advantages and disadvantages, Oil & Gas companies must weigh the potential benefits against the associated risks. By implementing a thoughtful and well-defined framework that addresses conflicts of interest, workload management, and compliance, organizations can seize the untapped potential within their workforce while maintaining a competitive edge.

Embracing the power of flexibility and empowering employees to engage in freelancing opportunities can unlock hidden talents, foster innovation, and create a symbiotic relationship between employer and employee. It's time for Oil & Gas companies to carefully consider the possibilities and explore how allowing their employees to work for others can be a strategic move towards a brighter future.

The choice is yours: Will you harness the power of flexibility and embrace the win-win opportunities that lie ahead, or will you remain tethered to traditional norms in a rapidly evolving industry? The decision could shape the future of your organization and the careers of your employees.

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Alan is a Consulting Petroleum Reservoir Engineer with 20+ years of international industry experience. Alan is the founder of CrowdField, a marketplace that connects Oil & Gas and Energy businesses with a global network of niche talent for task-based freelance solutions. His mission is to help skilled individuals monetize their knowledge as the Energy transition unfolds, by bringing their expertise to the open market and creating digital products to sell in CrowdField's Digital Store.


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