Calls for more bosses to allow staff’s ‘passion projects’

Bec Evans (SarahMasonPhoto)
Bec Evans (SarahMasonPhoto)

Employers should acknowledge and encourage staff to run their own businesses alongside their full-time jobs, a writer and businessperson has said.

Bec Evans, former head of innovation at Yorkshire publishing firm Emerald, started a consultancy called Prolifiko as a side project which eventually became a full-time concern.

In total across the North of England, one in four people aged under 35 are running some sort of part-time project alongside their main form of employment.

Now Ms Evans has written a book on the matter.

Entitled How to Have a Happy Hustle, Ms Evans, who lives in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, sees it as a guide to helping people make their ideas become a reality.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, she said: “When I was doing my research I found that people were doing this because they were looking for fulfilment. They wanted a passion project.

“It speaks volumes about the nature of the work. People are complicated and there a lot of different sides to them.

“What people are doing now is acknowledging and seeking something outside of work.”

Technology is increasingly giving people the platform to do this, Ms Evans argues.

Applications such as Etsy have become incredibly popular for people to market and sell wares they have produced themselves.

And Ms Evans believes that company bosses stand to enjoy boosts to their bottom lines from encouraging staff to pursue their own endeavours outside of work.

She said: “It gives them balance. We do the work to earn money and pay the bills but if it is not ticking all the boxes it is worth having something on the side.

“A lot of employers are quite ambivalent about it but the skills people can learn from this can be fed back into their work.

“They are happier and more fulfilled and actually the research is showing this is a good thing.

“I think employers need to wake up to the fact that people are increasingly doing something on the side and that this does not impact their business.

“They should be more open and honest about it and there should be a HR policy on it.”

The book is released in stores this week and was officially launched as part of the Leeds Digital Festival event. It is the result of more than two years worth of work and is, according to its author, “aimed at people who are currently working and are a little bit frustrated with their job”.

“That is quite a lot of people,” she said.

“I believe that aside from our jobs we have interests and hobbies that we can’t necessarily realise because of the 9-5 and I just really want to encourage people to start things up on the side.

“It could just be a hobby but for a lot of people are starting side businesses.”