Polywork – When One Job Isn’t Enough

If you’ve not yet heard the term, “polywork” is GenZ’s term for working more than one remote job at the same time.  It, along with the ubiquitous “side hustle” are two of the ways that GenZer’s are attempting to gain ground in these uncertain economic times.

Of course, the “side hustle” is nothing new.  Some percentage of every generation of Americans has engaged in one kind of side hustle or another, but polywork is different enough to warrant a separate term to describe it.

Where the side hustle is, as its name indicates, a thing done in a person’s spare time, polywork is the art and science of working on two different remote jobs at the same time, or at the very least, in the same block of time.  It’s really only possible because of how easy it is to work remotely these days, and indeed, polywork got its start during the Great Pandemic, but that’s only part of it.

The other part leverages another GenZ work term, this one coined by TikToker Gabrielle Judge, “lazy girl jobs.”

The simple truth is that there are a surprising number of nontechnical jobs that don’t require much in the way of coworker interaction, like data entry or transcriptionist positions.  Here, employees often have daily quotas they have to meet, and in addition to the limited coworker interaction, there’s virtually no incentive to exceed the quota set forth by management.  Data entry employees don’t earn bonus pay for over-performing, so…they don’t.

If you’ve got a remote data entry clerk who’s exceptionally fast and accurate, and that employee is looking for an easy way to make more money, polyworking starts looking incredibly attractive.

At first blush, most managers blanche at this idea and take a dim view of it.  After all, that’s “your” employee, right?  So he or she is supposed to be doing work for you.  The idea of having to share with some other company doesn’t sit well with most business owners or managers.

On the other hand, the simple truth is that few business owners or managers are willing to provide bonus compensation for productivity above and beyond the established daily quota, and as long as that’s being met, maybe it’s not the end of the world?

There are a few managers who have already made peace with the idea of polyworking but at this point, they represent a distinct minority.

Still, the simple truth is that given today’s economic realities and the fact that Generation Z stands a good chance of being the first generation in American history that will wind up worse off than the generation that came before, it’s understandable that GenZer’s are looking for any tool or strategy they can find to help bridge the gap and get a little ahead, and honestly, who can blame them?

At the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about polyworking.  Your best course of action then, is to reward and recognize your employees (remote workers or not) for their contributions and let them know you appreciate their efforts.  For remote workers, gift sets are almost always a fantastic choice, and we’ve got a large selection on our site!