The Office In The Office

Photo by Edmond Dantès from Pexels

From home appliances, cooking utensils to jewellery, beddings through to clothes, I’ve snapped up willingly and grudgingly. I’ve been made to go home with some on credit. All in the name of side hustle.

There are different ways people convert the office into a marketplace or even a centre where they bargain most of their wares to their colleagues.

Bringing products in their cars

Some of the staff members bring most of their side hustle products with them when they come to work.

Before then, they must have verbally advertised to their colleagues about the availability of the product and even received some orders.

So what they do is to dispense the product upon arrival in the morning, during their lunch break, or at the close of work.

There used to be this lady at my former place of work who sold cashew nuts. Toothsome cashew nuts.

We did not see it as a nuisance or if she was making a mess of the workspace. No.

And this was solely because she kept the bottled nuts in her car trunk and distributed them at free hours. At some point, our Managing Director became her regular customer.

Products Brought From Relatives 

We have those coworkers who sell products that are either made by their spouse, mother-in-law or even their neighbours. And we have cases where some female bosses, especially, entrust their businesses to their sidekicks to stealthily commerce for them. 

Whether these people make commission from the products sold is something that isn’t always clear. Either way, they sell these commodities and sometimes, they use the company’s property to sell them.

A typical example is this lady who used to sell a local drink made from Hibiscus leaves called Zobo.

She didn’t make the drinks herself; she was just helping her mother out. Upon arrival at work, she would deposit the drinks inside the company’s refridgerator at the canteen.

Before or during lunch breaks, she would move to give any staff member who placed an order. However, she discharged her duties relatively well, and found a way to sell the product as well. 

IMPACT ON PRODUCTIVITY

Although it is cool for some workers to have side hustles, many companies frown at bringing your products around the office premises.

This is because there is a high probability of drifting focus during your office hours all in the bid to make sales.

And when you are distracted, it affects your productivity level, which in turn sways your full concentration and input in the company.

DEFACING THE OFFICE

Apart from the negative impact on the level of productivity, some products just deface the office.

Walking into the office space and seeing staff members displaying or even packing their products around their corner is not really a good sight to behold.

Imagine what will happen when everyone in the office decides to bring his or her products to the workplace. How will that pan out?

SWITCH OF ALLEGIANCE

Whether we choose to accept it or not, there is a major shift of allegiance when people are licensed to bring products to the office space.

For these people, what is topmost on their mind is how to sell what they brought to work. It is only when they are done with their personal business that they can switch back their attention to the company’s interest.

This can pose a serious challenge for any business owner, especially those who are not present to monitor their business.

HUMAN RESOURCES TO THE RESCUE

It is the duty of the Human Resources (HR) unit to ensure that the office space maintains its sanctity and work mode.

This implies that the HR should not show any form of favouritism when it comes to allowing some staff members to bring their wares to the office, and disallowing others.

It is also the duty of the HR unit to ensure that the appropriate sanctions are meted out to staff members who do not adhere to the instruction of selling personal products at the office.

ROLE OF MANAGEMENT

Right before the HR unit steps in, the onus is on the management to set the structure and policies.

These policies will be the anchor that the HR unit will hold on to when meting out sanctions or calling people to order.

Many organizations disallow the act of selling personal products during office hours.

To this end, workers should do the needful and keep their personal business away from office hours.

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