Should you work two remote jobs at the same time?

Approximately 26% of Canadians aged 25 to 54 were working exclusively from home, according to the latest StatCan survey.

Remote work typically gives employees greater freedom and flexibility to balance their work lives with their personal lives.

However, according to the Washington Post, some workers have been opting to use this extra flexibility to work two remote jobs simultaneously. Below, I’ll go over some of the pros and cons of working two remote jobs, offer some tips for time management, and explain how it could affect your tax returns next year.

The benefits of working two remote jobs simultaneously

Working two remote jobs at the same time can be just as much of a juggling act as holding two in-person jobs at the same time. Some of the benefits of working two remote jobs include:

  • Higher income

  • More time that you get to spend at home

  • Wider variety of work

Let’s take a minute to go over each of these before delving into some of the drawbacks of doubling up your remote workload.

Higher income and improved financial stability

Generally speaking, working two jobs correlates with earning more money. The only time that this wouldn’t be the case is if you’re working two part-time jobs. In this case, you’ll probably earn a similar amount as if you were to work a single full-time remote job.

David Doyle, the head of economics at Macquarie Group, predicts that Canada will enter a full-blown recession within the first quarter of 2023. Maintaining a second job to bring in extra income could help you build your emergency savings so that you’re better prepared for what’s to come.

More time at home

One of the main attractions of remote work is, of course, the ability to spend more time at home. Those who work two remote jobs will have more time at home compared to those with a hybrid work model and spend part of their time in an office or working a second in-person job.

Greater variety of work

If you’re the type of person who’s easily bored by repeating the same task, working two jobs from home allows you to divide your time and change things up. This could prevent the type of burnout caused by monotonous daily work for the same employer.

Drawbacks of working two remote jobs at the same time

While working two remote jobs certainly has its benefits, there are also some drawbacks to be aware of, such as:

  • Ethical concerns (not all employers support their employees working two jobs)

  • Trouble managing deadlines for two jobs

  • No overtime pay (you’re working more hours for standard pay)

  • Confusion and stress from rapid context change

Let’s go over each of these briefly.

Ethical concerns

Many employers discourage (or even have rules against) their employees from working two jobs simultaneously. This is especially true if you’re found to be working for two competing companies. Additionally, many employers would rather their employees be focused on one job instead of being stressed and overworked while trying to balance two full-time positions.

Time management & deadlines

Working two remote jobs can often result in conflicting deadlines, poor communication, and create more stress for you.

No overtime pay

Most Canadian employees are legally entitled to overtime pay when they work more than forty hours per week. However, if you’re working two jobs, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to cash in on overtime pay from either job. This could result in you working more hours for less pay.

Confusion from context change

Let’s say that one of your remote jobs involves front-end web development (working with HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc.), while the other position involves designing complex back-end systems using different programming languages. If you constantly switch between the two jobs, you could easily become confused and make mistakes from the rapid context change.

How to manage two remote jobs

Successfully managing two remote jobs is certainly possible. You just have to create a system to make sure that you’re organized and efficient. Here are some tips and tricks to help you manage.

  1. Keep an organized schedule: Maintaining an organized schedule and a detailed calendar will ensure that you don’t mix up your work days, projects, deadlines, or miss virtual meetings.

  2. Don’t take on more work than you can handle:It’s too easy to take on more work than you can handle when working remotely. Your workload can seem smaller than it actually is when you’re not working in an office. To stay on top of your game, make sure to balance your workload and don’t overload yourself.

  3. Be open with your employers: Honesty is always the best policy. While some employers may not support your decision to work two jobs, others will be more understanding. Your employer may even help you come up with a remote work schedule that allows you to balance both remote jobs.

Tax implications of working two remote jobs simultaneously

Working two remote jobs could result in you paying more taxes than you accounted for. This is especially true if you’re a company employee (as opposed to an independent contractor).

The weekly paycheques you receive from each job will be taxed as if it were your only job. When you file your annual income taxes, your total annual income could be higher than expected. This could result in you owing the CRA additional taxes or reduce your expected tax refund.

You can review Canada’s federal income tax rates and tax brackets on the CRA website here.

Working two remote jobs: is it worth it?

Working two remote jobs can give you an extra income cushion to fall back on and allows you to earn a full-time living working from home. However, it can also come with additional stress, may be against your employer’s regulations, and could result in you paying higher federal income taxes.

Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder and former financial advisor. He writes personal finance tips for thousands of daily Canadian readers on his Wealth Awesome website.

Do you have a question, tip or story idea about personal finance? Please email us at [email protected].

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