Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


Can what someone does off-hours affect my business?

Dave, I'm not sure where to turn so I'm going to ask you: how much do I have to worry about what people who are part of my far-flung "virtual" corporation do when they're not working directly for me? I can't share too many details because the situation is touchy, as you might expect, but basically I have someone working for me as a writer, contributing material for my blog, and I have been hearing that he's writing some pretty far out, offensive material on other sites. Do I need to worry about it?

This is a difficult situation, no question, and one that comes up more and more as we've moved away from employee-as-chattel-for-life and towards plug-and-play cogs in all the machines of the modern economy. I wrestle with this myself too - every time I add a short note on this site saying "thanks to Kevin" or "Leo" or whomever, do I need to worry about their other work?

My short answer: yes.

Here's the longer explanation: When you hire people to join an organization, you are getting “the full package”, not just their output. If you hire a receptionist who...