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Should you let your React devs work on side projects?

Your React developers are an important part of your company, and you want them to make money for your business by working on commercial projects. Is there ever a good reason to take them off a project like this and let them work on internal side projects instead? It seems there are a couple of good ones to consider.
Commercial projects bring revenue to your company, but you also need to think about increasing the revenue in the long run. This may include various employer and consumer branding tactics as well as creative ways to improve the efficiency of your development teams.
Could internal side projects be a part of your strategy when it comes to React development? Let’s find out!

Employer branding vs. consumer branding

Before I get to that, it’s important to distinguish between employer branding (EB) and consumer branding (CB). As a software company, you want to attract talented developers (through EB) and attractive clients (through CB). Each of these two areas needs its consideration when it comes to your communication strategy, acquisition tactics, tools, etc.
However, it seems that side projects can help you with both of these areas.

Pros of side projects for the employer and consumer branding

There are a lot of potential advantages to consider:

  • Allowing time for side projects your devs want to work on shows your current and potential employees that you care about individual growth.
  • The software created as part of side projects can position your company as React expert through your marketing. One way to do it is by open-sourcing the project for use for both individuals and organizations alike.
  • You establish your organization within the broadly understood React community by giving back to the open-source community. The more people talk about you, the easier it is for valuable React prospects to find your company interesting.

Pros of side projects for efficiency

The branding pros hardly exhaust the list of side project benefits. It can also make your own company more efficient. For example, you can create various starter templates that make it easier to quickly set up a React project and various other React utilities that may be needed along the way. You can use your experience in commercial projects to find out what kind of side projects will be most beneficial to your devs.
In addition to that, you can also use these side projects as a testament to your expertise and experience to attract new clients. You can also offer your self-developed projects to your clients in order to improve their long-term efficiency as well. This makes for better projects and increases the chance of establishing long-term cooperation with your client! Many outsourcing vendors forget that clients often want to learn as much as possible from their vendors and take that into consideration when deciding on further cooperation.
I think that at this point, you are already considering side projects as an important part of your long-term employee and client acquisition and retention strategy in React development.
If you figure out interesting ventures and dedicate time to promoting them outside, the time and effort spent on side projects will surely pay off tenfold!

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