Even as employees continue feel the pinch from high gas prices, many are unable to change commute routines and work schedules to ease the burden. These workers say that their employers aren’t doing much to help them through this tough time, even though there are several good options out there.
A recent article, “Working in
Of survey respondents who said they stayed home for vacation this summer 38% said the decision was driven by high fuel prices while 65 percent said they didn’t have the money to go away. Staycation is a word that was not in our common vocabulary last summer.
The list of economic concerns in addition to gas prices: food costs, home energy price spikes, flat wages and mortgage woes is not shrinking. The outlook is not expected to change soon and employees are not optimistic.
Employer responses seem to be pretty much non-existent. A huge margin, 80 percent of survey respondents said that their employer does not provide any benefits to cope with higher gas prices. What are they waiting for? I met an employer this week who gives out a transportation subsidy each month to every employee with a perfect attendance record from the previous month. Reducing absenteeism is a huge benefit that can reap measurable results. How about twenty five dollar gas cards for coming to work on time for a full quarter?
Maybe you’re afraid to try telecommuting, compressed work weeks or carpools. Can you at least minimize or eliminate those short work days before a holiday? If you close for a half-day before Labor Day, or Thanksgiving and most employees spend the time at work counting the minutes can you implement a compressed week for these periods? For an employer who needs to stay open during these pre-holiday days it will be easy to find volunteers who work the full day and are off another day during the same week. Or alternate; half the staff works the day before Labor Day and the other half works the day before Thanksgiving.
If you can’t think of any ideas it’s time for an employee benefits committee. Ask for volunteers, mix up participants, give the group parameters and a small budget and see what they can come up with. Any ideas have to be better than doing nothing.