SURVEY SAYS: What Is Your Firm Doing About Rising Fuel Costs?

May 30, 2008 ( - With the rising cost of fuel - and, for many, the cost of getting to work - I asked readers what, if anything, their firm had done to help folks deal with those rising costs.

For most – 73.7% – the answer was “nothing.”  

But of those that had undertaken initiatives (note that more than one answer could be selected):

  • 11.4% – supporting flexible work schedules
  • 9.1% – encouraging/facilitating car pools
  • 8.6% – encouraging/providing telecommuting options
  • 8.0% – offering public transportation discounts
  • 6.9% – increasing the mileage reimbursement

Some, of course, were not new to these ideas.   One reader noted, “Our company already had been supporting flex schedules, providing telecommuting options, offering public transportation discounts, facilitating car pools long before the fuel crisis.”

And some had done…. “Absolutely nothing – they really should be encouraging telecommuting and sharing office workspace – all companies should at least review options!” said one respondent.

Steps Taken

Others had taken steps:

Added a flex schedule option of a four day work week, for hourly employees only, for the summer only….

Still thinking about ways to help employees save on commuting costs; nothing proposed as yet

Installed bike racks.

Offer a section 132 plan for public transportation expenses. We’re attempting to get better at web conferencing and conf calls. Howsomeever (is that a word?), and in spite of having a TON of engineers employed, the web conf technology is getting better but does not come close to replacing the face-to-face contact with co-workers. Unless you can put a dollar amount to NOT flying someplace and I’m not talking fuel excise taxes here.

We have a ‘Green’ initiative going on. Reimbursement for hybrids and any energy star items. It’s not much but it’s something. Not telecommuting yet….but I have my fingers crossed.

Just starting the discussions – focusing on those with lower wages that are feeling the most crunch.

Not a formal practice, but if an employee is with customers or at some other work related event and ends up closer to home, they finish the day from there instead of coming back to the office.

“We tried encouraging car pools, but we only had 5 people (out of 1,200) interested. Those 5 are now car pooling. Actually, we tried it last summer, but haven’t done anything since. I have heard every reason under the sun for not carpooling, including, “I have a new puppy, and I have to go home everyday at lunch to check on her.”

Less than 1% had boosted pay.   To which one reader noted (our Editor’s Choice for this bonus survey), “Did you really put down boosting pay as an option? I want to work there!”

Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!