From time to time, we’ll throw out an “Idea of the Day” culled from sources here in Arizona and elsewhere. The following idea, well actually several ideas, revolve around alternatives to driving in this new era of $4-plus gasoline. The Arizona Republic article, “Employers work to ease commuting costs to offset gas prices,” by Betty Beard tells what it’s all about:
“High gas prices have done more than suck away consumers’ cash. They also have led many bosses to approve four-day workweeks, telecommuting options, flexible schedules, and mass-transit subsidies.
Call it sticker shock. This year’s pump prices stunned employers and employees alike into realizing that commuting alone to work could become prohibitively expensive for many workers. Over time, consistently high gas prices could forever change how we work, experts believe. Avondale has followed the State of Utah’s lead and switched to a four-day work week, and the State of Arizona is considering doing the same. Other major employers, including Intel Corp., Salt River Project, APS, and the City of Phoenix, already offer public-transportation subsidies, flexible schedules, or telecommuting.
U-Haul also has about 500 employees working at home in sprawling metro Phoenix. After this year’s run-up in gasoline prices to $4 or more a gallon, more companies are expected to institute similar programs. If that happens, experts say, workplaces could change in ways unimaginable, with huge growth in home offices and telecommuting, fewer big-building headquarters, and less need for office parking garages, unless public transportation increases dramatically or vehicles become a lot more fuel-efficient.
Even though gasoline prices have come down somewhat, flexibility to help workers deal with gas prices, especially raising mileage reimbursement, has become the workplace perk of the year. “It definitely has become a huge concern… as it centers around general satisfaction and ability to recruit and retain workers,” said Steve Williams, director of research for the Society for Human Resource Management in Alexandria, VA. “They (employers) realize that long-distance driving to work is past becoming a hassle. It has now become an economic issue, and the companies are addressing it by giving employees options,” he said.
Alternatives, summarized below, are detailed in the full article here:
- ‘Green Fridays’
- Monthly stipends
- Company perks
- Transit options