High gasoline prices are putting the squeeze on companies and their workers. People are leaving their jobs due to the high commuting costs. The New York Times reports that a resume service received "14 calls last week and 9 of those named high gas prices as their No. 1 reason for leaving their job."
And by my count, the Times presents seven ways that companies are changing to relieve the pressure:
- Encourage more telecommuting. The Times describes how "Citigate Cunningham, a public relations company, now encourages workers to stay home whenever possible, providing laptop computers and BlackBerrys to enable telecommuting, and reimbursing them $40 a month for high-speed Internet connections in their homes."
- Give employees money to pay for gas. Since June, OperationsInc., a human resource consulting firm, gave employees up to $100 a month on an American Express (NYSE: AXP) card "to offset rising gas prices."
- Rent offices closer to workers' homes. Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) recently "leased three large office complexes far from its headquarters" to cut 7,000 employees' commutes.
- Cut work week from five to four days. Rejuvenation, a Portland, OR lighting maker, put employees on a four-day 10-hour per day work week.
- Give away a free bicycle each month. Rejuvenation also "gives away a free bicycle to an employee every month."
- Create a van pool. Bayless Engineering and Manufacturing, based in the Santa Clarita Valley of California, has 12 employees who live 50 miles away from the office. In 2008 Bayless rented vans from Enterprise to transport those employees "to work and back."
- Replace workers' cars with smart cars to do deliveries. To combat a problem of pizza drivers not wanting to use up the gas in their cars to make deliveries, HotBox Pizza, a four-store Indianapolis chain, is buying five Smart cars that get 40 miles per gallon which will be painted with HotBox's red and black logo.
It doesn't pay to bet against the ingenuity of the American entrepreneur. If you have other ideas, post them below.