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Telecommuting or Gas Vouchers for Employees? Either Way, Choose Soon for Retention...

We've riffed in the past couple of weeks regarding the benefits of telecommuting, and also chronicled theTraffic_jam_2 reaction of companies with workforces not suited for telecommuting (think production/manufacturing, retail, etc.) to provide gas vouchers/guarantees.

A new study by indicates that you might need to choose one or the other soon to maximize retention:

"20,000 respondents answered the following question - “What alternatives are you considering as a result of high gas prices affecting your commute to work?”

Here's the response breakdown....

79% - Find a job closer to home
13% - Telecommuting from home
6% - Public transportation or walking
2% - Carpooling with colleagues"

Looks like it might be time to get a game plan together.  It will be interesting to see if any of the companies providing compensation for gas will be able to point to ROI from the plan.

My big question - if you provide compensation for gas, when does that end?  Doesn't that become an entitlement on day 2? 

Start a telecommuting program if you can....



I agree with your conclusion, and offer another reason for companies to favor telecommuting over compensation:

Offering compensation for gas expenses will encourage MORE driving by your employees. The compensation effectively lowers the price of gas for employees, and as we have seen in the last two years, people drive more when the price of gas is lower.

But, you say, my commute to work is a fixed distance and this compensation won't encourage me to take a longer route. Well, duh, of course not. But if you pay less for your gas to get to and from work, you have more money to spend on other things, including gas for non-work transportation. (Note: obviously not every single individual will drive more, but the net effect will be more dirving.)


This article bothers me, because now that gas is down a wee bit, and I mean wee, many of the least financially able will TAKE THE BAIT and start driving again and dig themselves in deeper. It's all a big funny joke on us from the fat cats at Exxon and Mobil who are batting us around like a cat bats a near-dead mouse around. The answer is not gas cards or telecommuting for the small percentage of American workers who can do it. The answer is contacting your congressman and getting an excess profits tax slapped on those cats. Wake up people.

Paul Hebert

From a behavior stand point offering gas cards will probably increase use of gas - AND become an entitlement on day 2 as you suggest. Not to mention the fact that where do you draw the line - food prices are up as well - do I issue cards for food now?

However, offering subsidies to use public transportation is probably a better answer. Reduces overall usage (thereby reducing price) and invites greener behavior through using public transportation.


Vouchers would be appreciated by employees, but would not do anything to cut down on fuel consumption or traffic congestion. Telecommuting does result in lower gas consumption; however, many employers and employees are not comfortable with staff working out of their own homes for both technical and managerial reasons.

Another option is for workers to work remotely from a Remote Office Center. Remote Office Centers are fairly new, but are starting to grow in usage as fuel prices continue to put a strain on workers who have to commute long distances every day.

Remote Office Centers lease individual offices, internet and phone systems to workers from different companies in shared centers located in the suburbs.

Remote Office Centers can be found in most large cities by doing a web search on "Remote Office Centers" in quotes.

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