Workers Altering Their Commutes Due to Rising Gas Prices

Companies are devising programs to assist workers.

Many workers are changing their commuting habits to ease the financial burden of rising gas prices, a new survey shows. Of the professional employeessurveyed for Robert Half International study, 44% said higher gas prices have affected their commutes, up from 34% two years ago when a similar survey was conducted.

Among those who said they have altered their work arrangements, the most common changes they reported making include increased carpooling or ridesharing (46%), driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle (33%) and telecommuting more frequently (33% ). Three in 10 said they are looking for a new job closer to home.

Workers whose commutes have been affected by higher gasoline prices also were asked, Which, if any, of the following changes have you made because of higher gasoline prices? Their responses:

  • Increasing carpooling or ridesharing -- 46%
  • Driving a more fuel-efficient car -- 33%
  • Telecommuting more frequently -- 33%
  • Looking for a new job closer to home -- 30%
  • Working from office locations closer to home -- 29%
  • Working fewer days of the week -- 26%
  • Asking for increased compensation -- 25%
  • Taking public transportation more frequently -- 23%
  • Walking or biking to work -- 18%

(Note: Multiple responses were allowed)

The survey also found that employers are launching a variety of initiatives to ease the burden on employees. The most common benefits companies are implementing to offset the rising cost of commuting, according to those interviewed are increased mileage reimbursement for travel, ridesharing or vanpooling programs and subsidized transportation. However, 59% said their companies are not offering programs to alleviate higher gas costs.

"Employers may be missing an opportunity to improve morale and reduce turnover by helping their staff cope with the burden of rising gas prices. Often, it can be as simple as communicating to employees what programs are already in place," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "Companies can build loyalty and motivation by showing employees that they are empathetic to their concerns during challenging times."

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