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John Schneyer
Boca Consultants

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Cost Cutting Using Systematic Problem Solving
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How to Eat an Elephant
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Monday, June 9, 2008

Dealing with High Gas Prices in our Businesses

Each of us has to deal with higher fuel costs these days. Here are some ways we can deal with them in our personal lives:
  • use regular instead of premium fuel
  • take fewer trips by car by combining errands and/or carpooling
  • switch to public transportation
  • vacation closer to home
  • drive more economically and less aggressively to improve miles per gallon
  • trade in the gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient model
  • ride a bike (a Harley-Davidson will get better mileage than most cars)
What can we as business owners and managers do?
If you aren't already doing it, you need to be looking at telecommuting. I am advising my clients to look at this very seriously. It is already hard enough to attract and retain good talent. Putting telecommuting on the table as a benefit will make you more competitive and reduce your costs. Here are some examples:

  • Allowing workers to telecommute is like giving them a raise that they, and you, are not taxed on. Remind them that its not how much they are paid that counts, it's what they keep in their wallets. Not having to pay $4+ for a gallon of gasoline makes that money available for other things.
  • You don't pay anymore for salary based benefits than you do now because you are not paying more in salaries.
  • Having fewer workers on site reduces air conditioning, heating, lighting, and water costs. Lower overhead.
  • Having fewer workers on site can prevent a move to costlier, larger facilities. Lower overhead.
  • You always wanted to say you have a "Green" initiative didn't you? Reducing commuting trips allows you to say it and mean it. You will be "greener" than you were before.
  • If you provide on-site day care, this can reduce your costs as your employees are now working at home.
  • Productivity goes up.
  • Stress goes down.
More information:
For more information please contact us. We would be happy to work up a plan for you that includes both risks and opportunities that come from telecommuting. You owe it to yourself and your company to look at this great alternative that will increase your competitiveness now.

John Schneyer
Boca Consultants

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My employer (80K+ employees) allows telecommuting, but the dept mgr does not. "Working-From-Home (WFH) should not be encouraged because of gas prices". Needless to say, several people are looking to leave this department.

John said...

That's a tough one and there could be many reasons for your manager's stance. I don't want to make any assumptions as I have no information on your situation.

You should try to find out what is behind this comment. Sometimes there are specific work issues that would prevent telecommuting. Understanding them would help overcome them.

Often times the issue is one of trust. Telecommuting changes the relationship between employees and their supervisors. If the supervisor thinks the employees can not be trusted, they will object to not having direct, on site supervision. Sometimes that's the result of a manager not really being a manager due to lack of training and experience. Some workers get promoted to management because they have good technical skills and making them a manager is the only way to pay them more.

In any event, communication is key.

You might show your manager the benefits to the company of reducing the number of days workers are on site. So long as you are able to show all your work is done as it should, there should be no objection.