The Skinny blog is written by Rick Smith, editor and co-founder of WRAL Tech Wire and business editor of

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Is your company helping you and your fellow employees deal with rising fuel costs?


That doesn’t surprise The Skinny, especially given the tightness of the economy.

However, some corporate suits are trying to help even as gasoline prices are declining a bit.

But let’s not forget – the “new normal” of $3.50 per gallon and higher is still ridiculously high and is causing every driver pain.

The staffing firm Robert Half reported an interesting subset of findings in its quarterly Professional Employment Report when it surveyed executives about “Easing Employee Burdens at the Pump.”

41 percent are providing transportation alternatives to employees

To help reduce driving costs, 36 percent of those surveyed are increasing teleconferences

Another 28 percent are allowing more telecommuting

Some 25 percent have increased “expense guidelines” for job associated mileage costs

And even 24 percent are providing “gas subsidies” to workers

Another 24 percent are encouraging more car pooling and ride share

Meanwhile, 21 percent are permitting employees to work at locations that are nearer to their homes

Interestingly, Robert Half expected even higher results.

“Surprisingly, less than half of executives interviewed … said their firms are taking action to reduce the impact of higher gasoline prices on staff.”

Based on its knowledge of the labor market, Robert Half said such programs “may promote employee loyalty.”

You think?

Here are Robert Half’s three top suggestions for companies who would like to lessen gas pain:

1. Meet virtually

2. Let employees work from the home office

3. Set up remote work locations

Notes Robert Half: “Measures take to help workers cope with high gas prices may boost employee camaraderie, productivity and loyalty, in addition to saving staff money at the pump.”