The Great Petrol Predicament: Employers Look to Ease the Pain

Jul 01, 2008

The revolution is officially underway; and it has been gasoline shock, of all things, that has propelled us headlong into the battle to restore stability—and quality—to our everyday lives. This nerve-jangling moment promises to transform virtually every aspect of U.S. life, from city planning, to house-hunting, to recreation, to what constitutes “the workplace” of the future.

Speaking of which, some employers themselves have begun to recognize their unique ability to bring relief to their own put-upon personnel in this crisis—without sacrificing productivity in the process. Key methods involve the creation of 4-day work weeks, and telecommuting options. A variety of Oklahoma businesses, for example, have been using these and other quite creative ideas in their bid to assist staff; there are also large health groups in Missouri that are taking action, and perhaps many other firms that are not destined to receive broad media coverage.

Small business owners and independent contractors may face unique burdens as a result of high gas prices; they’re rethinking earlier strategies, and in some cases coming to some tough decisions. It may be little consolation, but these days, their customers often seem fairly understanding of the factors involved in sudden rate increases.

What’s good is that some small businesses are actually banding together to better manage gasoline costs among them, in order to at least keep from knocking consumers down for the count.

Hopefully businesses everywhere will begin to pool the ideas they find are working for them, so that others may benefit in ways they can feel!

It’s interesting, when you think about it: The fuel-stingy autos; the mass-transit options; the bikes; the motorcycles; the potential for combining resources for travel; for living closer to work; for creating home-based work options; for vacationing closer to home…they’ve always been there, haven’t they? But our flattened pocketbooks are finally forcing us to not just examine, but to seize onto some of these underappreciated possibilities with gusto, and to work ’em like pros!

When you consider the healthier, smarter, more resource-conscious choices consumers are beginning to make as a result of this economic jolt, it’s hard to imagine it being anything other than an eventual blessing for our families, and for the dear, generous land upon which we have built our lives.

If we must struggle at all—and clearly we must, now and again—better to struggle for more vibrant, more sustainable, and more cooperative American communities than for a level of blind, reckless personal comfort that is now well and truly behind us.

We’re now headed for our next great adventure—which, because of its more thoughtful foundation, will be an even better one yet!

I think the children of tomorrow will be pleased.

Hey—the grown-ups of today might just wind up being rather pleased with themselves, before all is said and done!

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