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Will surging gas prices put a U-turn on a return to the office? – Daily Bulletin

Lockdowns, masks, pay cuts, layoffs… gas prices.

Workers in Southern California have faced countless pandemic-related turning points in nearly three years that have forever changed the way they think and work.

Add rising gas prices to the list of challenges.

With average gas prices averaging $6 a gallon, Businesses Face New Headaches: Are Commuting Costs Delaying Returning To The Office?

Record high gas prices have added another reason to continue working from home. And when that remote work option disappears, some employees are quitting and looking for new remote jobs, said Sarah Grimstead, a regional vice president at a national staffing firm immortality.

With prices soaring in Southern California — and in some cases topping $6 a gallon — most employees who’ve worked from home have no desire to return to daily routines of highway congestion. (File Photo by Andrew Foulk, Contributing Photographer)

“If you look at the big picture, the entire employment landscape has changed and there has been record employee turnover,” Grimstead said. “Companies have already worked to attract and retain talent, such as through contract rewards. Gas prices are just the next thing we need to pounce on.”

According to this, at least 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in January current data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Ravin Jesuthasan, workplace expert at a consulting firm mercersaid some of its corporate clients have pulled back to bring workers back to the office — at least until the fuel boost wears off.

“We are seeing many organizations starting to take a step back in the face of a very dramatic and rampant rise in gas prices,” Jesuthasan told CBS MoneyWatch. “They say, ‘Let’s actually wait and see how this develops. Let’s wait for gas prices to ease and don’t rush back to the office at that time.’”

If current trends continue, fuel prices are unlikely to ease anytime soon.

The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline hit records in four Southern California counties on Friday.

In Los Angeles County, the price hit $5.91, up $1.12 in 24 straight days of increases. That’s $1.98 more than a year ago, the Automobile Club of Southern California reported. Dozens of local gas stations sell regular octane gasoline for $6.57 to $7.19 per gallon, with one gas station topping $7.50.

Orange County average price reached $5.87, Riverside County $5.79 and San Bernardino $5.81.

Laura Espitia was keenly aware of the price hike as she fueled her Honda Pilot, which she uses to run errands and take her kids to and from school.

“It used to cost me about $65,” said the 36-year-old Canyon Country resident. “But now, depending on where I go, it’s up to $85. I filled up the car four days ago and now I have to fill up again. And it’s not just gas – the grocery store prices are higher for everything.”

Low earners – hardest hit

Rising fuel costs have hit low-wage workers in the food service and hospitality industry, who have never had the opportunity to work from home, particularly hard.

Robert Rauch, Managing Partner at RAR hospitality looks for ways to help its employees.

RAR employs more than 100 people at three San Diego hotels – a Homewood Suites by Hilton, a Hilton Garden Inn and a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott.

“We just had a discussion about giving our employees gas vouchers,” he said. “We haven’t figured out how much to give yet, but we’re going to do something.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom has proposed delaying a California gas tax planned for July, but several members of the state assembly are instead pushing for a $400 gas rebate for every taxpayer in the state.

Rauch assumes that both scenarios would help his employees.

“We’re already $1 a gallon above almost every other state,” he said. “I think a combination of action by the governor and temporary help from our management team is the way forward.”

Yaamava Resort & Casino in Highland does not offer gasoline grants or gift cards, but it does have a commuter program that allows employees to earn up to $2 a day for days they commute by walking, bike, carpooling, or using public transit .

“We have dozens of employees who are part of the program,” said Jasmine Takeshita, the casino’s director of talent acquisition.

The casino also continues to offer sign-up bonuses for new employees, as well as thank-you bonuses for current employees and voluntary bonuses for employees based on job performance and other metrics.

“It was a challenging hiring environment,” Takeshita said. “But we place great emphasis on benefits, growth and development.”

driver surcharges

App-based ride-sharing and delivery services already relieve their drivers with fuel surcharges and fuel premiums per mile.

Uber and Lyft this week introduced 55 cents per trip fuel surcharges that go straight to their drivers, and DoorDash Introduces a Gasoline “Rewards Program” that gives US delivery drivers a prepaid business Visa debit card that offers 10% cashback on gas.

“Our weekly gasoline bonus … could result in savings of between $1.65 and $2 per gallon,” said DoorDash spokeswoman Briana Megid.

A word of warning

Grimstead said employers looking to help their workers offset high gasoline prices should tread carefully.

“We would like to warn them to remember that anything they give to employees will be perceived as negative if taken away from them,” she said. “If you add it to their paycheck, make sure it’s a separate position because people get very used to a higher check and it hurts when that’s not there.”

Grimstead compared it to the grocery chain’s hero bonuses offered to its workers at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. They were warmly welcomed when they entered but deeply annoyed when they were shown away.

In addition, there is the fear factor.

“We just don’t know when things will get back to normal,” Grimstead said. “This fear of the unknown is very real for employees.”

Will surging gas prices put a U-turn on a return to the office? – Daily Bulletin Source link Will surging gas prices put a U-turn on a return to the office? – Daily Bulletin

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