Arm yourself against rising fuel and energy prices

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in Employee Benefits Program,Human Resources

Feeling the pinch of rising fuel prices? It’s affecting 43 percent of small companies and moderately affecting 32 percent of them, says a new survey by the National Small Business Association.

Other findings: 76 percent of businesses said reducing energy costs would increase profitability, but 67 percent of companies haven’t bothered to invest in energy efficiency and 52 percent don’t plan to do so this year. Reasons: Lack of cash flow, resources and technology.

But it’s worth the investment, says the Environmental Protection Agency, which says efficiency investments save more than 10 percent on energy bills.

So what can you do? Don’t limit yourself to one strategy.

Here’s what your competitors are doing: 3 65 percent of small companies raised prices to defray energy costs.

-47 percent reduced business travel.

-18 percent cut their work force.

-13 percent reduced employee benefits.

-7 percent limited their production schedules. You can also help your employees cope with rising fuel prices. A survey by Robert Half International reports that:

-37 percent of the nation’s corporations allow more telecommuting.

-35 percent of large companies encourage carpooling and ride-sharing programs.

-31 percent allow employees to work from office sites closer to home.

-14 percent subsidize employee expenses for public transportation. To learn more, go to www.nsba.biz and www.roberthalf.com. For tips on increasing business energy efficiency, go to www.energystar.gov. Click “business improvement” and then “small business.”

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