Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Rising gas prices lower employee productivity

High gas prices are not only draining pockets, but also employee productivity, according to Florida State University researchers.

The more employees must pay out at the gas pump, the more stressed they are at work, says Wayne Horchwarter, the Jim Moran Professor of Management at Florida State University’s College of Business in the release.

With more attention spent on issues like figuring out how they’re going to afford to get to work, employees have less attention to dedicate to their jobs and may be less motivated to make the drive to the office. The FSU research showed that employees were unable to drop the emotional baggage attached to financial issues at the office door. One-third of those surveyed said they would quit their current job for a similar position closer to home.

Research was compiled by interviewing more than 800 full-time employees in a range of occupations around the southeastern United States. All drove personal transportation to work with an average commute of 15 miles each way.

“I spend more time at work trying to figure out what I need to give up to keep gas in my tank than thinking about how to do my job," wrote a factory worker included in the research.

The most outstanding findings:
  • 52% have reconsidered taking vacations
  • 45% have had to cut back on debt-reduction payments, such as credit cards
  • 45% say gas prices have “caused them to fall behind financially”
  • 39% agreed with the statement “Gas prices have decreased my standard of living”
  • 33% say they would quit their job for a comparable one closer to home

Hochwarter’s research will be published in late summer 2008, but was first shared in an FSU press release.


Michael L. Gooch said...

Work stress takes a much larger toll on our health than we care to admit. For a handful of money, we give the corporations our health and years off of our lives. The current crisis with gasoline prices simply compounds the problems of the working American. And with oil predicted to reach $200 a barrel, it will only get worse, which is why the major corporations should begin to address the impact this is having on its workforce. Creative solutions or less profit taking could be in order. In my management book, Wingtips with Spurs, I devote an entire section to the effects of stress on our mental and physical health. Not from a medical point of view but rather from the view of a human resources professional of 30 years. Stress kills and will keep killing as long as we refuse to learn the coping tools. Michael L. Gooch, SPHR

Seeker said...

So given the reality of worker finances, why aren't more companies jumping into telecommuting? Most cubicle jobs would be natural for working from home, at least part of the week, if not all week...

Would be like an instant raise for employees and lower building costs for employers....a clear win-win

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