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In the Age of the Costly Commute

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If gasoline prices keep getting higher, will this have an impact on how workers and employers structure the workweek? A survey of corporate human-resource executives by Challenger, Gray & Christmas detects signs of such a shift.

Fifty-seven percent of the human-resource people said their companies are offering "some type of program designed to alleviate increased commuting costs." The most common of these (cited by 23 percent) is "a condensed workweek, which typically consists of four 10-hour days." (For those of you who work at least five 10-hour days a week, this must sounds like a holiday.) Fourteen percent of the companies report expanding their telecommuting programs, and one in five are organizing employee car pools. Eighteen percent subsidize employees' costs for public transportation.

While few of the companies have had employees quit due to the cost of commuting, "34 percent reported that potential job candidates turned down offers because of long commutes."