Hello, and welcome to another edition of the CxO newsletter.
The return to offices has, in many ways, been more complicated than I had anticipated—or at least, more complicated than I had anticipated when our tenure as telecommuters was meant to last just two weeks. But two weeks turned into two months, two months into a year, and when Labor Day 2021—the unofficial return to work for companies across the country, including Forbes—came and went, corporate America reached the point of no return. It has never been more challenging to convince employees that the childcare challenges, office politics and work-life interference associated with exchanging couches for cubicles is worth their while. And now, soaring gas prices only stand to complicate matters.
If you've filled your tank in recent weeks, chances are you've experienced sticker shock. The average price of gas in the U.S. hit a record $4.33 last month, up from just $2.87 one year ago, according to AAA, due in part to Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as other factors such as America's rocky relations with Saudi Arabia. In response to this pain at the pump, my colleague Emmy Lucas reports that some employers are creating new perks to help their employees get where they need to go.
These perks, she says, run the gamut: Lyft and Uber have temporarily added fuel surcharges to fares, while DoorDash has launched a rewards program through which its drivers can earn 10% cash back every time they fuel up on the company debit card. And some employers, like Salt Lake City healthcare company Home Clinix, are offering incentives including gift cards for commuting to work.
"It doesn't have to be anything grand or elaborate," Danny Holmgren, cofounder of Home Clinix, tells Lucas. "Take a step back and recognize this is impacting your employees' quality of life right now."
As the Great Resignation rages on, it pays to pay attention to workers' wants and needs. Even if, like most employers, you aren't revising your salary budget in response to inflation, there are still plenty of steps you can take to retain (and maybe even attract) top talent. From piloting innovative time-off programs to investing more in bigger and better benefits, Jena McGregor, senior editor of careers, shares how companies are getting creative.
Speaking of time off, I'm going to be putting up my out-of-office message next week. If like me you have to actively remind your team to take days off, I suggest you consider doing the same. After all, what better way to encourage employees to take a break than to practice what you preach?
Thank you for reading, and feel free to share your ideas with me at email@example.com. After a break on April 12, I'll see you right back here on April 19.
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