This weekend we filled up the car, bought groceries, visited our Sam’s club, and had lunch out with our family…..and our electric bill was due. Let’s start with our 20 gallon gas tank that sat on empty.  We filled up at Sam’s for around $72.  I spent $80 at Walmart and $40 at Publix to feed my husband and I for a week.  We both are  home all day working from our prospective computer desks.  We eat lunch and dinner at home six days a week.  Additionally,  there is the astronomical costs of home heating this past winter.  Many parts of the U.S. were hit hard and long this winter. I used to think nothing of buying a couple of New York strip steaks or ribeyes.  It seems like just yesterday I paid about $8 for two steaks.  Today, they run from $16 to $20 for two steaks.  Almost everything at the supermarket is sky high.  Milk is pushing $4.00 a gallon where we live. An employee working a 40 hour work week making $12.00 an hour for the last three years because your company has forgone raises in the recent economy is now stretched to survive from week to week.  How are they able to pay for food, gasoline and other car expenses like insurance, maintenance and installment loans?  What about the cost of heating?  If they have children in school, there is no end to the costs of clothes, school supplies and the constant, almost daily requests for money to be sent to school with the child. As the job market slightly improves and now with the Affordable Healthcare Act, employees don’t feel tied to their current employer simply because of healthcare coverage. Very soon  many employers are likely to find that there is going to be a steady stream of employees through their door asking for a raise.  No matter how lofty your position in the company, you are probably facing some of the same strains on your finances as your employees. What are some ways to help employees cut the costs of working:

  1. Before you hire the next employee in a department, see if other employees would like to work overtime.  There is a point beyond where overtime does become so expensive it could be cheaper to hire a part-time employee but until that point is reached, offer the overtime.
  2. Would it be possible for your company to convert to a 4 day 10 hour work week?  If not, could some employees work that schedule to save on transportation costs.
  3. Could you allow some employees to telecommute, even for one day a week?
  4. Can your company facilitate an office car pool schedule?
  5. Is there money to buy gasoline gift cards (Walmart works great for this) and hand them out for a job well done?
  6. If you require uniforms for some employees and it is deducted from their pay, consider picking up the cost of uniforms.
  7. For companies that provide company cars to sales forces & management, could you extend the replacement term and use the savings to increase pay for lower level and staff employees?
  8. Bring lunch into the office at least one day a week.  Call it ‘Thank You Pizza Day’ or whatever you think works.
  9. As a company, do you have any discount programs you can offer employees.  In our community, the Chamber of Commerce offered discount cards to use at various restaurants and businesses in the community.  As a member of the Chamber, all employees in the county received the discount cards.
  10. Remember that pay increases may very well lead to reduced turnover.  We all know how costly and time consuming it is to hire and train new employees.

As Controller of your company, I know you may not be in charge of pay raises for all, but if you have input for your own staff, plead their case and communicate their value as often as you can.  And make a serious effort to  implement as many of the above recommendations as possible.

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