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Managing During a Fuel Shortage

Although my frugal soul would detest paying more than $3.99 for a gallon of gas, I started to question that gas prices were only $3.99 in Atlanta this weekend. When the first local gas station ran out of gas, I thought it was a little odd. But when I saw stations with 30+ cars waiting in line, and many others running out of gas, I knew we had a problem. As the weekend progressed, most of the stations in our community covered their pumps with plastic bags, and removed the price numbers from their signs. I realize that hurricane Ike didn’t impact other parts of the U.S. like this, but it could happen to anyone. If our employees are distracted, wondering if their managers have a plan for dealing with this kind of issue, they are not likely to be as efficient as usual. We need to be ready and have a plan for weeks like this.

What are options does a manager have at his/her disposal in a time like this? Here are some of the things that I’m doing or considering for this week. Please post your comments and ideas below.

  1. Reorganize the week’s work. This morning I spent 30 minutes with my team reorganizing our work for the week. There are some tasks that we do in an normal week that require us to be on-site and face-to-face; but there are other tasks that could easily be done from home with a computer. Our task reorganization grouped everything that doesn’t require us to be on-site into two or three days when we will work from home. Things that require us to be in the office are also grouped together for today (while we’re on-site) and the day(s) later in the week when we are on-site. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for everyone, as some jobs require everyone to be on-site every day.
  2. What about carpooling? Although none of us are neighbors, there are many of us who drive the same route to the office for much of the commute. We probably should have done this long ago for other reasons, but why not carpool for the part of the commute that we share?
  3. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Whether they are work or personal meetings, it’s time to take a look at this week’s meeting schedule. Is there a way to reorganize the meeting schedule to reduce travel and fuel consumption? Are there some meetings that could be done over the phone rather than traveling for an on-site meeting?
  4. What? A Bicycle? About half of my commute to the office is not safe enough to ride a bicycle to the office. But, there are bicycle lanes for the second half of the trip. It wouldn’t be that hard to put my bike in the back seat, or on a bike rack while I drive the area where it’s safe to ride. Maybe it’s time to pump up my bike tires, strap on the helmet and burn a few calories on the ride to work. Maybe some of my co-workers would meet at a common spot and ride with me. I have a feeling this is even a better idea than carpooling.

Remember to post your ideas below.

Also, If you’re the type of person who would enjoy engaging in a dialogue about gas prices and how it would be better if gas prices were $7.99 instead of $3.99, visit this post in our forums. Should gas prices be $7.99 instead of $3.99?